And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”
The following details demonstrate the fulfillment of this prophesy. It is important to note at the outset that Nephi stated that he made the record in the language of his father, “which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.”
Joseph Smith wrote of receiving this record hundreds of years after the prophet Moroni had finalized it, as follows (see Josephsmithpapers.org):
On the morning of the 22d of September A. D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands . . . These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole.
The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate.
(Emphasis added). In December 1827, a few months after Joseph Smith received this record, he moved to Susquehanna through the help of Martin Harris, who gave him fifty Dollars to cover his expenses. Joseph recounted the following:
Because of [Martin’s] faith and this rightheous deed the Lord appeared unto him in a vision and shewed unto him his marvilous work which he was about to do and <h[e]> imediately came to Suquehannah and said the Lord had shown him that he must go to new York City <with> some of the characters. So we proceeded to coppy some of them and he took his Journy to the Eastern Cittys.
Martin Harris wrote an account of this journey as follows:
I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’
Joseph Smith wrote the following about Martin’s experience:
[Martin showed the copied characters] to the Learned <saying> read this I pray thee and the learned said I cannot but if he would bring the blates [plates] they would read it but the Lord had forbid it and he returned to me and gave them to <me> <to> translate and I said I
saidcannot for I am not learned but the Lord had prepared specttickespectacles for to read the Book therefore I commenced translating the characters and thus the Propicy [prophecy] of Isiaah was fulfilled which is writen in the 29 chaptr concerning the book.
And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
Joseph Smith subsequently translated these records through the Urim and Thummim by the gift and power of God.
Nephi wrote that “[t]hese last records . . . shall establish the truth of the first [the Holy Bible] . . . for we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God . . . and we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” See 1 Nephi 13:40; 2 Nephi 25: 23, 26.