In a signed statement, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris testified that an angel showed them the gold plates and that the voice of God said the plates were translated by “the gift and power of God.” Their declaration was published at the end of the Book of Mormon. Engraving by H. B. Hall & Sons, 1883; image of Oliver Cowdery from a photograph by an unknown photographer, circa 1845; image of David Whitmer from a photograph by Jacob T. Hicks, circa 1865; image of Martin Harris from a photograph by Charles W. Carter, circa 1870. (Courtesy Church History Museum, Salt Lake City.)

Newspapers across the United States reported this spectacular display of “falling stars” in the early morning hours of 13 November 1833. Joseph Smith, like many of his contemporaries, viewed it as a sign that Christ’s second coming was imminent. Engraving by Adolf Völlmy from a painting by Karl Jauslin, 1888. (Courtesy Signs of the Times, Nampa, ID.)

Circa 1841–1846. William Weeks’s drawings (top view and front view) of a tomb planned for Joseph Smith depict two chambers and a stream of water flowing from underneath the tomb’s foundation. The tomb was completed in 1845 and leter fell into ruin; it was used for at least one member of Joseph Smith’s family but was not used for Smith himself. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

Joseph Smith made his home at the John and Alice (Elsa) Johnson farm from September 1831 to September 1832. While working on the Bible revision at the farm, Smith and Sidney Rigdon reported seeing a vision of “the economy of God and his vast creation.” Records indicate that the row of trees along the road, the fences, and the barn on the far right were constructed after the farm passed out of the Johnsons’ ownership. Engraving by N. Friend, 1874. Image from Combination Atlas Map of Portage County, 1874. (Courtesy David Rumsey Map Collection,

This tin sign may have hung at various locations where JS kept his office; see Office, Nauvoo, Illinois. (Church History Museum, Salt Lake City.)

Sometime in 1842, Joseph Smith and other civic leaders in Nauvoo, Illinois, began plans to publish an ambitiously detailed map of the city. During summer 1842, Willard Richards contracted with lithographer John Childs of New York City to publish the map, and in December of that year Richards filed a copyright claim on behalf of Smith in Springfield, Illinois. Despite these early efforts, the map was not completed until April 1844. Gustavus Hills, cartographer, Map of the City of Nauvoo, 66 × 55 cm (New York City: J. Childs, [ca. 1844]). (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)