Appendix B: Source Documents and Groups

    The Stick of Joseph primarily spans a period of approximately one thousand years, between 600 bce and 400 ce. Numerous prophets wrote the record, and one of the final writers, M’raman, abridged the lengthy history into a single book, which was subsequently completed by his son, M’roni. This M’roni buried the abridged record in approximately 420 ce, in the area that is now New York State, in the United States of America.

    Yosef ben Yosef (Joseph Smith, Jr.) was shown the site of the hidden record by an angel who gave him the record and the means to translate it on Rosh Hashanah, 5588 (1827 ce). Yosef completed the translation and published the book three years later, in 1830. This first-published work was named after M’raman, who compiled and abridged the ancient records. The Anglicized book title for the Gentile audience was The Book of Mormon.

    As happened with the Bible, Gentile churches and institutions attempted to claim the book as their own, make profit from it, and use it to gain converts—all while utterly failing to appreciate its authors, purpose, message, or destiny (see 2 Nefi 12:8). This is a fundamentally Jewish text, prepared for the House of Israel, for their benefit and blessing. For more information about the first English translation, visit

    The text given to Yosef ben Yosef was compiled by ancient authors from several sources, all of which consisted of records engraved on metal writing tablets, referred to as “plates.” Though the various sets of plates overlapped (as to time period covered or the group that kept the record), still each is unique in purpose and content.


    The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim details the ancient migrations of three specific groups to the American continent, as follows:

    • The people of Lechi left Jerusalem in 601 bce and separated into two main groups known as the Nefites and the Lamanites, each named for one of Lechi’s sons. This is the primary group that created and kept this record.
    • The people of Muloch also left Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian destruction. Muloch was one of the sons of King Tzidkiyahu (Zedekiah), the last king of Y’hudah (Judah) (see Jer. 39:1–2). Internal evidence in the text suggests the group that came with Muloch (commonly called Mulochites) may have spoken Aramaic. The Mulochites joined with the Nefites and became one people (see Ameni 1:8).
    • The people of Yered (commonly called the Yeredites) left the Tower of Bavel (Babel) at the time of the confounding of languages and traveled to the American continent. Their civilization ended around the time the Mulochites arrived.


    The text refers to the following plates kept by these groups, all of which contributed material to The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim:

    • The Plates of Brass are a record containing “the five books of Moshe [Moses]…and also a record of the Y’hudim [Jews] from the beginning…and also the prophecies of the holy prophets” up to and including some of the prophecies of Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) (see 1 Nefi 1:10, 22). Additionally, these plates contained records of Israelite prophets now lost to history, including Zenoch, Zenos, Ezaias, and Neum (see Cheleman 3:9). These plates were taken from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) by Nefi, son of Lechi, and carried to the American continent with Lechi’s family.
    • The Small Plates of Nefi are a record started by Nefi, concerning the events leading up to and including his family’s travels from Yerushalayim to the American continent, as well as the ministries of Nefi and his brother Ya’akov. Subsequent prophets and writers continued this record until the plates were full. Their purpose was to record ministry work and “the things of Elohim,” rather than a secular history (see 1 Nefi 2:1, 14; 2 Nefi 3:6; Words of M’raman 1:2–3). Their content was included, unabridged, to replace the material contained in 116 pages of manuscript that were lost by one of Yosef ben Yosef’s assistants in the early days of translation work. They encompass the books of 1 Nefi, 2 Nefi, Ya’akov, Enosh, Yahram, and Ameni.
    • The Large Plates of Nefi are a historical record kept by Nefi, son of Lechi, and subsequently added to by other writers. This record contains more secular information than the Small Plates of Nefi, including “the reigns of the kings, and the wars and contentions” of the Nefite people (see 1 Nefi 2:14). These records were abridged by M’raman to create his record (see Plates of M’raman, below, and Dedication, in Appendix F).
    • The Plates of ’Eter are a record of an earlier civilization called the Yeredite people who left the Tower of Bavel at the time of the confounding of languages and traveled to the American continent. Their record was recorded by the prophet ’Eter on twenty-four gold plates (see Moshiyah 5:12; ’Eter 1:1). Their civilization ended with the destruction of their people, during the lifetime of Nefi, son of Lechi.
    • The Plates of M’raman is the abridgment, made by M’raman, of the Large Plates of Nefi (that was subsequently added to by M’raman’s son, M’roni, who also included the above Small Plates of Nefi and an abridgment of the Plates of ’Eter). M’raman’s commentary and abridgment of the Large Plates of Nefi begins at Words of M’raman and ends at M’raman 3:5. M’roni’s completion of the record includes M’raman 4, ’Eter, and M’roni. The Plates of M’raman were then buried in the earth by M’roni ca. 420 ce, after the destruction of the Nefite civilization. These plates were given to Yosef ben Yosef in 1827 by the resurrected Nefi, son of Lechi. While in the possession of Yosef, the Plates of M’raman were commonly called the “Gold Plates” or “Gold Bible” by those who were aware of the ongoing translation work, due to the golden appearance of the metal plates upon which the records were engraved. The unsealed portion of the plates was translated by the gift and power of Elohim, and the sealed portion of the plates was left untranslated. When the work of translation was completed, Yosef reburied the plates (see 2 Nefi 11:20).

    The Stick of Joseph is primarily the work of three authors: Nefi (son of Lechi), M’raman, and M’roni. Nefi’s small plates are included without abridgment, while the rest of the record consists of M’raman and M’roni’s abridgments of prior records written by other authors, as well as their own writings. Though Joseph Smith, Jr. (Yosef ben Yosef) was initially listed as author for copyright purposes, he claimed only to have received the translation by divine power and did not claim original authorship of any part of the book.

    In instances where lengthy quotes appear from the Tanakh (entire chapters of Isaiah, for example), the text, with exceptions, most closely matches the King James Version of the Bible, which would have been most familiar to Yosef’s Gentile audience at the time and most readily available to Yosef.