“[t]hat evening we held a meeting in which all the witnesses bore testimony to the facts, as stated [in The Testimony of Eight Witnesses].”
Lucy Mack Smith:
In the fall of 1830, a man came to the home of Joseph Smith, Sr. to collect on a fourteen dollar debt. Joseph, Sr. had been sick and unable to eat breakfast that morning. He offered to pay six dollars and the rest later, but the man replied, “‘No, I will not wait one hour; and if thou dost not pay me immediately, thou shalt go forthwith to the jail, unless’ –running to the fireplace and making violent gestures with his hands toward the fire “thou wilt burn up those Books of Mormon; but if thou wilt burn them up, then I will forgive thee the whole debt.” Lucy Mack Smith offered to give the man the gold beads that she wore in satisfaction of the debt, but the man refused her offer. Joseph, Sr., stated “[Sir], we shall not burn the Book of Mormon, nor deny the inspiration of the Almighty.” Lucy pleaded with the man to allow her time to find someone else who could pay the debt, but Joseph, Sr., was instead taken to jail without being given a chance to eat.
Samuel Smith later visited his father in jail. Joseph, Sr., reported to him:
Immediately after I left your mother, the men by whom I was taken commenced using every possible argument to induce me to renounce the Book of Mormon, saying, “how much better it would be for you to deny that silly thing, than to be disgraced and imprisoned, when you might not only escape this, but also have the note back, as well as the money which you have paid on it.” To this I made no reply. They still went on in the same manner till we arrived at the jail, when they gurried me into his dismal dungeon. I shuddered when I first heard these heavy doors creaking upon their hinges; but then I thought to myself, I was not the first man who had been imprisoned for the truth’s sake; and when I should meet Paul in the paradise of God, I could tell him that I, too, had been in bonds for the gospel which he had preached. And this has been my only consolation.
From the time I entered until now, and this is the fourth day, I have had nothing to eat, save a pint basin full of very weak broth; and there [pointing to the opposite side of the cell] lies the basin yet.
Lucy concluded the story by stating that “Mr. Smith went out into the jail yard to a cooper’s shop, where he obtained employment at coopering, and followed the same until he was released, which was thirty days. He preached during his confinement there every Sunday, and when he was released, he baptized two persons whom he had thus converted.”
From an interview of Joseph Smith, Sr. conducted by Fayette Lapham:
“In answer to our question, as to what it was that Joseph had thus obtained, he said it consisted of a set of gold plates, about six inches wide, and nine or ten inches long. They were in the form of a book, half an inch thick, but were not bound at the back, like our books, but were held together by several gold rings, in such a way that the plates could be opened similar to a book.”
the Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago. His Account of the Finding of the Sacred Plates.” The Historical Magazine 8, no. 5 (May 1870): 307.