So the question is this, “Did Joseph Smith have the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon?”
It is a simple question and yet one that is full of ramification. The same type of question might be asked, “Did Jesus Christ truly exist and did he, –once dead upon the cross, arise from the tomb again on the third day?”

They are good questions and detractors love to answer immediately and self-assuredly, in the negative. Nevertheless, there are those who differ. Those who want their voices heard, also. There are those who shout with all their might, but because the world doesn’t really want to hear, or doesn’t care, their voices are drowned out and rarely listened to.
My voice is small. It is weak. It is insignificant in that I hold no worldly honors, no special degrees and no influence or power among men. Still, I am one. I am human, and I am not all that different from 6 or 7 billion other individuals who live upon the earth. Therefore, let me take this one moment and as just such an insignificant individual, let me talk to you about those two questions. First, because I know the positive answer to the second question, “Yes, Jesus lived, died and was resurrected again. He lives today. He lives now.” Because I know the answer to this, that second question, it has led me to the answer to the first question. “Yes, Joseph Smith translated the plates of the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.”

The same Jesus who lived, died and lived again is the power through which I know that Joseph Smith used divine authority to translate the Book of Mormon. I suppose that “divinity” (or divine power) functions in such a way that each and every… ALL divine works are divinely authorized, divinely encouraged and divinely orchestrated. I don’t think that it should surprise anyone that if by the Holy Spirit, we learn that Jesus lives again, that through that same Spirit we learn of the truthfulness of His other works; including His current works-in-progress (in this case, the translation, the publication and the dispersal world-wide of a new book of scripture known as the Book of Mormon.)

I extremely dislike the moniker “Mormons” as applied to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It tends to categorize members of the faith as some kind of fringe group. Instead, I like to see myself first as a Christian; a believer not only in Jesus Christ but in a living, breathing Jesus Christ. Second, I like to see myself in a role of understanding, participating in and helping with God’s plan here upon the earth. Because I know that Jesus Christ lives today, I have also come to know that Joseph Smith was called of Him to re-introduce His Gospel, translate from plates a new scripture known as the Book of Mormon, and preach repentance and baptism to the rest of the world. It may seem to you a grandiose scheme or even a foolhardy endeavor, but if you truly believe in Jesus Christ, then you understand that He wouldn’t have it any other way. In order to benefit all of God’s children, a way, a means and a movement with divine authority was restored upon the earth. It wasn’t the first time, but it was necessary to hit the “reset” button, one last time before the end-times should arrive. Thus the need for a divinely re-authorized servant to correct the course, re-establish the divine power known as Priesthood and flood the earth with a book which assuredly testifies of a divine, resurrected Jesus Christ and His visit to the ancient inhabitants of the American continent, His other “lost sheep.”
So, in conclusion, I humbly answer the two questions I started with: “Yes, Jesus lives. I have heard his voice, and I know that He lives.” Second: “Yes, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from plates given to him from an angel sent by God. The same power which assured me that Jesus lives, assures me that the Book of Mormon is true.”
Now I invite you to discover the same.

Contributed February 2021

Tim Ernst was raised in the small town of Panaca, Nevada with an inactive Latter-day Saint mother and a non-denominational father. Through the efforts of that inactive mother, he was sent to not only Baptist bible school, but to meetings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherein the young boy received a strong testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. As mentioned in his testimony, from there he received a similar testimony as to the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

Through circumstances which he sees as non-coincidental, he met his wife in that same small town as she was brought in to help teach in the local elementary school The young teacher, Venus Gilger, was hired by Tim’s Superintendent brother to teach in the local school district and Tim met her just 12 hours after returning home from his mission for the church of Jesus Christ.

Both Tim and Venus are graduates of Brigham Young University. The couple are the proud parents of eight children: six daughters and two sons. Tim currently works as a computer Technical Specialist for the Nebo School District. He has authored multiple books, including two four-part series in the genres of both fantasy and 1870 American Western with short stories and other books, besides.

When not busy writing, Tim has enjoyed wood-working, genealogical research and as an amateur wildlife and bird photographer. He tweets many of his photos out from his Twitter account, along with memes of advice, positivity and old-fashioned expressions of encouragement.

If there is one thing Tim could express about himself, it would be his devotion to honesty and integrity. What he says, he believes.