by Lucy Mack Smith
Edited by Scot and Maurine Proctor
Editors’ Note: As we said in yesterday’s account, we love thinking about history on the very date an event took place. Today, September 22, is another very significant date in the history of the Church. The visits of the Angel Moroni continued with the Prophet Joseph on September 22, 1823. This would be the beginning of at least 22 visits from Moroni to Joseph (of which we have record).
Mother Smith’s account which follows is the intimate look at that memorable day and of days to follow. Her insights talk of special “family home evenings” held by the Smith Family as young Joseph would talk to them about “the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, their manner of traveling, the animals which they rode, the cities that they built, and the structure of their buildings with every particular, their mode of warfare, and their religious worship as specifically as though he had spent his life with them.”
Don’t miss the opportunity of reading this account on this very date in history. The following excerpt is taken from The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, (Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1996), Chapter 18.
The next day Joseph, his father, and his brother Alvin  were reaping in the field together. Suddenly, Joseph stopped and seemed to be in a deep study for some time. Alvin hurried him, saying, "Joseph, you must keep to work or we shall not get our task done." Joseph worked again diligently, then stopped in the same way a second time. When his father saw that Joseph was very pale, he urged him to go to the house and tell his mother that he was sick. He went a short distance till he came to a beautiful green under an apple tree. Here he lay down on his face, for he was so weak he could go no farther.
He was here but a short time, when the messenger whom he had seen the night before came to him again and said, "Why did you not tell your father what I told you?" Joseph said he was afraid his father would not believe him. "He will believe every word you say to him," said the angel. 
Joseph then promised to do as he was told by the angel and rose up and returned to the field, where he had left my husband and Alvin; but when he got there, his father had just gone to the house, as he was somewhat unwell. Joseph then requested Alvin to go to the house and ask his father to the field, for, said he, "I have something to tell him." When his father came to him, Joseph rehearsed all that had passed between him and the angel the previous night. Having heard this account, his father charged him not to fail in attending strictly to the instruction which he had received from this heavenly messenger.
Soon after Joseph had this conversation with his father, he repaired to the place where the plates were deposited, which place he describes as follows:
"Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box.  This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.
"Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger."
While Joseph remained here, the angel told him, "Now I will show you the distance between light and darkness, and the operation of a good spirit and an evil one. An evil spirit will try to crowd your mind with every evil and wicked thing to keep every good thought and feeling out of your mind, but you must keep your mind always staid upon God, that no evil may come into your heart." 
The angel showed him, by contrast, the difference between good and evil, and likewise the consequences of both obedience and disobedience to the commandments of God, in such a striking manner, that the impression was always vivid in his memory until the very end of his days; and in giving a relation of this circumstance, not long prior to his death, he remarked that ever afterwards he was willing to keep the commandments of God. 
Furthermore, the angel told him at the interview mentioned last that the time had not yet come for the plates to be brought forth to the world; that he could not take them from the place wherein they were deposited until he had learned to keep the commandments of God-not only till he was willing, but able to do it. The angel bade Joseph come to this place every year, at the same time of the year, and he would meet him there and give him further instructions. 
When Joseph came in that evening, he told the whole family all that he had made known to his father in the field and also of finding the record, as well as what passed between him and the angel while he was at the place where the plates were deposited.
We sat up very late and listened attentively to all that he had to say to us, but his mind had been so exercised that he became very much fatigued. When Alvin saw this he said, "Now, brother, let us go to bed. We will get up early in the morning and go to work so as to finish our day's labor by an hour before sunset, and if Mother will get our suppers early, we will then have a fine, long evening and all sit down and hear you talk."
The next day we worked with great ambition and were ready by sunset to give our whole attention to the discourse of my son, pertaining to the obtaining of the plates, the goodness of God, his knowledge and power, our own liability to error and transgression, and the great salvation that lay before the faithful. "Now," said he, "Father and Mother, the angel of the Lord says that we must be careful not to proclaim these things or to mention them abroad, for we do not any of us know the weakness of the world, which is so sinful, and that when we get the plates they will want to kill us for the sake of the gold, if they know we have them.  And as soon as they do find that we pretend to have any such thing, our names will be cast out as evil, and we shall be scoffed at and all names of evil spoken concerning us.