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Historical records indicate that in early summer of 1827, Joseph Smith and his father began telling people in town that he had found a golden book buried in the ground, and that the spirit guarding it would not let him take it out without following a specific protocol.
This drawing is an illustration of the earliest reported account relating to Joseph Smith's prophetic mission and discovery of the golden book that he later claimed to have translated into the Book of Mormon. In an 1833 sworn affidavit, Joseph's neighbor, Willard Chase, reports the stories Joseph and his father told him regarding the golden book (first published on page 240-248 of the 1834 book "Mormonism Unvailed", reproduced HERE and HERE). The story most relevant to this picture is as follows:
"In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen., related to me the following story: That some years ago, a spirit had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in the following manner: On the 22d of September, he must repair to the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They accordingly fitted out Joseph with a suit of black clothes and borrowed a black horse. He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. - Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders."