by Rick Hurd,
“*REVELATION. The Angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and fortyfive, and the light Shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thummin. And out of the light came the voice of the Lord, saying, My servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because I have tried thee, and found thee faithful. Behold, my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which shall be to those who love me, an immutable testimony; to those who know me not, a stumbling block; but to those who have known me, and have turned their hearts from me, a rock of offence. Go to the place which the Angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig for the record of my people, in whose possession thou dwellest. Take with thee faithful witnesses; for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee; but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars, and shall not stumble for their words.
And while I was yet in the spirit, the Angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the east of Walworth, against White River, in Voree, and there he showed unto me the record buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a large man; it was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the ground as deep as to a man’s waist, and I beheld it as a man can see a light stone in clear water; for I saw it by Urim and Thummin.”
“TESTIMONY. On the thirteenth day of September, 1845, we, Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb, assembled at the call of James J. Strang, who is by us and many others approved as a Prophet and Seer of God. He proceeded to inform us that it had been revealed to him in a vision that an account of an ancient people was buried in a hill south of White River bridge, near the east line of Walworth County; and leading us to an oak tree, about one foot in diameter, told us that we would find it enclosed in a case of rude earthen ware under that tree, at the depth of about three feet; requested us to dig it up, and charged us to so examine the ground that we should know we were not imposed upon, and that it had not been buried there since the tree grew. The tree was surrounded by a sward of deeply rooted grass, such as is usually found in the openings; and upon the most critical examination, we could not discover any indication that it had ever been cut through or disturbed.
We then dug up the tree, and continued to dig to the depth of about three feet, where we found a case of slightly baked clay, containing three plates of brass. The case was found imbedded in indurated clay, so closely fitting it that it broke in taking out; and the earth below the soil was so hard as to be dug with difficulty, even with a pickaxe. Over the case was found a flat stone, about one foot wide each way, and three inches thick, which appeared to have undergone the action of fire, and fell in pieces after a few minutes exposure to the air. The digging extended in the clay about eighteen inches, there being two kinds of earth of different colour and appearance above it.
We examined as we dug all the way with the utmost care, and we say, with the utmost confidence, that no part of the earth through which we dug exhibited any sign or indication that it had been moved or disturbed at any time previous. The roots of the tree struck down on every side very closely, extending below the case, and closely interwoven with roots from other trees. None of them had been broken or cut away. No clay is found in the country like that of which the case is made.
In fine, we found an alphabetick and pictorial record, carefully cased up, buried deep in the earth, covered with a flat stone, with an oak tree one foot in diameter, growing over it, with every evidence that the senses can give that it has lain there as long as that tree has been growing. Strang took no part in the digging, but kept entirely away, from before the first blow was struck till after the plates were taken out of the case; and the sole inducement to our digging was our faith in his statement as a Prophet of the Lord, that a record would thus and there be found.
Aaron Smith, Jira B. Wheelan, J. M. Van Nostrand, Edward Whitcomb.” (1856 edition of the Book of the Law of the Lord pp. 250-252)