The book includes an account of the wars, Mormon's leading of portions of the Nephite army, and his retrieving and caring for the records.
The writings were said to describe a people whom God had led from Jerusalem to the Western hemisphere 600 years before Jesus' birth.
According to the narrative, Moroni was the last prophet among these people and had buried the record, which God had promised to bring forth in the latter days.
Their written testimonies are known as the Testimony of Three Witnesses Smith enlisted his neighbor Martin Harris as a scribe during his initial work on the text.
(Harris later mortgaged his farm to underwrite the printing of the Book of Mormon.) In 1828, Harris, prompted by his wife Lucy Harris, repeatedly requested that Smith lend him the current pages that had been translated. Lucy Harris is thought to have stolen the first 116 pages.
Smith stated that the title page, and presumably the actual title of the 1830 edition, came from the translation of "the very last leaf" of the golden plates, and was written by the prophet-historian Moroni.
The title page states that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is "to [show] unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; ...
Smith's first published description of the plates said that the plates "had the appearance of gold".
They were described by Martin Harris, one of Smith's early scribes, as "fastened together in the shape of a book by wires." In addition to Smith's account regarding the plates, eleven others stated that they saw the golden plates and, in some cases, handled them.
The Book of Ether is presented as the narrative of an earlier group of people who had come to America before the immigration described in 1 Nephi.
First Nephi through Omni are written in first-person narrative, as are Mormon and Moroni.
Smith later stated that God allowed him to resume translation, but directed that he begin translating another part of the plates (in what is now called the Book of Mosiah).