By May 1829 the work of translating the Book of Mormon was almost complete. Although Joseph Smith had possessed the gold plates for about two years, he had only worked on the translation a total of about three months. Joseph had been careful to protect the plates and had not shown them to anyone, but he became concerned about their safety in Harmony. Oliver Cowdery, who was acting as Joseph's scribe, wrote to his friend David Whitmer, who did not know Joseph Smith, and asked David to bring him and the Prophet to Fayette, New York, where they would be safe and could finish the translation.
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