Martin Harris Tests Joseph Smith During the Translation of the Golden Plates
Martin played a trick on Joseph to prove whether he actually was translating golden plates or was not. The following is an excerpt taken from an interview between Martin Harris and Edward Stevenson.
"Martin Harris related an instance that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon, which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone. Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, 'Written,' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.
"Martin said, after continued translation they would become weary and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion, Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, Martin put in place the stone that he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much, surprised, Joseph exclaimed, 'Martin! What is the matter? All is as dark as Egypt.' Martin's countenance betrayed him, and the prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them."
"Harris' Statement to Edward Stevenson", Millenial Star, Vol. XLIV, pp. 78, 79; 86, 87
Kenneth Godfrey, "A New Prophet and a New Scripture: The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon", ENSIGN Magazine, Jan. 1988
Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament", ENSIGN Magazine, July 1993