Date: August 13, 2017 12:01AM
The plates were found on a nine-foot-tall skeleton!
History of the Church, Vol. 5, Ch. 19, p. 372:
"I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23 , by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.
"I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth."
B. H. Roberts defended the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates and Smith’s translation of them (Fugate, below, was one of the hoaxers, admitting to it in 1879).
B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol. 3, pp. 62, 64:
"It is proper here to call attention to the fact that the genuineness of this discovery of the Kinderhook plates is questioned by some anti-Mormon writers…
"For while the statement in the text of the Prophet's Journal to the effect that the find was genuine, and that he had translated some of the characters and learned certain historical facts concerning the person with whose remains the plates were found, may not have been known at the time to the alleged conspirators to deceive him, still the editor of the Times and Seasons – John Taylor, the close personal friend of the Prophet – took the find seriously, and expressed at once explicit confidence in an editorial in the Times and Seasons, of May 1st, 1843, that the Prophet could give a translation of the plates. And this attitude the Church, continued to maintain; for in The Prophet (a Mormon weekly periodical, published in New York) of the 15th of February, 1845, there was published a facsimile of the Kinderhook plates, together with the Times and Seasons editorial and all the above matter of the text. How easy to have covered Joseph Smith and his followers with ridicule by proclaiming the hoax as soon as they accepted the Kinderhook plates as genuine! Why was it not done? The fact that Fugate's story was not told until thirty-six years after the event, and that he alone of all those who were connected with the event gives that version of it, is rather strong evidence that his story is the hoax, not the discovery of the plates, nor the engravings upon them."
Mark E. Petersen also expressed confidence in the Kinderhook plates in his 1979 book "Those Gold Plates!"
"There are the Kinderhook plates, too, found in America and now in the possession of the Chicago Historical Society. Controversy has surrounded these plates and their engravings, but most experts agree they are of ancient vintage."
But then the truth came out, and even the church had to declare the plates a forgery.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, KINDERHOOK PLATES:
"Then in 1980, the Chicago Historical Society gave permission for destructive tests, which were done at Northwestern University. Examination by a scanning electron microscope, a scanning auger microprobe, and X-ray fluorescence analysis proved conclusively that the plate was one of the Kinderhook six; that it had been engraved, not etched; and that it was of nineteenth-century manufacture. There thus appears no reason to accept the Kinderhook plates as anything but a frontier hoax."
And so the apologists had to go to work, and they did, lying and obfuscating.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, KINDERHOOK PLATES:
"The Kinderhook plates created a stir in Nauvoo; articles appeared in the Church press, an illustrated handbill was published, and some Latter-day Saints even claimed Joseph Smith said he could and would translate them. No translation exists, however, nor does any further comment from him indicating that he considered the plates genuine."
Diane E. Wirth, "Harry L. Ropp, with revisions from Wesley P. Walters, 'Are the Mormon Scriptures Reliable?'", FARMS Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2 (1990), p. 210:
"In order to debunk Joseph Smith's abilities as a translator, the authors bring up the old Kinderhook controversy, which has been settled once and for all as a forgery by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith's supposed statement that the Kinderhook plates were authentic and that they were the 'records of the descendants of Ham,' came from the journal of William Clayton, who wrote in the first person, as though from the mouth of Joseph Smith. A first-person narrative was apparently a common practice of this time period when a biographical work was being compiled. Since such words were never penned by the Prophet, they cannot be uncritically accepted as his words or his opinion."
Diane E. Wirth, "Stephen Williams, 'Fantastic Archaeology: the Wild Side of North American Prehistory,'" FARMS Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4 (1992), p. 252:
"It was quite some time before it was positively acknowledged by scholars, through an electronic and chemical analysis, that the one remaining plate is a hoax. More important, contrary to popular articles written by anti-Mormon writers, Joseph Smith did not make a translation of the fraudulent plate. The translation attributed to him has proven to be an excerpt from a journal of William Clayton. In fact, after viewing the Kinderhook plate, Joseph Smith never showed any interest in it."
William J. Hamblin, "Jerald and Sandra Tanner, 'Archaeology and the Book of Mormon,'" FARMS Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5 (1993), p. 269:
"The Kinderhook Plates
"The Tanners relish linking Joseph Smith with this early nineteenth-century forgery. This topic has been analyzed in detail, and it has been demonstrated that Joseph Smith was only mildly interested in the Kinderhook plates.  Whatever the significance of this forgery for early Latter-day Saint history, it has absolutely no relevance for the modern study of Book of Mormon antiquities."
[fn 61] Stanley B. Kimball, "The Kinderhook Plates," Ensign 11 (August 1981): 66-74.
[Note: Stanley Kimball also authored the Encyclopedia of Mormonism quotes above. So the spin doctors are reduced to quoting each other to try and make their points.]