Did Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, really find gold plates? This article considers that basic question from a new materialist perspective. Drawing on textual and material-bibliographical evidence, it argues that Smith, and possibly also a group of witnesses, may have had a formative physical encounter with a set of plates and that this encounter was partly responsible for provoking the events and interpretations that followed. These plates could have been either stereotype plates or copper plates, both commonly used for industrial printing in the nineteenth-century United States. This article also takes the empirical investigation into what Smith may have encountered as an occasion to reflect, methodologically and theoretically, on the role of ordinary material objects in processes of religious and historical change.