Kinderhook PlatesTo the fledging Mormon community in 1843, it was incredible news: six brass plates had been discovered in a mound in Kinderhook, Illinois. Ancient, marked with strange heiroglyphics, they came to the attention of Joseph Smith, who said they looked remarkably like the lettering of the Book of Mormon and that he thought he might be able to translate them.
Later, these plates were revealed as forgeries; under sworn affidavit, decades later, the creators confessed to their hoax. Of course, this brought up a problem... how had Smith planned to translate them? Did he know they were a hoax? And most importantly... why were Mormons still following the "translated" scriptures?
Like every religion, Mormonism has its detractors and its many supporters (it's America's fastest growing church, but a lot of this can be attributed to retroactive baptism). But one of the core problems with this church is that, from even the most non-cynical perspective, the initial founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was surrounded by charlatanism, fraud, and lots and lots of pretty women. As a result, there are a number of stories and events with Smith's hand in them that raise a few eyebrows and close a few eyes.