We hold in our hands a considerable volume of scripture. The records stretch back to the early patriarchs and forward to our own lifetimes. I suppose this is more scripture than has ever been had by a people in history, and certainly it is more widely available than ever scripture was in the past. I am sure that if you or I held in our hands the original scrolls that Moses wrote upon or the very metal plates that Mormon had inscribed, we would feel a deep sense of reverence and awe and would treat those objects with great care. And so we should, because they are sacred objects, made so in part by the labor and sacrifice of the holy prophets who so painstakingly prepared them.
But the greatest value of such scrolls or plates is not in the objects themselves but in the words they contain. They are sacred because they are the words of God, and while we may not hold the original documents, we do hold the words. Therefore, what we have is holy – holy writ. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “A Sense of the Sacred,” CES fireside for young adults, November 7, 2004
Many more scriptural writings will yet come to us, including those of Enoch (see D&C 107:57), all of the writings of the Apostle John (see Ether 4:16), the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13), and the approximately two/thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: “And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth” (2 Nephi 27:11). Today we carry convenient quadruple combinations of the scriptures, but one day, since more scriptures are coming, we may need to pull little red wagons brimful with books. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light, p. 18; Book of Mormon Student Manual, ch. 12.
Joseph Smith was careful to obey the command from the Lord that he not show the plates to others. As he translated the Book of Mormon, Joseph learned that special witnesses would be called to bear testimony of the ancient record written on metal plates. He was quite relieved when he was permitted to show the plates to several witnesses. Those witnesses were then commanded to testify of their experience to others and to write their testimonies concerning the Book of Mormon.
Three men, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, were privileged to be shown the plates by the Angel Moroni. Then eight witnesses were shown the plates by Joseph Smith. Their testimonies are printed at the front of every copy of the Book of Mormon. — Kirk B. Henrichsen, “What Did the Golden Plates Look Like?” New Era, July 2007.