The Pilfered Papers • Adventures of the Restoration Book 2

by L.T. Downing
Book Two in the Adventures of the Restoration series.

In the Adventures of the Restoration series, award-winning author L.T. Downing brings early church history to life in the way young readers crave—with exciting, fast-paced stories about the real people and events of the Restoration era. Readers will have a front-row seat as Joseph Smith fights off attackers who would steal the gold plates, as Martin Harris loses the 116 pages of the translated manuscript, and as the young Prophet, his family, and friends face the persecutors, politicians and traitors that ultimately drove the Latter-day Saints from state after state in their quest for the freedom to worship. Parents are sure to find the Adventures of the Restoration series is not only fun, but an invaluable tool in the education and inspiration of their children. The accounts in the Adventures of the Restoration series revolve around the actual players of the Restoration era and dramatize true events. (Historical Fiction)

About “The Pilfered Papers”

Friendship is important to everyone. Joseph Smith didn’t have a lot of friends. What he had was a Sacred Record etched into gold plates and the divine charge to translate them. But how? Who would help him? Enter Martin Harris, a wealthy businessman who believed in Joseph’s mission. He offered the young prophet financial backing and friendship. Soon he began helping Joseph with the translation. But Martin’s wife was determined to destroy their friendship and stop the translation, whatever the cost. In a desperate attempt to save his marriage, Martin devised a plan to convince her that Joseph Smith was a true prophet: he’d show her the first 116 pages of the translation. But would Joseph Smith agree to let him take the only copy of the manuscript?

Read The Pilfered Papers to find out what happens when trust and betrayal collide.

Reading Level: Grades 4+ (ages 9-18+)

Product Details: (Purchase below – Purchasing Details)

  • Print Paperback Edition
  • RETAIL PRICE: $11.95
  • # of pages: 200
  • 5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
  • Black & White on Cream paper
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491299555
  • ISBN-10: 149129955X
  • BISAC: Juvenile (Young Adult) Historical Fiction
  • Juvenile Fiction / Religious


  • Kindle Edition
  • Retail Price: $4.99
  • File Size: 1855 KB
  • Print Length: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Zion BookWorks; 1st edition (November 19, 2015)
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0189KF53O



“In The Pilfered Papers, L.T. Downing presents an oft-told, though little understood, episode in early Mormon history in an exciting and informative narrative. Though a fictionalized account of the Book of Mormon’s translation and the loss of 116 manuscript pages, Downing stays true to the historical record. Perhaps most impressively, she incorporates the latest research on the subject into her narrative.” Christopher Jones, Historian.

Another Restoration Adventure: A Review of L. T. Downing’s The Pilfered Papers
January 4, 2016 Scott Hales Website: ARTISTIC PREACHING
“The first volume of L. T. Downing’s Adventures of the Restoration series, Get That Gold! (Zion BookWorks, 2013), drew on the conventions of adventure fiction—action, peril, fast-paced plotting, cliffhangers—to the early history of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon to create a compelling story that successfully kept its target audience of young readers on the edge of their seats.

The recently-published second volume, The Pilfered Papers, attempts to replicate that effect in its telling of the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript. This is no easy task, however, since for much of the book, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris are sitting at a table as they translate the Book of Mormon. Moreover, when they are not translating, they are wrapped up in domestic scenes that depend more on the drama of human relationships and character growth than on action. This is the significant difference between Get That Gold!, which had chapter after chapter of physical action and intrigue, and The Pilfered Papers.
Fortunately, Downing makes it work extraordinarily well by creating interesting characters who draw readers into seemingly mundane domestic situations. From the start of the novel, which opens in the office of Professor Charles Anthon, Martin Harris carries the story forward with his deep desire to prove to his wife (and everyone else) that the Book of Mormon manuscript is divinely-inspired and that Joseph Smith has not deceived him or swindled him out of his money. His motivations throughout the book—from his desire to aid Joseph to his desire to convince his wife of the value of Joseph’s work—are complex and real. Downing often gives us insightful glimpses into what may have drawn him to Joseph Smith and caused him to act the way he did throughout the translation process.
Joseph Smith is also an interesting character, although he’s more of a secondary character in this novel. Joseph is more mature and confident than he was in Get That Gold!, but still in the process of growing into his calling. Some of the best moments in The Pilfered Papers, in fact, occur when Joseph is confused or in distress, and Downing does excellent work in her handling of Joseph’s fragile emotional state during these times.
Another important character in this decidedly character-driven novel is Lucy Harris, Martin Harris’s fiery wife. While she at times comes across more as a caricature than a character, she has moments of genuine feeling that make her an interesting figure throughout the book. Indeed, her relationship with Martin is the most interesting throughout the book, creating the kind of compelling conflict needed to drive the book forward.
As with Get That Gold!, however, the true value of The Pilfered Papers is the way it dramatizes history and helps young readers get a better sense of what it was like to experience the early days of the Restoration. To create a vivid and accurate picture of the time period, Downing draws on new understandings of the Book of Mormon translation process that will certainly be surprising to readers who are only familiar with the popular and historically inaccurate images of the process that have dominated Church-published materials in the past. For instance, Downing does not shy away from seer stones or hats, but makes ample and natural use of them—possibly for the first time in Mormon historical fiction. In my opinion, this alone is enough to recommend the book to young readers and their parents.
But The Pilfered Papers has more to offer than a fresh take on Book of Mormon translation. It is another strong contribution to a book series that deserves a wider readership among young Mormons, who are over-fed with fantasy, but starved of good Mormon historical fiction. If you have kids and you want them to have a better grasp on Church history and a stronger appreciation for the men and women who lived it, L. T. Downing’s The Adventures of the Restoration series is the series to read. I’m already looking forward to the next book.”

LINK TO REVIEW SITE (Artistic Preaching: Exploring Mormon Literature by Scott Hales)

REVIEW of The Pilfered Papers (and it’s prequel, Get That Gold!) by AML

Reviewed by Kristie Wilkins for the Association for Mormon Letters.

“Over the years many versions of the events leading up to and involved in the restoration of the Gospel have been written and shared.   As Latter-Day Saints we believe that these events are the most critical events in the history of the world save the Atonement and Resurrection of the Savior.  It is only natural that what happened during that time should intrigue the mind and capture the imagination.  That the events that took place during the restoration were not only sacred in nature but an intense, dangerous and thrilling “adventure” is the premise of author L.T. Downing’s new series, “The Adventures of the Restoration.” In the first books of her series, Downing has chosen to highlight two pivotal moments in the bringing to light of “The Book of Mormon.” …

Author L.T. Downing is a talented storyteller.  Downing weaves fascinating and heart-pumping tales from LDS church history that make oft-told stories come alive.   She has the ability to take her readers into the story so that they feel the emotions of her characters as they experience some of the most critical moments and turning points of the restoration of the Gospel.

Downing also captures the complexity and nuances of her character’s personalities.  For example Lucy Harris, so often seen as a one dimensional villain in historical accounts, is portrayed as a complicated woman who struggles not only with her faith but with loneliness.  She is shown as a woman who allows fear to drive her decisions to the point where, instead of drawing her husband home, she alienates him and drives him to make decisions that could ultimately destroy not only their marriage and his relationship with the prophet
but his own soul as well.  The reader can almost feel sorry for her at times and at others nothing but disdain…
Downing knows her audience well! While I had some questions about some of characterizations, my son thought I was just crazy — he loved the books.  And he, after all, is who Downing is writing for!
… As with earlier historical fiction … these books merit a wide readership.  They are sure to awaken a love for Church history in LDS youth, and will help build a testimony that will last them a lifetime.  Young people have many years ahead of them to sort through what is fact and what is enhancement.
 I hope to see more of this series and am fascinated with the idea of which “Adventure of the Restoration” she will choose to focus on next.”

(Read Kristie’s entire review: HERE)



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