Getting Gold Pure

I live in gold country — the mother lode where gold was first discovered in California. I’ve learned something about gold, but I haven’t found any around here. I’ve visited a couple of gold mines — in fact one of them — the Sutter Gold Mine,  no longer gives underground tours because they’ve started mining for gold again. I’m glad I got the tour before it closed. I’m fascinated with rocks and mother earth.

I’m also intrigued with the symbolism of purifying gold. Malachi writes that the Lord is a refiner and purifier of metals:

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3) 

Most gold is engrained in rock, mixed with other minerals. Therefore, it’s quite a process to get the pure gold. I’m amazed that mining became so popular, considering the amount of work involved. I read that during the California Gold Rush, Orrin Porter Rockwell came out to El Dorado and did a little panning for gold. But he decided he could make more money opening a saloon — selling whiskey to the miners.

Visible Gold


Gold Ore

Today companies use large machines called “crushers” to reduce the ore to small gravel-sized pieces. These pieces go into drums with steel balls where they are ground to a fine powder. Next, water is added to make a slurry which becomes a pulp. This pulp then goes into leaching tanks. Here the gold is chemically extracted with cyanide and oxygen. A very messy process.
 gold extraction
Several steps more and it finally goes into the smelter at 2100 degrees F. That’s hot. But the gold isn’t pure yet. It still needs refining.
gold processing

Refining is a process that takes the impurities out of gold making it valuable and functional. The unwanted elements are removed by, by melting the gold again with borax and soda ash, which is added to separate the pure gold from the lesser metals. This typically gives you a 99.9% pure gold which is cast into bars.


I sold some of my gold jewelry when I was pretty much broke. This is what must have happened to it:


The meaning of gold “karats”

24 karats = 100 percent gold
22 karats = 91.75 percent gold
21 karats = 87.5 percent gold
18 karats = 75 percent gold
14 karats = 58.5 percent gold
12 karats = 50.25 percent gold
10 karats = 42 percent gold
9 karats = 37.8 percent gold
8 karats = 33.75 percent gold

Dross — the solid scum that floats to the top when smelting metals.

Dross is a solid mass of impurities floating on the top of melted metals. It’s considered rubbish in biblical terms:

 Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men. (Alma 34:29)

Gold requires a lot of work before you can call it pure. And that goes for people as well — lots of refining required before you are purified.


Prevent osteoporosis naturally

I decided I wasn’t going to take hormone replacement therapy — HRT. I was going to go au natural. Just head into the wind — the hot wind of being a mature woman, now past my child-bearing years. Notice I don’t say menopause, it’s such a negative word.

I read that Phytoestrogens may reduce and prevent the incidence of osteoporosis. This is good news if you don’t want to take drugs such as hormones. You need strong bones, but unfortunately, as you age there is a tendency for bones to become fragile — you actually lose bone. That’s called osteoporosis. Osteo for bone and porosis for porous. The bones get porous. (Men get it too, but not as often.)

Good Bone and Bad Bone (Osteoporosis)


Estrogen has a protective action in keeping your bones strong. Given that estrogen levels fall as you age and enter menopause, chances are your bones will become less dense. In the past, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) was the norm. But not anymore. I decided that I wouldn’t take HRT after my mom took it for 20 years and got breast cancer. So no drugs for me. HRT protects bones, but increases the risk of breast and endometrial cancer, as well as heart disease.

One option that is showing positive results is the addition of phytoestrogens in your diet. These are plants/foods (phyto) that act like natural estrogen in your body — either by increasing estrogen or blocking excess estrogen. It has two effects. No side effects either.

The most common phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) are called isoflavones, lignans, and coumestans.

Soy Products

Isoflavones are found in soy, peanut, sunflower seed, walnut and clover.

Lignans are found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and flax seeds.

Coumestans are found in legumes, alfalfa sprouts, clover, soybean sprouts, brussel sprouts, and spinach.

Studies have found that show eating 40-100 mg of isoflavones per day have benefits.


Yom Kippur for a Mormon

I love the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, and I’m a Mormon. I want to join in — even when it involves fasting, repenting and not bathing. But I like the symbolism and ritual that reinforces my beliefs. I want to be reminded to repent and forgive. I want to set aside a specific time each year to remember my covenants with God. I would like my name recorded in the Book of Life.


Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. It’s the climax of 10 High Holy Days or Days of Awe, that begins with the day of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) — the day God writes the names and fates of all people in the Book of Life:
In Rabbinic tradition, Abraham “being found faithful is declared a friend of God on the heavenly tablets, and every righteous keeper of the Covenant is registered in the same Book of Life”;  (A. von Gall Basileia tou Theou (Heidelberg: Heidelberg Univ., 1926), p. 313. in Nibley, A Strange Thing in the Land, The book of Enoch)
These High Holy Days span 10 days of forgiving and repenting. Ten days since the Feast of Trumpets. Ten days to forgive others as I seek God’s forgiveness of my own sins. Ten days so that my name can be sealed in the Book of Life. I have been working on this — thinking about my past year. Forgiving people who’ve been more than devilish is not that easy. According to some sources, these days also include charity — giving to those less fortunate.


This  Awe culminates on Yom Kippur, a  25-hour fast that begins on the eve of Yom Kippur, at sundown. On this day, tradition holds that Jews do not wear leather shoes and they forgo bathing and intimacy. They spend the day at temples, synagogues and home — praying, fasting and repenting. At the close of the day, they hope to stand before God absolved of their sins. God will then seal His verdict in the Book of Life. 
The books that men keep on earth are matched by books kept in heaven: Adam’s heavenly Book of Remembrance is duplicated on earth by a Book of Life, “the record which is kept in heaven … or, in other words … whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven. … (Ibid)
During this High Holy Day, Jews offer a prayer before the figurative Gates of Heaven which is shouted out seven times and finished off with the shofar blast. This last service is known as Ne’ilah (closing the gate) (hmm, very similar to my name). It includes opening prayers and  the cantor’s repetition of the Amidah, Avinu Malkenu (“Our Father, Our King”)

It usually runs about 1 hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus you must stand throughout the service.  (ref)


As the awesome day of Yom Kippur comes to a close, and our future is being sealed, we turn to G-d to accept our sincere repentance and new resolutions, and ask that He seal us in the Book of Life, granting us a new year replete with goodness and happiness. The Ark remains open for the entire Neilah service, signifying that the Gates of Heaven are wide open to our prayers and entreaties. (ref)
At the close of Yom Kippur, at sundown, you break the fast. You start a new year, with a clean slate, your soul renewed. It’s a week of compassion, repentance and forgiveness of others and yourself — a time to account for your past year. Yom Kippur dates back to the book of Leviticus.


During Biblical times, the High Priest performed sacred rites in the Temple at Jerusalem. (Moses did the same thing in the Tabernacle.) The High Priest burned incense and sacrificed animals as sin offerings. In one part of the service, the High Priest laid his hands on a goat “for Azazel” and confessed the sins of his people. Then he sent the goat out into the wilderness. The goat carried the sins away for the people.

Have you heard of the term scapegoat? The scapegoat is someone who takes the blame and punishment, but is innocent. The word “scapegoat” is really a mistranslation of the word Azazel.

I believe Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and all these sacrifices are/were symbolic of his life. I must still repent and forgive, and the Day of Atonement is a yearly reminder to prepare, reflect and renew. In past years I have gone to the temple to mark this special day. But I am far from being able to enter the presence of the Lord. I recognize that what I do in the temple teaches me how to become sanctified and converse with the Lord through the veil.

Five days following Yom Kippur, Sukkot begins.
The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910)

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910)

On the Eve of Yom Kippur, Jakub Weinles

On the Eve of Yom Kippur, Jakub Weinles


Book of Mormon projects for kids

Here’s another Book of Mormon Gold Plates project for your kids. We did this one with our Primary class. But it would be a great project for celebrating the Feast of Trumpets.

First we made some rice crispy treats in a large flat pan and cut them 6″ x 8″ and about an inch thick. Then we wrapped them in foil and stacked them up like the gold plates. Next they went into a plastic zip bag.

The day before class my strong armed husband dug a hole and found a flat rock to cover it. Lucky for us the church is located near a nice rural area with trees.

Just before class we put the pretend plates in the hole with a pretend sword of Laban and some glasses and Liahona. During our lesson, we had the kids “write” on the aluminum plates with a nail. Then we collected them and put them in a plastic bag. Next we took the kids outside and helped them locate the secret place, explaining how the gold plates had been hidden away. Once they had uncovered the hole in the ground, we exchanged the plates they had written on with the rice crispie treats. And everyone was happy.


  • Aluminum Foil Pans
  • Scissors
  • Nails
  • Rolling Pin
  • For Rice Crispie part”
  • Rice Crispie Treats that you make
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Plastic Bags

ALUMINUM PAN for Gold plates


Aluminum pan bottom gold plates


aluminum pan gold plates project


gold plates projects for kids


After we removed the edible plates, the kids put their facsimile plates in the hole and covered it back with the flat rock. The week before, the kids had made their own pretend metal  plates by engraving on foil with a pencil.

You have a couple of options for that project. One is to used gold contact paper on cardboard. The second one, shown here is to use aluminum foil pan bottoms. We had a stack of those disposable pans, so we cut the bottoms out and used those. Aluminum foil wrapped around cardboard also works fine.

Additional Helps:

Feast of Trumpets and celebrating the day Joseph got the Gold Plates

The other Gold Plates project is located here.

make the gold plates





Neal Maxwell Facts about the Gold Plates

How to make the Golden Plates with kids

The Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient Gold Plates, which is not easily understood by our young kids.

“Plates…the kind we eat from?”

My husband wants to get some sheets of ore to help the kids understand this ancient way of writing. The metal would have to be soft enough to use a stylus so they can understand the difficult process of writing. We did one project with aluminum which worked well for showing the method. But they weren’t gold.

I have used some simple materials for kids to make their own “Gold Plates.” We made these quite a few years ago and I recently got them out. I turned over onne of the “plates” done by my son when he was young (he is 30 now) and I read in his own handwriting a short little entry that made me laugh (all written in English). It’s a saver — like a journal entry.

The Maxwell Institute has some good descriptions of the plates from witnesses here. Share these with your kids. This is a good project for celebration of the Feast of Trumpets, when Joseph got the Gold Plates from Moroni.


  • Gold contact paper (I got mine at a craft store, but Amazon has some too.) and Cardboard or you can buy Gold Card Stock Paper.
  • Black Sharpie pen permanant marker
  • Copy of the Reformed Egyptian letters (Anthon Transcript)
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Gold clap rings — often called Loose Leaf rings or Book rings


Cut the cardboard into the desired size. Jospeh Smith said the plates were about 6 inches by 8 inches, Martin Harris said about 7 inches by 8 inches. Cut the contact paper to match and apply to both sides of the cardboard. If you are using Gold Card Stock paper, then you will not need to use cardboard and gold contact paper.

Next, Show the kids how to copy the Reformed Egyptian characters using a Sharpie pen. Punch holes and use the rings to join the plates.

gold paper
Gold Metallic Contact Paper

gold stock paper

Gold Heavy Stock Paper


Loose Leaf Rings

Characters from the Gold Plates


A facsimile of the Golden Plates, showing the sealed portion as well.

wooden box belonging to JS

This is the wooden box the Prophet hid the plates in. The inside measurement of the box is 14” x 16”. The depth is 6 1/4” sloping to 4”. The wood is 3/4” thick. The lid and bottom are walnut, and the sides are made from boxwood. The box was used as a lap desk, which explains the sloped top. The box is in the possession of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith.



This is the box that Alvin gave Joseph to keep the Gold Plates