Though I must take full responsibility for the contents of this work, the contribution of others cannot be minimized. The pioneering work of Hugh Nibley heads the list. It was he who first demonstrated, in several of his books and articles, that the idea of books hidden to come forth to later generations was not only feasible, but factual. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Elder Orson Pratt brought to the attention of the Latter-day Saints the existence of inscribed metallic plates. Half a century later, a young missionary named Gordon B. Hinckley, who later became President of the LDS Church, wrote an article for the Improvement Era, in which he noted the existence of inscribed metal plates from the ancient Near East in the British Museum. Franklin S. Harris Jr., and Ariel Crowley first compiled lists of inscribed metallic tablets from the ancient Near East and other parts of the world, to which Hugh Nibley, Paul Cheesman, and Elder Mark E. Petersen added their contributions. Franklin S. Harris Sr., and later Thomas Stuart Ferguson noted the ancient Persian practice of burying inscribed metallic plates in stone boxes—a theme developed and examined in depth by H. Curtis Wright, who has explored at length writing on metallic plates and the keeping of records in treasuries. I thank Curtis for writing the introduction to this volume.
I am also indebted to my FARMS colleague Steven W. Booras, who had noted stories of hidden books in several ancient texts. Steve, who has written an article that appears as an appendix to this present volume, has encouraged me to complete this work and we have thrilled together each time new information was uncovered. Others who have provided valuable insights and encouragement are Terrence L. Szink, John Gee, Brian Hauglid, Matthew Roper, and Ron Myatt. I thank FARMS editor Mary Mahan for her helpful suggestions. I am also grateful to other members of the FARMS Publications staff, including Alison Coutts, Wendy Christian, Carmen Cole, Julie Dozier, Paula Hicken, and Linda Sheffield.