“Harris declares, that when he acted as amanuenses, and wrote the translation, as Smith dictated, such was his fear of the Divine displeasure, that a screen (sheet) was suspended between the prophet and himself.”
Joseph Smith as Translator/Arevelator fig 2. Illustration by Kurt Gray.
Richard Bushman, (“Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism”, p. 90):
“During the initial period of translation, when Joseph used the spectacles, he hung a curtain up between himself and Martin Harris. In contrast, Smith showed his brown seer stone to many, including those who ridiculed him for using it. An overall comparison of the spectacles and the white stone demonstrates the former’s superior history and status.”
“A ‘gold book’, consisting of a number of plates of gold, fastened together in the shape of a book by wires of the same metal, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and along with the book an enormous pair of ‘gold spectacles’! These spectacles were so large, that, if a person attempted to look through them, his two eyes would have to be turned towards one of the glasses merely, the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the breadth of the human face. Whoever examined the plates through the spectacles, was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning. All this knowledge, however, was confined at that time to a young man, who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain, in the garret of a farm house, and, being thus concealed from view, put on the spectacles occasionally, or rather, looked through one of the glasses, decyphered the characters in the book, and, having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain, to those who stood on the outside. Not a word, however, was said about the plates having been decyphered ‘by the gift of God’. Every thing, in this way, was effected by the large pair of spectacles.”
Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, OH, 1834), 268–iting, 17 February 1834 letter from Charles Anthon.