The line about an object being touched and transformed by “the Finger of God,” at the beginning of the second paragraph (below) is what struck me about this passage from a vision Jane Lead titled, “The Angelical Key,” from her third journal. I’ve posted some of the numerous similarities between Lead’s visions and Mormonism and the following is one of many more like it. The abundance of passages like the following have convinced me that Joseph Smith knew Lead’s writings well.
The following not only has parallels to the brother of Jared’s experience but also suggests the need for one to create a special object before one could gain knowledge. It doesn’t mention gold plates, but Lead does mention a gold book in another passage and I’ll talk more about that in my next post.
What follows is Lead’s “The Angelical Key,” (see here under November 16, 1678) with some of my commentary afterwards.
Jane Lead, “The Angelical Key,” in A Fountain of Gardens: Or A Spiritual Diary of the Wonderful Experiences of a Christian Soul under the Conduct of the Heavenly Wisdom (1700), vol 3:297-99.
I had the Representation of a Mold, that was fashioned for a Key, and there was a Liquor of Gold colour poured upon it. And it was of the same impression, that I saw the Mold of, it was very clear and curiously Wrought, that you might see through, as if it had been Glass. Then was it in the Hand of one in an Angelical form, who poured the Liquor, that gave the form of the Key and spake. This is such a Key, as hath not been entrusted with any, but him, who has been the former, and fashioner of it, who only knows the use thereof, and has the Donation thereof to give. No Key, but what is of this make can unlock the Gate of God’s deep and immense Heart of Love…. No imitated or counterfeited Key can turn in this threefold Spring-Lock.
Then I hereupon made Supplication, for to receive this Key to open God’s Heart withal. And it was answered me, This was but to shew me, that after this manner, and kind, there is a Key to be cast, within the secret of thy dwelling, for its appointed use.
Then was it further opened unto me, that all of the Heavenly matter was to be separated, in a way of high extraction by Celestial Fire, and the Mold cast and formed anew by the Finger of God, and the Spirits Liquor to be poured forth. And this is the Gift of this mighty Key, that should open and bring forth that of God, which never yet was manifested, since the Earth was. The Spirit said, the Knowledge was reserved, till the Mold in Nature should be wrought. But it was assured me, that the Mold was already cast in some, known to the Lord: And that the pure matter was upon its Separation. Which when refined enough, this Mystical Key would soon be run. For there would come such a Time and Age, as would be so hurtful, as nothing but this opening Key can secure out of Wicked Hands. For it is shewn me, very obviously, that a chosen Generation there will be reserved, to be wrought out, for to do actual Wonders, to save and deliver from the Serpently-Seed, which have grown as unsavory Weeds, over the whole Face of the Earth. Therefore let us try in that method-deep, that may enter us great Magicians to form this Key. This will be all worthy to advance and bring in vast Treasures, with which we may be profitable to those for whom the Lord shall hereby unlock his Deity.
The object was a key, not stones, but the key was like glass (first paragraph) similar to the BoJ’s molten stones (Ether 3:1). Furthermore, the last line of the first paragraph said the key was would turn “this threefold Spring-Lock,” and Lucy said on the night JS returned from getting the plates, he told her he had “a key” that she felt under cloth and described as “2 smooth 3 cornered diamonds set in glass.” A three-corned glass key, just like Lead’s.
“Knowledge was reserved,” the vision continued, “till the Mold in Nature should be wrought.” One had to make the key to receive “that of God, which never yet was manifested, since the Earth was.” The passage concludes by saying, “Therefore let us try in that method-deep, that may enter us great Magicians to form this Key. This will be all worthy to advance and bring in vast Treasures, with which we may be profitable to those for whom the Lord shall hereby unlock his Deity.” Like magicians (a praiseworthy office in Lead’s writings) Lead encouraged “us” to try “to form this Key.”
So not plates, but a key the one needed to try to make in order to receive knowledge and that had similarities to the key that Lucy described. Also one that was touched by God’s finger like Christ in Ether 3.
Furthermore, the passage begins by saying the key had “a Liquor of Gold colour poured upon it,” and then cited one of Lead’s previous visions that did have connections to a gold book. More on that in my next post.
 I know statements like this can come across as an attack, but I’m one of those who thinks we don’t have to stick to the old battle lines, and I still stand my what I said in my last paragraph in my profile for Mormon’s Scholars Testify. I’m happy with whatever means brought about Mormonism and see it as divine.)
 Lucy Smith, Preliminary Manuscript, in Vogel Early Mormon Documents, 1:328-29.