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Why would God keep the Book of Mormon a mystery for so long?

 6 And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.
 7 And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.
 8 Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them.
 9 But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto aanother;
 10 But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.
 11 And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.
 12 Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.
 13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.
 14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!  2 Nephi 27:6-14

This passage in the Book of Mormon explains why no copies of the Book of Mormon have ever been found in any archaeological find...because God sealed it all up into one book that nobody could ever read until "a man"/Joseph Smith discovered them September 22, 1823 on a hill near his home in Manchester, New York, BUT, he never actually possessed the plates of gold until four years later.

So why would God keep these important plates so hidden for so long?

What about all the churches who needed to hear this new and amazing truth from the time of Christ to the time of 1823?  Are they all burning in hell?   Why would God wait so long?

Only Joseph Smith and three eyewitnesses would ever see this vitally important book--Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris. Their testimony is found at the front of the Book of Mormon.  All three denied their testimony later in life (see http://www.bible.ca/mor-witness-book.htm)  Wouldn't God have chosen men of better character?

And if this testimony was so important, why would God take away the plates which was the ONLY proof that the Book of Mormon was true?

God would never hide valuable information meant to bring people into a saving relationship with him.  People may reject it, but God would never put anyone at a disadvantage by making only one copy and hiding it underground in New York State.