The Book of Mormon gave Joseph directions on how to deal with the plates. He delivered them to the angel. Then the angel showed them to the Three Witnesses. Subsequently, Joseph had them in his possession and he showed them to the Eight Witnesses.
Just by sheer coincidence, I happen to have written a number of posts that have the word "Excommunicated" in the title. It has always amazed me to see the number of hits I get each day on those particular posts. Today, at least five of those posts are in the top ten. It makes me wonder what people really want to know about LDS excommunications.