Mormonism and Wikipedia/Three Witnesses/Testimony

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An analysis of the Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"


A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: Mormonism and Wikipedia/Three Witnesses
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 Updated 9/28/2011

Reviews of previous revisions of this section

December 2009

Summary: A review of this section as it appeared in Wikipedia in December 2009.

Section review

Testimony of the Three Witnesses

From the Wikipedia article:
Probably in early July 1829—but on an unspecified day and in an unspecified place—Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris are said to have retired to the woods, praying to receive a vision of the Golden Plates. After some time, Harris left the other three men, believing his presence had prevented the vision from occurring. The remaining three again knelt and soon saw a light in the air over their heads and an angel holding the plates in his hands. Smith retrieved Harris, and after praying at some length with him, Harris too said he saw the vision, shouting, "'Tis enough; 'tis enough; mine eyes have beheld, Hosanna!"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 78.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
An 1830 statement titled "Testimony of Three Witnesses"—one statement signed by three men rather than three separate statements—was published at the end of the first edition of the Book of Mormon:
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seeen [sic] the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvellous [sic] in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.


FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In subsequent editions of the Book of Mormon, the testimony was moved to the beginning of the book and its spelling standardized.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • No source provided

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
As a group, the Three Witnesses served only one other role in the church before they were excommunicated in 1837-38. After Joseph Smith had selected the council of the Twelve Apostles from among the veterans of Zion's Camp, the Three Witnesses "called out the twelve men and gave each one a blessing."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Bushman, 255. The choices were announced at a meeting on 14 February 1835. History of the Church 2:186-87.. According to Bushman the implication of the blessing was that the Twelve were to be the "core missionary force."

FAIR's analysis:


Further reading

Articles on this subject

FairMormon's Wikipedia Article Reviews

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Martin Harris"

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Oliver Cowdery"

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "First Vision"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/17/2011. This article has undergone moderate improvements in its use of sources since our last review. The article still contains a substantial amount of original research based upon primary sources, with the intent to disprove the vision and highlight perceived discrepancies between vision accounts. Believing scholars are labeled "apologists" in an attempt to diminish their credibility.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Joseph Smith"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/3/2011. This article has undergone substantial improvements in its use of sources since our initial review in 2009. Most of the citations are now accurately represented.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Golden plates"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/21/2011. This article has undergone only minor improvements in its use of sources since our last review. The article contains a large amount of original research on the part of the wiki editors.

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"

Summary: Current review is based upon Wikipedia revision dated 9/28/2011. This article has been constructed in such a way as to discredit the witnesses by emphasizing any perceived contradictions in their various statements regarding their encounter with the gold plates.


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