Mormonism and Wikipedia/Three Witnesses/Testimony
An analysis of the Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"
A FairMormon Analysis of: Mormonism and Wikipedia/Three Witnesses, a work by author: Various
|The Three Witnesses|
An analysis of claims made in the Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"
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Testimony of the Three Witnesses
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!"
- Correct, per cited sources
- Note that even critics at the time were aware of the fact that the Three Witnesses were claiming to have had a supernatural experience. The following was published on February 20, 1830:
In the Investigator, No. 12, Dec. 11, I published, by way of caution, a letter of Oliver H.P. Cowdry, in answer to my letter to Joseph Smith, Jun. Martin Harris, and David Whitmore—the believers in said bible of gold plates—which they affirm they have miraculously, or supernaturally beheld. I sought for evidences, and such as could not be disputed, of the existence of this bible of golden plates. But the answer was—the world must take their words for its existence; and that the book would appear this month.
(C. C. Blatchley, “Caution Against the Golden Bible,” New-York Telescope 6, no. 38 (20 February 1830): 150. off-site)
- For a detailed response, see: Book of Mormon/Witnesses/Spiritual or literal
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.
- Correct, per cited sources
In subsequent editions of the Book of Mormon, the testimony was moved to the beginning of the book and its spelling standardized.
- Correct, per cited sources
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."
- Violates Wikipedia: No Original Research off-site— Do not use unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position.
It is incorrect to conclude that this was the only' other role the witnesses served in.
Articles on this subject
- For an overview on this subject, see
- Mormonism and Wikipedia: The Church History That "Anyone Can Edit", Roger Nicholson, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Vol. 1, 2012. 151-190
- "Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage battle on Wikipedia", Michael De Groote, Deseret News, January 30, 2011.
- "Something Wiki This Way Comes: How collaborative editing is changing the face of online LDS apologetics", R. Scott Lloyd, Church News, August 8, 2011.
- Something Wiki This Way Comes: How Collaborative Editing is Changing the Face of Online LDS Apologetics. A close look at the challenges and history of editing LDS topics in a Wikipedia. This is a 2011 FAIR conference presentation by Roger Nicholson, in PDF format.
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