Question: How can we accept David Whitmer as a valid Book of Mormon witness if God told him to leave the Saints?

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Question: How can we accept David Whitmer as a valid Book of Mormon witness if God told him to leave the Saints?

While God would not force Whitmer to remain in the Church, He could take steps to ensure that Whitmer was safe from harm

It is claimed that if members accept Whitmer's witness of the Book of Mormon,[1] then they must also accept that God wanted David to repudiate the Church as false. Brent Metcalfe asserts the following:

Contemporary Mormons are left to confront Whitmer's challenge: believe that God confirmed the Book of Mormon translation and later instructed him to repudiate Mormonism or reject his testimony in toto. For Whitmer there was no distinction between the two experiences.[2]

Both Whitmer's experience as a witness and his prompting to leave Far West can be inspired of God

Believing Latter-day Saints have no trouble seeing both of Whitmer's revelatory experiences as inspired of God. While God would not force Whitmer to remain in the Church, He might well take steps to ensure that the Three Witnesses remained alive. In fact, Whitmer's fidelity to his testimony despite great disagreements with Joseph and the Church strengthen its force.

It is disingenuous for critics to imply Whitmer did not leave the Church until God "told him to."

Notes

  1. See "The Testimony of Three Witnesses," in the Book of Mormon off-site; reprinted by Whitmer in David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).
  2. Brent Lee Metcalfe, "Apologetic and Critical Assumptions About Book of Mormon Historicity," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26 no. 3 (Fall 1993), 176–177.