Source:Martin Harris Three Witness statements

Table of Contents

Martin Harris statements as one of the Three Witnesses

1829

  • "It was a clear, open beautiful day, far from any inhabitants, in a remote field, at the time we saw the record, of which it has been spoken, brought and laid before us, by an angel, arrayed in glorious light, [who] ascend [descended I suppose] out of the midst of heaven. Now if this is human juggling—judge ye."[1]

1831

  • Martin Harris, another chief of Mormon imposters, arrived here last Saturday from the bible quarry in New-York. He immediately planted himself in the bar-room of the hotel, where he soon commenced reading and explaining the Mormon hoax, and all the dark passages from Genesis to Revelations. He told all about the gold plates, Angels, Spirits, and Jo Smith.—He had seen and handled them all, by the power of God![2]

1853

  • "I was the right-hand man of Joseph Smith, and I know that he was a Prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true." Then, smiting his fist on the table, he said--"And you know that I know that it is true. I know that the plates have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice declared it unto us; therefore I know of a surety that the work is true. For....did I not at one time hold the plates on my knee an hour-and-a-half, whilst in conversation with Joseph, when we went to bury them in the woods, that the enemy might not obtain them? Yes, I did. And as many of the plates as Joseph Smith translated I handled with my hands, plate after plate....I should think they were so long, or about eight inches, and about so thick, or about four inches, and each of the plates was thicker than the thickest tin." [3]

1859

  • "I said [to Joseph Smith], if it [the Book of Mormon translation] is the devil's work I will have nothing to do with it, but if it is the Lord's, you can have all the money necessary to bring it before the world. He [Joseph] said that the angel told him, that the plates must be translated, printed and sent before the world. I said, Joseph, you know my doctrine, that cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh him [sic] arm; and we know that the devil is to have great power in the latter days to deceive if possible the very elect; and I don't know that you are one of the elect. Now you must not blame me for not taking your word. If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want." - [4]

1869

  • Young man, do you see that sun shining through that window? Just so sure as that sun shines and gives us light by day, and the moon and stars give us light by night, just so sure I know the Book of Mormon is true. For I saw the angel, I heard the <his> voice, I saw and handled the plates upon which the Book of Mormon was written; and by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, the translation was made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, whom I know by the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, was a true Prophet of God....[5]

1870

  • "He believes in the visitation of angels in bodily form, for he has seen and conversed with them, as he thinks, and is satisfied."[6]
  • Bro. Martin visited many of the wards, continuing to bear his testimony both of what he had beheld with his own eyes, and verily knew to be true. He publicly said that many years ago, in Ohio, a number of persons combined [and] sought to get Martin to drink wine for the purpose of crossing him in his testimony. At the conclusion they asked him if he really believed the testimony that he had signed in the Book of Mormon to be true; he replied, no he did not believe it, but, much to their surprise, he said he knew it to be true (italics in original).[7]
  • Gentlemen, what I have said is true, from the fact that my belief is swallowed up in knowledge; for I want to say to you that as the Lord lives I do know that I stood with the Prophet Joseph Smith in the presence of the angel, and it was in the brightness of day.[8]
  • "I can prove by the Bible the truth of the work, as well as being an eye witness, for I saw the book in the angel's hands and I also heard his voice, and I bear my testimony to you that I saw his words were fulfilled by my taking the words of a a book to the professor [Charles Anthon], although I did not know it at the time."[9]
  • "Young man, I had the privilege of being with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and with these eyes of mine," pointing to his eyes, "I saw the angel of the Lord and I saw the plates and the Urim and Thummim and the sword of Laban, and with these ears," pointing to his ears, "I heard the voice of the angel, and with these hands, "Holding out his hands, "I handled the plates containing the record of the Book of Mormon,[10] and I assisted the Prophet in the translation thereof."[11]

1871

"Question 1, 'Did you go to England to lecture against "Mormonism"?' "Answer. I answer emphatically, No, I did not;—no man ever heard me in any way deny the truth of the Book of Mormon, the administration of the angel that showed me the plates; nor the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, under the administration of Joseph Smith Jun., the prophet the Lord raised up for that purpose, in these the latter days, that he may show forth his power and glory. The Lord has shown me these things by his Spirit--by the administration of holy angels--and confirmed the same with signs following...."[12]

1874

  • My mother has prepared I don't know how many meals for him [Martin Harris], but always the conversation of the early rise of the Church would be the main subject discussed at the table....And he became miffed with the Prophet Joseph because he thought that he should have been one of the leading men in the Church. He had helped Brother Joseph Smith means to publish the Book of Mormon and to assist him in many other ways, and for that reason, I say, and what he had done for the Church, he became miffed; but it would nearly always wind up with the testimony that you find here recorded in the Book of Mormon. He stated that he stood in broad day light, when an angel from Heaven came down with the plates in his arms, and he stood side by side with the angel when the angel did turn over leaf after leaf of the book that had been translated into our language...until he became perfectly satisfied that he has seen enough, and further, that after the angel had shown him the plates and disappeared, he heard a voice from Heaven that thrilled every fiber of his body, stating the the book had been translated by the gift and power of God, and not of man, and he was commanded by the Lord to so make that statement to the world. And he did. Now it was my privilege to hear Martin Harris relate that, time and time again at our table....[13]

1875

  • "After they [David Whitmer, Joseph, and Oliver] had been visited by the angel the Prophet then came over to me where I was praying, and I asked the prophet to pray with me...after praying sometime the angel appeared with the golden plates and I saw with these two eyes the angel stand with the gold plates in his hands, and I saw him turn leaf by leaf the plates of gold, and I also heard the voice of the Lord saying that these words were true and translated correctly."[14]
  • "The Prophet Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer and myself, went into a little grove to pray to obtain a promise that we should behold it with our eyes natural eyes, that we could testify of it to the world."[15]
  • "Now I don't believe, but I know it [the Book of Mormon] to be true, for with these eyes I saw the angel and with these ears (pointing to them) I heard him say it was a true and correct record of an ancient people that dwelt upon this the American continent, and I hereby testify to you young men that it is true."[16]

?Date

  • Gentlemen, do you see that hand? Are you sure you see it? Are your eyes playing a trick or something? No. Well, as sure as you see my hand so sure did I see the angel and the plates.[17]
  • When we came out of the meeting Martin Harris was beset with a crowd in the street, expecting he would furnish them with material to war against Mormonism; but when asked if Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, he answered yes; and when asked if the Book of Mormon was true, this was his answer: "Do you know that is the sun shining on us? Because as sure as you know that, I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that he translated that book by the power of God."[18]
  • On one occasion several of his old acquaintances made an effort to get him tipsy by treating him to some wine. When they thought he was in a good mood for talk they put the question very carefully to him, ‘Well, now, Martin, we want you to be frank and candid with us in regard to this story of your seeing an angel and the golden plates of the Book of Mormon that are so much talked about. We have always taken you to be an honest good farmer and neighbor of ours but could not believe that you did see an angel. Now, Martin, do you really believe that you did see an angel, when you were awake?’ ‘No,’ said Martin, ‘I do not believe it.’ The crowd were delighted, but soon a different feeling prevailed, as Martin true to his trust, said, ‘Gentlemen, what I have said is true, from the fact that my belief is swallowed up in knowledge; for I want to say to you that as the Lord lives I do know that I stood with the Prophet Joseph Smith in the presence of the angel, and it was the brightness of day.”[19]
  • The Book of Mormon is no fake. I know what I know. I have seen what I have seen and I have heard what I have heard. I have seen the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon is written. An angel appeared to me and others and testified to the truthfulness of the record, and had I been willing to have perjured myself and sworn falsely to the testimony I now bear I could have been a rich man, but I could not have testified other than I have done and am now doing for these things are true.[20]


Notes

  1. Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, in letter dated 29 November 1829, quoted in Corenlius C. Blatchly, "THE NEW BIBLE, written on plates of Gold or Brass," Gospel Luminary 2/49 (10 Dec. 1829): 194.
  2. Martin Harris . . .,” Painesville Telegraph (Painesville, Ohio) 2, no. 39 (15 March 1831).
  3. David B. Dille, statement, 15 September 1853, "Additional Testimony of Martin Harris (One of the Three Witnesses) to the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon," Millennial Star 21 (20 August 1859): 545-59; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:297-298.
  4. Martin Harris, interview with Joel Tiffany, 1859, in "Mormonism—No. II," Tiffanys Monthly (August 1859): 163-70; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:309.
  5. Martin Harris to W.H. Homer in December 1869, in William Harrison Homer, "Testimony given by Brother W.H. Homer, January 3, 1922, 5:15 P.M., at 2522 No. Kodaio Blvd., Chicago, the home of his son-in-law and daughter, Mr and Mrs. Merrill O. Maugh<an>," LDS Church Archives; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:314.
  6. Martin Harris interview with Iowa State Register, 28 August 1870, "A Witness to the Book of Mormon," Iowa State Register (Des Moines) (28 August 1870); in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:330.
  7. Martin Harris interview with E. Stevenson, February 1870 in Edward Stevenson to the Editor, 30 November 1881, Deseret Evening News 15 (13 December 1881). Reprinted in Deseret News 30 (28 December 1881): 763; Millennial Star 44 (30 January 1882): 78-79; 4 (6 February 1882): 86-87; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:321.
  8. Martin Harris interview with E. Stevenson, February 1870 in Edward Stevenson, "THe Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. No. II," Millennial Star 48 (7 June 1886): 366-68; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:321.
  9. Martin Harris interview with E. Stevenson, in Edward Stevenson, Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet and the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Edward Stevenson, 1893), 30–33 in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:326.
  10. Note that Harris handling the plates was likely prior to the witness experience, while they were covered, in assisting Joseph early on with the translation.
  11. Martin Harris, interview with William Waddoups, September 1870, "Martin Harris and the Book of Mormon," Improvement Era 26 (September 1923): 980; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:335.
  12. Martin Harris to H.B. Emerson, Janaury 1871, Saints' Herald 22 (15 October 1875): 630. Reprinted in Millennial Star 39 (1 January 1877): 5; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:338.
  13. Martin Harris account of multiple statements to Thomas Farley, circa 1874-75; "Talk Given by Theodore Farley, Sr., at Priesthood Session of Sharon Stake Quarterly Conference, 23 March 1940," 1-2 typescript, LDS Church Archives; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:391.
  14. Martin Harris interview with John E. Godfrey, May 1875 in John E. Godfrey, Affidavit, 2 June [July] 1933, LDS Church Archives; Published in Deseret News (church section), 15 July 1933, 5; in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:372.
  15. Martin Harris Interview with Ole A. Jensen, July 1875 in Ole A. Jensen, "Testimony of Martin Harris (ONe of the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon)," undated (c. 1918), original in private possession, photocopies at Utah State Historical Society, LDS Church Archives, and Special Collections of BYU's Harold B. Lee Library; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:375.
  16. Martin Harris, interview with Alma L. Jensen, 4 July 1875, statement 1 June 1936, Dayton, Idaho, typescript, in archives, Harold B. Library, BYU; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:378.
  17. Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 116. ISBN 0877478465.
  18. Matthew Roper, "Comments on the Book of Mormon Witnesses: A Response to Jerald and Sandra Tanner," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 164–193. wiki citing George Mantle to Marietta Walker, 26 December 1888, Saint Catherine, Missouri, cited in Autumn Leaves 2 (1889): 141.
  19. Letter of Elder Edward Stevenson to the Millennial Star quoted in William Edwin Berrett, The Restored Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1974), 57–58.
  20. George Godfrey, “Testimony of Martin Harris,” from an unpublished manuscript copy in the possession of his daughter, Florence (Godfrey) Munson of Fielding, Utah; quoted in Template:Book:Ricks:Case of the Book of Mormon Witnesses