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Source:P. Wilhelm Poulson:Deseret Evening News:6 August 1878:John Whitmer said "He handed them uncovered into our hands, and we turned the leaves sufficient to satisfy us"
P. Wilhelm Poulson (1878): John Whitmer said "He handed them uncovered into our hands, and we turned the leaves sufficient to satisfy us"
John Whitmer's final interview is impressive:
I said: I am aware that your name is affixed to the testimony in the Book of Mormon, that you saw the plates? He–It is so, and that testimony is true. I–Did you handle the plates with your hands?
He–I did so!
I–Then they were a material substance?
He–Yes, as material as anything can be.
I–They were heavy to lift?
He–Yes, and you know gold is a heavy metal, they were very heavy.
I–How big were the leaves?
He–So far as I recollect, 8 by 6 or 7 inches.
I–Were the leaves thick? He–Yes, just so thick, that characters could be engraven on both sides.
I–How were the leaves joined together?
He–In three rings, each one in the shape of a D with the straight line towards the centre. I-In what place did you see the plates.
He-In Joseph Smith's house; he had them there.
I–Did you see them covered with a cloth?
He–No. He handed them uncovered into our hands, and we turned the leaves sufficient to satisfy us.
I-Were you all eight witnesses present at the same time?
He-No. At that time Joseph showed the plates to us, we were four persons, present in the room, and at another time he showed them to four persons more....
when Joseph Smith [III]...sent word to John Whitmer to reaffirm his testimony, his answer was: 'I have never recalled it, and I have nothing to reaffirm.'
- Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 5:247–249., original in Deseret Evening News, 6 August 1878; citing a letter from P. Wilhelm Poulson to Editors (31 July 1878) from Ovid City, Idaho.