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Other Witnesses of the Restoration
Parent page: Witnesses of the Restoration
Besides the 3 and 8 witnesses of the Book of Mormon, there are other witnesses to the truthfulness of the church.
Joseph's Family Believed Him
The suffering that Joseph Smith endured (e.g., mob attacks, tarring and feathering, five months of miserable incarceration in Liberty Jail) and his apparently conscious decision to die as a martyr argue powerfully for the sincerity of his prophetic claims.
But what can we learn from the behavior of his parents, siblings and wife? They knew him best. Did they have confidence in him? They left behind many statements declaring that they did. But actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap. Did their lives manifest the trust in him that their words profess?
According to Joseph Smith’s 1838 personal history, Joseph Sr. reacted with immediate trust to his son’s account of the Angel Moroni, saying that it was “of God” and advising Joseph “to do as commanded by the messenger” (JS-H 1:50).
With the exception of two siblings who died in infancy, this seems to have been the response of the entire Smith family. Joseph’s oldest brother, Alvin, died young in late November 1823, long before the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and less than two months after the first visit of Moroni. According to his mother, though, his last words included an earnest admonition to Joseph to be faithful in obtaining the plates of the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, the parents of the Prophet, followed him faithfully, from New York to Ohio, on to Missouri, and...on to Illinois. So did their remaining (7) children.
Joseph Sr., Hyrum and Samuel stood among the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, testifying that they had both “seen and hefted,” indeed “handled” with their hands, the plates from which the book was translated. Joseph Sr., Hyrum and William served successively as patriarchs to the church; William was a member of the Twelve; Joseph Sr. and Hyrum were “assistant presidents” to their son and brother.
Don Carlos presided over the high priests at Kirtland and Nauvoo and edited the church newspaper, “Times and Seasons.” Samuel was one of the first Mormon missionaries and, eventually, a member of the first church high council....
Mother Smith devoted several of her last years to compiling “Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet”
Perhaps most significant of all the close family, though, is Hyrum, who, though acutely aware of the likely outcome and despite being urged to flee, chose to accompany Joseph to Carthage Jail, where both died in a hail of bullets...
“We all had the most implicit confidence in what (Joseph) said,” recalled his brother William late in his life. “He was a truthful boy. Father and mother believed him, why should not the children? I suppose if he had told crooked stories about other things we might have doubted his word about the plates, but Joseph was a truthful boy. That father and mother believed his report and suffered persecution for that belief shows that he was truthful. No, we never doubted his word for one minute.”
Visions of Angels
Joseph Fielding McConkie points out that:
"Many a pretender to the prophetic office has claimed to entertain angels or to have spoken with God, but who other than Joseph Smith introduced his angels to others? Joseph Smith introduced Moroni to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. He was never alone when priesthood or keys were restored.... He and Sydney Rigdon received the revelation on the degrees of glory together. Together they saw legions of angels, along with the Father and the Son (see D&C 76:21-23). Oliver Cowdery was with Joseph Smith when John the Baptist came to restore the Aaronic Priesthood, and when Peter, James, and John came to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood. Oliver was also with Joseph Smith when Christ came to accept the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, and Moses, Elias, and Elijah restored their keys, powers, and authorities."
- "Defending the Faith: The collective witness of Joseph Smith's family" by Daniel Petersen, https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865592250/The-collective-witness-of-Joseph-Smiths-family.html?pg=all
- "Sons and Daughters of God", pp. 194-195