1829

Home | Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses | Joseph Smith History | Lucy Mack Smith-Account of the Witness to the Book of Mormon | Book of Mormon-Testimony to the Three and Eight Witnesses | Joseph Smith-Earliest Summary of the Book of Mormon Translation | John Whitmer-Late Interview | David Whitmer-Signed Testimony on the Book of Mormon | David Whitmer Interview by Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith | Oliver Cowdery-Public Testimony of his Return | Oliver Cowdery-Deathbed Testimony | Martin Harris-Additional Testimony to the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon | Last Testimony of Sister Emma | D. B. Dille-Account of an Interview with Martin Harris | William Harris Homer-The Passing of Martin Harris

Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses

 
The Prophet's own account of the circumstances attendant upon the revelation to the three witnesses is both interesting and important. After making reference to the revelation already quoted which promised the three men named, Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris, that they should view the plates of the Book of Mormon, and the other sacred things named, the Prophet in his history says:

THE VISION OF THE THREE WITNESSES

"Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and myself, agreed to retire into the woods and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given in the revelation, that they should have a view of the plates, etc. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Whitmer's house, to which we retired, and having knelt down we began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of these promises. According to previous arrangements, I commenced by vocal prayer to our heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the rest in succession. We did not, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of the divine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before. Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for; he accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air of exceeding brightness; and, behold, an angel stood before us; in his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them and discover the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, 'David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps his commandments.' When immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying: 'These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'
            "I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had finished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again to me, and I once more beheld and heard the same things, whilst at the same moment Martin Harris cried out, apparently in ecstasy of joy, "Tis enough; mine eyes have beheld!' and jumping up, he shouted hosannah, blessing God and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly." (HC 1:54-55)