1829

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D. B. Dille-Account of an Interview with Martin Harris

September 15, 1853.

Be it known to all whom this may concern that I, David B. Dille, of Ogden City, Weber County, Salt Lake, en route to Great Britain, having business with one Martin Harris, formerly of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and residing at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, did personally wait upon him at his residence, and found him sick in bed; and was informed by the said Martin Harris that he had not been able to take any nourishment for the space of three days. This, together with his advanced age, had completely prostrated him. After making my business known to Mr. Harris, and some little conversation with him, the said Martin Harris started up in bed, and, after particularly inquiring concerning the prosperity of the Church, made the following declaration: "I feel that a spirit has come across me - the old spirit of Mormonism; and I begin to feel as I used to feel; and I will not say I won't go to the valley." Then addressing himself to his wife, he said, "I don't know but that, if you will get me some breakfast, I will get up and eat it."

I then addressed Mr. Harris relative to his once high and exalted station in the Church, and his then fallen and afflicted condition. I afterward put the following questions to Mr. Harris, to which he severally replied with the greatest cheerfulness: "What do you think of the Book of Mormon? Is it a divine record?"

Mr. Harris replied and said, "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," continued Mr. Harris, "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." Then describing their dimensions, he pointed with one of the fingers of his left hand to the back of his right hand and said, "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."

I then asked Mr. Harris if he ever lost 3,000 dollars by the publishing of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Harris said, "I never lost one cent. Mr. Smith," he said, "paid me all that I advanced, and more too." As much as to say he received a portion of the profits accruing from the sale of the book.

Mr. Harris further said, "I took a transcript of the characters of the plates to Dr. Anthon, of New York. When I arrived at the house of Professor Anthon, I found him in his office and alone, and presented the transcript to him, and asked him to read it. He said if I would bring the plates, he would assist in the translation. I told him I could not, for they were sealed. Professor Anthon then gave me a certificate certifying that the characters were Arabic, Chaldaic, and Egyptian. I then left Dr. Anthon and was near the door, when he said, "How did the young man know the plates were there?" I said an angel had shown them to him. Professor Anthon then said, "Let me see the certificate!" - upon which I took it from my waistcoat pocket and unsuspectingly gave it to him. He then tore it up in anger, saying there was no such thing as angels now - it was all a hoax. I then went to Dr. Mitchell with the transcript, and he confirmed what Professor Anthon had said."

Mr. Harris is about 58 years old [he was in reality 70 years old], and is on a valuable farm of 90 acres, beautifully situated at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio.

Source: D. B. Dille, "Additional Testimony of Martin Harris," Millennial Star 21 (August 1859):545-46.