Simon Smith recounts conversation with Martin Harris in 1875; says Harris reaffirmed testimony in the BoM.

Apr 30, 1884
Simon Smith
Scribed Paraphrase
2nd Hand

Simon Smith, Letter to the Saints' Herald, April 30, 1884, Saints' Herald 31 (May 24, 1884): 324

Simon Smith, The Saints' Herald
Simon Smith, Brigham Young, Martin Harris, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public

CAMERON, Missouri,

April 30th, 1884.

Dear Herald:—Whereas several of the brethren when at last conference, Stewartsville Mo., desired me to write again for your columns the last testimony of Martin Harris, Sen., respecting the divine origin and coming forth of the Book of Mormon; I now again state: That on the 5th day of July, 1875, I visited him at Clarkston, Cache county, Utah Territory, and as it was expected that he would not recover from his sickness, I asked him several questions concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, &c. 1st. Can you still testify of seeing the angel of God and the plates the Book of Mormon was translated from. His answer was, "Yes, I can; for I saw the angel come down from heaven; and he laid the plates before me, and I saw them: and I also heard the voice of God from heaven, commanding me to bear record of the things that I saw, and what is written of the three witnesses in the fore part of the Book of Mormon is true, and I dare not deny it, lest the power of God should consume me." He also said, "I know not why the Lord has permitted me to live so long, only to testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon; and I now tell you these things, that it might be told to others." He also said, "I was Joseph Smith's scribe, and wrote for him a great deal; for he was such a poor writer, and could not even draw up a note of hand as his education was so limited. I also wrote for him about one third of the first part of the translation of the plates as he interpreted them by the Urim and Thummim. And I paid the printer about three thousand dollars for the first edition of the Book of Mormon."

And whereas some parties have said that the said Martin Harris, Sen., denied his testimony as recorded in the said Book of Mormon, on his death-bed, I felt it a duty when I first heard of the report, on the 13th inst., at Stewartsville, Mo., to go before a Justice of the Peace, and make an affidavit to the contrary, which I did on the 14th inst., to confute such a false statement, and defend the man in his dying moments, and in the integrity of his soul, testifying to the last, to what he had seen, heard, and knew to be true.

Now in relation to the nature of the late Martin Harris's talk to me on his death bed, is it presumable that he, prior to that time, ever denied his testimony as recorded? I think not. Mark his language. "I dare not deny it, lest the power of God should consume me." Again: "I do not know why the Lord has permitted me to live so long, only to testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon." I also asked him about the doctrine of polygamy. He said: "Polygamy was not a doctrine of the Church in Joseph Smith's day. It is a doctrine of Brigham young." My reason for speaking to him on this matter was, he had told quite a few who had visited him and talked with him on that doctrine, that it was not a doctrine of the Church; and that it was wrong. Such talk from one who had been so well acquainted with the early history of the church, had caused quite a dispute among the people on that doctrine; hence I concluded I also would have a talk with him on that subject, and the result was as before stated. But I did not at that time, however, believe that he was telling me the truth on that point. But subsequently to my great surprise, through a careful investigation of the law of marriage as ordained by God, I found he told me the truth in that part of his testimony also. Hence, I made an affidavit to that part of his statement to me also, in order that I might do justice to one of the anointed of the Lord, who died sealing his testimony with his blood; that he told the truth, and proclaimed also that polygamy was a false and corrupt doctrine.

Yours truly,

Simon Smith.

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