Joseph Smith 1838 History describing the experience of the Three Witnesses.

1838 - 1839
Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith, History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [December 23, 1805–August 30, 1834], 24–26, The Joseph Smith Papers website, February 13, 2023

James Mulholland
Hyrum Smith, Samuel Harrison Smith, Martin Harris, Joseph Smith, Sr., Jacob Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, David Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Hiram Page

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 fulfilment of the promises given in this revelation; that they should have a view of the pl[ates] &c[.] 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 those promises. According to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father and was folowed by each of the rest in succession; we did not yet however obtain any answer or manifestation of the divine favour 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 would 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 discern the engravings thereon distinctly: He addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, “David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps all 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, who 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 recieved: we accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view; at least it was again to me, and I once more beheld, and seen, and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of Joy “’Tis enough, ’tis enough; mine eyes have beheld, mine eyes have beheld”, and jumping up he shouted, Hosanna, blessing God; and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly. Having thus through the mercy of God, obtained these glorious manifestations, it now remained for these three individuals to fulfil the commandment which they had received, viz: to bear record of these things; in order to accomplish which, they drew up and subscribed the following document.

The Testimony of Three Witnesses.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we through the grace of God the Father, and our lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which has hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from Heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us, that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgement seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

Oliver Cowdery

David Whitmer

Martin Harris.

Soon after these things had transpired the following additional tes[t]imony was obtained.

And also the Testimony of Eight Witnesses.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith Jr, the translator of this work has shewn unto us, the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands: and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world, that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Christian Whitmer Hiram Page

Jacob Whitmer Joseph Smith Senr

Peter Whitmer Jr Hyrum Smith

John Whitmer Samuel H. Smith.

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