Anthony Metcalf recounts conversation with Martin Harris, who spoke of being in a trance or vision when he saw the plates.

Anthony Metcalf
Scribed Paraphrase
2nd Hand

Anthony Metcalfe, Ten Years Before the Mast. Shipwrecks and Adventures at Sea! Religious Customes of the People of India and Burmah's Empire. How I became a Mormon and Why I Became an Infidel! (Malad City, ID: n.p., 1888), 70–73

Anthony Metcalf
James Bowman, Martin Harris, Martin Harris, Jr., Charles Anthon, David Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Anthony Metcalf
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Martin Harris, who was one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, was living in Smithtield, Cache Valley, with his son Martin. I called to see him and he gave me his history from his youth up. This occurred in the winter of 1875-6. Following is the history as related to me, including all his connections with Joseph Smith, the pretended prophet and the founder of the Mormon church: He told me all about the translating of the Book of Mormon, and said he had given $5,000 towards its publication. He said: "I never saw the golden plates, only in a visionary or entranced state. I wrote a great deal of the Book of Mormon myself, as Joseph Smith translated or spelled the words out in English. Sometimes the plates would be on a table in the room in which Smith translated or spelled the words out in English. Smith did the translating, covered over with a cloth. I was told by Joseph Smith that God would strike him dead if he attempted to look at them, and I believed it. When the time came for the three witnesses to see the plates, Joseph Smith, myself, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, went into the woods to pray. When they had all engaged in prayer, they failed at that time to see the plates or the angel who should have been on hand to exhibit them. They all believed it was because I was not good enough, or, in other words, not suficiently sanctified. I withdrew. As soon as I had gone away, the three others saw the angel and the plates. In about three days I went into the woods to pray that I might see the plates. While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates." Harris told me about his trip to New York and what Prof. Anthon told him. He (Anthon) said the characters were translated correctly. After Harris had told the professor how the plates had been found, the professor said that it was his opinion that he (Harris) was being duped by sharpers, and advised Harris to take care of himself. I asked him if he knew what the prophet Isaiah said about the event. He said, "No," but that Joseph Smith had shown that chapter to him after his return.

Harris told me that Smith had permitted him to take home a part of the translated manuscript to show his wife and a tew friends. It consisted of several chapters. He said that the manuscript was taken out of the house and never returned. That part which was stolen was never embodied in the Book of Mormon. Soon after this happened Joseph Smith had a revelation from the Lord for Martin Harris, threatening Harris with the destruction of himself and property, and misery was to be his eternal doom. Harris further told me that none of this revelation ever came to pass. See Doctrines and Covenants, Sec. 18, par. 5. or in some of the books Sec. 41, revelation to Martin Harris.

Harris said that Joe Smith (he never called him Joseph in my presence) commenced having false revelations soon after, and, in fact, before the church was organized. In or about the year 1833, the servant girl of Joe Smith stated that the prophet had made improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people. Joe Smith went to Martin Harris to counsel with him concerning the girl's talk. Harris, supposing that Joe was innocent, told him to take no notice of the girl, that she was full of the devil, and wanted to destroy the prophet of God; but Joe Smith acknowledged that there was more truth than poetry in what the girl said. Harris then said he would have nothing to do in the matter, Smith could get out of the trouble the best way he knew how. Harris further stated that the Kirtland Bank was a swindle, and he would have nothing to do with it. About that time Harris began to lose confidence in Joe Smith, as a man of truth, honor and principle, yet he believed him to be a prophet of God. I asked him how he could reconcile such conduct with what should be the conduct of a prophet of God. He then showed me what tlhe prophet Isaiah had said: "That God would choose the base things of this life to bring to note things that are," and claimed that that prophecy had been fulfilled in Joe Smith. Harris had good evidence that Joe Snith was practicing polygamy as early as 1838, five years before the revelation on polygamy was received by the prophet. He also claimed that polygamy, baptism for the dead, and such endowments as were given Nauvoo and Salt Lake City, were no part of Mormonism. I asked him why he had taken his endownents when he arrived in Salt Lake City. He answered that "his only motive was to see what was going on in there." This was said in the presence of James Bowman, of Soda Springs, Idaho, and myself.

Martin Harris asked me to look on his face and see how it was wrinkled with old age. I never knew his correct age, but I understood him to be about ninety years old at that time. He then read that part of the prophet Isaiah, which speaks of some man "whose visage was so marred, more than any other man's, so shall he sprinkle many nations." Harris said, "l am that man," and that the vigor of youth would yet return to him, and that he would yet lead the faithful of all the Latter Day Saints back to Zion, in Jackson County, Missouri, and "I know it will conne to pass, as well as I know that Mormonism is true." About two years later Harris died. Harris never believed that the Brighamite branch of the Mormon church, nor the Josephite church, was right, because, in his opinion, God had rejected them; but he did believe that Mormonisn was the pure gospel of Christ when it was frst revealed, and I believe he died in that faith.

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