James H. Hart reproduces interview with David Whitmer, who reaffirms his testimony in the Book of Mormon.

Aug 23, 1883
David Whitmer
Scribed Verbatim

James H. Hart, Interview with David Whitmer, August 23, 1883, in "Interview with David Whitmer, Etc.," Deseret Evening News,(September 4, 1883): 2

Deseret Evening News
James H. Hart, David Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Jr., David Whitmer, Jr., Oliver Cowdery
Reading Public

Having some business in Richmond, Ray County, I took occasion to call on Mr. David Whitmer, who was suffering considerably from the intense heat, but I had, notwithstanding, a long and pleasant conversation with him and his son, David Whitmer, Jr. After mutual introductions, I remarked that although I had no doubt of the truth of his published statement and testimony in the Book of Mormon, I should be pleased to hear the testimony from his own lips. He said: "Persons may attempt to describe the presentation of the plates as shown to himself and other witnesses, but there was a glory attending it that no one could describe, no human tongue could tell the glorious scenes that were presented to them. Joseph Smith was there and Oliver Cowdery and himself—Martin Harris did not come as expected, but they were shown to him a short time after." "Did the personage or angel who showed you the plates tell you his name?" "No, he did not. The idea has obtained ground that it was Moroni, the last of the Nephite Prophets. It may have been Moroni or it may have been one of the three Nephite Apostles who were promised that they should not taste of death. It is not important who he was, but I know he was a messenger from God. I have been visited by thousands of people, he remarked, believers and unbelievers, amongst them a Governor of this State, gentlemen and ladies of all degrees and from many nations, sometimes 15 or 20 in a day, all wanting to know if these things are true, have been surrounded by hostile mobs, on one occasion numbering four or five hundred demanding I should deny what is published over my name in the Book of Mormon; but the testimony I gave to that mob made them fear and tremble, and I escaped from them. One gentleman, a doctor, an unbeliever, told me afterwards that the bold and fearless testimony borne on that occasion and the fear that seemed to take hold of the mob had made him a believer in the Book of Mormon." Mr. Whitmer said further: "I heard the voice of the angel, and saw the engravings on the plates, and the plates just as stated in the Book of Mormon. And we were commanded to bear record of these things and that the book was translated by the gift and power of God. You see that small table by the wall," he remarked. "Yes," I replied. "Well, there was a table about that size, and the heavenly messenger brought the several plates and laid them on the table before our eyes, and we saw them, and bore testimony of them, and our testimony is true. And if these things are not true then there is no truth, and if there is no truth there is no God, and if there is no God there is no existence. But I know there is a God, for I have heard His voice and witnessed the manifestation of his power." He said, moreover, that when they were first commanded to testify of these things they demurred and told the Lord the people would not believe them for the book concerning which they were to bear record told of a people who were educated and refined, dwelling in large cities; whereas all that was then known of the early inhabitants of this country was the filthy, lazy, degraded and ignorant savages that were roaming over the land." The Lord told us, in reply that he would make it known to the people that the early inhabitants of this land had been just such a people as they were described in the book, and he would lead them to discover the ruins of the great cities, and they should have abundant evidence of the truth of that which is written in the book, all of which," said Mr. Whitmer, "has been fulfilled to the very letter."

Mr. David Whitmer, Junr., spoke of the strange and wonderful preservation of the written copy of the book which Oliver Cowdery left in his father’s charge, and the hieroglyphics which Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon, of New York. In the cyclone that devastated the town of Richmond a few years ago, the court-house and many other buildings were swept entirely away. Some books belonging to the court-house were carried over 40 miles, and the Whitmer house was all destroyed, except the small room in which the said documents were kept, in which not a window was broken. A few minutes after the catastrophe he met an unbelieving scoffer in the street who said, "Well, Dave, how about those records?" "And I told him they were all right, although I had not then had an opportunity to look after them. My father was hurt by the flying timber, for the house on the west side of the road was blown through ours, and thirty-two persons were killed and many badly wounded, but when matters had subsided a little and we examined the room and the box where the manuscript was kept we found it to our satisfaction as we had left it, and as it is now, in a good state of preservation."

BHR Staff Commentary

Transcription taken from Lyndon W. Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness (Orem, UT: Grandin Book, 1991), 97–99

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