Edward Stevenson, quoting Whitmer family members, recounts the experience of Mary Whitmer viewing the plates.

Jan 1, 1889
Edward Stevenson
3rd Hand

Edward Stevenson, "The Thirteenth Witness to the Plates of the Book of Mormon," Juvenile Instructor 1, no. 24 (January 1, 1889): 22–23

Juvenile Instructor
Edward Stevenson, Mary Musselman Whitmer, Emma Hale Smith, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Sr., David Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Andrew Jenson
Latter-day Saint Youth, Reading Public

IT IS well known that three witnesses as well as Joseph Smith, testify of seeing an angel and hearing his voice, also of seeing the plates containing the characters from which the Book of Mormon was printed.

There are eight witnesses who also testify of seeing and handling the gold plates. Twelve witnesses including Joseph Smith. The thirteenth witness is Mary Musselman Whitmer, the wife of Peter Whitmer, sen., and mother of five of the witnesses. In 1887, we had the pleasure of visiting Uncle David Whitmer, as he is so familiarly known, and at other times since we have visited him, and held many familiar conversations with him on the subject of the coming forth of the plates, the translation of them, and the visit of an angel, which never failed to inspire him with enthusiastic delight. On one occasion while sitting with Uncle David by the fireside, he said: "My mother died while sitting in that very chair you are now occupying." He feelingly spoke of the virtues and good acts of his mother, and her kindness to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his party, while they were translating the Book of Mormon at his father's house in Fayette, Seneca County, New York.

While in this mood of conversation he related to me, a visit of the angel Moroni to his mother. Uncle David said : "My mother went to the barn to milk the cows, where she met a mysterious personage who showed her the golden plates, turning them over leaf by leaf, with the exception of a portion of them which were fastened together with rings (the sealed part of the plates).

David said this occurred after he had seen the same messenger on the way from Harmony to Fayette. When he brought Joseph and Oliver in his wagon from Harmony, Pa., he appeared walking with a knapsack on his back with the straps crossed on his breast. Uncle David asked him to ride wiih them, to which he replied, 'No, I am going over to Cumorah,' and suddenly disappeared in the midst of a plain.

David said that they felt a very strange feeling come over them, and Joseph, the Prophet, inquired of the Lord concerning it, and then said to the brethren that the mysterious stranger was Moroni with the plates of gold. It will be remembered that Joseph, the Prophet, was beset with a wicked class of men who sought to steal the plates from him, so much so that his life was in danger; therefore he sought to know of the Lord the best mode of transferring the plates from Harmony to Fayette. They were finally taken in charge by the angel to deliver them to the Prophet again at the end of their journey. David told me that they felt the same heavenly influence after their arrival at his father's home previous to his mother's visitation and view of the plates. He expressed his firm conviction of the truth of his mother's testimony.

On the nth of October, 1888, Elder A. Jenson and myself, called upon John C. Whitmer, the grandson of Mother Whitmer, who after our inquiry of him regarding what he knew of his grandmother's view of the plates said substantially as follows: "My grandmother told me that the strange visitor met her as she was going to milk the cows. At first she was afraid of him, but he spoke so kindly to her, explaining to her the nature of the work of translation to go on in her house, that she felt a thrill of inexpressible joy, which removed all fear from her. Comforting words were spoken promising her strength and pleasure in her increased labors, and salvation at the end. Moroni took from his knapsack the plates and exhibited them as already explained by David. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, she could not tell. From that time my grandmother was enabled to perform her household duties with comparative ease, feeling no inclination to murmur because her lot was a hard one."

John also said: "I knew my grandmother to be a good, noble and truthful woman, and I have not the least doubt of the truth of her statement in regard to seeing the plates."

She was a strong advocate of the Book of Mormon until the day of her death. This was the only favored female to gaze upon the plates.

Major Bidamon said to us on the 6th day of October last that Emma Smith told him that she never had seen the plates, but that she had felt them when they were covered up. Thus Mary M. Whitmer, was favored above many because of her faithfulness and kindness to the servants of God.

We have related with a degree of joy these precious incidents as we have received them, believing that they will prove interesting to many of the readers of the Instructor.

Edward Stevenson.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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