“But you don’t wanna be bamboozled. You don’t wanna be led down the primrose path. You don’t wanna be conned or duped, have the wool pulled over your eyes. Hoodwinked. You don’t wanna be taken for a ride, railroaded. Seeing is believing. Am I right?”
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.”
Timeline of Martin’s Problem He had gained a testimony of the work through prayer. He disobeyed and lost the 116 pages (June 1828). His testimony faded as he disobeyed. He wasn’t sure the work was true anymore. He told Joseph that he “must have a greater witness” –he wanted to SEE. He went to Joseph for a revelation and D&C 5 was received (March 1829).
How did D&C 5 help Martin? D&C 5:1-3 D&C 5:11-13 D&C 5:23-24 Martin was basically saying “show me and I’ll believe.” What was the Lord saying? “Believe and I’ll show you.”
Have you ever been asked to be a witness? What does it take to become an expert witness? Is there some event in world history or Church history that you would like to have witnessed personally? Have you ever felt a desire to see the gold plates?
“Frequently when [people] … hear the story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, they ask if the plates are in some museum where they may be seen. Some of them with some scientific training [suggest] that if the scholars could see and examine the plates and learn to read them, they would then bear witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the veracity of Joseph Smith, and the whole world would then be converted.” D&C 5:7 Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:40
Six Groups: 11,12,14,15,16,17 Read your section and look for instruction given. Be ready to report to the class: Who the revelation was for 2 things about the individual. At least 2 parts of the instruction that are applicable to us today. At least one ‘if/then’ statement. Ex: If you keep the commandments you will prosper in the land.
The Eight Witnesses Christian Whitmer Jacob Whitmer Peter Whitmer, Jun John Whitmer Hiram Page Joseph Smith, Sen Hyrum Smith Samuel H. Smith
The Eight Witnesses July 2, 1829 Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., 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.
David Whitmer needed to plant wheat seed on the family farm and spread plaster of paris, which was used as a fertilizer. He felt inspired that he should help Joseph and Oliver after he had completed those tasks. A miracle allowed David Whitmer to help Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith escape from their persecutors: “David went to the field, and found that he had two heavy days’ work before him. … He then fastened his horses to the harrow, and instead of dividing the field into what is, by farmers, usually termed lands, drove around the whole of it, continuing thus till noon, when, on stopping for dinner, he looked around, and discovered to his surprise, that he had harrowed in full half the wheat. After dinner he went on as before, and by evening he finished the whole two days’ work. “His father, on going into the field the same evening, saw what had been done, and he exclaimed, ‘There must be an overruling hand in this, and I think you would better go down to Pennsylvania as soon as your plaster of paris is sown.’
“The next morning, David took a wooden measure under his arm and went out to sow the plaster, but, on coming to the place, he discovered that it was gone! He then ran to his sister, and inquired of her if she knew what had become of it. Being surprised she said, ‘Why do you ask me? was it not all sown yesterday?’ “‘Not to my knowledge,’ answered David. “‘I am astonished at that,’ replied his sister, ‘for the children came to me in the forenoon, and begged of me to go out and see the men sow plaster in the field, saying, that they never saw anybody sow plaster so fast in their lives. I accordingly went, and saw three men at work in the field, as the children said, but, supposing that you had hired some help, on account of your hurry, I went immediately into the house, and gave the subject no further attention.’ “David made considerable inquiry in regard to the matter, both among his relatives and neighbors, but was not able to learn who had done it” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Preston Nibley , 148–49).
The Prophet Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris went to the woods near the Whitmer home to “try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer” the promised witness. Joseph Smith recorded that after two unsuccessful attempts, “Martin Harris proposed that he should 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 an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying … 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. … 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.’
“I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom 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 received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and when we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view, and I once more beheld and heard the same things; Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, “‘Tis enough; ’tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld’” (inHistory of the Church, 1:54–55).
Think about what it would have been like for Joseph Smith to be the only witness of the Book of Mormon plates for so many years!
“On coming in, Joseph threw himself down beside me (his mother, Lucy), and exclaimed, ‘You do not know how happy I am: the Lord has now caused the plates to be shown to three more besides myself. They have seen an angel, who has testified to them, and they will have to bear witness to the truth of what I have said, for now they know for themselves, that I do not go about to deceive the people, and I feel as if I was relieved of a burden which was almost too heavy for me to bear, and it rejoices my soul, that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.’ Upon this, Martin Harris came in: he seemed almost overcome with joy, and testified boldly to what he had both seen and heard. And so did David and Oliver, adding that no tongue could express the joy of their hearts, and the greatness of the things which they had both seen and heard” (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 152–53).
Oliver Cowdery testified: “I wrote with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim.’ I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed. … That book is true; and if you, my hearers, will walk by its light and obey its precepts, you will be saved with an everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God on high” (in “Last Days of Oliver Cowdery,” Deseret News, Apr. 13, 1859, 48).
“I want to say to you all, the Bible and the record of the Nephites (Book of Mormon) is true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death-bed. All be faithful in Christ, and your reward will be according to your works’” (Richmond Democrat, Feb. 2, 1888, quoted in Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. , 1:270).
“Yes, I did see the plates on which the Book of Mormon was written; I did see the angel; I did hear the voice of God; and I do know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, holding the keys of the Holy Priesthood” (“The Last Testimony of Martin Harris,” recorded by William H. Homer in a statement sworn before J. W. Robinson, Apr. 9, 1927, HDC). (See also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 33.)
What might be a righteous purpose for which the Lord could give you a testimony?
Mary Whitmer In 1829 Joseph and Emma and Oliver Cowdery began boarding with the Whitmers while translating the plates. Mother Whitmer felt overlooked and overworked taking care of everyone. She heard people in her household talking about seeing the plates, and felt leftout. “Brother Nephi” showed her the plates.
Fourth Witness The Mary Whitmer Story (18 mins)
Revelations to Individuals A HARRIS, A SMITH, A KNIGHT, AND THREE WHITMERS D&C 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17