- Slides: 46
DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 5, 17
DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 5, 17 Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations and where is our religion? We have none (History of the Church 2: 52). Eight months after having been called a wicked man Martin Harris was still not sufficiently humble. Martin was willful but honest, he wanted to be sure of everything. His nature seemed to be to say more than was needed.
Doctrine & Covenants 5: 10 “My word through you” Not by miracles or seeing the plates, but by the Holy Ghost! Doctrine & Covenants 5: 11 2 Corinthians 13: 1 President Joseph Fielding Smith said of this law: “In giving the world the testimony of three witnesses in addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord fulfilled the law. We are called upon in this life to walk by faith, not by sight, not by the proclamation of heavenly messengers with the voice of thunder, but by the proclamation of accredited witnesses whom the Lord sends and by whom every word shall be established” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1: 40).
Referring to the experience, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, “it’s enough, it’s enough; mine eyes have beheld; and jumping up, he shouted, ‘Hosanna, blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly” (History of the Church, 1: 55).
Doctrine & Covenants 5: 14 Oh really! The eight witnesses saw the plates but not with the accompaniment of an angel. Doctrine & Covenants 5: 21 Joseph commanded to repent! Why? Walk uprightly and not to yield to the persuasions of men. Doctrine & Covenants 5: 22 Even if you should be slain! Doctrine & Covenants 6: 30 (Mosiah 13: 3 -4)
I know what I say, I understand my mission and business. God almighty is my shield and what can man do if God is my friend. I shall not be sacrificed until my time comes, then I shall be offered freely (Joseph Smith, Teachings, 274). Doctrine & Covenants 5: 34 Stop & Stand Still! Doctrine & Covenants 101: 16 Righteous Time Outs! Doctrine & Covenants 17 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Ultimate Show and tell: Plates Breast plate Sword of Laban Urim and Thummim Liahona (miraculous director) Brass plates?
You shall have a view of the plates! David Whitmer described, “We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mormon, but also the brass plates, the plates of the Book of Ether, the plates containing the record of the wickedness and secret combinations of the people of the world down to the time of their being engraved, and many other plates. There appeared, as it were, a table with many records or plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon (Millennial Star, 49: 772).
Doctrine & Covenants 17: 6 No greater oath can be uttered by tongue (Hugh Nibley, 118). Deity himself has laid his Godhood on the line. Either this book is true or God ceases to be God (Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 50). Doctrine & Covenants 17: 8 “For my Grace is sufficient for you” (2 Nephi 25: 23).
“The following interesting statement is an extract from a letter written to the Desert News, by Elder Edward Stevenson: “Martin Harris related an instance that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon, which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummin, and for convenience he then used the seer stone. ”
Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, ‘Written, ’ and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected so that the translation was just as it was engraved on the plates, precisely in the language then used.
Martin said, after continuing translating they would become weary and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion, Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, Martin put in place the stone he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much surprised, Joseph exclaimed, Martin! What is the matter? All is dark as Egypt.
Martin’s countenance betrayed him, and the prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them, etc. ” (George Reynolds and Jane M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 7 vols. , 4: 438).
The Breastplate Lucy Mack Smith had the privilege of handling the breastplate soon after Joseph received it from the Hill Cumorah. She said that Joseph handed her the breastplate spoken of in history. “It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief, so thin that I could see the glistening metal and ascertain its proportions without any difficulty…
“It was concave on one side, and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards, as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them to be convenient in fastening” (Smith, History of Joseph Smith, 1996, 148 -49).
The Urim and Thummim were attached to the breastplate by means of a rod. When not in use the Urim and Thummim was placed in a pocket. William Smith explained that a pocket was prepared in the breastplate on the left side, immediately over the heart. From the Old Testament we learn that the Urim and Thummim was used by priests to receive revelation. Though no clear explanation has been preserved for us we can deduce that this device consisted of ocular objects belonging to the ephod or vestment of the high priest.
The Clothing of the Priest and High Priest
The Sword of Laban The hilt was made of gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and the blade was of the most precious steel (1 Nephi 4: 9). It was a symbol that “the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purpose” (1 Nephi 4: 13).
The Miraculous Director There is no other account of anyone else seeing the Liahona in the latter days, except for the vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses on this occasion.
HILL CUMORAH One interesting event, which was related in a sermon delivered by the late President Brigham Young at Farmington, Utah, 17 June 1877. “I believe I will take the liberty to tell you another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in a meeting as I take.
I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry; them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family. Oliver Cowdery went with the prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates, there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the Hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room.
He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words:
‘This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ. ’ I tell this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting, enjoying the day, and by we separate and go away, forgetting most of what was said, but remembering some things. So it is with other circumstances in life. I relate this to you, and I want you to understand it. I take this liberty of referring to those things so that they will not be forgotten and lost” (Journal of Discourses, 19: 38). The incident is substantiated by two other statements made by Brigham Young and recorded by William H. Dame and Wilford Woodruff. Others of the Prophet’s contemporaries giving similar reports included Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, and David Whitmer.
William H. Dane was present when Brigham Young “related a story told to him by Hyrum Smith which was as follows: Joseph, Hyrum, Cowdery, and Whitmer went to the Hill Cumorah. As they were walking up the hill, a door opened and they walked into a room about 16 feet square. In that room was an angel and a trunk. On the trunk lay a Book of Mormon and gold plates, Laban’s sword, Aaron’s breastplate” (William H. Dane, Diary, manuscript, January 14, 1855).
On December 11, 1869, Wilford Woodruff heard Brigham Young relate to the Salt Lake School of Prophets, “President Young said in relation to Joseph Smith returning the Plates of the Book of Mormon that he did not return them to the box where he found them. He went in a cave in the Hill Cumorah with Oliver Cowdery and deposited those plates upon a table or shelf. In that room were deposited a large amount of gold plates containing sacred records and when they first visited that room the sword of Laban was hanging upon the wall and when they last visited it the sword was drawn from the scabbard and laid upon a table and a messenger who was the keeper of the room informed them that the sword would never be returned to its scabbard until the Kingdom of God was established upon the earth and until it reigned triumphant over every enemy. Joseph Smith said that cave contained tons of choice treasures and records (Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833 -1898, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. 6: 508 -9).
In 1856, Heber C. Kimball made brief mention of the Nephite depository in the Hill Cumorah. “How does it [the crossing of the plains] compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when they went into a cave in the Hill Cumorah, and saw more records than ten men could carry? There were books piled up on tables, book upon book” (Journal of Discourses, 4: 105, Sept. 28, 1856). Several years later, Kimball spoke to a missionary meeting at the Church Historians’ Office and “related about Father Smith, Oliver Cowdery and others walking into the Hill Cumorah and seeing records upon records piled upon tables, they walked from cell to cell and saw the records that were piled up” (Brigham Young Manuscript History, May 5, 1867, microfilm of holograph, Church History Library).
Orson Pratt made at least four statements attesting to his belief in the Cumorah Library. David Whitmer believed that cave existed but felt it was a location other than the Hill Cumorah (Cook, David Whitmer Interviews, 22; A. Karl Larson and Katharine Miles Larson, eds. , Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, 2 vols. ).
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE THREE WITNESSES?
Oliver Cowdery: Oliver, the second elder of the church. Wilford Woodruff wrote of his preaching: “I have seen Oliver Cowdery when it seemed as though the earth trembled under his feet. I never heard a man bear stronger testimony than he did when under the influence of the Spirit.
On April 7 th, 1838 nine formal charges were drawn against him including charges that he persecuted the brethren “by urging on vexatious law suits against them” and that he sought “to destroy the character of Joseph Smith Jr. , by falsely insinuating that he was guilty of adultery. ” I shall no longer be bound by the chains of hell. I shall speak out when I see a move to deceive the ignorant. ” Oliver was excommunicated on 12 April 1838 in Far West.
He practiced law in Ohio and became a member of the Methodists Protestant Church in Tiffin, Ohio. In Wisconsin news of his interest in rejoining the Church was conveyed to the Quorum of the Twelve. Brigham Young wrote to him: “Return to our father’s house, from whence thou hast wandered, and partake of the fatted calf and sup and be filled, …
and renew thy testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon with a loud voice, and faithful heart and you will soon feel the Holy Ghost burning your bones like fire in the dry stubble… and the Saints, His sons and daughters will with open arms hail thee as their long lost brother found in the New and Everlasting Covenant. Ill health prevented Oliver from joining the Saints in the West.
In Kanesville, Iowa in 1848 Oliver addressed the assembled congregation: “Friends and Brethren, -My name is Cowdery. In the early history of this Church I stood identified with her, and one in her councils, … not because I was better than the rest of mankind… 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… that book is true. ”
Early the next month Oliver appeared before the high council at Kanesville and formally requested fellowship in the Church, saying, “Brethren, for a number of years, I have been separated from you. I now desire to come back… I seek no station. I only wish to be identified with you. After his case was considered, and upon the motion of Orson Hyde, Oliver was received by baptism.
In 1849 he and his wife traveled to Richmond, Missouri to visit her extended family. His struggles continued with his “lungs”. His chronic lung condition advanced to consumption, and on 3 March 1850 at David Whitmer’s home, with his family there he admonished his loved ones to live the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and promised that if they did, they would meet him in heaven.
David Whitmer: In 1836 he succumbed to smoldering apostate sentiments in Kirtland. In 1837 he associated with a small but influential group of Kirtland Saints who rebelled against the Prophet’s leadership. For violating the Word of Wisdom and for possessing the same spirit as the dissenters he was excommunicated on 13 April 1838 in Far West. He remained aloof from the Saints for the next fifty years.
In the 1870 s at the insistence of his family he organized the Church of Christ, whose congregation consisted of his extended family and handful of friends. During his years in a non-Mormon society David tenaciously held his testimony of the Book of Mormon. He was widely known as the “last surviving witness” and was interviewed far more extensively than the other witnesses.
He said that thousands came to inquire, and over fifty of these conversations are reported in reasonable detail in contemporary diaries, letters, and newspapers. Just before his death David called his family and a few friends to his bedside. Turning to this attending physician, he said, “Dr. Buchanan, I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind, before I give my dying testimony. ” The doctor answered, “Yes, you are in your right mind. ” David then bore testimony: “I want to say to you all, the Bible and the record of the Nephities (Book of Mormon) is true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death-bed. ”
David died on 25 January 1888 in Richmond at the age of eighty-three. The Richmond Democrat eulogized his life: “No man ever lived here, who had among our people, more friends and fewer enemies. Honest, conscientious and upright in all his dealings, just in his estimate of men, and open, manly and frank in his treatment of all, he made lasting friends who loved him to the end. ”
Martin Harris: At a conference in the Kirtland Temple in September of 1837, Martin was rejected as a member of the high council. According to one account he was disfellowshipped “for speaking against the Prophet. ” Brigham Young stated, “He was never tried for his fellowship; he was never excommunicated. ” However, he chose to estrange himself from the Church for the next thirty-two years.
He joined the Strangites, Whitmerites, and a group led by William Smith for short times. He maintained a residence in Kirtland became the self-appointed caretaker of the Kirtland Temple. Martin said, “I never did leave the Church; the Church left me. ” At the age of 86 he requested that Brigham Young be told of his impoverished circumstances and his desire to visit Utah. He told the Church that he would be glad to accept help from the Church, and if they send money it must be enough for the round trip. Brigham Young said, “Send for him, even if it were to take the last dollar of his own. ”
Martin was re-baptized on 17 September 1870 in the presence of five of the Apostles. Upon gazing at the temple and tabernacle and the beautiful Salt Lake City, he exclaimed, “Who would have thought that the Book of Mormon would have done all this?
The final testimony of Martin Harris was recorded by his grandson William Pilkington: “On the 9 th day of July 1875, while he was dying, I knelt by his cot… I wanted to get what I thought would be his last words, but he could not talk audibly. ” Pilkington then prayed that his grandfather’s last words could be understood. He reported, “strength was given to him and he bore his testimony as he had done many times before and I understood every word. He then bore the same testimony to the whole world and then laid back exhausted. ” Martin died on 10 July 1875 in Clarkston, Utah. He was buried with his Book of Mormon in his right hand the Doctrine and Covenants in his left.