Mormon Dilemma 74

04 October

Mormon Dilemma 74

Book of Mormon Witnesses

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 214; “The witnesses were men known for truthfulness and sobriety. Though each of the Three Witnesses was eventually excommunicated from the Church (two returned), none ever denied or retracted his published testimony. Each reaffirmed at every opportunity the veracity of his testimony and the reality of what he had seen and experienced…Five of these Eight Witnesses remained solidly with the Church; John Whitmer was excommunicated in 1838, and his brother Jacob Whitmer and brother-in-law Hiram Page then became inactive.

The statement made above by the Church has to be one of the most confusing, outright and deliberate pieces of disingenuous propaganda there is in Mormonism.

Let’s see, the witnesses are truthful, but they’ve been excommunicated for lying amongst other things.

During the time of the infighting at Farr West, Smith, Rigdon and Young as well as others just outright disseminated the characters of the original witnesses, leaving nothing to the imagination of who these fellows might be.  The infamous “Salt Sermon” was a product of Rigdon that was addressed to the members of the Church while not naming names, but his sermon was indeed meant for the dissenters of the day.

History of the Church 3:232; “Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them.” – Joseph Smith, Liberty Jail, Missouri, Dec 16, 1838

Journal of Discourses 7:164; “Some of the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and to disbelieve that they had ever seen an angel.” – Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, June 5, 1859

The Church proclaims the witnesses are trustworthy; therefore, their names are still in the front of the Book of Mormon for unsuspecting inquirers to believe these guys were in good standing with the Church.

The truth about the eight witnesses is vastly different from what the statement says above.  Three of the eight did in fact stay with the Church – keep in mind these included Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith and Samuel H. Smith; the last two were Joseph Smith, Junior’s brothers and then of course his dad.

Brothers Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Christian Whitmer both died before their entire family was ex-communicated in 1838.


Oliver Cowdery

Oliver Cowdery denounced the Church and became a Methodist in 1848.  (The Mormon Frontier, Diary of Hosea Stout, vol. 2, pg. 336) The Church of course denies this and insists he came back to the Church a repentant man.  It’s interesting to note that while the Encyclopedia of Mormonism says only one of them didn’t return, the truth is that two of them stayed far away.  Cowdery is one of the two.  He eventually died from tuberculosis at the home of David Whitmer in 1850.

Another item to take special notice of are the comments made by Church officials that claim he was a dirty rotten scoundrel and at the same time proclaiming he did come back to the Church and became very active in Church affairs.  Three different stories for just one person…

Martin Harris

Martin Harris belonged to no less than five different denominations before he joined Mormonism and another eight after he left.  Then in 1848 he came back to the Church, left again and in 1870 just five years before he died decided to get baptized after moving to Utah, completely destitute.  Remember, he was the one who financed the original printing for the Book of Mormon.

David Whitmer

David Whitmer, one of the original three witnesses to the Book of Mormon became disenchanted with the way Joseph Smith was running internal affairs of the Church, viz, polygamy.  At the time of David Whitmer’s excommunication several other people and leaders of the Church left with him.

In response to Whitmer’s claims against Joseph about the affair with Fanny Alger, the young maidservant of Emma’s, Joseph came back with a very public character assassination of Mr. Whitmer.  Smith said;

God suffered such kind of beings to afflict Job . . . this poor man who professes to be much of a prophet, has no other dumb ass to ride but David Whitmer, to forbid his madness when he goes up to curse Israel: and this ass not being of the same kind as Balaam’s . . . he brays out cursing instead of blessings. Poor ass!” – History of the Church 3:228

In 1887 Whitmer wrote a pamphlet called “An Address to All Believers in Christ” in which he again asserted that the leadership of the Mormon Church rightly belonged to him.  His writing also gave us insight of how the translation process of the Book of Mormon took place.  In part this is what Whitmer wrote;

I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” – An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 12

Now with all this information behind us on the first three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, I pose one simple question:

Why would you trust any of the statements made by anyone involved with this?

Be watching for our upcoming article on all the witnesses later this month!

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7 Responses to “Mormon Dilemma 74”

  1. Judged Rashly October 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    If I judged the worth of the BoM witnesses based on the quality of your research I’d be misled.

    17 He that condemneth let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.
    18 And he that saith: Show unto me [physical proofs] or ye shall be smitten—let him beware lest he commandeth that which is forbidden of the Lord.
    21 And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord and shall say: “We will destroy the work of the Lord”—THE SAME IS IN DANGER TO BE HEWN DOWN AND CAST INTO THE FIRE; (Mormon 8)

    Refrain from criticizing the Book of Mormon “rashly,” there is nothing in it contrary to the gospel of our Lord and in fact, it has more references to Jesus than the Bible; it confirms a. Virgin Birth, b. Jesus’ Death, c. Jesus’ Resurrection, and d. the Resurrection of All Mankind.

    There is plenty of ammunition to use against Mormons by their warped history, the D&C and PofGP. Avoid condemnation and start using the Book of Mormon to bring Mormons out of Mormonism. It’s your friend, not the enemy.

    Also, I encourage all of you here to literally READ the WHOLE booklet by Whitmer so you have the truth of what bothered him; when and why. To mar that man’s reputation would bring a double heaping of condemnation for spreading lies.

    Repent, i.e., refrain from disparaging the ONLY book that confirms the Bible and the most excellent witness of that book – David Whitmer.

    In loving kindness.

  2. shematwater October 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm #


    I like your comment. Very interesting, and I thank you for it.

    I will comment that David Whitmir actually tried to take the leadership of the church from Joseph Smith in Kirtland, long before Plural Marriage was ever an issue, based on the affairs of the Kirkland anti-banking society.

    I will also states that the comments made against these men by leaders of the church never actually condemned them as being dishonest; it was more of being misled idiots who sought their own greatness rather than that of God.

    It is very telling to their characters that none of them ever denied seeing the angel or the plates, and never once denied the divine nature of the work. Yes, Martin Harris did join many denominations throughout his life, as did Oliver Cowdry, but neith man ever denied the Book of Mormon as an inspired record that was translated by the power of God, and eventually this testimony led them back to the church (despite the false claim that Oliver didn’t return).
    Note: Oliver Cowdery was re-baptized by Orson Hyde in Indian Creek at Kanesville Iowa on November 12, 1848.

    As to the eight witnesses, I find it funny that we are expected to except the assumption that the two who died would have fallen away if they had lived, with no real evidence to support the assumption (besides them being Whitmers)

    • lifeafterministry October 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

      I’m going to say this to all of the Mormons that comment on this blog.

      If you are rude and call names or tell someone (specifically me) that they’re stupid or unlearned one more time consider yourself cut off from commenting on this blog.
      It’s one thing to disagree – I don’t care that you have your own opinion – happy you have one. HOWEVER, you’re on thin ice with this blog when you think it’s a Christian thing to do by attacking the character or integrity of others. If you don’t like this blog go somewhere else where you can sing the praises and worship Joseph Smith and company. Your comments and rude behavior further proves my point that Mormons hate Christianity and that Joseph went out of his way to disgrace God.
      There are a lot of Christians who visit this blog and you’ve just showed them why they shouldn’t become a Mormon.
      I’ve had just about enough of the male chauvinistic behavioral problem you guys seem to be plagued with.
      Just because I don’t agree with you does NOT make me stupid.
      If you can’t discuss things in a rational adult like manner go away.

  3. discoveringgrace October 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    Wow the Mormons are in fine form today aren’t they? Let me make this emphatically clear, as a former Mormon never will I ever “Repent” and return to the spiritual waste land called Mormonism.

    If you spent half as much time truly investigating the Book of Mormon as you do tearing down the Bible and only believe as far as “it’s translated correctly” you’d see it has nothing to do with the core doctrines of your church, let allow anything to do with the Bible, besides the plagiarism of course.

    The Bible is the Word of God, His only true Word it needs no other book to “confirm” it, it stands on it’s own. Anything else is complete rubbish designed by Satan to mislead souls down to Hell to live with him. 🙁

  4. shematwater October 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm #


    Since it is obvious your comment is directed at me will you please show me where in my post I make any insult against you or anyone else? Kindly point out where I call you stupid or unlearned?
    I am sorry you felt insulted, but I honestly cannot see where my comment can be interpreted as saying any such thing against you.
    The only possible point is where I say I find your logic a little silly, and if you find that insulting I apologize, but I did not call you or anyone else stupid or unlearned.


    I am truly sorry that you refuse to see the light and return to the true gospel, but I had no intention of trying to persuade you to do so. I can recognize when something cannot be done and I do not waste my time on the impossible. Maybe sometime in the future the Lord will send someone able to lead you back to him, but I am not that person and so I will not try.

    • discoveringgrace October 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      I have no worries shem. I belong to Jesus Christ, I’m His, someones already came along and led me to Him. It would be very stupid and reckless of me to turn my back on him now and for what? A life of work, work, work and never knowing if I’ve done enough until I die? A life where I have to trust in what I can do, and the pressure of believing my dead families salvation depends on how quickly and frequently I can get their temple work done? No Thank You!!

      – Melissa

      Gal 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

  5. shematwater October 7, 2011 at 5:05 am #


    All men are Christ’s, regardless of faith or action. He is the Lord of this Earth, and he will judge what is his.
    I am sorry you feel the way you do, but I can say that I have not experienced what you describe. I know where I stand with God, and I am not waiting for death to find out. I know now. What I don’t know is where I will stand in ten years. Also, I have never felt any undue pressure caused by the Baptism for the dead. It will all be done, whether I do anything or not.

    I hope for you, and I believe, with great confidence, that you will be here when Christ returns and will witness his power; and at that time you will know that the LDS church is his church, and no other will he claim. At that time I hope you are more willing to accept the truth.

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