“A faithful testimony”

“A faithful testimony” July 4, 2020


James Jordan's picture of unidentified people
On the COVID-19-influenced set of the Interpreter Foundation’s forthcoming “Witnesses” film project
(Still photograph by James Jordan)


Two excerpts from Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon (Provo: BYU Studies, 2018), on Edward Stevenson and Martin Harris:


Stevenson recalled, “While I was living in Michigan, then a Territory, in 1833, near the town of Pontiac, Oakland Co., Martin Harris came there and in a meeting where I was present bore testimony of the appearance of an angel exhibiting the golden plates and commanding him to bear a testimony of these things to all people whenever opportunity was afforded him to do so.”

Now, thirty-six years later, Stevenson met with Martin once again on February 11, 1870.  He saw him coming out of the Kirtland Temple and observed, “He took from under his arm a copy of the Book of Mormon, the first edition, I believe, and bore a faithful testimony.”  He heard Martin say “it was his duty to continue to lift up his voice as he had been commanded to do in defence of the Book that he held in his hand, and offered to prove from the Bible that just such a book was to come forth out of the ground.”  Martin confessed to Stevenson that “he was daily bearing testimony to many who visited the Temple. . . .  Martin . . . boldly declared that “whatever befell him he knew that Joseph was a Prophet, for he had not only proved it from the Bible but that he had stood with him in the presence of an angel, and he also knew that the Twelve Apostles. were chosen of God.”  (416-418)


(Martin Harris, of course, with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, was centrally involved with the creation of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)


On 10 August 1870, Edward Stevenson sent a letter to the Deseret News, informing its editor of his travel plans:


Martin Harris, who still lives here [in Kirtland, Ohio], is tolerably well, and has a great desire to see Utah, and his children that live there; and although the old gentleman is in the 88th year of his age, he still bears a faithful testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, being one of the three original witnesses.  He says he saw the plates, handled them and saw the angel that visited Joseph Smith, more than 40 years ago.  I have made arrangements to immigrate him to Utah, according to his desire, and will start in about two weeks.  (422)



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