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Saints: The Standard of Truth, Part 8: The 3 Witnesses to the Book of Mormon

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 11, 2020 8:01 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth, Part 8: The 3 Witnesses to the Book of Mormon

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 11, 2020 8:01 pm

A closer look at the 3 Witnesses to the Book of Mormon in this second week of a 6-week series.

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Outer Brightness

Viewpoint is mainly to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.

And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism so glad to be with us for this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM Saints. The standard of truth. It's the first of four volumes that recounts the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We been going through the book and as we mentioned earlier were not going through it chapter by chapter. But there are some interesting tidbits of information that we feel are important and today we start examining what the book has to say about the witnesses. The three witnesses and the eight witnesses, all whose testimony can be found in the front of the book of Mormon. Did they really see the gold plates because many times Eric went on talking to Latter Day Saints about the problem of the weight of the plates I have had Latter Day Saints. Tell me what doesn't really matter because there were 11 witnesses who saw the plates so to see tangible plates is a very important issue when it comes to the Latter Day Saints testimony in this book.

It recounts the story of Mary Witmer, who claims that she saw the angel Moron I what is it say on page 70 regarding her testimony is as one day while she was out by the barn where the cows are milk she saw a gray haired man with a knapsack slung across his shoulder. His sudden appearance frighten her but as he approached. She spoke to her in a kind voice, etc. these my name is Moron I he said you have become pretty tired with all the extra work you have to do. He swung the knapsack off his shoulder and Mary watched as he started to untie. You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors. He continued, it is proper, therefore, that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened Moron.

I opened his knapsack and remove the gold plates. He held them in front of her, and turn your pages so she could see the writings on them after he turned the last page, he urged her to be patient and faithful as she carried the extra burden a little longer. He promised she would be blessed for the old man banished a moment later, leaving Mary alone.

She still had work to do but that no longer troubled her.

Was this a physical manifestation or was this a vision that Mary apparently must've had. Just the thought of this being carrying the plates in the knapsack and swinging it around almost as if it's nothing.

I remember we talked about the weight of the plates. If the plates were made of gold. As I've often said the plates would've weighed around 200 pounds.

I would say that would be pretty much impossible to do in the back of a knapsack. What knapsack could be that strong to hold such a weight did Mary see a physical Moron I did Mary see physical plates now. You would assume from reading this story as you just read it. Eric that she must've saw a physical Moron I am physical plates because that's what's important to Latter Day Saints. But as the story goes on we find it tells about the three witnesses who were allowed to see the plates and in that case even though the book makes it sound like they saw physical plates.

The evidence behind the story doesn't really tell that kind of an account. What is it say on page 73, as Joseph and his friends finish the translation. Their minds turned to a promise the Lord had given in the book of Mormon, and in his revelations to show the plates to three witnesses. Joseph's parents and Martin Harris were visiting the Witmer farm at the time and one morning Martin, Oliver and David pleaded with Joseph to let them be the witnesses. Joseph prayed and the Lord answered saying that if they relied on him wholeheartedly and committed to testify of the truth, they could see the plates you have got to humble yourself before your God. This day Joseph told Martin specifically and obtain if possible a forgiveness of your sins, let me stop you there because here we have the account where the three witnesses are going to be able to see the place armor as you see there were three witnesses specifically mentioned in the book of Mormon.

The first volume of the documentary history of the church starting at page 52 tells basically the background of this it says in the course of the work of translation. We ascertained that three special witnesses were to be provided by the Lord, to whom he would grant that they should see the plates from which this work.

The book of Mormon should be translated now on page 53, it says that Oliver Cowdrey, David Witmer and Martin Harris wanted Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord to know if they might not obtain.

Of him the privilege to be these three special witnesses and finally they became so very solicitous and urged me so much to inquire that at length. I complied and through the urine, I obtained of the Lord for them. The following and then we get doctrine and covenants section 17. Now, as we read this account in the book Saints notice you have to humble yourselves before God. This day you have to make sure you have a forgiveness of your sins, you have to rely on Joseph Smith whole heartedly it says, where are they there at the Witmer farm where were the plates being translated at this time at the Witmer farm. They were translated in the upper room of the Witmer cabin.

I've seen the re-creation of this cabin. I've been there. I've been upstairs were the supposedly took place at the time I was there. There was a table with two chairs and a blanket or curtain of some sort hanging down, separating one chair from the other chair.

Another word you could not see the other chair if you were seated in one of them fill in this section of saints is is that Joseph prayed and yet that's not found in doctrine and covenants section 17. Do you think that the authors of this book are trying to make it look more spiritual than it really possibly was. I don't know where the got that information. They could have a reference to that we didn't seem to find it in the footnotes.

Maybe we missed it. I don't know.

I don't know if that's really a big issue but it seems like Joseph Smith was being nagged by these three men, that they wanted to be the three witnesses. But then what happens in the It says. Later that day Joseph led the three men into the woods near the Witmer home.

They knelt and each took a turn praying to be shown the plates but nothing happened. They try to second time but still nothing happened.

Finally, Martin rose and walked away saying he was the reason the heavens remain close, let me stop you. There. Later that day Joseph led the three men into the woods near the Witmer home widely going out into the woods. It's clearly says in this book that he was translating the plates in the Witmer home. Why does he have to leave the Witmer home to go out into the woods to see the plates.

Why not just invite everybody upstairs to see where he was translating them see this is what makes me think the story is totally bogus. They could've easily gone and seen the plates on the second floor of the cabin, but that's not what Smith does he give them these weird instructions in order to see tangible plates. They have to do what they have to obtain a forgiveness of their sins they have to rely on him wholeheartedly may have to humble themselves before the Lord. They have to have faith according to section 17. Why would you need all those things to see physical plates. I would argue you don't which makes me think they're not going to see physical plates and as we see in the story it doesn't appear that they do, Joseph, Oliver and David returned her prayer and soon an angel appeared in a brilliant light above them. He had the plates in his hands and turned them over one by one showing the men the symbols engraved on each page. A table appeared beside him and on it were ancient artifacts described in the book of Mormon interpreters, the breastplate a sword, and the miraculous compass that guided Nephi's family from Jerusalem to the promised land. The man heard the voice of God, declare these plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear what is left out in that account. Well, they do talk about how Martin Harris felt that he was the hindrance they had to pray in order to see the plates again.

I make my case.

Why do you have to pray to see physical plates. Apparently they prayed they were allowed to see the plates at that time, Martin Harris thinks he's the hindrance. So he leaves the group. They pray again. Now they're able to see the plates Smith is going to go over to find Martin Harris and he's going to pray with Harris away from the rest of the group away from where the plates appeared with the angel, let me read it to you from page 55 of the history of the church. 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 ultimately obtained our desires for before we had yet finished the same vision was open to our view, the same vision that kind of language is not used in this book, and that's something that I find surprises a lot of Latter Day Saints. When I show them. Page 55 of volume 1 of the history of the church vision. The question is if the three witnesses were specifically spoken of, not not not by name in the book of Mormon, but at least three witnesses are supposed to see the plates if they do not see physical, tangible plates, but only see a vision of plates. Why would we assume Mary Witmer in the barn sees physical plates when she has a separation of who she thinks Moron I is who pulls them out of a knapsack bill so I'm going to say that the presupposition of the writers are going to come through and they're going to do their best to present the information in a way that's truthful is much as possible, but not giving you all of the information because the word vision is not used it all here and yet you're very clearly showing from the history of the church, volume 1, page 55 that it was a vision. Will it would have to be something of a supernatural nature. You would think. If not, why do they have to have faith, why do they have to pray. I don't understand why those two elements are necessary in order to see physical plates. I really don't get why they have to go out of the house out into the property into the woods to see plates that we assume are sitting there in the Witmer home. Why would they have to go out in the woods. Do you think that they would not known that they could've easily seen the place by going upstairs.

Why did they say hate Joseph just take us upstairs so we can see the plates instead of us going out in the woods and having a look at it in a vision.

That's a great question. I don't know why the history doesn't seem to give us that answer, but it does seem strange to me that they are actually leaving the area where the plates are supposedly located to go out into the woods and see them. And here's the answer I would have Joseph Smith has such power that he can do this. He can take them out in the woods and be satisfied with that rather than allowing them to see. Supposedly the plates that he had upstairs at the Witmer farm will remember one of the conditions was you have to rely on Joseph Smith whole heartedly. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has worked hard to include people to understand the differences between Mormonism and the Christian faith, and We have dozens of articles and video resources that will educate you in a variety of ways.

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