Thursday, October 28, 2010

41p Fulfilling Promises Made by Book of Mormon Prophets, The Angel Moroni showed the Golden Plates on Which the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ Had Been Engraved, to Three Witnesses! Each Remained Faithful to Their Witness. Evidence is Provided Proving How Witnesses Were True to their Witness!

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Today's Theme is found in the INTRODUCTION to the Book of Mormon and is entitled: THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.

BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

Painting: Kenneth Riley
In this painting the Angel, Moroni has just delivered the Golden Plates, on which was recorded the Book of Mormon, to Joseph Smith -by Kenneth Riley

Now I give you the opportunity of reading a quote from a book whose cover is shown below.

Its Author, Terryl Givens, has provided us with a scholarly description of how three special witnesses were able to testify of the Golden Plates being a reality. The Angel Moroni depicted above while delivering the Golden Plates to Joseph Smith, later showed the three witnesses the actual Golden Plates from which Joseph through the power of God had translated the writings on those plates word for word.


By the Hand of Mormon
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS - Copyright 2002 by Terryl L. Givens

I particularly appreciate the picture of the Nephite Prophet, Mormon on the cover of this book. Ever since first viewing it, whenever I think about the Great Prophet, Mormon, I see this picture in my mind.

Terryl L. Givens, Author
(This quote is taken from pages 38-40 of that book)
Throughout the trying process of safeguarding and translating the ancient record, ever-besieged by family, friends, and skeptics alike, Joseph (Smith) had been obedient to Moroni's directive not to share a view of the plates with anyone. Even his ill-advised permission for Martin Harris to publicly share the translated manuscript had been a catastrophe. That had been in June of 1828. Now, in March of the following year, Harris was shamelessly importuning the prophet once again for renewed confirmation that the nearly complete translation was based on real plates. He wanted to see them for himself. Given the fact that he had provided material assistance, was older than Joseph, was better known in the area, and had lost the good will of his wife over the whole matter, he doubtless felt entitled to at least that much. In a revelation Joseph received that month, Harris learned that three special witnesses would soon be given "power that they may behold and view these things as they are." If he humbled himself sufficiently, he was promised, he would be granted "a view of the things which he desires to see" (D. and C. 5:11-13,24).

In June, the final month of translation at the Whitmer home, Joseph learned that the record provided ancient confirmation of that promise: Moroni wrote that the plates would be "shown by the power of God" unto three "who shall assist to bring forth this work." (Ether 5:2-3) 121 and Nephi made a similar prediction. As his inner circle of three close associates--David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris--participated in and monitored the progress of translation, they became excited at the prospect of fulfilling both ancient prophecy and their own longings to see for themselves the mysterious, holy relics. After repeated entreaties to Joseph he confirmed through the Urim and Thummim that they could indeed receive "a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim... and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi" (D. and C. 17:1). The promise was followed by a command that they bear testimony to the world of that which they would have the privilege of seeing.

A few days later, Joseph felt the time had come. According to his account he gathered his three companions and they retired to the nearby woods "to try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given." Each one prayed in turn, but without effect. Harris, feeling in his faithlessness that he was an impediment to a heavenly manifestation, retired from the group. Minutes later, in Joseph's words, "we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, 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." There followed a voice out of the bright light, saying, "These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God." 122 On a nearby table, the other sacred relics lay exposed to their view.

With the miraculous witness now secured by the other two, Joseph left to seek out the distressed Harris. He found him, and together they continued to supplicate the Lord. Soon the same vision the three had experienced previously was granted to Harris as well. An exuberant Harris burst out, "Tis enough' tis enough, mine eyes have beheld, mine eyes have beheld." It is hard to say who was more relieved, Harris from his years of nagging doubts, or Joseph from having no one to help diffuse the weight of a world's skepticism and trust his story unreservedly. His mother recalled that upon returning from the woods, Joseph threw himself on the bed, crying "Father! Mother! You do not know how happy I am. . . .I do feel as though I was relieved of a dreadful burden which was almost too much for me to endure." 123
I located that which I have recorded below while searching the Internet a year or so ago. It is a very supportive statement about the sureness of two of the witnesses mentioned above.

William E. Mc Lellin, pictured here, served as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when that quorum was first organized.
The following comes from Mc Lellin's once long-lost notebook. In a section titled, “The Testimony of Men.” he says the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who said they saw an angel, “either told the truth or they willfully lied. How shall we tell which, how shall we know?”

Then McLellin recounts a story of meeting two of the witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, in July 1833 in Missouri. McLellin and the two were in danger of their lives from anti-Mormon mobs.

McLellin wrote:
“I said to them, 'Brethren, I never have seen an open vision in my life, but you men say you have, and therefore you positively know. Now, you know that our lives are in danger every hour, if the mob can only catch us. Tell me, in the fear of God is that Book of Mormon true?” Cowdery looked at me with solemnity depicted in his face and said: “Brother William, God sent his holy angel to declare the truth of the translation of it to us, and therefore we know. And though the mob kill us, yet we must die declaring its truth.' David said: 'Oliver has told you the solemn truth, for we could not be deceived. I most truly declare to you its truth!'
Said I: ''Boys, I believe you. I can see no object for you to tell me falsehood now, when our lives are endangered.'”
Note by Neil Birch: The Third witness, Martin Harris, also remained faithful to his witness to the end of his life. He died in Clarkston, Utah.

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