From Book of Mormon scribe, to angelic visitations and the Gold Plates, to leaving the Church—and eventually returning. Who was this teacher, lawyer and early Church founder?
Martin Harris was one of the earliest supporters of Joseph Smith and the Church. And yet, even after becoming one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, he left the Church—though he returned many years later. Who was this wealthy farmer from Upstate New York?
David Whitmer was one of the Three Witnesses, from a whole family of witnesses of the Gold Plates. Yet after falling out with Joseph Smith, David left the Church and never returned. But he also never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon—and, in fact, emphatically repeated that witness countless times through the remainder of his life.
As an uneducated farm boy claiming to see God the Father, Jesus Christ, and various angels, Joseph Smith also claimed to translate an ancient record and receive modern revelation. Experiencing sorrow and failure as well as joy and success in his abbreviated life, he was eventually killed by a mob for his beliefs. Can someone be both very human and also a mouthpiece for God?
Some of the Church’s darkest hours happened in Kirtland, with financial failures and large-scale apostasy. But this was also one of the greatest periods in early Church history for outpourings of revelation and miracles.
Sidney Rigdon was a fiery orator, a defender of the faith, and Joseph’s Smith’s right hand for many years, who also experienced shared revelations with the prophet. And yet, after the death of Joseph, he left the Church, founding one of his own. Who was this former minister from Ohio?
Critics of the Church have claimed through the years that one or more of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon—and of the Gold Plates—eventually denied their testimonies. Is there any truth to these claims?
What price did the witnesses pay for being witnesses—and for never denying their testimonies of the Book of Mormon?
Through the years, much has been made of the argument that a man by the name of Solomon Spaulding wrote a manuscript which was used by Joseph Smith as his source for the Book of Mormon. Is there any validity to these claims?
In 1843, six men claimed to have unearthed ancient metal plates from a burial mound. They were eventually brought to Joseph Smith. Critics have claimed Joseph was fooled by what was eventually revealed to be a fraud. What is the truth of this claim?
In 1845, former member of the Church James Strang claimed to have found ancient metal plates. What were the Voree Plates?
In 1838, in reaction to persecution, some members of the Church formed a vigilante group known as the Danites. Much has been made of this group in folklore and anti-LDS propaganda. What do we actually know about this group?
What do we know about the practice of plural marriage in the early Church? Who was Fanny Alger?
How did the women of the early Church deal with plural marriage? How do we reconcile ourselves to this practice of that time?
God uses human beings as his leaders on the earth. Do these people need to be perfect to be prophets, seers, and revelators?
Why were witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and to the Gold Plates, necessary? What makes these claims different from others throughout history who have claimed divine visions?
What does it mean to be a witness? How can you be a witness?
Eyewitness testimony is used around the world in courts of law. But there’s a movement today that calls into question the reliability of eyewitness testimony. Is it true that eyewitness testimony is unreliable—and thus invalid?
What is the purpose of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses Project, and all the related media: the Witnesses feature film, the Undaunted companion docudrama, and the Insights videos?
Every edition of the Book of Mormon has included a copy of the Testimony of the Three Witnesses. Who wrote it? And if each of the three witnesses didn’t actually write the words themselves, does that somehow invalidate that testimony?
Critics have long claimed that the various witnesses—both official and unofficial—never interacted with the plates in a physical way. First hand accounts indicate otherwise. What are we to make of such criticism?
While trying to dismiss claims that the witnesses interacted with the gold plates, critics often gloss over—or even completely ignore—the fact that many of the witnesses also interacted with other ancient objects. What were these objects?
Martin Harris was away from the church for many years before finally returning. Critics have tried to use the fact that he joined other denominations as something that invalidates his testimony of The Book of Mormon. What’s the real story here?
When we discuss the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, we often overlook the first witness of the plates: Joseph Smith himself. What were his experiences with the plates?
Early on Lucy Harris was a supporter of the work, but later she fell out with the Smiths—and with her own husband. Who was Lucy Harris?
James Strang was a recent convert to the church who claimed to be the successor of Joseph after the martyrdom. Strang also claimed to have discovered ancient metal plates, What do we know about this man and his claims?
Hiram Page, one of the Eight Witnesses, claimed to have received revelations through a seer stone. What do we know about this event?
In Joseph Smith’s day, people claimed that his story of ancient metal plates was evidence against him—because no such thing existed. In modern times, with the discovery of many examples of ancient plates, critics now claim that, of course, Joseph knew about ancient records on metal. What do we really know about Joseph and metal plates?
There are a number of unofficial witnesses of the Book of Mormon who were women—however, of the official witnesses of the Book of Mormon, there are none. Why would this be?
If the Book of Mormon was a fraud, why would supposed insiders to such a fraud allow themselves to suffer incredible hardship and pain, why would they face down mobs and actually risk their lives to continue insisting it was true?
John Whitmer was a practical, level-headed man. He was also one of the Eight Witnesses. And yet he eventually left the church along with the rest of his family. What did he actually say about his experience with the plates?
The need to stand as a witness is not just something from historical times, but just as necessary today. President of the Interpreter Foundation, Dan Peterson, shares his witness of the witnesses, and of the Book of Mormon.