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TitleThe Testimony of Eight Witnesses
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGardner, Brant A.
Book TitleBook of Mormon Minute, Volume 1: First and Second Nephi
Pagination11–12
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsEight Witnesses; Gold Plates; Page, Hiram; Smith, Hyrum; Smith, Joseph, Sr.; Smith, Samuel H.; Whitmer, Christian; Whitmer, Jacob; Whitmer, John; Whitmer, Peter, Jr.

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The Testimony of Eight Witnesses

Testimony

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come:

Comments

This is the standard opening for both the statement from the three and the eight witnesses. It is a reference to Revelation 7:9 and 11:9 where the four nouns are used. The specific order of the nouns is different in both instances in Revelation. This particular order is seen multiple times in the Book of Mormon, always in this order.

Testimony

That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Christian Whitmer

Jacob Whitmer

Peter Whitmer, Jun.

John Whitmer

Hiram Page

Joseph Smith, Sen.

Hyrum Smith

Samuel H. Smith

Comments

In contrast to the statement from the three witnesses, the eight testified that Joseph showed them the plates. From beginning to end, the testimony is quite understated. They saw, they handled, they turned plates, the saw engravings.

The statement the eight signed was obviously not created by each man individually. Although not the specific language from eight different people, nevertheless they all affirmed that it was their shared experience. Nevertheless, in spite of the statements of these witnesses, there have been suggestions that there were no plates, or that there were plates but that they were perhaps tin. The testimony of eight men who may never have seen much gold in their lives, had certainly seen tin and other metals. They would have noticed had the plates been perhaps painted tin or some other way of faking the metal. Their standing as normal, reasonable men who stood by their witness forces us to understand that they saw plates. Now, so many years later, each person who confronts the Book of Mormon must also personally accept or reject the firm testimony that those witnesses boldly affirmed and included with each published version of the Book of Mormon.

Scripture Reference

Testimony of Eight Witnesses