Wittmer is one of my heroes from church history, and so the Witmer family joined the church pretty early on before there even was a church, and they actually had Joseph and Emma and Oliver Cowdrey living with their mother. Joseph and Oliver were finishing the translation of the Book of Mormon. And Mary Witmer was the woman of the household. And so this meant a lot more work for her. And I don’t know if she had complained to others or just, you know, in prayers, complained about it.
But she was feeling overly burdened. And she actually had an amazing spiritual experience where the angel Moroni appeared to her and showed her the golden plates. So she’s the only woman that was able to have a viewing of the golden plates. And this story really kind of spoke to me because I have depression. And when I get really depressed, it’s really hard to feel the spirit. And so you don’t get kind of that feedback from the positive feelings of doing service or other things.
And it starts to really feel like a dredge. And so I can see how she might have been feeling like, you know, she’s living on a farm and she has three extra people. And maybe Emma helped a little, but it’s still a lot of work. And so for me, I often feel like that, like I don’t feel the spirit when I go to church, but I know it’s important. So I keep going and things like that.
And so having moments where I have those spiritual experiences that I can look back on is really important. And fortunately, I have had those where I can hang on to that until the Depression lifts that I can feel the spirit again.
The most interesting aspect of this story is that Mary Whitmer’s difficulty with the household situation was more than just being tired from all the extra work. She was irritated by Joseph and Oliver’s indifference to all the work she was [Page 40]doing, with their not helping out and instead skipping rocks for relaxation, so “she was about to order them out of her home.” Thus Moroni’s intervention was perhaps more purposeful than we might have previously thought. Undoubtedly, many others exerted much effort on behalf of providing help to Joseph and Oliver (such as Emma Smith had just done in Harmony, Pennsylvania, for the previous three months). Here, however, Moroni needed to deal with a more difficult situation, one that could have forced Joseph to find another place – and a secure one – to do the translating. Moroni (and the Lord) weren’t in the habit of just showing the plates to people to encourage them to act as a support team for the work of the translation.