They haven’t gone anywhere.
Yes for my help, but you can’t show them to me. Well, as I said, I’ve been commanded not to. Well, they’re either gold or lead, and you don’t have enough credit to purchase lead.
Story is true, all of it. You must not blame me for not taking your word. If it hadn’t happened to me.
I don’t think I could believe it myself.
Welcome to our series about the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. My name is Camrey Bagley Fox, and we are joined again by Dr. Garrett Dirkmaattt, associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. I recently played Emma Smith in the film Witnesses, and that experience was both fascinating and informative, but it also brought up a lot of questions that I have, and that is why I have invited Dr. Dirk Mott to join me. Thank you for being here.
Thank you for having me.
I want to talk about Martin Harris.
What was his relationship with Joseph?
How did he come into the early Church? Tell us what you know about him.
Frankly, Martin Harris is the first person that we know of that believes Joseph’s story outside of Joseph’s family. I mean, obviously Joseph’s family believes him, but he’s told the story to a lot of people. There’s not anyone who really listens to him. And yet Martin Harris is this prosperous guy in Palmyra. He’s well thought of. I mean, Martin Harris is so well thought of in Palmyra that even after people start trying to attack him for believing this Mormon stuff, they still have to say, well, he wasn’t honest and an industrious farmer in this town.
But he was obviously fooled.
And he embraces Joseph Smith telling him that an angel has told him where plates are long before he’s ever seen that there’s plates. And from the beginning says, I will pay for that book to be produced. Now, Harris desperately wants to convince other people that this what he’s doing really is true. And so he thinks if I show them characters from the Book of Mormon, then they’ll believe, where would these characters come from? And they don’t believe, well, how about if I show them the pages from the Book of Mormon and they still don’t believe he believes and he desperately wants other people to, and he can’t seem to find the way to prove to them that it’s true.
What was his religious background before meeting Joseph?
He actually bounces around from various different religions. He feels kind of pulled to try to find truth in different ways. Now we have some people who will say that he’d actually become a Universalist it’s hard to sort out. Historically speaking, not every Church has exactly the perfect records from the time period, but certainly he is drawn to various religious movements.
So he bounced around from religion to religion before meeting Joseph. And we know that after he left the Church, he also bounced around to various religions. Does that discredit him as a witness?
I don’t think so, especially in the aftermath of him leaving the Church. I mean, he’s going to bounce around to a lot of different religions, but he’s bouncing around to religions that are maintaining that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Obviously, the easiest thing to do is to just simply leave that testimony, because if you want to win the argument against Joseph Smith, there’s a way to destroy Joseph Smith. And the way to do it is to simply say, yeah, we never saw any plates. Joseph Smith, he told us to say this, and we went along with it, but we didn’t know it get this hard at hand. I don’t know that it would have destroyed the Church, but it would have been a significant stumbling block if all three of these men were to say, you know what? We never saw anything. This was just a one. Joseph wrote that and then signed our names to the bottom. We don’t even know about a goal, but they don’t do that. In fact, they fiercely defend that the gold plates existed, that they saw an angel, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I think that demonstrates how deeply they believe it. Whatever their conflict with the Church is, that experience really seems to be the focal point of the remainder of their lives that happened.
So what was he excommunicated for?
What caused that?
Clearly, one of the things that exacerbates his tensions is the failure of the current one saves his Saudi.
What’s going on?
The bank’s gone bust. There’s no money. The bank fails. At the same time.
Hundreds of banks in the United States fail. Then it is a catastrophic economic time in the United States that combined with this continual demand from the Church that people donate their money to the Church to pay for purchasing more lands to help bail out the Curl and safety society. The reality was for Martin Harris, who’d already given up all of his money to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon. It certainly is a continual theme of the Church needs more from you. The Church needs more. As the safety society begins to fail, Harris is going to kind of fall in with some of the dissenters in Martin who say, you know what? Joseph was a Prophet, but I think he’s a fallen Prophet now.
So after he’s excommunicated, we know that he bounced around to various religions everywhere.
What brought him back?
You can see Martin Harris desperate commitment to the Book of Mormon. He’s going to join up with Warren parish’s Church, but shortly after Warren Parish decides. One of the problems with winning Congress to this Church is that all the Christians around here see the Book of Mormon as a blasphemous heresy. So why don’t we just drop the Book of Mormon part and just do just at your average Protestant Church. Well, Martin Harris doesn’t go along with that. He abandons parish’s Church if they’re not going to teach the book of Mormon. He’ll later join the Strang. Whitmer Church after Joseph mist murder and Martin Harris will not only join that Church he will serve a mission to England for that Church and preaching the book of Mormon the whole time again. For him, the book of Mormon is the central aspect of his faith.
What brought him back?
Church will raise funds to bring him he’s like it’s about time now we’re raising funds. So the Church and Brigham Young gives the first $25 to go get him. They move him to Utah and he’s rebaptized and then his son goes up in Cash Valley and he goes to live with him. He’ll actually make a tour of various churches in Utah bearing his testimony of gold place in the Book of Mormon. So after he comes back, he’s all in. But it’s not till the very end of his life.
Great. Thank you.
Joseph was dead. The young Church balanced on a razor’s edge for grieving Saints. There was no tested path no definitive word on who should lead. But mere hours following Joseph’s death some began to campaign while others look for revelation from God.
Be a part of the next chapter visit six days august.com.