Defending the Faith: Martin Harris: 'Native honesty' and life-long testimony

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Strong couldn’t, of course, grant any truth or worthiness to Mormonism. But, along with most if not all of the other residents of Palmyra, he also couldn’t bring himself to pronounce Martin Harris a deceiver. Instead, Strong remembered Harris as a humble, hardworking and sincere man, deeply devoted, notwithstanding mockery and opposition, to what he genuinely believed to be true.

This is no insignificant fact: Martin Harris testified to the end of his life that, with David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, he had “seen the plates” and “the engravings which are upon the plates.” With Whitmer and Cowdery, he testified that the Book of Mormon had “been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us.” “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.”

Daniel Peterson founded BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, teaches Arabic studies, directs, chairs, blogs daily at, and speaks only for himself.

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