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BYU Studies
"Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon" is by Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter.

"MARTIN HARRIS: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon," by Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, BYU Studies, $24.95, 590 pages (nf)

Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, is known for his prominent role in the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. He is remembered for helping the Prophet Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon, losing the 116 pages of the manuscript and finally, for financing the printing of the Book of Mormon by mortgaging his farm in Palmyra, New York.

Jason Olson, Deseret News
Susan Easton Black teaches a religion class at BYU on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008.

Yet despite all this, there not much that is commonly known about his life before he joined the church nor when he stayed behind in Kirtland, Ohio, after the Saints left to go to Missouri.

Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, both former professors of BYU, joined to write a compelling story about Martin Harris, a man who not only struggled to keep the faith, but also made remarkable contributions to the restoration of the gospel.

Harris' story begins not with his birth, but rather with his ancestors and their arrival in New England and their establishment in New York. It details the culture and lifestyle of Harris' family as well as how he became a well-established businessman and reputable citizen in Palmyra.

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This new biography details Harris' search for truth, his close relationship with Joseph Smith, his conversion to, and efforts to help build, the Church of Jesus Christ.

Finally, this biography fills in the gap from when Martin Harris became estranged from Joseph Smith and the church while in Kirtland, Ohio, to when he journeyed to rejoin the Saints in 1870 at the end of his life.

"Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon" is a compelling biography. It strives to provide an honest look at the man who never denied that he saw an angel, the brass plates, or that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.