Three Sure Witnesses
Late June 1829, it was a pleasant summer day about 11:00 o’clock in the morning, in the small community of Fayette, New York when Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery walked from the home of Peter Whitmer III out into a nearby field where their companion David Whitmer was plowing. Together they went into the woods about 40 rods from the cabin. They sat down on a log, talked for awhile and then knelt and began to pray, in faith—each in turn. Joseph prayed first. At the conclusion of the first round, they then commenced again, but still there was no result. At that point, ‘Martin Harris proposed that he withdraw himself.”
After Martin had left they knelt and prayed again. They had not been many minutes in prayer when they discovered “a light above [them] in the air of exceeding brightness.” “simultaneous with the light came a strange entrancing influence which permeated [them] so powerfully that [they] felt chained to the spot.” It was accompanied with a “sensation of joy absolutely indescribable.” And then—standing before them was an angel of the Lord. He held in his hands the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon had been translated. He turned the leaves of the record one by one so that they were visible to every man present. Addressing David Whitmer, he said, “David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keepeth his commandments.”
“Immediately afterwards, [they] heard a voice from out of the bright light above [them] saying, ‘these plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. They translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.”
There appeared about 3 feet away “a table, with many records on it—besides the plates of the Book of Mormon, also the sword of Laban, the Directors, and the interpreters.” David would later declare “human language could not describe [the] heavenly things and that which we saw.”
At the close of the vision, Joseph went in search of Martin Harris. Upon finding him, Martin asked Joseph to join him in prayer. Before they had even finished the same vision was opened again. Upon hearing and beholding, “Martin Harris cried out, apparently in ecstasy of joy, ‘Tis enough; mine eyes have beheld,’ and jumping up he shouted hosanna, blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly.”
The four men returned to the cabin and drafted a document that stands today in the front of the Book of Mormon. It begins, “Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come…” It is the testimony of the three witnesses.
That day is more important than most people know. It affects every person on earth. You see, it has been an irrevocable law of God from the beginning “that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16).
In the Book of Mormon three sure witnesses establish that the record testifies of Christ. They are Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah. Today, three more sure witnesses establish that the Book is true and of God. And all the world will be judged according to that singular and powerful witness.