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Other Witnesses


   And also the testimony of eight witnesses<br>
   Be it known unto all Nations Kindreds tongues + people unto whom this work shall come that Joseph Smith jun. the author + proprietor of this work has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken which have the appearance of gold + as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands + we also saw the engravings thereon all of which has the appearance of ancient work + of curious workmanship + this we bear record with words of soberness that the said Smith has shewn unto us for we have seen + hefted + know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken + we give our names unto the world to witness unto the world that which we have seen + we lie not God bearing witness of it.<br> 
<br>
Christian Whitmer<br>
Jacob Whitmer<br>
Peter Whitmer, Jun.<br>
John Whitmer<br>
Hiram Page<br>
Joseph Smith, Sen.<br>
Hyrum Smith<br>
Samuel H. Smith
External Link
Joseph Smith Papers, Testimony of Eight Witnesses, late June 1829
Testimony of the Eight Witnesses
Eight Witnesses
June, 1829
   And also the testimony of eight witnesses
   Be it known unto all Nations Kindreds tongues + people unto whom this work shall come that Joseph Smith jun. the author + proprietor of this work has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken which have the appearance of gold + as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands + we also saw the engravings thereon all of which has the appearance of ancient work + of curious workmanship + this we bear record with words of soberness that the said Smith has shewn unto us for we have seen + hefted + know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken + we give our names unto the world to witness unto the world that which we have seen + we lie not God bearing witness of it.
 
Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jun.
John Whitmer
Hiram Page
Joseph Smith, Sen.
Hyrum Smith
Samuel H. Smith
(Note:  The men whose names are listed on this document died in the following years: Christian Whitmer (1835), Jacob Whitmer (1856), Peter Whitmer, Jun. (1836), John Whitmer (1878), Hiram Page (1852), Joseph Smith, Sen. (1840), Hyrum Smith (1844), Samuel H. Smith (1844))

   ...all I know, you have published to the world that an angel did present those plates to Joseph Smith. Whitmer replied I now say I handled those plates; there was fine engravings on both sides. I handled them; and he described how they were hung, and they were shown to me by a supernatural power; he acknowledged all.  Turley asked him, why the translation is not now here. He said I cannot read it, and I do not know whether it is true or not.  Whitmer testified all this in the presence of eight men.
Full Source
External Link
Millennial Star, vol 17, pg 103
John Whitmer statement, attributed to April 5th, 1839
Thomas Bullock
1855
   "...all I know, you have published to the world that an angel did present those plates to Joseph Smith." Whitmer replied "I now say I handled those plates; there was fine engravings on both sides. I handled them;" and he described how they were hung, and "they were shown to me by a supernatural power;" he acknowledged all. Turley asked him, "why the translation is not now here." He said "I cannot read it, and I do not know whether it is true or not." Whitmer testified all this in the presence of eight men.

   It may not be amiss in this place, to give a statement to the world concerning the work of the Lord, as I have been a member of this church of Latter Day Saints from its beginning; to say that the book of Mormon is a revelation from God, I have no hesitancy; but with all confidence have signed my named to it as such; and I hope, that my patrons will indulge me in speaking freely on this subject, as I am about leaving the editorial department—Therefore I desire to testify to all that will come to the knowledge of this address; that I have most assuredly seen the plates from whence the book of Mormon is translated, and that I have handled these plates, and know of a surety that Joseph Smith, jr. has translated the book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, and in this thing the wisdom of the wise most assuredly has perished: therefore, know ye, O ye inhabitants of the earth, wherever this address may come, that I have in this thing freed my garments of your blood, whether you believe or disbelieve the statements of your unworthy friend and well-wisher.
Full Source
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Messenger and Advocate, Vol 2, No 6, pgs 286-287
John Whitmer published statement
John Whitmer
Mar, 1836
   "It may not be amiss in this place, to give a statement to the world concerning the work of the Lord, as I have been a member of this church of Latter Day Saints from its beginning; to say that the book of Mormon is a revelation from God, I have no hesitancy; but with all confidence have signed my named to it as such; and I hope, that my patrons will indulge me in speaking freely on this subject, as I am about leaving the editorial department—Therefore I desire to testify to all that will come to the knowledge of this address; that I have most assuredly seen the plates from whence the book of Mormon is translated, and that I have handled these plates, and know of a surety that Joseph Smith, jr. has translated the book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, and in this thing the wisdom of the wise most assuredly has perished: therefore, know ye, O ye inhabitants of the earth, wherever this address may come, that I have in this thing freed my garments of your blood, whether you believe or disbelieve the statements of your unworthy friend and well-wisher."

   In the next place you want to know my faith relative to the Book of Mormon and the winding up of wickedness. As to the Book of Mormon, it would be doing injustice to myself and to the work of God of the last days, to say that I could know a thing to be true in 1830, and know the same thing to be false in 1847. To say my mind was so treacherous that I have forgotten what I saw, to say that a man of Joseph's ability, who at that time did not know how to pronounce the word Nephi, could write a book of six hundred pages, as correct as the Book of Mormon without supernatural power. And to say that those holy Angels who came and showed themselves to me as I was walking through the field, to confirm me in the work of the Lord of the last days--three of whom came to me afterwards and sang an hymn in their own pure language; yes, it would be treating the God of heaven with contempt, to deny these testimonies, with too many others to mention here....
Full Source
External Link
The Ensign of Liberty, Kirtland, OH, January 1848, Vol 1, No 4
Hiram Page Letter
Hiram Page
30 May, 1847
   In the next place you want to know my faith relative to the Book of Mormon and the winding up of wickedness. As to the Book of Mormon, it would be doing injustice to myself and to the work of God of the last days, to say that I could know a thing to be true in 1830, and know the same thing to be false in 1847. To say my mind was so treacherous that I have forgotten what I saw, to say that a man of Joseph's ability, who at that time did not know how to pronounce the word Nephi, could write a book of six hundred pages, as correct as the Book of Mormon without supernatural power. And to say that those holy Angels who came and showed themselves to me as I was walking through the field, to confirm me in the work of the Lord of the last days--three of whom came to me afterwards and sang an hymn in their own pure language; yes, it would be treating the God of heaven with contempt, to deny these testimonies, with too many others to mention here....
(Note:  No images of this periodical are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   Father John Whitmer told me last winter with tears in his eyes, that he knew as well as he knew he had an existence that Joseph translated the ancient writing which was upon the plates which he saw and handled, and which as one of the scribes, he helped to copy, as the words fell from Joseph's lips, by supernatural or almighty power.
Full Source
External Link
The Saints' Herald, 15 Aug, 1878, Vol 25, No 16, pg 253
Myron Bond Statement
Myron H. Bond
15 Aug, 1878
   "Father John Whitmer told me last winter with tears in his eyes, that he knew as well as he knew he had an existence that Joseph translated the ancient writing which was upon the plates which he "saw and handled," and which as one of the scribes, he helped to copy, as the words fell from Joseph's lips, by supernatural or almighty power."

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Correspondence, The Deseret News, 14 Aug, 1878, Vol 27, No 28
P. Wilhelm Poulson Interview
P. Wilhelm Poulson
14 Aug, 1878
   I visited this last one of the eight witnesses in April this year, at his fine residence at Far West... John Whitmer received me as a dear father would receive a son, and answered readily all my questions. I said I am aware that your name is affixed to the testimony in the Book of Mormon, that you saw the plates?

He -- It is so and that testimony is true.
I -- did you handle the plates with your hands?
He -- I did so!
I -- Then they were a material substance?
He -- Yes, as material as anything can be.
I -- Were they heavy to lift?
He -- Yes, and as you know gold is a heavy metal: they were very heavy.
I -- How big were the leaves?
He -- So far as I recollect, 8 by 6 or seven inches.
I -- Were the leaves thick?
He -- Yes, just so thick, that characters could be engraven on both sides.
I -- How were the leaves joined together?
He -- In three rings, each one in the shape of a D with the straight line towards the center.
I -- In what place did you see the plates?
He -- In Joseph Smith’s house; he had them there.
I -- Did you see them covered with a cloth?
He -- No. He handed them uncovered into our hands, and we turned the leaves sufficient to satisfy us.
I -- Were you all eight witnesses present at the same time?
He -- No. At that time Joseph showed the plates to us, we were four persons, present in the room, and at another time he showed them to four persons more.

   ...when Joseph Smith (III), living in Plano, sent word to John Whitmer to reaffirm his testimony, his answer was: "I have never recalled it, and I have nothing to reaffirm."
(Note:  No images of this edition of the Deseret News are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   Soon after our arrival home, I saw something which led me to the belief that the plates were placed or concealed in my father's barn. I frankly asked Joseph if my supposition was right, and he told me it was. Sometime after this, my mother was going to milk the cows, when she was met out near the yard by the same old man (judging by her description of him) who said to her: ‘You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.’ Thereupon he showed her the plates. My father and mother had a large family of their own, the addition to it therefore of Joseph, his wife Emma and Oliver very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although she had never complained she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much, or at least she was perhaps beginning to feel so. This circumstance, however, completely removed all such feelings and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities.
Full Source
External Link
Millenial Star, 9 Dec, 1878, Vol 40, pgs 772-773
David Whitmer on his mother, Mary Whitmer
David Whitmer
7 Sep, 1878
   Soon after our arrival home, I saw something which led me to the belief that the plates were placed or concealed in my father's barn. I frankly asked Joseph if my supposition was right, and he told me it was. Sometime after this, my mother was going to milk the cows, when she was met out near the yard by the same old man (judging by her description of him) who said to her: ‘You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.’ Thereupon he showed her the plates. My father and mother had a large family of their own, the addition to it therefore of Joseph, his wife Emma and Oliver very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although she had never complained she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much, or at least she was perhaps beginning to feel so. This circumstance, however, completely removed all such feelings and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities.

   Her son, David Whitmer, before his death, testified on several occasions that his mother had seen the plates, and when the writer visited Richmond, Missouri, a few weeks ago, John C. Whitmer, a grandson of the lady in question testified in the following language:<br>
   I have heard my grandmother (Mary M. Whitmer) say on several occasions that she was shown the plates of the Book of Mormon by an holy angel, whom she always called Brother Nephi. (She undoubtedly refers to Moroni, the angel who had the plates in charge.) It was at the time, she said, when the translation was going on at the house of the elder Peter Whitmer, her husband. Joseph Smith and his wife and Oliver Cowdery, whom David Whitmer a short time previous had brought up from Harmony, Pennsylvania, were all boarding with the Whitmers, and my grandmother in having so many extra persons to care for, besides her own large household, was often overloaded with work to such an extent that she felt it to be quite a burden. One evening, when (after having done her usual day's work in the house) she went to the barn to milk the cows, she met a stranger carrying something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first she was a little afraid of him, but when he spoke to her in a kind, friendly tone and began to explain to her the nature of the work which was going on in her house (that is, the translation of the Book of Mormon), she was filled with unexpressible joy and satisfaction. He then untied his knapsack and showed her a bundle of plates, which in size and appearance corresponded with the description subsequently given by the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. This strange person turned the leaves of the book of plates over, leaf after leaf, and also showed her the engravings upon them; after which he told her to be patient and faithful in bearing her burden a little longer, promising that if she would do so, she should be blessed; and her reward would be sure, if she proved faithful to the end. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, she could not tell. From that moment my grandmother was enabled to perform her household duties with comparative ease, and she felt no more inclination to murmur because her lot was hard. I knew my grandmother to be a good, noble and truthful woman, and I have not the least doubt of her statement in regard to seeing the plates being strictly true. She was a strong believer in the Book of Mormon until the day of her death.<br>
Full Source
External Link
The Historical Record 7, Nos. 8-10, October 1888, pg 621
Mary Whitmer according to her grandson John C. Whitmer
Andrew Jenson
October, 1888
   Her son, David Whitmer, before his death, testified on several occasions that his mother had seen the plates, and when the writer visited Richmond, Missouri, a few weeks ago, John C. Whitmer, a grandson of the lady in question testified in the following language:
   "I have heard my grandmother (Mary M. Whitmer) say on several occasions that she was shown the plates of the Book of Mormon by an holy angel, whom she always called Brother Nephi. (She undoubtedly refers to Moroni, the angel who had the plates in charge.) It was at the time, she said, when the translation was going on at the house of the elder Peter Whitmer, her husband. Joseph Smith and his wife and Oliver Cowdery, whom David Whitmer a short time previous had brought up from Harmony, Pennsylvania, were all boarding with the Whitmers, and my grandmother in having so many extra persons to care for, besides her own large household, was often overloaded with work to such an extent that she felt it to be quite a burden. One evening, when (after having done her usual day's work in the house) she went to the barn to milk the cows, she met a stranger carrying something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first she was a little afraid of him, but when he spoke to her in a kind, friendly tone and began to explain to her the nature of the work which was going on in her house (that is, the translation of the Book of Mormon), she was filled with unexpressible joy and satisfaction. He then untied his knapsack and showed her a bundle of plates, which in size and appearance corresponded with the description subsequently given by the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. This strange person turned the leaves of the book of plates over, leaf after leaf, and also showed her the engravings upon them; after which he told her to be patient and faithful in bearing her burden a little longer, promising that if she would do so, she should be blessed; and her reward would be sure, if she proved faithful to the end. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, she could not tell. From that moment my grandmother was enabled to perform her household duties with comparative ease, and she felt no more inclination to murmur because her lot was hard. I knew my grandmother to be a good, noble and truthful woman, and I have not the least doubt of her statement in regard to seeing the plates being strictly true. She was a strong believer in the Book of Mormon until the day of her death."

   I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it— loth to give it up— but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in a public congregation that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver nor David & also that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundations was sapped & the entire superstructure fell a heap of ruins...<br>
   ...M Harris arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the Book of Mormon for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or a handkerchief over them, but he never saw them only as he saw a city through a mountain. And said that he never should have told that the testimony of the eight was false, if it had not been picked out of air but should have let it passed as it was
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Letterbook 2, pg 64
Martin Harris speech in Stephen Burnett Letter
Stephen Burnett
15 Apr, 1838
   I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it— loth to give it up— but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in a public congregation that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver nor David & also that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundations was sapped & the entire superstructure fell a heap of ruins...
   ...M Harris arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the Book of Mormon for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or a handkerchief over them, but he never saw them only as he saw a city through a mountain. And said that he never should have told that the testimony of the eight was false, if it had not been picked out of air but should have let it passed as it was

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Zion's Ensign, January 13, 1894, pg 6
The Testimony of William Smith
J. W. Peterson
13 Jan, 1894
   Brother Briggs and I visited him next day after he returned from St. Paul, it being about two weeks before his death. We found him able to be about the house and quite willing to talk. After passing the time of day, etc., Brother Briggs and he spoke of former meetings and finally drifted on to the subject of Brother Smith's early boyhood and his knowledge of the rise of the Church, Book of Mormon, etc.
   Brother Briggs then handed me a pencil and asked Brother Smith if he ever saw the plates his brother had had, from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
   He replied, "I did not see them uncovered, but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in a tow frock and judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds. I could tell they were plates of some kind and that they were fastened together by rings running through the back. Their size was as described in mother's history."
   Brother Briggs then asked, "Did any others of the family see them."
   "Yes," said he; "father and my brother Samuel saw them as I did while in the frock. So did Hyrum and others of the family."
   "Was this frock one that Joseph took with him especially to wrap the plates in?"
   "No, it was his every-day frock such as young men used to wear then."
   "Didn't you want to remove the cloth and see the bare plates?" said Brother Briggs.
   "No," he replied; "for father had just asked if he might not be permitted to do so, and Joseph, putting his hand on them said; 'No, I am instructed not to show them to any one. If I do, I will transgress and lose them again.' Besides, we did not care to have him break the commandment and suffer as he did before."
(Note:  This interview was originally published in Zion's Ensign. No copies of the original are available online. Please contact me if you have any information on that source. It was reprinted several weeks later in the Millenial Star, which can be read here/)

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William Smith notes, transcript in the LDS Church Archives
William Smith Notes
William Smith
1875
   The fact also that these tablets of which I have spoken were seen by a number persons, who testify that they not only saw with their eyes, but handled with their hands the said records, is conclusive proof that this Mormon revelation was not a transcript taken from any romance written by Solomon Spaulding or by any other person. The witnesses, all of them, being men of respectable standing in society.... It is due to say that for many years I have been personally acquainted with the persons whose names are given in testimony of the record found and translated by my brother Joseph Smith -- and were I under oath I could not say aught of these men for respectability or for their truthful veracity -- no persons to my knowledge has ever attempted to impeach, nor has either or any one of these witnesses even, to my knowledge, counteracted the testimony as given above concerning the real existence of these Mormon tablets.
(Note:  Spelling and punctuation corrected. No images of these notes are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   An anecdote touching this subject used to be related by William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver. They were notorious wags, and were intimately acquainted with Smith. They called as his friends at his residence, and strongly importuned him for an inspection of the golden book, offering to take upon themselves the risk of the death-penalty denounced. Of course, the request could not be complied with; but they were permitted to go to the chest with its owner, and see where the thing was, and observe its shape and size, concealed under a piece of thick canvas. Smith, with his accustomed solemnity of demeanor, positively persisting in his refusal to uncover it, Hussey became impetuous, and (suiting his action to his word) ejaculated, Egad! I'll see the critter, live or die! And stripping off the cover, a large tile-brick was exhibited. But Smith's fertile imagination was equal to the emergency. He claimed that his friends had been sold by a trick of his; and treating with the customary whisky hospitalities, the affair ended in good-nature.
Full Source
External Link
Origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism, pgs 31-32
Account of William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver
Pomeroy Tucker
1867
   An anecdote touching this subject used to be related by William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver. They were notorious wags, and were intimately acquainted with Smith. They called as his friends at his residence, and strongly importuned him for an inspection of the "golden book," offering to take upon themselves the risk of the death-penalty denounced. Of course, the request could not be complied with; but they were permitted to go to the chest with its owner, and see where the thing was, and observe its shape and size, concealed under a piece of thick canvas. Smith, with his accustomed solemnity of demeanor, positively persisting in his refusal to uncover it, Hussey became impetuous, and (suiting his action to his word) ejaculated, "Egad! I'll see the critter, live or die!" And stripping off the cover, a large tile-brick was exhibited. But Smith's fertile imagination was equal to the emergency. He claimed that his friends had been sold by a trick of his; and "treating" with the customary whisky hospitalities, the affair ended in good-nature.

   Josiah Stowel, being by me sworn, saith... that Smith, the prisoner, went in the night, and brought the Bible, (as Smith said;) witness saw a corner of it; it resembled a stone of a greenish caste; should judge it to have been about one foot square and six inches thick; he would not let it be seen by any one; the Lord had commanded him not; it was unknown to Smith, that witness saw a corner of the Bible, so called by Smith; told the witness the leaves were of gold; there were written characters on the leaves;
External Link
New England Christian Herald, Nov 7, 1832
Josiah Stowell Testimony
Josiah Stowell
7 Nov, 1832
   Josiah Stowel, being by me sworn, saith... that Smith, the prisoner, went in the night, and brought the Bible, (as Smith said;) witness saw a corner of it; it resembled a stone of a greenish caste; should judge it to have been about one foot square and six inches thick; he would not let it be seen by any one; the Lord had commanded him not; it was unknown to Smith, that witness saw a corner of the Bible, so called by Smith; told the witness the leaves were of gold; there were written characters on the leaves;
(Note:  This was originally published in the New England Christian Herald. No images of this periodical are available online, but a transcript can be read here. It was reprinted 9 days later in the Morning Star (Limerick, Maine) vol 7, no. 20 which can be viewed here)

   The most probable account of these certificates is, that the witnesses were in the conspiracy, aiding the imposture; but I have been informed by men who were once in the confidence of the prophet, that he privately gave a different account of the matter. It is related that the prophet's early followers were anxious to see the plates; the prophet had always given out that they could not be seen by the carnal eye, but must be spiritually discerned; that the power to see them depended upon faith, and was the gift of God, to be obtained by fasting, prayer, mortification of the flesh, and exercises of the spirit; that so soon as he could see the evidences of a strong and lively faith in any of his followers, they should be gratified in their holy curiosity. He set them to continual prayer, and other spiritual exercises, to acquire this lively faith by means of which the hidden things of God could be spiritually discerned; and at last, when he could delay them no longer, he assembled them in a room, and produced a box, which he said contained the precious treasure. The lid was opened; the witnesses peeped into it, but making no discovery, for the box was empty, they said, Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates. The prophet answered them, O ye of little faith! how long will God bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees, brethren, every one of you. and pray God for the forgiveness of your sins, and for a holy and living faith which cometh down from heaven. The disciples dropped to their knees, and began to pray in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God for more than two hours with fanatical earnestness; at the end of which time, looking again into the box, they were now persuaded that they saw the plates. I leave it to philosophers to determine whether the fumes of an enthusiastic and fanatical imagination are thus capable of blinding the mind and deceiving the senses by so absurd a delusion.
Full Source
External Link
A History of Illinois, from Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847, pg 257
Governor Ford Account
Thomas Ford
1854
   The most probable account of these certificates is, that the witnesses were in the conspiracy, aiding the imposture; but I have been informed by men who were once in the confidence of the prophet, that he privately gave a different account of the matter. It is related that the prophet's early followers were anxious to see the plates; the prophet had always given out that they could not be seen by the carnal eye, but must be spiritually discerned; that the power to see them depended upon faith, and was the gift of God, to be obtained by fasting, prayer, mortification of the flesh, and exercises of the spirit; that so soon as he could see the evidences of a strong and lively faith in any of his followers, they should be gratified in their holy curiosity. He set them to continual prayer, and other spiritual exercises, to acquire this lively faith by means of which the hidden things of God could be spiritually discerned; and at last, when he could delay them no longer, he assembled them in a room, and produced a box, which he said contained the precious treasure. The lid was opened; the witnesses peeped into it, but making no discovery, for the box was empty, they said, "Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates." The prophet answered them, "O ye of little faith! how long will God bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees, brethren, every one of you. and pray God for the forgiveness of your sins, and for a holy and living faith which cometh down from heaven." The disciples dropped to their knees, and began to pray in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God for more than two hours with fanatical earnestness; at the end of which time, looking again into the box, they were now persuaded that they saw the plates. I leave it to philosophers to determine whether the fumes of an enthusiastic and fanatical imagination are thus capable of blinding the mind and deceiving the senses by so absurd a delusion.

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