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The witness of Hyrum Smith
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The witness of Hyrum Smith
Hyrum Smith "felt a determination to die, rather than deny the things which my eyes had seen"
Multiple writers recalled Hyrum's testimony:
- [W]ee wass talking about the Book of Mormon which he is one of the witnesses he said he had but too hands and too eyes he said he had seen the plates with his eyes and handled them with his hands.
- "[Mary Fielding Smith] bears testimony that her husband [Hyrum] has seen and handled the plates, &c."
- Another writer heard Hyrum "declare, in this city in public, that what is recorded about the plates, &c. &c. is God's solemn truth."
- "When I was but ten years of age, I heard the testimony of the Patriarch Hyrum Smith, one of the eight witnesses, to the divinity of the Book of Mormon and teh appearance of the plates from which it was translated."
After being in Liberty Jail, Hyrum wrote:
I felt a determination to die, rather than deny the things which my eyes had seen, which my hands had handled, and which I had borne testimony to, wherever my lot had been cast (emphasis added).
Hyrum Smith's character
Richard Anderson wrote:
- [Hyrum] was respected by his neighbors, for he served as school trustee in his neigborhood in 1828. Elected to this office in the local school district, he with two other trustees managed school affairs and funds, including hiring of teachers. Hyrum's non-Mormon reputation became clearer after the work of Masonic scholar Mervin Hogan, who published the Navuoo Lodge minutes indicating that Hyrum Smith had been a Mason in good standing in the Mount Moriah lodge No. 112, which met in Palmyra, New York. Further research shows that Hyrum indeed appears on the Palmyra report covering the period to June 4, 1828, just a year before he became a Book of Mormon witness. He is one of fifty-nine members, and is not named as newly initiated that year. This means taht normal Masonic procedures of unanimity had admitted him on grounds that his character would honor that organization—a judgment made by the large Palmyra group, among whom were young printer Pomeroy Tucker and respected physician Alexander McIntire.
Holland: "quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time?"
Hyrum was later murdered in Carthage jail for his testimony. The night before, he turned to the Book of Mormon for comfort. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland noted how implausible such conduct is if Hyrum knew or believed the Book of Mormon to be a hoax:
May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother:
“Thou hast been faithful; wherefore … thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.
“And now I, Moroni, bid farewell … until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
A few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon....Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators.
As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
- ↑ Letter to John Kempton, 26 August 1838, Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, microfilm no. 840025.
- ↑ Joseph Fielding, "Letter to Parley P. Pratt," Millennial Star 4 (August 1841), 52.
- ↑ "Mr. J. B. Newhall's Lecture," signed by "A Hearer," Salem Advertiser and Argus, 12 April 1843, some also in Times and Seasons 4 (15 June 1843): 234–235;
- ↑ Salt Lake Stake Historical Record, 25 January 1888; cited in Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 146. ISBN 0877478465.
- ↑ Hyrum Smith, "To the Saints scattered abroad," Times and Seasons 1 (November 1839), 20, 23. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- ↑ Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 145. ISBN 0877478465.
- ↑ Ether 12:37–38; see also D&C 135:5.
- ↑ History of the Church, 6:600. Volume 6 link
- ↑ Jeffrey R. Holland, "Safety for the Soul," Ensign (November 2009).