February 22, 2023

Emma Smith Interview on the Authenticity of The Book of Mormon

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Emma Hale Smith saw first hand the miracles of the translation of The Book of Mormon through her husband the prophet Joseph Smith. She was as amazed as anyone would be, and maybe even more so, because she knew her husbands inadequacies. Emma was a strong support to her husband and even through the hardest of times she stood strong with her testimony of what she witnessed.

This interview took place February 1879(35 years after Joseph Smith died). Emma was interviewed by her son Joseph Smith III. At the time of the interview Emma was remarried to Major Lewis Bidamon, he also speaks in the interview.

Emma Smith’s Interview 1879

I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the Church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at that table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.

Q: Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you?

A: He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.

Q: Could he not have had, and you not know it?

A: If he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.

Q: Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writhing for him?

A:The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.

Q: Where did father and Oliver Cowdery write?

A: Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the same room where I was at work.

Q: Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?

A: Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, ”a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to anyone else.

Q: I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?

A: I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor to uncover them and look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so.

Major Bidamon: Did Mr. Smith forbid you from examining the plates?

A: I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not especially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary to do my work.

Q: Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity, or origin, of the Book of Mormon?

A: My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity—I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would once begin where he left off, without seeing the manuscript or having any portion read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.

More Blog Posts:

Women Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

The Three Witnesses of The Book of Mormon

Get to know Martin Harris

Who is Oliver Cowdery?

Who is David Whitmer?

Places to Visit:

Smith Home in Palmyra New York

Hill Cumorah

Joseph and Emma Smith Home in Harmony Pennsylvania

Palmyra Temple

Peter Whitmer Home


”The Witness of Women, firsthand Experiences and Testimonies from the Restoration.” By Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder (p.27-28)

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