January 9, 2023

Women Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

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Sometimes we overlook the accounts of women in history and the contributions made by them. The most common accounts of the Book of Mormon witnesses are the ones printed the in the Book of Mormon, but there are more.

Katherine Smith Salisbury

Katherine Smith Salisbury is the younger sister of the prophet Joseph Smith. When she was 17 years old Joseph got the Golden Plates from the Hill Cumorah. Here is what happened in her words:

”I was at home when my brother Joseph burst through the door out of breath and nearly exhausted and threw himself on the couch. He was clutching the package with the gold plates against his side with his left hand. And his right hand was badly bruised. Joseph told me that three men had leapt out at him from behind a fence. He hurt his hand striking one of them to get away. Then he ran with the plates until he was out of breath.

I looked after Joseph until he was breathing properly again. And I examined his injured hand and treated the bruises on his knuckle. I never saw the plates because the angel had forbidden Joseph to show them at that time. But I did heft the package to set it on the table and it was very heavy.”

Emma Smith

Emma Smith is the Prophet Joseph Smith wife. Here is one of her experiences with The Book of Mormon when she was 25 years old:

”Oliver Cowdery and my husband Joseph wrote in the same room where I was at work. The plates often lay on a table wrapped in a small linen tablecloth that I had given him.

I once felt the plates as they lay there. I traced their outline and shape. They seemed pliable, like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound as my thumb touched the edges. I did not attempt to uncover them or handle them. I was satisfied that this was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it necessary.

My husband could neither write nor dictate a coherent letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. And though I was present and an active participant in the translation of the plates, it was marvelous to me-a marvel and a wonder to me as much as to anyone else.”

Mary Musselman Whitmer

The Whitmer family took Joseph and Emma into their home while Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon. Here is her account as a witness of The Book of Mormon:

“That summer, Joseph, Emma, and Oliver were all living under our roof while they worked to translate the gold plates. Having six members of my own family to care for plus these new visitors created a lot of extra work for me, almost more than I could bear.

One night after working all day, I went out to the barn to milk the cows. There I met a stranger. He had something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first I was a little afraid, but then he spoke in a kind and friendly voice that put me right at ease. The man talked about the nature of the work that was going on in my house, and it filled me with such inexpressible joy and satisfaction.

He unwrapped the knapsack and showed me a bundle of plates. He turned each of the golden leaves one-by-one and showed me the engravings written upon them. Then he told me to suffer my burdens for just a little while longer and that I would be blessed if I just stood faithful to the end.

Then the stranger disappeared suddenly, and I could not tell where he had gone. From that moment my burdens became lighter, and I had no more desire to murmur or complain.”

Places to visit when learning about The Book of Mormon translation:

Joseph Smith’s Childhood home- Where Joseph brought the gold plates home after recieving them from the Hill Cumorah.

Palmyra New York Temple

Sacred Grove-Palmyra New York

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/historic-sites/new-york/sacred-grove?lang=eng

Hill Cumorah- Manchester, New York

https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/collection/hill-cumorah?lang=eng

Issac Hale Farm-Harmony PA

https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/content/historic-sites/pennsylvania/priesthood-restoration-site/emmas-susquehanna?lang=eng

Peter Whitmer Farm-Fayette, New York

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/historic-sites/new-york/whitmer-farm-church-organization-site?lang=eng

Related Articles:

Purchasing the Smith Home land, and the “Fighting Preacher.”

“It is time to build a temple in the area where it all started” Palmyra, New York Temple

Uplifting Stories from the Palmyra, Temple

Only Temple With a Clear Glass Window Palmyra, New York Temple

References:

“Pioneer” The national society of the sons ofUtah Pioneers “The Heavens are opened” Exhibit at the Church History Museum 2016 Volume 63 Numbers 2,3,4

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