Source: David Whitmer literal experience quotes
Quotations from David Whitmer which demonstrate the literal nature of the Three Witness experience
- I personally heard him [David Whitmer] state in Jan. 1876 in his own house...in most positive language, that he did truly see in broad day light, a bright, and most beautiful being, an 'Angel from Heaven," who did hold in his hands the golden plates, which he turned over leaf by leaf, explaining the contents, here and there. He also described the size and general appearance of the plates....
- I saw the angel as plainly as I see you; he was surrounded by the glory of God, which overshadowed us, and we heard his voice, and we saw the records of the Book of Mormon...My testimony is the same as at the beginning, as is true.
- I[nterviewer]--Martin Harris...gave a testimony in Salt Lake City Tabernacle that he saw the plates by [the] faith and power of God.
- He [David Whitmer]--Martin Harris is correct....we saw it, and our testimony, which we give to the world, is true exactly as you read it, we saw by the gift and power of God. As we were praying the angel stood before us in his glory, and all those things were before us, as they were laid before us on a table, and we heard the testimony about the plates, and we were commanded to bear that testimony to the world, and our testimony is true. And when the angel had finished his words, and shown us the plates, one by one, which were to be translated, then the vision was closed at once, and exactly as it came even so did the sight disappear.
- I--But those things which you saw were material things, how could they come and vanish away again?
- He--It is the power of God. He does those things, and his angels know how to do it. It was wonderful to us, but it was by the power of God. He had appointed his angels to be the guardians of the plates and other things, and the angels knew how it was done.
- I--Did the eight witnesses not handle the plates as a material substance?
- He--We did not, but they did, because the faith of Joseph became so great that the angel, the guardian of the plates, gave the plates up to Joseph for a time, that those eight witnesses could see and handle them.
- David Whitmer: "It was in June 1829, the very last part of the month, and the eight witnesses, I think, the next day. Joseph showed them the plates himself. We (the Three Witnesses) not only saw the plates of the book of Mormon, but the Brass Plates, the plates containing the record of the wickedness of the people of the world, and many other plates. The fact is, it was just as though Joseph, Oliver and I were sitting right here on a log, when we were overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun, nor like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful. It extended away round us, I cannot tell how far, but in the midst of this light, immediately before us, about as far off as he sits (pointing to John C. Whitmer who was sitting 2 or 3 feet from him) there appeared, as it were, a table, with many records on it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon; also the sword of Laban, the Directors (i.e. the ball which Lehi had) and the Interpreters. I saw them just as plain as I see this bed (striking his hand upon the bed beside him), and I heard the voice of the Lord as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life declaring that they (the plates) were translated by the gift and power of God."
- David had been charged with being deluded into thinking he had seen an angel and the plates. One observer remembers when David was so accused, and said:
- How well and distinctly I remember the manner in which Elder Whitmer arose and drew himself up to his full height--a little over six feet--and said, in solemn and impressive tones: "No sir! I was not under any hallucination, nor was I deceived! I saw with these eyes, and I heard with these ears! I know whereof I speak!"
- David Whitmer, reported by Thomas Wood Smith to the Editor, Fall River (MA) Herald, 28 March 1879; reprinted in the Saints' Herald 26 (15 April 1879): 128; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 5:26.
- David Whitmer, interview with J. Frank McDowell on 8 May 1884, Saints' Herald 31 (9 August 1884): 508; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 5:223.
- David Whitmer interview with P. Wilhelm Poulson, circa April 1878, letter to the editor, Deseret Evening News (16 August 1878); cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 5:38-39.
- David Whitmer, interview with Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, 7-8 September 1878; Joseph F. Smith, Diary, 7-8 September 1878, LDS Church Archives; cited in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 5:43-44.
- Joseph Smith III, et al., Interview, July 1884, Richmond Missouri, in Lyndon W. Cook, David Whitmer Interviews, 134-35