Legality of Witnesses Testimonies
Firm Testimonies of the Witnesses
CES Letter Core Question
Were the witnesses firm in their testimonies?
When I was a missionary, my understanding and impression from looking at the testimony of the Three and Eight Witnesses in the Book of Mormon was that the signatures and statements were legally binding documents in which the names represented signatures on the original document similar to those you would see on the original US Declaration of Independence. This is how I presented the testimonies to investigators. According to the above manuscript that Oliver took to the printer for the Book of Mormon, they were not signatures. Since there is no document or evidence of any document whatsoever with the actual signatures of all of the witnesses, the only real testimonies we have from the witnesses are later interviews given by them and eyewitness accounts/affidavits made by others, some of which are shown previously.
From a legal perspective, the statements of the testimonies of the Three and Eight witnesses hold no credibility or weight in a court of law as there are a) no signatures of any of the witnesses except Oliver, b) no specific dates, c) no specific locations, and d) some of the witnesses made statements after the fact that contradict and cast doubt on the specific claims made in the statements contained in the preface of the Book of Mormon.
CES Letter, Page 100-101
With regard to the Three and Eight witnesses:
None recanted; Click here
They had shared experience which they used to check the reality of the experience; Click here
All who signed knew they would be ridiculed, and did not expect to be believed; Click here
Some maintained their testimony even in the face of threats or death; Click here
Some could have made profit from denying their testimony; Click here
Others suffered personal or professional losses because of their testimony; Click here
Many left the Church, but continued to insist upon their testimony. Click here
Some witnesses affirmed that, to their knowledge, no other witness had ever denied their testimony either. Click here
The CES Letter is simply not grappling with the totality of the evidence, and is distorting much of the evidence that it does present.