Is Martin Harris Reliable?

CES Letter Core Question

Why should we trust Martin Harris?

With inconsistency, conflict of interest, magical thinking, and superstition like this,
exactly what credibility does Martin Harris have and why should I believe him?

CES Letter, Page 91

Martin Harris, like the other witnesses, were men of their times who believed in some things that modern readers might fight strange. However, this seems unrelated to their witness of what they saw with their eyes and felt with their hands.

David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery were initially skeptical of Joseph’s claims, and tested his ability to see things with his seer stone. Click here

One skeptical newspaper wrote, “And no man can look at David Whitmer's face for a half-hour, while he charit[abl]y and modestly speaks of what he has seen, and then boldly and earnestly confesses the faith that is in him, and say that he is a bigot or an enthusiast.”

Twenty-two prominent non-Mormons in town wrote: “We the undersigned citizens of Richmond Ray CO Mo where David Whitmer Sr has resided since the year AD 1838, Certify that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him, and know him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity....” Click here

It is claimed that the witnesses cannot be trusted, or are unreliable, because they were unstable personalities, prone to enthusiasm and exaggeration. Evidence amply demonstrates that the formal witnesses of the Book of Mormon were men of good character and reputation, and were recognized as such by contemporary non-Mormons.  Click here


Additional Resources:

David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery tested Joseph's abilities as a seer

What was the character of the witnesses?

Were the Book of Mormon witnesses not "empirical" or "rational" men because they lived in the 19th-Century?

Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Book of Mormon Witnesses," byu.edu

Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Attempts to Redefine the Experience of the Eight Witnesses," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/1 (2005): 18–31.

Kenneth W. Godfrey, "David Whitmer and the Shaping of Latter-day Saint History," in The Disciple As Witness: Essays on Latter-Day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, edited by Richard Lloyd Anderson, Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges, (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000),223–256.

Kirk B. Henrichsen, "How Witnesses Described the "Gold Plates"," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10/1 (2001): 16–21.

Jeff Lindsay, "Circumstantial Evidence and the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon: Can They Be Ignored Any Longer?", jefflindsay.com

Matthew Roper, "Comments on the Book of Mormon Witnesses: A Response to Jerald and Sandra Tanner," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 164–193.

Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Credibility of the Book of Mormon Witnesses," in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds and Charles D. Tate (eds.), (Provo, Utah : Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University ; Salt Lake City, Utah : Distributed by Bookcraft, 1996 [1982]),Chapter 9, 213–232.

Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981).

Richard L. Anderson, "Personal Writings of the Book of Mormon Witnesses," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997), Chapter 3.