Martin Harris and the Shakers

Martin Harris & The Shakers

The evidence seems to show that Martin Harris accepted the Sacred Roll and Book as a divine revelation.

CES Letter, Page 104

Harris's brief interest in the Shaker Roll and Book is unsurprising since it claimed to come from angels to prepare the world for the Millennium.

Shaker beliefs emphasized personal revelation and visionary capabilities similar to what Martin Harris had experienced. Their appeal lay in a Pentecostal seeking of the Spirit and emphasis on preparation for Christ's coming.

Martin Harris embraced some aspects of Shakerism for a time, but he never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon or became a “witness” of Shaker claims, which was often encouraged by Shaker leaders.

Martin's Shaker sympathies terminated some time before 1855, when Thomas Colburn reported his attitude: "he tried the Shakers, but that would not do."[6]

Harris was willing to try other spiritual ideas after the martyrdom, but also to dismiss them if they could not duplicate the experiences he had with the Book of Mormon.

Even while investigating Shaker beliefs, Martin continued to share his testimony of the Book of Mormon. In an 1844 letter, Edward Bunker met Martin in the Kirtland Temple, visited his home, "and heard him bear his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon."[4] And six months later Jeremiah Cooper traveled to Kirtland and visited with Martin Harris: "he bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon."[5]

Martin Harris’ involvement with the Shakers appears to have been minimal. Fully committed Shakers lived in communities and embraced celibacy.

The Shaker Roll and Book afterwards fell into discredit and dishonor among the Shakers themselves and was abandoned by its leaders and most believers,[12] 

In contrast, the Book of Mormon continued to be a vitally important part of Mormon scripture to which each of the witnesses, including Martin Harris, continued to testify, even while outside of the Church.