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.


Additional Resources:

Does Martin Harris' involvement with other faiths after the Restoration discredit him?

Explaining Away the Book of Mormon Witnesses (2004 FAIR Conference) by Richard L. Anderson

Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Book of Mormon Witnesses,” byu.edu

FAIRMORMON: Book of Mormon Witnesses

Faith and Reason 7: Book of Mormon Witnesses, Michael R. Ash

Mormon FAIR-Cast 150: The Apostasy of the Witnesses, Martin Tanner

Mormon FAIR-Cast 150: The Apostasy of the Witnesses,

The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project and Mary Whitmer Witness to the Gold Plates by Royal Skousen

pt 1 Book of Mormon Witnesses and the Restoration

pt 2 Book of Mormon Witnesses and the Restoration

pt 1, Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced 2006 FAIR Conference address

pt 2, Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced 2006 FAIR Conference address

pt 3, Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced 2006 FAIR Conference address

pt 4, Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced 2006 FAIR Conference address

pt 5, Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced 2006 FAIR Conference address

Tangible Restoration: The Eye Witnesses of The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon Witnesses: Evidence for The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon Witnesses, Part 1: Motives (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Witnesses, Part 2: Oliver Cowdery (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Witnesses, Part 3: Martin Harris (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Witnesses, Part 4: David Whitmer (PFD) by Michael Ash

Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced (PDF) (2006 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson