Quote #7 - Pomeroy Tucker Referring to John H. Gilbert Quoting Martin Harris (1871)
CES Letter, Page 93
This is from Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1867), 71. The CES Letter excerpt is in red:
How to reconcile the act of Harris in signing his name to such a statement, in view of the character of honesty which had always been conceded to him, could never be easily explained. In reply to uncharitable suggestions of his neighbors, he used to practice a good deal of his characteristic jargon about "seeing with the spiritual eye," and the like. As regards the other witnesses associated with Harris, their averments in this or any other matter could excite no more surprise than did those of Smith himself.
This is not an independent attestation, but simply an author (Pomeroy Tucker) who had never met Martin Harris apparently quoting John H. Gilbert. Hence, it is either hearsay evidence or a thirdhand account of a quote The CES Letter has already cited.
All three witnesses agree that the plates were shown to them in a vision that was presented by an angel during the daytime so it was a spiritual experiences their eyes perceived.
David Whitmer related: “A bright light enveloped us where we were, that filled [the woods as] at noon day, and there in a vision or in the spirit, we saw and heard just as it is stated in my testimony in the Book of Mormon.”
Oliver Cowdery described it: “It was a clear, open beautiful day, far from any inhabitants, in a remote field, at the time we saw the record, of which it has been spoken, brought and laid before us, by an angel, arrayed in glorious light, ascend out of the midst of heaven.”
"Spiritual eyes" is an ambiguous term. The Apostle Paul described one of his visionary experience saying: "whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth" (2 Cor.12:2-3). The CES Letter seems to demand a precise description of an interaction that is beyond the experience of almost all listeners.
Of the eleven "evidences" given here in The CES Letter, three are simply references to John H. Gilbert's writings. Another two are cited twice. The CES Letter gives the appearance of eleven statements supporting its view, but in reality there are only seven.
This is an example of one of the more egregious misrepresentations in The CES Letter.It quotes a few statements from 8 of the 68 accounts and ignores the rest. Virtually all of them affirm that the Three Witnesses did see and angel and the plates. Click here.
68 separate references to the testimonies of the Three witnesses have been accumulated. There are no denials but there are six denials that they ever denied their testimonies. Click here.