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BANCROFT 
LIBRARY 

O 

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 



WHY I BELIEVE 

The Book of Mormon 



TO BE 



The Word of God 




By WILLIAM A. MORTON 

SALT LAKE CITY 



COPYRIGHT 1918 

By 

WILLIAM A. MORTON 
(Fourth Edition) 



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n 

fw l o , 



SS 



WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF 

MORMON TO BE THE WORD 

OF GOD 

By William A. Morton. 

''Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have 
eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.'' John 
5:39. 

This little booklet is issued in response to nu- 
merous requests received from people who have heard 
me speak of the Book of Mormon, and who were de- 
sirous of seeing the address in print. It is a simple, 
unpretentious effort, yet we know that "by very small 
and simple means the Lord doth confound the wise, 
and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." 

For more than 30 years I have been a member of 
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
During this time I have read and studied the Book of 
Mormon a great deal, and I -say, in all sincerity, that 
the more I study the book the more thoroughly I be- 
come convinced that it is a divinely-inspired record. 
I believe implicitly in the Book of Mormon; I 
believe it to be the word of God to the Nephites and 
Lamanites who once inhabited this continent, even 
as I believe the Bible to be the word of 'God to the 
Jews and also to the Gentiles. 

If I did not believe Joseph Smith's testimony con- 
cerning the Book of Mormon, I could not believe his 
testimony that he had seen God the Father and Jesus 
Christ, His Son, and had conversed with them in open 
vision; neither could I believe his testimony that he 
had been visited by John the Baptist, and had been 
ordained by him to the Aaronic priesthood; that he 
had been ministered unto by Peter, James and John, 
and had been ordained by them an apostle of the Lord 
Jesus Christ; that he had seen Moses, and received 



4 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MOEMON 

from him the keys of the gathering of Israel from 
the nations of the earth, and the leading of the Ten 
Tribes from the land of the north; that he had seen 
the Prophet Elijah, and had obtained from him the 
keys of turning "the heart of the fathers to the child- 
ren, and the heart of the children to their fathers." 

If Joseph Smith's testimony concerning the Book 
of Mormon be false, then his testimony concerning all 
these other things may be equally false; and if so, 
tens of thousands of people haye been grossly de- 
ceived. But if Joseph Smith's testimony in relation 
to the Book of Mormon be true, then we may reason- 
ably believe that he spoke the truth when he declared 
that he, had seen the Father and the Son, and also the 
angelic beings to whom I have referred. 

What will the Book of Mormon do for us? It will 
help us solve any theological problem that may be 
presented to us. By way of illustration: When I was 
a youth, serving an apprenticeship to the printing 
trade, one of the printers took delight in propounding 
riddles and problems to his fellow-workmen. One day 
he said to the other compositors: "I have a new prob- 
lem for you: A blacksmith had an anvil, composed of 
four pieces, with which he could weigh from one 
pound up to forty pounds. Find the weight of each 
piece." The printers put their heads together and in a 
short time the problem was solved. One piece of the 
anvil weighed one pound, another piece weighed three 
pounds, another, nine pounds, and the fourth piece, 
twenty-seven pounds. With these weights a person 
can weigh from one pound up to forty pounds. 

Now, once we become thoroughly convinced that 
the Book of Mormon is true, it will, as I have said, 
solve any theological problem that may confront us. 
Do we want knowledge concerning God, His Son 
Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost? We can get it in 
the Book of Mormon. Would we know concerning the 
pre-existence of spirits? Such knowledge may be ob- 
tained from the Book of Mormon. Do we desire to 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 



know if the fall of man and the atonement made by 
Jesus Christ are facts? The Book of Mormon will an- 
swer these questions. Do we wish to know what the 
principles and ordinances of the gospel of Christ are? 
They are taught in plainness in the Book of Mormon. 
If we desire information regarding the intermediate 
state the state in which the spirits of men live 
between the time of death and the resurrection we 
can find it in the Book of Mormon. Is our faith in 
the doctrine of the resurrection weak? The Book of 
Mormon will greatly strengthen it. So you see that 
the Book of Mormon is one of the most precious 
gifts that God has given to man. 

There are, as the reader, no doubt, knows, two 
theories respecting the origin of the Book of Mor- 
mon. One of these is the Solomon Spaulding theory, 
which has been strongly advocated by anti-Mormons 
in order to keep people from believing the Book of 
Mormon to be a divinely-inspired record. According 
to this theory, a man named Solomon Spaulding, a 
graduate of Dartmouth College, Ohio, wrote a book 
in which he purported to give an account of the origin 
of the American Indians. After Mr. Spaulding's 
death, the manuscript, so it is asserted, fell into the 
hands of Joseph Smith, who, with others, conspired 
to publish it and present it to the world as a sacred 
history of the ancient inhabitants of America. 

This theory is so absurd that it is surprising to 
me it did not, "like the new moon, set with its rising.' 
Solomon Spaulding, be it known, was a Presbyterian 
minister; but this fact has been carefully concealed 
by those who have advocated the theory that Mr. 
Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon. 
Had they let this fact be known undoubtedly they 
would have aroused suspicion and greatly weakened 
their argument. For this reason: Presbyterian min- 
isters do not write books condemning in strong terms 
certain tenets of their church. There is in the Book 
of Mormon much that is at variance with doctrines 



6 WHY I RELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

taught by the Presbyterian church; indeed, there is 
very little in the Book of Mormon that is compatable 
with Presbyteriamsm. There is not a Presbyterian 
church in the world that believes in the Book of 
Mormon. On the contrary, Presbyterian ministers 
have been the loudest in condemning fthe book. 
A Presbyterian minister could not write the Book 
of Mormon if he would, and he would not write 
it if he could. I will here state that the Spaulding 
manuscript was discovered in 1884, and is at pre- 
sent in the library of Gberlin College, Ohio. On 
examination it was found to bear no resemblance 
whatever to the Book of Mormon. The theory that 
Solomon Spaulding was the author of the Book of 
Mormon should never be mentioned again outside 
a museum. 

Let us now turn our attention to the other theory 
the one held and advocated by the Church; namely, 
that a heavenly messenger named Moroni appeared 
, to Joseph Smith and told the youth about a set of 
gold plales which were hid in a hill a short dis- 
tance from his home, on which was engraved a 
history of the ancient inhabitants of America; that 
.four years later Joseph Smith was permitted to 
take the plates from their hiding place; that through 
the gift and power of God he translated them into 
English and presented to the world 'the Book of 
Mormon. 

Now, it is a well known fact that the Church has 
spent thousands of dollars in printing and distribut- 
ing; the Book of Mormon, and that tens of thousands 
of missionaries have been sent with its message to 
the nations of the earth. Why has the Church done 
this? In order to perpetuate fraud? Verily, no; 
but that the world might have a new witness for God 
and His Christ, and be brought to a knowledge 
of the everlasting gospel, the principles and ordi- 
nances of which, as I have said, are set forth in 
great plainness in the Book of Mormon. 



TO BE, THE WORD OP GOD 



1 have read Joseph Smith's account of the com- 
ing forth of the Book of Mormon many times, and 
I am thoroughly convinced that he spoke the truth. 
It is much easier for me to believe Joseph Smith's ac. 
count of the origin of the Book or Mormon than it 
would be for me 'to believe that the wonder 
fill story, with 'all its details, was the product of 
Joseph Smith's imagination. It is surprising to me 
that intelligent people can- believe that an unlearned 
and unsophisticated youth like Joseph Smith could 
make up such a story. .No. the story is too big, 
too great, too wonderful, for the mind of mortal man 
to conceive. When 1 was a child I learned a num- 
ber of nursery rhymes, among them the following: 

"Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket, full of rye. 
Four and twenty hla-k linls kiked in a pic; 
\Vlien the pie was opened the Itirds hr-an to ^ini;-' 1 
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set )>efor<; the king?' 1 

Now, when someone succeeds in making mo 
believe that itwenty-four blackbirds were caught, 
killed, plucked, baked in a pie, and that when the 
pie was opened the birds came out and began to sing, 
then perhaps I may be led to believe that Joseph 
Smith manufactured, out of whole cloth, his won- 
derful story of the origin of the Book of Mormon. 
But not until then. 

I believe the Book of Mormon because I believe 
the Bible because I believe the prophets, Christ and 
the apostles. There are in the Bible numerous pro- 
phecies concerning the Book of Mormon, and it may 
be interesting to the reader to hear how by means 
of these prophecies I succeeded in persuading a 
family to read the Book of Mormon. They after- 
wards became members of the Church of Christ. The 
first time I visited the family I taught them about 
the true and living God in whose image man is 
created and about Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten 
Son, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. On my 
second visit I taught them the principles of faith 
and repentance. The third time I visited the family 



8 WHY 1 BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

I taught them the ordinances of baptism by immer- 
sion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of 
hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. On succeeding 
visits I showed that it is necessary for a man to hold 
Divine authority to be "called of God, as was 
Aaron," in order for him to preach the gospel and 
administer in the ordinances thereof. I also explain- 
ed the organization of the Church of Christ, with 
"apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers" 
etc. I brought forth evidence from the Bible in sup- 
port of all these things, and as the members of the 
family were firm believers in the Holy Scriptures, 
they acknowledged that what I had taught them was 
true. 

But when I next visited the family, I found that 
a great change had come over them. Instead of giv- 
ing me a cordial welcome, as they had done before, 
they received me coldly. I soon learned the reason. 
Addressing me, the wife and mother said: "I feel that 
we have come to the parting of the ways. For days 
I have had the impression that this evening you 
would present to us the Book of Mormon and try to 
persuade us to accept it as the word of God. If such 
is your intention, you may just as well leave now, 
for I do not think you could ever succeed in getting 
us to believe the Book of Mormon." , 

I asked the good woman if she had ever read the 
Book of Mormon. She confessed she had not; she 
had not even seen the book, neither had any member 
of the family. I said I considered it rather unfair 
for people to pass judgment on a book without hav- 
ing read it. Then I asked the lady if she believed 
the things I had taught her and the members of 
her family, on my former visits. Yes, she believed 
all of them because I had proved them by the 
Bible. 

"Then, if I prove to you by the Bible that the 
Book of Mormon is true, you will also believe the 
Book of Mormon?" 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 9 

To this she replied: "If you prove to us by evi- 
dence from the Bible that the Book of Mormon is a 
true record, we will believe the Book of Mormon 
just as we believe the Bible." This the 'other 
members of the family likewise agreed to. 

"Before considering the Book of Mormon," I said 
"I desire to say a few words concerning the coming 
of Christ. Cod, as you very well know, did not send 
His Son into the world without telling the world 
about His coming. For hundreds of years prior to 
the birth of the Savior the children of Israel were 
taught, in divers ways, concerning Him concerning 
His birth, His life, and also His death upon the cross. 
The sacrifices offered by Adam and his sons were 
similitudes of the sacrifice of the only begotten 
Son of God, as was also the sacrifice which the 
Almighty required of Abraham, of which we read 
in the 22nd chapter of Genesis: 

" 'And it came to pass after these things, that God did 
tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: And he said, 
Behold, here I am. 

' 'And lie said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, 
whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah ; 
and offer him there for a burnt offering npon one of the 
mountains which I will tell thee of.' (Genesis 22:1, 2.) 

''This sacrifice, while required of Abraham as a 
test of his fa.ith, was a type of a far greater sacrifice 
the sacrifice of the Son of God. And we have rea- 
son for believing that Abraham saw in his sacrifice 
a type of the sacrifice of the only-begotten of the 
Father, for Christ, while addressing the Jews on one 
occasion, said: 'Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
my day; and he saw it, and was glad.' (John 8:56.) 

"In Abraham and Isaac we have a representa- 
tion of God and Christ a coming event casting its 
shadow before it. 

"Later, the Lord taught the children of Israel 
in a still clearer way concerning the sacrifice of His 
beloved Son, as recorded in the 12th chapter o{ 
Exodus ; 



WHY I BELIEVE THE JIOOK OK MORMON 



" 'And the Lord spnke unto Moses and Aaron in t he- 
land of Egypt, saying, 

' '(speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, 
In the tenth day of this month Miey shall take to them 
every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, 
a lamb for a house. 



'' 'Your lamb .shall he- Avithout blemish, a male of the 
first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the 
goats : 

' 'And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of 
the same month: and the whole assembly of the congrega- 
tion of Israel .shall kill it in the evening. 

" 'And they shall take of the blood, and strike it 
on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the 
houses, wherein they shall eat it: 

* * * * * * * * 

11 'And thus shall yc cat it: with your loins girded, 
your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand : and 
ye shall eal it in haste; it is the Lord's passover. 

'' 'For 1 Avill pass through the land of Egypt this 
night, and will smite all the first born in the land of 
Egypt, both man and beast : and against all the god- of 
Egypt T Avill execute judgment: I am the Lord. 

'' 'And the blood shall be to you for a token upon 
the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood. I will 
pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to de- 
stroy you, when f smite the land of Egypt. 

' 'And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and 
ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your genera- 
tions; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.' Exo- 
dus 12:1, 3,5-7, 11-14;) 

"It is needless for me to tell you," I said to the 
family, "that the sacrificial lamb was a type of the 
Lamb of God, and that the blood of the lamb which 
was shed to save the first-born of the children of 
Israel was a representation of the blood of Christ 
which was to be shed to save the world." 

They told me that such was their understand- 
ing of the Scriptures. 

I continued: "In the 21st chapter of Numbers we 
are told about another way in which the children 
of Israel were taught concerning the Messiah." I 
read the following: 

" 'And the people spake against God, and against 
Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt, to 



TO BE THE WORfr OF GOD 



die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there 
any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 

'' 'And the Lord sent firry serpents among the people, 
and they bit the people; and iniu-h people of Israel died. 

" 'Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We 
have sinned for we have spoken against the Lord, and 
against thee ; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the 
serpents from us. 'And Moses prayed for the people. 

" 'And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery 
serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, 
that every one that is bitten -when he looketh upon it shall 
live. 

11 'And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon 
a pole: and it came to pass, that if ;>. serpent had bitte'i any 
man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Num- 
bers 21:5-9.) 

Then the lady of the house said: "This Scrip- 
ture is quite clear to us. We see in the serpent on 
the pole a type of the Savior on the cross. In His 
conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus said: 'And as 
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even 
so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal 
life." (John 3:14, 15.) 

Addressing the family again, I said: "I now de- 
sire to show you how, by means of prophecy, the 
Jews were taught concerning the Messiah. We find 
in the 7th chapter of Isaiah the following plain pre- 
diction relative to the birth of the Savior: 

" 'Therefore the Lord himself sholl give -you n sign : 
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall 
call his name Immanuel.' (Isaiah 7:14.) 

''And by another prophet the Almighty foretold 
the place of the Redeemer's birth, as follows: 




l 'In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah we find the life 
of the Savior thus clearly portrayed by the prophet: 

" 'Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the 
arm of the Lord revealed? 



12 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

' 'For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant 
and as a root out of a dry ground ; he hath no form nor 
comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty 
that we should desire him. 

' 'He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sor- 
roAvs, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our 
faces from him ; he was despised, and we esteemed him 
not. 

'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our 
sorrows; yet \ve did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, 
and afflicted. 

' 'But he Avas \vounded for our transgressions, he \vas 
bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace 
was upon him; and Avith his stripes AVC are healed. 

' 'All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned 
every one to his OAVII way; and the Lord hath laid on him 
the iniquity of us all. 

' 'He Avas oppressed, and he Avas afflicted, yet he 
opened not his mouth: he is brought as a) lamb to the 
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so 
he openeth not his mouth. 

" 'He was taken from prison and from judgment: and 
who shall declare his 'generation? for he was. cut off out of 
the land of the living: for the transgression of my people 
Avas he stricken. 

li 'And he made his grave with the Avicked, and with 
the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, 
neither was any deceit in his mouth. 

' 'Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put 
him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for ^ 
sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the 
pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 

'' 'He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be 
satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify 
many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 

" 'Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great 
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he 
hath poured out his soul unto death; a.nd he Avas num- 
bered Avith the transgressors; and he .bare the sin of many 
and made intercession for the transgressors.' " (Isaiah 53.) 

It was the firm belief of the family that in Jesus 
Christ and in Him alone all these things had been 
fulfilled: 

He was the sacrfice foreshadowed in the sacrifi- 
ces offered by Adam and his sons. 

He was the sacrifice of which Isaac was a type. 

He was the Lamb slain from before the foundation 

of the world, and typified in the lamb sacrificed by 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 13 

the children of Israel in their passover. 

He was the One raised up to heal the nations of 
the terrible consequences of sin, even as the brazen 
serpent was lifted up to heal the afflicted Israelites. 

He was the One Isaiah had prophesied would be 
born of a virgin. 

He was the Ruler prophesied of by Micah, who 
would come out of Bethlehem. 

He was the One referred to by Isaiah, who would 
be "led as a lamb to the slaughter;" who would be 
"wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our 
iniquities," and with whose "stripes we. are healed. 

Having thus spoken concerning Christ, I set to 
work to try to convince the family with evidence 
from the Bible that the Book of Mormon is true. I 
first called their attention to the following prophecy 
made by Jacob concerning his son Joseph: 

''Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a 
voll, whose branches run over the wall : 

"The archers have sorely grieved him, 'and shot at him, 
and hated him: 

"But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his 
hands were made strong- by the hands of the mightiy 
God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of 
Israel ; ) 

"Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; 
and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings 
of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, 
bles.sinsrs of the breasts and of the womb; 

"The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the 
blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the 
everlasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and 
on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his 
brethren." (Genesis 49:22-26.) 

I asked the family if they knew about the ful- 
fillment of this prophecy. No, they did not. They 
had read the prophecy, but they did not know when 
or how it had been fulfilled. 

I told them that, according to the Book of Mor- 
mon, in the year 600 B. C., a little company of Israeli- 
tes, descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob was 
led by the Lord from Jerusalem to the land that is 



14 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

now called America, where they became a great na- 
tion. Many prophets were raised up among them, 
who taught them the commandments of God, and 
also taught the coming of Christ, even as the prophets 
had taught the people on the eastern continent. They 
kept, on metallic plates, a record of the important 
events that took place among them, and also^of the 
Lord's dealings with them. After His resurrection, 
Christ appeared to them, and ministered unto them. 
He taught them the gospel and established 'His 
Church among them. For nearly 400 years -after- 
wards they lived in peace and happiness. Then 
pride began to manifest itself among them; they 
became divided, contentions followed, and later ter- 
rible wars, in which countless thousands of lives 
were sacrificed. A short time before his death, Mo- 
roni, the last of their prophets, at the command of 
the Lord, finished their records and buried them 
in the earth, in a hill named Cumorah. There they 
lay for hundreds of years. On the 21st of September, 
1823, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him 
about the sacred records which he (Moroni) had de- 
posited in Cumorah. Four years later Joseph Smith 
was permitted to take the records from their hid- 
ing place. Through the gift and power of God he 
translated them into English, the result of his work 
being the Book of Mormon. This is, in brief, a 
history of the branches of Joseph referred to by 
Ja,cob, the branches that ran over the wall (the 
great ocean) even "unto the utmost bounds of the 
everlasting hills." 

The family manifested interest in what I told 
them, but were by no means ready to accept the Book 
of Mormon as the word of God. I asked them, if 
they were familiar with the prophery Isaiah had made 
concerning the branches of the house of Israel to 
which I had just referred. No; their attention had 
never been called to such a prophecy. We read 
follows: 




TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 15 

''And them shalt be brought down, and shalt -speak 
out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the 
du^t. and thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar 
spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper 
out of the dust." ( Isaiah 29.4.) 

"I have just told you, my friends," I said, "how 
this prophecy was fulfilled. 1 told you about the 
branches of the house of Israel that were brought 
down, even unto destruction. I also told you how 
these people had by means of their records spoK^i 
"out of the ground," aai "whispered out of the 
dust," just as the Prophet Isaiah predicted. 

"There is a somewhat similar prophecy, made by 
the Psalmist David, which is recorded in the 85th 
Psalm, as follows: 

11 'Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteous- 
ness' shall look down from heaven." (Psalms, 85:11.) 

"This prophecy was fulfilled when the angel 
Moroni came down from heaven and when a 'volume 
of truth (the Book of Mormon) came out of the 
earth. 

"There is another prophecy, made by Isaiah, 
concerning a sealed book that was to come forth. 
This prophecy was,- as I shall show you, literally 
fulfilled soon after the plates of the Book of Mor- 
mon had been delivered to Joseph Smith. This is the 
prophecy: 

" 'And the vision of all is become unto you as the 
words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one 
that, is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, 
I cannot; for it is sealed. 

'' '.And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, 
saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he ?aith, I am not learned. 

' 'Wherefore, the Lord said. Forasmuch as this people 
draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do 
honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and 
their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 

" 'Therefore, behold. I will proceed to do a marvelous 
\vork among this people, even a marvelous work and a won- 
der; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and 
the understanding of their prudent men shall ! be hid.' ' 
(Isaiah 29:11-14.) 



16 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

The members of the family were entirely ig- 
norant concerning this prophecy. They had never 
heard of it, and did not know anything about its ful- 
fillment. They listened attentively while I related how 
the prophecy had been fulfilled. I told them that soon 
after Joseph Smith had commenced tiie work of 
translating the engravings on the plates, a man 
named Martin Harris, who had befriended the pro- 
phet, came to him and asked permission to take the 
characters which Joseph had copied to the city of 
New York, to show to a lenrnecl man there. To this 
Joseph readily consented. This is what Mr. Harris 
told the prophet on his return: 

"J went to the city of New York, and presented the 
characters which had been translated; with the ^a,nsl.tion 
thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated 
for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that 
the translation was correct, more so than any he had before 
scon translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those 
which were not translated, and he said that they were Egypt- 
ian, Chaldaic, Assyric, and Arabic; and he said they were 
true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the 
people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that 
the translation of such of them as had been translated was 
also correct. I took the certificate and put it< into my pocket 
and was just leaving the house when Mr. Anthon called me 
back, and asked me how the young man found out that 
there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I 
answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. 
He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accord- 
ingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he 
took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such 
tiling as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring 
the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him 
that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden 
to bring them. He replied, 'I cannot read a" sealed book." 
I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what 
Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters 
and the translation.'' (See History of the Church, Vol 
p. 20.) 

Having shown how Isaiah's prophecy with refer- 
ence to the sealed book had been fulfilled, I directed 
the attention of the family to the following prophecy 
made by Ezekiel: 

''The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, 
"Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and 



rs 

' 

T- 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 17 

write upon it For Judah, and for the children of Israel 
his companions then take another stick, and write upon 
it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house 
of Israel his companions : 

"And join them one to another into one stick; and 
they shall become one in thine hand. 

"And when the children of thy people shall speak unto 
thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest 
by those i 

"Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I 
will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of 
hiphraini, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put 
them with 'him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them 
one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 

"And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine 
hand before their eyes." (Ezekiel 37:15-20.) 

Here was another remarkable prophecy which 
had entirely escaped the attention of these good peo- 
ple, notwithstanding they had read the Bible for 
years. I asked them what they thought the prophet 
meant by "the stick of Judah," and the mother re- 
plied that, in her opinion, he referred to the Jewish 
Scriptures, the Bibie. Questioned concerning "the 
stick of Joseph," they confessed they knew nothing 
about it. Taking up the Bible and the Book of 
Mormon I held the two precious records in my hand 
and said: "Behold the fulfilment of Ezekiel's pro- 
phecy! Here you see 'the stick of Judah' and also 
'the stick of Joseph,' and the two have become one 
in my hand." 

The members of the family looked at each other, 
and the father said, "We have heard things this 
evening we never heard before. Why has our mini- 
ster not told us about these prophecies and their 
fulfilment?" 

I replied: "In all probability your minister does 
not know about their fulfilment, hence his silence 
concerning them. People cannot tell what they do 
not know." 

I continued: "Now in connection with the pro- 
phecy which Ezekiel made concerning the two sticks 
that were to be joined together, I will read y6u what 
Christ said concerning two flocks of sheep which He 



18 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

had, and which He said would be gathered into one 
fold. Here are His words, as recorded in the 10th 
chapter of John: 

' 'I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and 
am known of mine. 

44 'As the Father knowetli me, even so know I the 
Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

4 ' 'And other sheep I have, which are not of this 
fold: them also 1 must bring, arid they shall hear my voice; 
and there shall be one lold, and one shepherd.' (John 
10:14-16.) 

"Some people entertain the erroneous belief," 
I said, "that the 'other sheep' to which Christ re- 
ferred were the Gentiles, but such is not the case. 
Christ did not recognize the Gentiles as His sheep; 
tney did not hear His voice; His labors were confin- 
ed to 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' Hear the 
words which He spoke to His disciples on the wes- 
tern continent, as recorded in the Book of Mormon: 

44 4 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom 
I said, other sheep 1 have which are not of this i'old ; them 
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and 
there shall be one fold and one shepherd. 

44 4 And they understood me not, for they supposed 
it had been the Gentiles ; for they understood not that the 
Gentiles should be converted through their preaching. 

44 4 And they understood not that I said they shall hear 
my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles 
should not at any time hear my voice ; that I should not 
manifest myself unto them, save it were by the Holy G-host. 

4 'But, behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen 
me ; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those 
whom the Father hath given me.' (Ill Nephi 15:21-24.) 

A member of the family said: "I am one of those 
who believed that Christ referred to the Gentiles as 
the other sheep which He had, but I see now that 1 
was mistaken. It is true, as you have said, the Sav- 
ior did not minister to the Gentiles; they did not 
hear His voice; the gospel was not taken to them 
until after His resurrection and ascension." 

By this time the family :was deeply interested 
in my message. I told them there was one more 
Scripture to which I desired 'to draw their attention. 
It was an extract from the account of a glorious 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 19 

vision which the Lord gave to His servant John, 
while the apostle was on the Isle of Patmos. Turn- 
ing to the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation, 
I read the following: 

''And I s; ( \v ai-.other an^-el i'h in the midst of heaven, 
having the everlasting gospel to p. each unto them that dwell 
on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, 
and people. 

"Saving with a lond voice. Fear (iod, and give glory 
to him; i'or the hour of his judgment is come: and worship 
him that made heaven, and earth, :md the sea, ana the 
fountains of waters. 1 ' (John 1-1:6,7.) 

The family entertained a strong belief in John's 
vision they believed that in the hour of God's judg- 
ments an angel would come to earth; that he would 
bring with him the everlasting gospel, which would 
be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and peo- 
ple. I told my friends they were very much like the 
Jews who are looking for a Savior to come that has 
already come. They were looking for an angel to 
come that had come; for the restoration of the gos- 
pel that had been restored; for a missionary work 
to commence that had been in operation for years. 
I told them the heavenly messenger whom John 
saw in vision was the angel Moroni, who appeared 
to Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the existence 
of the Book of Mormon, which contains the fulness 
of the everlasting gospel, which gospel is now being 
preached among the nations, "as a witness." be- 
fore the end comes. 

"And now, my friends," I said, "let us review 
the .'Scriptures I have quoted to prove that the Book 
of Mormon is a true record: 

In the 49th chapter of Genesis you read the pro- 
phecy which Jacob made concerning his son Joseph. 
You heard how the prophecy was fulfilled when the 
Lord led a company of people, descendants of Joseph, 
from Jerusalem to the western continent, where they 
became a great nation. 

"In the 29th chapter of Isaiah you read a pro- 



20 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 

phecy which had been made concerning these people 
that they would be 'brought down;' that they 
would 'speak out of the ground,' and that their 
speech would 'whisper out of the dust.' You 
heard how this prophecy had been fulfilled in the 
coming forth of the Book of Mormon. 

"In the 85th Psalm you read the prophecy made 
by David; namely, that truth would 'spring out of 
the earth, and righteousness 'look down from heaven.' 
This prophecy was fulfilled when the angel Moroni 
appeared to Joseph Smith and when the Book of 
Mormon came out of the earth. 

"In the 29th chapter of Isaiah you read a prophecy 
concerning a sealed book that was to come forth, 
and you heard how the prophecy had been fulfilled 
to the letter. 

"In the 37th chapter of Ezekiel you read a pro- 
phecy concerning two sticks the stick of Judah and 
the stick of Joseph. Here on the table lie the two 
sticks referred to by the prophet the Bible and the 
Book of Mormon. 

"In the 10th chapter of the gospel according to 
St. John, you read the words of Christ concerning 
the sheep He had which were not of the fold at 
Jerusalem. I told you about these other sheep, the 
sheep of the western fold, who heard the voice of 
the Good Shepherd as He ministered to them after 
His resurrection. 

"In the 14th chapter of Revelation you read 
about the glorious vision which the Lord gave to 
His servant John on the Isle of Patmos, in which 
the apostle saw an angel 'flying in the midst of 
heaven, having the everlasting gospel, to be preached 
to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.' You 
heard how these things have come to pass. 

"And now if you want to know if what I have 
told you this evening is true, I commend to you the 
words of the Prophet Moroni, engraven by him on the 
gold plates a short time before his death. 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 21 

" 'Behold I would exhort you that when ye shall read 
these things. It' it bo wisdom in God that ye should read 
thorn, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath 
been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam 
even down unto the time that ye recieve these things, and 
ponder it over in your hearts. And when ye shall receive 
these things. I would exhort you that ye would ask 
(iod, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these 
things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere 
heart, with real intent, having t'aith in Christ, he will mani- 
fest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy 
Ghost." (Moroni 10:3-5.) 

"There is much additional evidence which I could 
adduce to establish the divine authenticity of the 
Book of Mormon, but I will let what I have sub- 
mitted to you this evening suffice. If people especial, 
ly professing Christians will not believe the pro- 
phets, Christ, and the apostles, they would not be- 
lieve though one should rise from the dead. 

"And now, my friends, I ask, What are you go- 
ing to do? Are you going to follow the example of 
the Jews, who, notwithstanding all that the prophets 
had written concerning Christ, rejected Him, and 
brought upon themselves condemnation?" 

The family purchased the Book of Mormon; they 
read it carefully; they followed the advice given by 
Moroni, and they received from the Father as have 
thousands of others, the writer included the witness 
of the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is indeed 
and of a truth the word of God. 



22 WHY I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON 



The Testimony of Three Witnesses* 



Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, 
and people unto whom this work shall come, that we 
through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord 
Jesus Christ,, have seen the plates which contain this 
record, which is ai record of the people of Nephi, and 
also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the 
people of Jared, who came from the tower of which 
hath been spoken; and we also know that they have 
been translated by the gift and power of God, for 
his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we 
know of a surety that the work is true. And we 
also testify that we have seen the engravings which 
are upon the plates; and they have been shewn 
unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And 
we declare with words of soberness, that an angel 
of God came down from heaven, and he brought 
and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the 
plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know 
that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record 
that these things are true; and it is marvelous in 
our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord com- 
manded us that we should bear record of it; where- 
fore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God 
we bear testimony of these things. And we know tlr.it 
if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our gar- 
ments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless 
before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell 
with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor 
be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy 
Ghost, which is one God, Amen. 

OLIVER COWDERY, 
DAVID WHITHER, 
MARTIN HARRIS. 



TO BE THE WORD OF GOD 23 



And Also the Testimony of Eight 
Witnesses* 



Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, 
and people unto whom this work shall come, that 
Joseph Smith, Jim., the translator of this work, has 
shewn unto us the plates of which hath been 
spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and 
as many of the leaves as the said Smith has trans- 
lated, we did handle with our hands; and we also 
saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the 
appearance of ancient work, and of curious work- 
manship. And this we bear record with words of 
soberness, that the said Smith Has shewn unto us, 
for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety 
that the said Smith has got the plates of which we 
have spoken. And we give our names unto the world 
to witness unto the world that which we have seen; 
and we lie not, God bearing witness of it. 

CHRISTIAN WHITMER, 
JACOB WHITMER, 
. PETER WHITMER, Jun., 
JOHN WHITMER, 
HIRAM PAGE, 
JOSEPH SMITH, Sen. 
HYRUM SMITH, 
SAMUEL H. SMITH.