Friday, February 24, 2017

She was Afraid to Close Her Eyes

In her journal, Mary Ann Chapple states she was afraid to close her eyes at night on the trail west, why?
a.                  It was so cold she was afraid she would freeze to death
b.                  Buffalo Stampedes
c.                   Lightning storms
d.                  Indians
Yesterday’s answer:
a.                  1828
From the life of David Whitmer:   The following is David Whitmer’s own statement to a reporter of the Kansas City “Journal;” published June 5, 1881:  “I first heard of what is now termed Mormonism, in the year 1828. I made a business trip to Palmyra, N. Y., and while there stopped with one Oliver Cowdery. A great many people in the neighborhood were talking about the finding of certain golden plates by one Joseph Smith, jun., a young man of the neighborhood. Cowdery and I, as well as many others, talked about the matter, but at that time I paid but little attention to it, supposing it to be only the idle gossip of the neighborhood. Mr. Cowdery said he was acquainted with the Smith family, and he believed there must be some truth in the story of the plates, and that he intended to investigate the matter. I had conversation with several young men, who said that joseph Smith had certainly golden plates, and that before he had obtained them he had promised to share with them, but had not done so, and they were very much incensed with him. Said I, ‘How do you know that Joe Smith has the plates?’ They replied, ‘We saw the plates in the hill that he took them out of, just as he described it to us before he had obtained them.’ These parties were so positive in their statements that I began to believe there must be some foundation for the stories then in circulation all over that part of the country. I had never seen any of the Smith family up to that time, and I began to enquire of the people in regard to them, and learned that one night during the year 1823, Joseph Smith jun., had a vision and an angel of God appeared to him and told him where certain plates were to be found, and pointed out the spot to him, and that shortly afterward he went to another place and found the plates, which were still in his possession. After thinking over the matter for a long time, and talking with Cowdery, who also gave me a history of the finding of the plates, I went home, and after several months, Cowdery told me he was going to Harmony, Penn., whither Joseph Smith had gone with the plates, on account of the persecutions of his neighbors, and see him about the matter. He did go, and on his way he stopped at my father’s house and told me that as soon as he found out anything, either truth or untruth, he would let me know. After he got there he became acquainted with Joseph Smith, and shortly after wrote to me, telling me that he was convinced that Smith had the records, and that he (Smith) had told him that it was the will of heaven that he (Cowdery) should be his scribe to assist in the translation of the plates. He went on and Joseph translated from the plates, and he wrote it down. Shortly after this Mr. Cowdery wrote me another letter, in which he gave me a few lines of what they had translated, and he assured me that he knew of a certainty that he had a record of a people that inhabited this continent, and that the plates they were translating from gave a complete history of these people. When Cowdery wrote me these things, and told me that he had revealed knowledge concerning the truth of them, I showed these letters to my parents, and brothers and sisters. Soon after I received another letter from Cowdery, telling me to come down to Pennsylvania, and bring him and Joseph to my father’s house, giving as a reason therefor that they had received a commandment from God to that effect. I went down to Harmony and found everything just as they had written me. The next day after I got there they packed up the plates and we proceeded on our journey to my father’s house, where we arrived in due time, and the day after we commenced upon the translation of the remainder of the plates. I, as well as all of my father’s family, Smith’s wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. The translation was by Smith, and the manner as follows” He had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg shape, and perfectly smooth, but not transparent, called interpreters, which were given him with the plates. He did not use the plates in the translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment,, on which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the top, and immediately below would appear the translation, in English, which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly as if fell from his lips. The scribe would then read the sentence written, and if any mistake had been made, the characters would remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they faded from sight to be replaced by another line. The translation at my father’s occupied about one month, that is from June 1 to July 1, 1829.”

Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1901) 1: 263-264.

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