William A. Morton, “Why I Believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God” Excerpt from archive.org

Bancroft Library
The Library of the University of California

COPYRIGHT 1918
By
William A. Morton
Salt Lake City
(Fourth Edition)
"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 numerous requests received from people who have heard me speak of the Book of Mormon, and who were desirous 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 become 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 concerning 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 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 children, 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 have been grossly deceived. But if Joseph Smith’s testimony in relation  to the Book of Mormon be true, then we may reasonably 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 problem for you: A blacksmith had an anvil, composed of  four pieces, withwhich he could weigh from one  poundup to forty pounds. Find the weight of each  piece.” The printers put their heads together andin 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 obtained from the Book of Mormon. Do we desire to know if the fall of man and the atonement made by  Jesus Christ are facts? The Book of Mormon will answer 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 Mormon. 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 ministers 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 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 the 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 present in the library of Oberlin 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 andadvocated by the Church; namely,  that a heavenly messenger named Moroni appeared  , to Joseph Smith and told the youth about a set of  gold plates which were hid in a hill a short distance 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 distributing 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 ordinances of which, as I have said, are set forth in  great plainness in the Book of Mormon.

I have read Joseph Smith’s account of the coming 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 account of the origin of the Book or Mormon than it  would be for me to believe that the wonderful 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 I was a child I learned a number of nursery rhymes, among them the following:

“Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket, full of rye.  Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie;  When the pie was opened the birds began to sing.  Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?”

Now, when someone succeeds in making me  believe that twenty-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 wonderful 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 prophecies 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 afterwards 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 I taught them the ordinances of baptism by immersion 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 explained the organization of the Church of Christ, with  “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers”  etc. I brought forth evidence from the Bible in support 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 giving 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 having 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 this she replied: “If you prove to us by evidence 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. God, 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 he 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 upon 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 faith, was a type of a far greater sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Son of God. And we have reason 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 representation 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 of Exodus ;

“And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying,  In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them  every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers,  a lamb for a house.

Your lamb shall be without 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 congregation 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:

And thus shall ye eat it: with your loins girded,  your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand : and  ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s passover.

For I will 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 gods of  Egypt I will 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 destroy you, when I 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 generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.” Exodus 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 understanding 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 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 much 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.

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon  a pole: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any  man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Numbers 21:5-9.)

Then the lady of the house said: “This Scripture 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 desire 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 prediction relative to the birth of the Savior:

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a 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:

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall be come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

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?

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 sorrows, 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 we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God,  and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was  bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace  was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

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

He was oppressed, and he was 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  was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, 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; and he was numbered with 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 sacrifice foreshadowed in the sacrifices 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 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  wall, 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,  blessings 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 fulfillment 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 Mormon, in the year 600 B. C., a little company of Israelites, descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob was  led by the Lord from Jerusalem to the land that is now called America, where they became a great nation. 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 afterwards they lived in peace and happiness. Then  pride began to manifest itself among them; they  became divided, contentions followed, and later terrible wars, in which countless thousands of lives  were sacrificed. A short time before his death, Moroni, 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 deposited in Cumorah. Four years later Joseph Smith  was permitted to take the records from their hiding 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  Jacob, 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 as follows:

”And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak  out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the  dust, 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. I 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 spoken “out of the ground,” and “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:

“Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness 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 Mormon 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 saith, I am not learned.

Wherefore, the Lord said. Forasmuch as this people  draw near me with their mouth, andwith 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  work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and  the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isaiah 29:11-14.)

The members of the family were entirely ignorant concerning this prophecy. They had never  heard of it, anddid not know anything about its fulfillment. 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 prophet, came to him and asked permission to take the  characters which Joseph had copied to the city of  New York, to show to a learned man there. To this  Joseph readily consented. This is what Mr. Harris  told the prophet on his return:

“I went to the city of New York, and presented the  characters which had been translated; with the translation  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  seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those  which were not translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, 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 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 accordingly 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  thing 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 Anthonhad said respecting both the characters  and the translation.” (See History of the Church, Vol  p. 20.)

Having shown how Isaiah’s prophecy with reference 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 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 these ?

Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I  will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of  Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, andwill put  them withhim, 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 people, 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 replied that, in her opinion, he referred to the Jewish  Scriptures, the Bible. 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 prophecy! 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 minister 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 prophecy which Ezekiel made concerning the two sticks  that were to be joined together, I will read you what  Christ said concerning two flocks of sheep which He 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.

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

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

“Some people entertain the erroneous belief,”  I said, “that the ‘other sheep’ to which Christ referred were the Gentiles, but such is not the case.  Christ did not recognize the Gentiles as His sheep;  they did not hear His voice; His labors were confined to ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Hear the  words which He spoke to His disciples on the western continent, as recorded in the Book of Mormon:

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

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.

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 Ghost.

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.” (III 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 I was mistaken. It is true, as you have said, the Savior 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 vision which the Lord gave to His servant John,  while the apostle was on the Isle of Patmos. Turning to the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation,  I read the following:

”And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,  having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell  on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,  and people.

Saying with a lond voice. Fear God, and give glory  to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship  him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the  fountains of waters.” (John 1-1:6,7.)

The family entertained a strong belief in John’s  vision they believed that in the hour of God’s judgments 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 people. 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 gospel 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.” before 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 prophecy 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 prophecy 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 85thPsalm 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 prophecy 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.

Andnow 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.

“Behold I would exhort you that when ye shall read  these things. If it be wisdom in God that ye should read  them, 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  God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these  things are not true; andif ye shall ask witha sincere  heart, withreal intent, having faithin Christ, he will manifest 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 submitted to you this evening suffice. If people especially professing Christians will not believe the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, they would not believe though one should rise from the dead.

And now, my friends, I ask, What are you going 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.

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 a 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, andnot 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 commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God  we bear testimony of these things. And we know that  if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, andbe found spotless  before the judgment-seat of Christ, andshall 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.

And Also the Testimony of Eight  Witnesses.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues,  andpeople unto whom this work shall come, that  Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, has  shewn unto us the plates of which hathbeen  spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and  as many of the leaves as the said Smithhas translated, 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 workmanship. Andthis we bear record withwords of  soberness, that the said Smith Has shewn unto us,  for we have seen and hefted, andknow 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