Date Given: June 1829
Location Given: Fayette, New York – Whitmer Farm
Date Canonized: August 17, 1835
Background: In June Martin Harris visited the Whitmer farm to ask about the progress on the transcription of The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon was either completed or nearly so.
It was then that Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer asked Joseph Smith Jr. if they could be the Three Witnesses; they wanted to see the Golden Plates. This was likely in response to 2nd Nephi 11:133, Ether 2:2-3, D&C 5 for Harris, D&C 6:13B for Cowdery, and D&C 12:4A for David.
They were persistent on this topic and eventually Joseph Smith Jr. turned to his seer stone for the answer, and this is the revelation that was produced.
It was a couple days after this revelation that the four of them went into the woods to pray that they would be given the ability to see the plates. The story goes that after they had been praying for a while Harris withdrew because he felt like he was the reason why the plates weren’t being shown.
Whitmer claimed that, in a vision, an angel showed him the Golden Plates as well as the Brass Plates, the Sword of Laban, and the urim and thummim that Smith claimed to have used to translate The Book of Lehi. Cowdery would also claim to see an angel show him the plates in a vision. Harris claimed that Smith followed him and found him praying and they both had a vision of an angel and the plates.
However, other times Harris would say that he physically touched the plates and was able to examine each page. Harris would also claim that he never physically saw them but instead saw them with his “spiritual eyes”, implying that they didn’t actually physically exist.
A. Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word,
B. which if you do, with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the Brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea;
C. and it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.
A. And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;
B. and this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men, in this work.
C. And ye shall testify that ye have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., has seen them, for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith;
D. and he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth, it is true.
A. Wherefore you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him;
B. and if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you; and you shall be lifted up at the last day.
C. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen.