"Having a special interest in Martin Harris, I have been saddened at how he is remembered by most Church members. He deserves better than to be remembered solely as the man who unrighteously obtained and then lost the initial manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon."When the Book of Mormon was published, Martin Harris was nearly 47 years of age, more than 20 years older than Joseph Smith and the other two witnesses. He was a prosperous and respected citizen of Palmyra, New York. He owned a farm of over 240 acres, large for the time and place. He was an honored veteran of two battles in the War of 1812. His fellow citizens entrusted him with many elective offices and responsibilities in the community. He was universally respected for his industry and integrity. Assessments by contemporaries described him as 'an industrious, hard-working farmer, shrewd in his business calculations, frugal in his habits,' and 'strictly upright in his business dealings' (quoted in Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses , 96–97, 98)."This prosperous and upright older man befriended the young and penniless Joseph Smith, giving him the $50 that permitted him to pay his debts in Palmyra and locate in northeastern Pennsylvania about 150 miles away. There, in April 1828, Joseph Smith began his first persistent translation of the Book of Mormon."
Dallin H. Oaks, "The Witness: Martin Harris," Ensign, May 1999, 36
Topics: Restoration, Book of Mormon
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