Mormon Handbook


Home / People /

Book of Mormon Witnesses

The Book of Mormon contains two sets of joint statements, written by Joseph Smith, in which individuals attest to having seen the gold plates.

Three Witnesses

The Three Witnesses are Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—who mortgaged his farm to finance the first printing of the Book of Mormon. The testimony published in the Book of Mormon suggests they saw the plates through supernatural means.

And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown 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.

Book of Mormon Three Witnesses

— Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris

"The Testimony of Three Witnesses"
Book of Mormon

Eight Witnesses

The Book of Mormon also includes a joint statement from eight men who claim to have seen the gold plates. It’s important to note that:


The relationship with the witnesses was strained.

Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and to disbelieve that they had ever *seen an angel.

Brigham Young

— Brigham Young

Second Mormon prophet
"Want of Governing Capacities Among Men, etc."
Salt Lake City Tabernacle
Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 164

Witness Excommunicated
Oliver Cowdery 1838
David Whitmer 1838, April
Martin Harris 1837, December

Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 232


In the end, whatever the witnesses saw or claimed to have seen through a vision has to be weighed against the fact that none could read Reformed Egyptian. So, even if there were plates, none of them could vouch that Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon actually came from them.

David Whitmer Get Ebook
Get Print
Charles Anthon
Linktree YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram TikTok Contact