Home The Catalog of Accusations

Were Joseph Smith's Witnesses Complicit?
by Woody Brison

Accusation: The only people to ever see Joseph Smith's Gold Plates were party to his scam.

Answer: The 8 witnesses were chosen as as follows: Joseph Smith was holding a meeting during the day (singing, praying, sermons, etc.) None of the people there were members of the church, for the church had not been organized yet.

Then Joseph Smith said something like "Will all the men please come with me". They went out into the forest, he told them to wait there, he went off, came back in a few minutes with the plates. After they were done looking, he took the plates away and the men went back to the house, where he joined them in a short while. The committee thus consisted of the men at that meeting. It was no more complicated than that. They appointed one of their number as secretary and drafted a statement, which they all signed.

If you had been there, your name might be in the book.

If there had been someone there hostile to the new religion, I suppose Joseph could have required them to swear an oath of honesty before permitting them to see the plates, or he might simply have excluded them. Judging by the kind of people who were hostile at that time, they would probably have dishonestly reported that the plates were made of wood, or there were no plates, etc. There would be no real benefit to having a hostile person there. What was required was a few reliable, honest men.

In any case, we got the 8 witnesses that we got. It was a simple, matter-of-fact exercise.

Next: Did Joseph Smith's Witnesses Change Their Story?


1. Woody Brison is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but this website is not affiliated with the church. It may be thought of as an additional, somewhat independent witness.

2. I want this page to be as accurate as I can make it. If you have a correction, please email me.

3. All biblical quotations are from the King James unless otherwise noted.

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