Home The Catalog of Accusations

Did Joseph Smith's Witnesses Change Their Story?
by Woody Brison

Accusation: Some of these witnesses recanted their testimony.

An honest examination of this question shows that none of them ever did.

Oliver Cowdery was challenged in court; his name was in the book as one of the three witnesses to the miracle of the angel and so forth. If found dishonest, he could be dismissed as a lawyer. He stood up in court and, with complete disregard to his legal career, said it was true; he'd seen the angel and heard the voice of God, just as the statement reads, as God was his witness.

One man claimed that Martin Harris said he didn't believe the Book of Mormon was true. Martin Harris corrected him. He said he was misunderstood. He said he did not believe it; he knew it; and when a man knows something, he no longer has any reason to believe it.

Someone claimed David Whitmer had denied his witness. Whitmer took out full page ads in four major newspapers denying that claim.

All three of the three witnesses were excommunicated from the Church. Two of them came back, asked forgiveness, and were rebaptized, and eventually died, happy in the faith. Whitmer never did come back. All three continued to reaffirm their testimony over and over all their lives.

It was not the plan that these witnesses should apostatize; but the fact that they did, and still stuck to their story, strengthens the evidence. It seems obvious that if this had been a scam, once they were out, they would certainly have exposed it.
Five of the Eight Witnesses also left the church, with the same kind of actions. John Whitmer, facing armed and angry enemies of the church, did not budge on what he'd seen. He had not seen the plates in vision; he couldn't read the engravings; but he'd seen and handled them, and he would not back down from that.


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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