Martin Harris’s 1873 Letter to Walter Conrad


Editor’s Note: Please be aware that the letter described in this article is a Mark Hofmann forgery. For a description of Hofmann’s dealings with Brent Ashworth and Ashworth’s with the Church regarding this letter, see Richard E. Turley Jr., Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 58–78.

A declaration signed by Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer and published in the Book of Mormon has come to be known as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses.” In the following letter to Walter Conrad, Martin Harris, reaffirms this testimony. The letter, written in 1873, forty-four years after Harris’s original witness and just two and one-half years before his death, is the last known signed affirmation by him of his experience with the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. Although Martin Harris, Sr., left the Church within a decade of this vision, he never denied his testimony that an angel of the Lord showed him the gold plates and the voice of the Lord bore divine witness of them.


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