William E. McLellan’s Testimony of the Book of Mormon

In 1880 James T. Cobb, a graduate of Dartmouth and Amherst colleges and a resident of Salt Lake City, was making an attempt to establish the falsity of the Book of Mormon through an extensive examination of its origins. Among those to whom he directed letters of inquiry was William E. McLellan, whose close association with Joseph Smith and the witnesses of the Book of Mormon in the early years of the Church made him an appropriate subject for correstpondence. William E. McLellan joined the Church in 1831. Although he became an early critic of Joseph Smith and other Church leaders, he nevertheless progressed to top leadership positions and on February 15, 1835, he was ordained as one of the original members of thd Quorum of the Twelve. Yet due to his criticism of Church leadership he was excommunicated in 1838. The testimony reproduced in this article, written in reply to James T. Cobb’s inquiry, is significant because despite McLellan’s disillusionment with Joseph Smith, he nevertheless was unable to deny his conviction that the Book of Mormon was what it claimed to be.

Purchase this Issue