[Interview of David Whitmer]
1 [Q]--Do you know that the plates seen with the Angel (on the table) were real metal, did you touch them? Ans We did not touch nor handle the plates. 2 Q--Was the table literal wood? or was the whole a vision such as often occurs in dreams &c? Ans--The table had the appearence of literal wood as shown in the vision, in the glory of God. 3 Q--Did you see the Urim and Thummim, what was it? Ans--I saw the "Interpreters" in the holy [vision] [.] They looked like whitish stones p[ut in the] rim of a bow, looked like spectacles only much larger. ... [p. 1] ... 9. Q. Who was the Angel that showed the plates to you and Cowdery, and have these plates been seen since? Ans--I do not know as no name was given. I have never seen the plates since. ... [p. 1, back] ... 13. Q.--Were you present when Joseph Smith received the revelation commanding him and Oliver Cowdery to ordain each other to the Melchisedek Priesthood, if so, where was it and how? Ans--No I was not--neither did I ever hear of such a thing as an angel ordaining them until I got into Ohio about the year 1834--or later. 14. Q. Can you tell why that Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the lesser Priesthood by the hand of an Angel but in receiving the Higher they ordained each other? Ans--I moved Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to my fathers house in Fayette[,] Seneca County[,] New York, from Harmony, Penn. in the year 1829, on our way I conversed freely with them [p. 2] upon this great work they were bringing about, and Oliver stated to me in Josephs presence that they had baptized each other seeking by that to fulfill the command--And after our arrival at fathers sometime in June 1829. Joseph ordained Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder, and Oliver ordained Joseph to be an Elder in the Church of Christ. <<and during that year Joseph both baptized and ordained me an elder in the church of Christ.>> Also, during this year the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, And we preached preached, baptized and ordained some as Elders, And upon the Sixth day of April 1830, six Elders together with some fifty or sixty (as near as I recollect) of the members met together to effect an organization. I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic priesthood until the year 1834[,] 5. or 6--in Ohio. my information from Joseph and Oliver upon this matter being as I have stated, and that they were commanded so to do by revealment through Joseph. I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver as stated and believed by some. I regard that as an error, a misconception. [p. 2, back] ... 19. [Q] Were the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated in Joseph Smiths possession while translating and seen and handled by several different persons, if not, where were they? Ans--I do not know. 20. Q. Did Joseph use his "peep stone" to finish up the translation? if so why? Ans--He used a stone called a "Seers stone," the "Interpreters" having been taken away from him because of transgression. 21. Q. Had you seen the plates at anytime before the Angel showed them to you? Ans--No. [p. 3, back] ... 25. Q. Were you present during any of the time of translation, if so, state how it was done. Ans--The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript]--of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by the use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original Character[s] appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in english, which [enabled him] to read it readily. While Brother Whitmer was too feeble to write much, being unable to write the answers to the foregoing 25 questions in person--Yet it was with his consent and in his presence that I wrote them and corrected them, as they appear here. Jan. 21--1885.
[s] Z H. Gurley
["Copy--Questions asked of David Whitmer at his home in Richmond[,] Ray County[,] Mo--Jan 14--1885. relating to Book of Mormon, and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. by Elder Z[enas] H. Gurley," Zenas Gurley Collection, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: David Whitmer Interview With Zenas H. Gurley]