Tuesday, January 29, 2013

History of Mormonism: Martin Harris

Martin Harris was and is well known in the  History of Mormonism. Born May 18, 1783, Martin Harris was a wealthy farmer and business man who was one of the early converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a contributor to the translation of the Book of Mormon.
Martin Harris was at first a Presbyterian, and he lived in Palmyra, New York. He then heard about a man named Joseph Smith who was 20 years younger than him lived just outside Palmyra and was struggling to translate the Golden Plates and keep it away from thieves and mobs. Martin, seeing Joseph's plight decided to help him. He gave Joseph and his wife Emma fifty dollars to travel to Harmony, Pennsylvania. Martin arrived there himself and he would be a scribe, sitting on one side of a curtain while Joseph, sitting on the other side, translated the plates and read aloud the words. After Joseph and Martin translated 116 pages, Martin pleaded with Joseph three times to take the 116 pages to his friends and relatives. God told Joseph not to the first two times, then allowed the pages to be given to Martin. He ended up losing the 116 pages to wicked men who revised it, making it that if Joseph decided to rewrite the 116 pages, they could claim that they had them first and would ruin Joseph's work. The Lord took the plates from Joseph for a while, but Joseph and Martin was repentant and after a while, Joseph received the plates and began to translate again.
Joseph allowed Martin to be one of the three witnesses of the Gold Plates. Sadly, Martin's wife Lucy became hostile towards both Martin and Joseph. She filed a complaint against a judge, claiming to him that Joseph is defrauding her husband. She brought three false witnesses testifying against Martin and Joseph. Martin bore his testimony, and after he did, the judge tore up the witness papers.
After Joseph completd his translation of the Book of Mormon, he needed money to print the book and to share it with the world. Martin would later be well known in his contribution for the church when he sold part of his home and farm to pay for 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon to be printed.
Martin Harris contributed much to the church, but also did have his hindrances as well, including the 116 pages, and sometimes not standing with Joseph when real difficult times came. All in all, no one is perfect, neither was Martin Harris, but he made a huge contribution to the church that would make the growth of the church possible.

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