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THE BOOK OF ETHER

CHAPTER 5

The Three Witnesses
Moroni writes according to his memory--Everything he writes is true--It must be true since three witnesses will someday say it is true.

(No official LDS cartoon for this chapter.)


(5:1) Moroni wrote the Book of Ether "according to [his] memory." But don't touch the plates! It's forbidden for anyone (except Joseph Smith) to touch or translate them.

(5:1a) I, Moroni, have written the words ... according to my memory.

(5:1b) Touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you

(5:3-4) In the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established.
Who were the three witnesses? Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris -- according to the official Book of Mormon footnote for this verse, which references Doctrine and Covenants 17:3. (The Doctrine and Covenants is another book of Mormon scripture.)

Here's the way it supposedly happened.

In 385 CE, Mormon buried the golden plates at hill Cumorah in Manchester, New York a few miles from Joseph Smith's boyhood farm. 1438 years later (1823), the angel Moroni (Mormon's son) visited Joseph Smith and showed him where the plates were buried. Smith dug them up and translated them from reformed Egyptian, using seer stones that were included with the plates. Then on Sunday, 28 June 1829, the three witnesses (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris) saw a vision of an angel holding the golden plates. And these three witnesses are the ones that are referred to in Ether 5:4.

5:1 And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me, according to my memory; and I have told you the things which I have sealed up; therefore touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.
5:2 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work;
5:3 And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.
5:4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record -- and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.
5:5 And if it so be that they repent and come unto the Father in the name of Jesus, they shall be received into the kingdom of God.
5:6 And now, if I have no authority for these things, judge ye; for ye shall know that I have authority when ye shall see me, and we shall stand before God at the last day. Amen.

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The Annotated Book of Mormon
Ether 5