History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

to assist us in our affliction, Mr Harris was a resident of Palmyra township Wayne County  in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled  to reach the place of my destination in Pensylvania, and immediately after my arrival  there I commenced copying the characters of all the plates. I copyed a considerable number  of them and by means of the Urim and Thummin I translated some of them which I did  between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father in the month of December, and  the February following. Some time in this month of February the aforementioned Mr  Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off of the plates  and started with them to the City of New York. For what took place relative to him  and the characters I refer to his own account of the circumstances as he related them  to me after his return which was as follows. “I went to the City of New York and presented  the Characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor <Charles> Anthony a  gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthony stated that the trans lation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were  Egyptian, Chaldeak, Assyriac, and Arabac, and he said that they were true charac ters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true char acters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.
I took the Certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when  Mr Anthony called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were  gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an Angel of God had  revealed it unto him. He then said to me, let me see that certificate, I accordingly took  it out of my pocket and gave it [to] him when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that  there was no such thing now as ministring of angels, and that if I would bring the plates  to him, he would translate them.<*> <I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them, he replied  “I cannot read a sealed book”.> I left him and went to Dr Mitchel [Samuel L. Mitchill] who sanctioned  what Professor Anthony had said respecting both the Characters and the translation.”

April–June 1828

Mr Harris having returned from this tour he left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged  his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and  twenty eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we  continued untill the fourteenth of June following, by which time he had written one  hundred and sixteen <pages> of manuscript on foolscap paper. Some time after Mr Harris  had began to write for me, he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings  home and shew them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim  and Thummin if he might not do so. I did enquire, and the answer was that he must  not. However he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should enquire  again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented but insis ted that I should enquire once more. after After much solicitation I again enquired  of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain condit ions, which were, that he shew them only to his brother. Preserved Harris, his own wife [Lucy Harris Harris],  his father [Nathan], and his mother [Rhoda Lapham Harris], and a Mrs [Polly Harris] Cobb a sister to his wife. In accordance with this  last answer I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me [p. 9]
JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, created 11 June 1839–24 Aug. 1843; handwriting of James Mulholland, Robert B. Thompson, William W. Phelps, and Willard Richards; 553 pages, plus 16 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the first volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This first volume covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 30 August 1834; the remaining five volumes, labeled B-1 through F-1, continue through 8 August 1844.