Colonel Giles – 1952

Colonel Giles’ Interview

with David Whitmer

Source: Mary A. S. Anderson, ed., Joseph Smith, III, and the Restoration

(Independence: Herald House, 1952), p. 311.

[page 311] David Whitmer’s Testimony

The Colonel [Giles, resident of Richmond, accompanied by Captain Fall] in an affable and friendly manner, discussed with Elder Whitmer the testimony the latter had borne as a special witness to the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Rather suggestively [page 312] he asked if it might not have been possible that he, Mr. Whitmer, had been mistaken and had simply been moved upon by some mental disturbance, or hallucination, which had deceived him into thinking he saw the Personage, the angel, the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the sword of Laban.

How well and distinctly I remember the manner in which Elder Whitmer arose and drew himself up to his full height—a little over six feet—and said, in solemn and impressive tones.

“No, sir! I was not under any hallucination, nor was I deceived! I saw with these eyes and I heard with these ears! I know whereof I speak!

Everyone present, including the Colonel and his friend, stood under the spell of the impressive silence which followed the emphatic declaration. It was as if we were in the presence of the angel himself!

I went out of the room with the visitors, and the Colonel remarked:

“It is somewhat difficult, Elder Smith, for us everyday men to believe the statement made by Mr. Whitmer, but one thing is certain—no man could hear him make his affirmation, as he has to us in there, and doubt for one moment the honesty and sincerity of the man himself. He fully believes he saw and heard just as he has stated he did.”

We felt wonderfully blessed at being permitted to hear, for ourselves, this positive and emphatic testimony of Elder Whitmer.

At the close of our task, as he bade us good-by, he expressed his gratitude to God that the manuscript had been preserved thus far, and for this visit of our committee and the complete and satisfactory examination and comparisons which taken place; for he believed, as we did, that it would set at rest much controversy—which, indeed, it has done.