Keith W. Perkins, in writing the “David Whitmer” entry for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992) spared little effort in repeating the disparages cited by those in his Bibliography – Richard Anderson, Lyndon and Matthew Cook, Preston Nibley, and Keith Perkins.
Although Whitmer was excommunicated from the Church…
David’s close associatoin with Joseph Smith did not prevent occasional chastisement. A revelatin in 1830 warned Whitmer, “Your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me…(D&C 30:2) In view of Whitmer’s later separation from the Church, this statement seems prophetic.
Proud and stubborn:
In February 1837, some dissenters wanted to depose Joseph Smith and replace him with David Whitmer. Whitmer, a proud and stubborn man…
A year before his death Whitmer wrote a pamphlet, An Address to All Believers in Christ, apparently to justify his separation from the Church
As was explained in David’s Address, Joseph was called to transcribe the Book of Mormon and to preach on it, not to found a church. Joseph was told not to involve himself in temporal labors like banking, land management, being a mayor, a general, or running for president of the United States:
And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the churches. (D&C 24:9)
The members knew Joseph was doing things other than what they signed up for, and it was they, not David, who wanted him removed from running the church. They chose David because he was the most honest man among them. To some, integrity may be confused with being “stubborn.”
His purpose in writing the pamphlet(s) was to put down the rumors he had denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon, and to detail to the blind followers of Joseph how they are not obeying the Book of Mormon.
It is a treatise in integrity, of a man who like Lehi, Alma, and Mormon stood against the majority who were blindly following personalities, not the gospel – the Book of Mormon gospel.