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Apostasy of early Mormon leaders — Section 39

If the Mormon church is true, why did so many of its early leaders leave the Church?

Representative of a Christian church:
I have a serious question for you.  If your church is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet as you claim, why did his wife and son leave that church and help to organize the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ, which church is headquartered in Missouri?  In addition, why did the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon leave the church and harbor bitterness and contempt for Joseph Smith?  Also, why did several of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon leave the church as well?  If the church was true as you claim, surely family members, early leaders, and close friends of Mr. Smith would have stayed with the Church!

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
We will begin our response to your questions by quoting the Savior himself: “Suppose ye that I came to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay, but rather division.  For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided three against two, and two against three.  The father shall be divided against the son, and the mother against the daughter, and the daughter shall be against the mother, and the son against the father.”  (See Luke 112:51-53)  This prediction of the Savior was literally fulfilled in the Smith home alone.  Your statement regarding the Three Witnesses  of the Book of Mormon being out of harmony with Joseph Smith, and stating that as a reason the church must not be true, is surprising in light of what happened in the original Church of Christ established by the Savior himself.  We read in Acts 15:37-41 that the feelings of Paul and Barnabas were so strong “and the contention was so sharp between them that they departed asunder one from the other; and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus and Paul chose Silas, and departed.”  Also we read in Galatians 2:11 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, and because he was to be blamed.”  We would also have you consider the following.  Should we denounce Christ and his gospel because one of his original Twelve Apostles was the very person who betrayed him, left the fold, and apostatized?

Representative of a Christian church:
I have in my hand a pamphlet entitled “An address to all believers in Christ”, written by Mr. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon.  In this pamplet he describes the solemn mockery of the Latter-day Saint Church, and his contemple against its leaders.  His closing words in the pamphlet are, “Oh follish Latter-day Saints” and his final plea is for them to turn back to Christ.

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Mr. Whitmer never denied the Church, just some of its practices.  He was a man embittered and left the church, but he never denied his testimony concerning the visitation of an angel and his viewing of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.  He never stated that he had borne a false witness about those plates.  To show the kind of faith this man did have, consider that just before his death he had printed in the New York Times and the London Times the following statement: “I wish now, standing in the very sunset of my life and in the fear of God, once and for all, to make this public statement: I have never at any time denied the testimony or any part thereof.  I have always adhered to that testimony.  I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published.  It was no delusion.  In the spirit of Christ I submit these statements to the world, God being my Judge, as to the sincerity of my motives.”  Many of the town’s most noted citizens signed a certificate saying that he was a man of the highest integrity.  Thuse, gentlemen, the testimony of David Whitmer still stands as a witness to all the world that the Book of Mormon was and is true.

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