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David Whitmer: Witness to the Book of Mormon, businessman, Richmond mayor

Whitmer stood by his account of the transcription of the Book of Mormon to his dying day

Though presenting an imposing figure in photos of him, David Whitmer, whose life began in Pennsylvania and took him through great trials and persecution, proved himself to be an outstanding citizen and active member of the Richmond community. (Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints library catalog)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

David Whitmer was born Jan. 7, 1805, near Harrisburg, Pa. He was 4 years old when his parents moved to upstate New York, settling midway between the northern extremities of Lake Cayuga and Seneca.

Nearly 20 years later, in 1828, Whitmer first heard of Mormonism and felt compelled to learn more about Joseph Smith and his discovery of precious golden plates.

Whitmer said in an 1881 interview with the Richmond Conservator that he was on a business trip to Palmyra, N.Y. and had heard a number of people talking about “the finding of certain golden plates by one Joseph Smith Jr., a young man of the neighborhood.”

Smith had received prophecies surrounding the golden plates by which he translated the Book of Mormon, the keystone of the Mormon Church.

During that same business trip in New York, Whitmer was in the company of Oliver Cowdery, who would also be one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, as well as a Richmond resident.

The complete story is in the Friday, September 1, 2017 Richmond News.

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