This week during family scripture study, I noticed what may be one of the most interesting prophecies to come through Joseph Smith. It wasn’t his prophecy, it was actually Nephi’s, but it certainly counts in favor of Joseph Smith. The prophecy – so I will call it – comes from 2 Nephi 27, the chapter in which Nephi built upon Isaiah’s prophecy of the sealed book to give insight into the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Verse 14 is what impressed me. It refers to the witnesses of the Book of Mormon that will be called (the three main witnesses plus a number of others), and states that through these witnesses, God will “establish his word.” If Joseph were a fraud, it would have been utterly foolhardy to let others in on his secret and ask them to pose as false witnesses of real plates and angels and so forth – much safer to keep the conspiracy to as small a circle as possible – preferably him alone – and keep everything visionary and mysterious. If it were a fraud, the chances of multiple false witnesses all remaining loyal to their testimony to their dying day to “establish” the word of God is beyond belief, especially given that many of those witnesses did part ways with Joseph Smith and would have had every motivation to expose him and avoid the constant trouble their testimonies created for them – but none of them denied their witness of the Book of Mormon.
As the prophetic Book of Mormon states, multiple witnesses were called. They saw and held the plates, and three saw an angel and heard the voice of God. They put their necks on the line, standing bravely as eye-witnesses of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, facing a life of trouble as a result, but never wavering. Truly these witnesses, with their valiant, lifelong testimonies of the Book of Mormon, did establish God’s word – or that part of it we are blessed to have in the sacred book, the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.