Today I read Doctrine and Covenants section 5. In this section, Martin Harris had asked Joseph Smith to ask the Lord about his standing in the Lord's sight. Despite it being a revelation for Martin Harris, the first part of the section is actually directed at Joseph Smith.
A good chunk of this section is in regards to the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and how Joseph Smith is not to show the golden plates to anyone except to those 3 witnesses that the Lord has authorized him to show them to. It must have been really hard for Joseph Smith, to not even be able to show them to his wife, Emma. I know I would have a really hard time not even showing something the Lord had given me to my wife, although, now that I think about it, I suppose in a roundabout way, I do and it's not that hard after all. I do think my situation is different than Joseph Smith's was though. This was all very, very new for Joseph Smith and for everyone involved and to not even be able to see tangible proof that Joseph Smith wasn't crazy? Very rough indeed.
I do think it's neat that in this section the Lord gives Joseph a promise of things to come and promises him certain gifts to come later down the road if he remains faithful to the end. God even hints at restoring the Priesthood through Joseph in this section. It's almost like a Patriarchal Blessing for Joseph Smith.
But the majority of this section is in fact about Martin Harris and how he needs to humble himself and repent of his sins. Now, if you will notice the dates of this section and section 3, this is not quite a year after the 116 pages were lost as a result of Martin Harris not abiding by the Lord's commandments to him when they were entrusted to his care. You would think that after such a blunder, Martin Harris would have sought forgiveness from God and humbled himself to get back into God's good graces, but according to this section, that does not appear to be the case. The Lord specifically states that Martin Harris exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before the Lord.
That is really hard for me to understand why Martin Harris would not repent of his sins and humble himself before God. But perhaps Martin thought he had? We do know that man's ways and God's ways are not the same and so perhaps Martin thought he had in fact repented sufficiently. Who knows?
We do know from what the Lord says though that Martin Harris desired to be one of the 3 Witnesses and the Lord here says that if he humbles himself and asks for forgiveness, then he can be granted his heart's desire and will be shown the Golden Plates and can stand as a witness. We know that Martin did in fact eventually humble himself and beg for forgiveness and he was in fact privileged to be one of the few in this day and age that got to see the Gold Plates for himself.
I know that in hindsight we tend to be pretty harsh on all 3 of the Witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, since all 3 of them fell away at some point in their lives with Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris eventually returning to the church and repenting of their sins. But we must give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that none of the 3, whether in the church or out, ever denied seeing the Gold Plates or the true origin of the Book of Mormon. Through their unceasing testimony, we can have yet another witness of the truth of these things. It is not enough for most, but it is indeed enough for us. Until tomorrow.