Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 35 No 3
Martin Harris: The Kirtland Years, 1831-1870
Martin Harris: The Kirtland Years, 18314870 H. Michael Marquardt Martin Harris is known for being a Book of Mormon scribe, witness, and financier. However, little is known about his activities while living in Kirtland, Ohio, for over thirty-five years. This article will present what is known about Harris during the Kirtland years. Included will be his relationship to other Restoration churches under the leadership of James J. Strang (including Harris's mission to England), William E. McLellin, and so forth. A brief background of Harris's life in New York will also be given to help understand his place in the early life of the church. New York Seeker Martin Harris was born on 18 May 1783 at Eastown, New York. He was a well-established farmer of Palmyra, Ontario (later Wayne) County, New York. At the age of twenty-six, Harris married his cousin Lucy; he was nine years her senior. They had a family of four known children. He became a close associate of Joseph Smith, Jr., whom he assisted financially, and he acted as a scribe to Smith.1 He also financed the publication of the Book of Mormon by mortgaging his farm. As an early convert of Mormonism, he was received into fellowship by baptism on the day the church was organized. Due to the time and resources spent on his new religion, Harris became partially separated from his wife, Lucy. Orsamus Turner, a printer in New York, described Harris thusly: Martin Harris, was a farmer of Palmyra, the owner of a good farm, and an honest worthy citizen; but especially given to religious enthusiasm, new creeds, the more extravagant the better; a monomaniac, in fact.2 1. See Ronald W. Walker, "Martin Harris: Mormonism's Early Convert," Dialogue 19, no. 4 (Winter 1986): 29-43. 2. O[rasmus] Turner, History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase (Rochester, N. Y.: William Ailing, 1851), 215.