Eight Witnesses Monument

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Photo by Kenneth Mays

The Monument to the Eight Witnesses is located on Campbell Drive, a few miles southwest of downtown Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. The monument bears the names and testimony of the eight men who never denied their experience of seeing and holding the Book of Mormon plates. Those men include Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel Smith.

The site was once the 160-acre farm of Michael Arthur, a man who was kind to the Saints when they were expelled from Jackson County in November 1833.

When Christian Whitmer, a member of the high council in Missouri, died in 1835, he was buried on the Arthur property. Ten months later, Peter Whitmer, Jr. died just as the Saints were leaving to go to Caldwell County. He was laid to rest on the Arthur farm beside his brother. Jacob Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Hiram Page are also buried in Missouri.

Alexander Baugh, a professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University said that Michael Arthur employed a number of Mormons and they actually lived on his property. They included John and Christian Whitmer and Lyman Wight. In fact, Mr. Arthur contracted with Brother Wight to make 100,000 bricks for his home, and future Church President Wilford Woodruff, following the march of Zion’s Camp, stayed on the farm and helped make the bricks and build the house.

Significantly, the Arthur property appears to be the place where Mormon leaders came from throughout the region to hold council meetings and conferences during these years [of 1834–36],” he said, adding, “This is kind of the Church headquarters in Missouri, this property right here.”[1] 

The monument was dedicated on November 19, 2011, by Elder Donald D. Deshler, an Area Seventy. A few hours earlier in Richmond, Missouri, the Three Witnesses Monument was rededicated in a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the original dedication of the monument. The Eight Witnesses Monument was carved of granite from the same quarry in Vermont.

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