A Witness of the Book of Mormon
Harrison Burgess was born September 3, 1814, in Putnam, New York. He was the eldest son of William and Violaty Burgess. He was not raised in a religious home, although he said his father did raise them in a "moral and virtuous" environment. Harrison left home at 14. Being the oldest he was put to work early. He had little formal education during his childhood; however he would complete his education during his teenage and adult years.
His interest in religion was first sparked in 1832. During his 17th year he heard the restored gospel being preached by Elder Simeon Carter. He said he became convinced the Bible and Book of Mormon were true scripture. He was baptized by Elder Carter and was confirmed a member by Orson Pratt. He would serve a brief mission in 1833 before becoming a member of Zion’s Camp in 1834. During the long march to Missouri he, along with other members of Zion's Camp, contracted cholera. He was healed by a priesthood blessing given to him by Zerah Cole. In February 1835, he was ordained as one of the first members of the Quorum of the Seventy. That same year he married Sophia Foster. He would fill several other church callings, including a mission to England. In 1862 he arrived in Utah and settled his family in Southern Utah. He died February 10, 1883.
His experience with the gold plates came shortly after his conversion. He was bearing his testimony of the Book of Mormon to a congregation when thoughts of doubt entered his mind. Here is his account of what occurred.
"On the third Sabbath in May while speaking to a congregation I declared that I knew the Book of Mormon was true, the work of God. The next day while I was laboring something seemed to whisper to me "Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?" My mind became perplexed and darkened, and I was so tormented in spirit that I left my work and retired into the woods in misery and distress and therein cannot be described.
"The voice all the while seemed to ask how I know the Book of Mormon is true?" I remained in this situation about two hours before it came into my mind the faith that the Brother of Jared had in obtaining knowledge of God. Finally, I resolved to know whether I had proclaimed the truth or not, and commenced praying to the God of Heaven, for a testimony of these things, when all at once the vision of my mind was opened, and a glorious personage clothed in white stood before me and exhibited to my view the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was taken."
Harrison Burgess received a special witness and consequently served and sacrificed much. Harrison became stalwart in his faith, becoming a special witness of Christ and His restored gospel. To whom much is given much is required. Much was given and required of Elder Harrison and he remained faithful until the end.
LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.687
Harrison Burgess autobiography, in K. Hales, Windows (1985), p.100 - p.101
Harrison Burgess, 1814-1883 Autobiography (1814-1848)
Harrison Burgess, "Sketch of a Life Well Spent,"