Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were selected as “special” witnesses. Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer reported having a vision of an angel and the gold plates. Three days later, Martin Harris reported a vision of the gold plates. Smith then wrote the witness statement, and the three signed it.
Martin Harris said:
“I never saw the gold plates, only in a visionary or entranced state. In about three days I went into the woods to pray that I might see the plates. While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates. ” When Harris was asked, “Did you see the plates with your natural eyes, just as you see this pencil case in my hand? Now say yes or no.”, he answered: “Why I did not see them as I do that pencil case, I saw them with the eye of faith. I saw them just as distinctly as I see anything around me – though at the time they were covered over with a cloth.”
David Whitmer said:
“Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view, for no man can behold the face of an angel, except in a spiritual view.”