My parents came to Ohio from Vermont in 1815. I resided in Kirtland when the Mormons first arrived. I was personally acquainted with Rigdon and heard him say after baptizing thirteen in the river on father’s farm, “Come, here is water enough to wash away all your sins. I have heard Rigdon several times say in his sermons that before long the Indian mounds and forts about there would all be explained. He caused a row of log houses to be built on Isaac Morley’s farm, and established a Communistic Society before Mormonsim was heard of. I heard Rigdon preach his first sermon at Kirtland Flats, after he embraced Mormonism. He said he had been preaching wrong doctrine and asked their forgiveness. He said he should address them no more in public. He wept freely through his sermon. I frequently attended their meetings at Isaac Morley’s. Order was observed until they got the power and began to talk in unknown tongues. Some called it talking Injun. The women were usually laid on the beds. Lucy Stanton was a leader in the power business. I saw Warner Doty, a young man of fine physique, when lying on the floor on his back, spring up 7 feet and catch hold of the beams overhead. Black Pete a low cunning illiterate negro used to get the power and writhe around in various contortions on the floor. At times he would run over the hills and say he saw holes of fire. White women would chase him about. Mormon preachers often quoted from the prophet Joel: “The young men shall see visions and the old men dream dreams.” It was announced that on a certain Sunday in the summer of 1832, they would heal the sick and lame and revive the dead. Thousands came, many from a distance. I attended, and heard Rigdon say there would be no preaching to-day. He dismissed an audience of several thousand on the hill back of the house, who were greatly disappointed and expressed much indignation. I then went to see the dead child in the house now occupied by Mrs. Carroll. It was lying on a bed. I felt of its face and hands which were warm and pliable. I thought it was under the influence of opium. It did not breathe. It was about two years old and belonged to Mr. Gould, who had lately come from the East. I heard it was buried the following Wednesday. I was well acquainted with Martin Harris, who was often at my house for days at a time. I have questioned him much about the plates from which the “Book of Mormon” purports to have been translated. He never claimed to have seen them with his natural eyes, only spiritual vision. He said it was impossible for the prophet Joseph to get up the “Book of Mormon,” for he could not spell the word Sarah. He had him repeat the letters of the word. He was a very illiterate man. He claimed he would be one of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation and would not die but would be translated. He often urged me to be baptized and become one of them. I have heard Mormons talk in unknown tongues and Jo Smith interpret. It was of no importance. N. K. Whitney’s wife was a vehement exhorter. My wife was employed by Newel several years to ornament chairs, and boarded in his family. Newel first introduced Jethro Wood’s iron plows in Northern Ohio. He was a very enterprising business man. My father was made a stockholder in the Mormon bank without his knowledge. After it failed I paid to have his name changed to Harrison to avoid litigation. I was one of the appraisers of the Temple in Kirtland about 1856. It was sold to satisfy a judgment held by Newell.
Kirtland, Dec. 16, 1884.
[Signed] REUBEN P. HARMON,
Witnessed by: A. B. DEMING
GRANVILLE HARMON (son)
Mr. Harmon is one of Kirtland’s most intelligent and substantial citizens, owns over 500 acres of land in the town and is well known as an auctioneer in several counties. His statement will not be doubted by those who know him. He was a friend and correspondent of Garfield.