Tag Archives: A New Witness for God

New Release: B. H. Roberts’ “New Witnesses for God”, vol. 2 of 3

In A New Witness for God, originally published as a stand-alone work in 1895 and previously released, Roberts made his case for Joseph Smith. Volumes 2 and 3, published in 1909, make his case for The Book of Mormon. This, not his devil’s advocate “Studies” that sometimes attract more attention (both apologetic and critical), should be considered Roberts’ key treatment of the Book of Mormon. Vol. 2 is now available as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg thanks to the dedication of Diane Evans, who also proofread vol. 1 and is now working on (wait for it…) vol. 3.

Volumes 2 and 3 discuss four topics:

I.—The Value of the Book of Mormon as a Witness for the Authenticity and Integrity of the Bible; and the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

II.—The Discovery of the Book of Mormon and its Translation, Migrations, Lands, Intercontinental Movements, Civilizations, Governments, and the Religions of its Peoples.

III.—Evidences of the Truth of the Book of Mormon.

IV.—Objections to the Book of Mormon Considered.

Vol. 2 treats the first three, with Part III forming the bulk of the text. Among other evidences, Roberts discusses at length the testimony of the Eight, Three, and other witnesses, as well as then-current knowledge of the ancient Americas as it relates to The Book of Mormon. It’s a must-read for understanding B. H. Roberts’ thought on the founding scripture of the Restoration. Expect volume 3 to be released sometime next year.

New Release: “A New Witness for God” by B. H. Roberts

This book, first published in 1895 and now available on Project Gutenberg, is B. H. Roberts’ defense of Joseph Smith, the “New Witness” referred to in the title. He structures the book around four theses:

I. The world needs a New Witness for God. [One chapter.]

II. The Church of Christ was destroyed; there has been an apostasy from the Christian religion so complete and universal as to make necessary a New Dispensation of the Gospel; [Six chapters.]

III. The Scriptures declare that the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the last days—in the hour of God’s judgment—will be restored to the earth by a re-opening of the heavens, and giving a New Dispensation thereof to the children of men. [Two chapters.]

IV. Joseph Smith is the New Witness for God; a prophet divinely authorized to preach the Gospel and re-establish the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. [Twenty-one chapters.]

It’s thus an early, structured argument for the Restoration with an emphasis on Joseph Smith. To contextualize the book’s original publication date of 1895, consider that it was 16 years before James E. Talmage was ordained an apostle, and John A. Widtsoe was 23 at the time. I would bet that both read this book.

Apparently it met with success; later on, Roberts wrote two more volumes on the Book of Mormon as another new witness, and they and the original volume were printed together as “New Witnesses for God.” We plan to release all three volumes, and Diane, who did this one (and deserves all your thanks!), is already working on the second.