Bathsheba W. Smith
Bathsheba W. Smith (1822–1910) became a member of the Church with most of her family in 1837 in Virginia (now West Virginia) at the age of fifteen. The first time she saw Joseph Smith was in Illinois, after he had been released from Liberty Jail.
The Prophet was a handsome man,—splendid looking, a large man, tall and fair and his hair was light. He had a very nice complexion, his eyes were blue, and his hair a golden brown and very pretty. . . .
My testimony today is, I know Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet, as well as I know anything. I know that he was just what he professed to be. . . . I have seen very many good men, but they had not the gift and blessing Joseph had. He was truly a Prophet of God.
Jane Snyder Richards
Jane Snyder Richards (1823–1912) lived with her family in Ontario, Canada, when they first heard the gospel message in 1834. Her brother Robert Snyder was the first of the family to join the Church and move to Kirtland. He returned to Canada on a mission and baptized all of his family. They moved to Nauvoo, and Jane married Franklin D. Richards in 1842.
I first saw the Prophet Joseph Smith and shook hands with him, in a dream, about eighteen months before my removal to Nauvoo. Later, at Nauvoo, from the recollections of my dream, I recognized him at first sight, while he was preaching to the people. His was one of the most engaging personalities it has ever been my good fortune to meet. . . . As Seer and Revelator he was fearless and outspoken, yet humble, never considering that he was more than the mouth-piece, through whom God spoke. As the Leader of his people he was ever active and progressive but always modest and considerate of them and their trying circumstances. Socially he was an ideal of affability and always approachable to the humblest of his acquaintances.
Margaret Pierce Young
Margaret Pierce Young (1823–1907) was born and raised in Pennsylvania by Quaker parents. As a young girl she fell in an icy pond and took cold, developing a fever and heart trouble that made her very ill. Two Mormon missionaries in the area gave her a blessing and saved her life. The following summer, Mormon missionaries returned and the Pierce family chose to be baptized.
In January, 1840, word came that the Prophet Joseph Smith was to visit our Branch on his way from Philadelphia. . . . My Mother served a splendid supper, and then the neighbors gathered to hear the Prophet discourse. I wish that I might describe my feelings at that meeting. Though they are fresh in my memory today, I cannot fall short of expressing myself. So animated with loving kindness, so mild and gentle, yet big and powerful and majestic was the Prophet, that to me he seemed more than a man; I thought almost, that he was an Angel. We were all investigating; none of my people had yet entered the waters of baptism. However, it was a great joy to us to entertain the Prophet Joseph Smith, and hear his wonderful words of wisdom. It was 2 o’clock in the morning before we permitted him to retire. We wanted to listen to him all night.
After he had gone from the room, my mother said, “I don’t see how anyone can doubt that he is a Prophet of God. They can see it in his countenance, which is so full of intelligence.” “Yes, truly!” my Father replied, “he is a Prophet of God.”
Mary Isabella Horne
Mary Isabella Horne (1818–1905) was born and raised in Kent, England. In 1832, her family immigrated to Canada, where they heard missionaries Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt. Mary was baptized in 1836. She wrote this testimony for her descendants before she passed away.
I first met the Prophet Joseph Smith in the fall of 1837, at my home in the town of Scarborough, Canada West. When I first shook hands with him I was thrilled through and through, and I knew that he was a Prophet of God, and that testimony has never left me, but is still strong within me, and has been a monitor to me, so that I can now bear a faithful testimony to the divinity of the mission of the Great Man of God. . . .
I testify that Joseph Smith was the greatest Prophet that ever lived on this earth, the Savior, only, excepted. There was a personal magnetism about him which drew all people who became acquainted with him, to him.
I feel greatly honored when I realize that I have had the privilege of personally entertaining this great man, of ministering to his temporal wants, of shaking hands with him, and listening to his voice. I heard him relate his first vision when the Father and Son appeared to him; also his receiving the Gold Plates from the Angel Moroni. . . . While he was relating the circumstances, the Prophet’s countenance lighted up, and so wonderful a power accompanied his words that everybody who heard them felt his influence and power, and none could doubt the truth of his narration. I know that he was true to his trust, and that the principles that he advanced and taught are true.
Latter-day Saint women actively participated in the Restoration, and their voices and testimonies need to be included in Church history. The Witness of Women helps accomplish that. Teachers, parents, gospel scholars, and every member seeking a connection with the women of our past will relish discovering the vital role that women played in the Restoration. The Witness of Women is available at Deseret Book stores or on deseretbook.com