Witnesses Needed Faith to See Plates
If the plates were real, why did the witnesses have to have faith to see them (D&C 17:2)?
It took faith for the Three Witnesses because it was an angel who appeared to show them the plates. But the Eight Witnesses had no such spiritual experience; they saw and handled the plates themselves. The testimony of the Eight Witnesses, published in the beginning of the Book of Mormon, declares, “as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken.”