Martin Harris told a lawyer that he saw the plates "with the eye of faith; I saw them just as distinctly as I see anything around me - though at the time they were covered with a cloth".
Peter Whitmer, Jr.
Joseph Smith, Sr
Samuel H. Smith
Illinois Governor Thomas Ford knew several of Joseph’s key men after they left the church. They told Ford that the witnesses were "set to continual prayer, and other spiritual exercises," then Smith "assembled them in a room, and produced a box, which he said contained the precious treasure. The lid was opened; the witnesses peeped into it, but making no discovery, for the box was empty, they said, 'Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates.' The prophet answered them, 'O ye of little faith! how long will God bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees, brethren, every one of you, and pray God for the forgive-ness of your sins, and for a holy and living faith which cometh down from heaven.' The disciples dropped to their knees, and began to pray in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God for more than two hours with fanatical earnestness; at the end of which time, looking again into the box, they were now persuaded that they saw the plates."
Martin Harris: Had been a Quaker, then a Universalist, then a Restorationist. Fawn Brodie says the following on p.81 of her book, No Man Knows My History (about events leading up to the publishing of the Book of Mormon): Martin Harris had been an embarrassingly zealous proselyter who advertised his own visionary experiences as freely as those of Joseph. He had seen Jesus in the shape of a deer, he said, and had walked with Him two or three miles, talking with Him as familiarly as one man talks with another. The devil, he said, resembled a jackass, with very short, smooth hair similar to that of a mouse. He prophesied that Palmyra would be destroyed by 1836, and that by 1838 Joseph's church would be so large that there would be no need for a president of the United States. Publicly Harris met with amused tolerance and only occasional bitter scorn. Privately Palmyra gossiped about his scandalous conduct with his neighbor Haggard's wife. Harris later left his wife. In 1837 he followed a young girl seer when the church split, and later followed James Strange to Wisconsin. He returned to Utah in his old age.
I doubt if any of the testimony of these witnesses would stand up in a court of law, and yet hundreds of thousands of people have been led to believe that the Book of Mormon is true based initially on the basis of the testimony of these witnesses who, in my mind, have no credibility.