Date: October 29, 2010 09:53PM
1. There are always seconds in Mormonism. A second Spaulding Manuscript, a second Cumorah, a second Book of Abraham scroll. I wouldn't put too much stock in it.
2.Three were out in the woods because it was as good a place as any to dupe them:
Martin Harris: Was known for being very unstable religiously. Over his whole life he changed his affiliation over 13 times.He said he saw the plates with "the eyes of faith and not with the natural eyes".
David Whitmer: Changed his story about seeing the plates and later told of finding them lying in a field and later still, told Orson Pratt that they were on a table with all sorts of brass plates, gold plates, the Sword of Laban, the ‘Director' and the Urim and Thumim. (Millennial Star, vol. XL, pp. 771-772)
Denounced by Joseph Smith as a "dumb beast to ride" and "an ass to bray out cursings instead of blessings." (History of the Church, vol. 3, p 228)
Oliver Cowdery: In 1841 the Mormons published a poem which stated "Or Book of Mormon not his word, because denied by Oliver". (Seasons and Times, Vol 2, p482)
While the Mormon church claims he rejoined them in the fall of 1848, (Historical Record, 1886, vol. 5, p. 201) they also accused him later that year, with trying to "raise up the Kingdom again" with the Apostate, William E. McLellin.(The Mormon frontier, Diary of Hosea Stout, vol. 2, p. 336)
3. Given their tract record, I'd say they were simply not believeable.