One evening, when (after having done her usual day's work in the house) she went to the barn to milk the cows, she met a stranger carrying something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first she was a little afraid of him, but when he spoke to her in a kind, friendly tone and began to explain to her the nature of the work which was going on in her house, she was filled with inexpressible joy and satisfaction. He then untied his knapsack and showed her a bundle of plates, which in size and appearance corresponded with the description subsequently given by the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. This strange person turned the leaves of the book of plates over, leaf after leaf, and also showed her the engravings upon them; after which he told her to be patient and faithful in bearing her burden a little longer, promising that if she would do so, she should be blessed; and her reward would be sure, if she proved faithful to the end. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, she could not tell. From that moment my grandmother was enabled to perform her household duties with comparative ease, and she felt no more inclination to murmur because her lot was hard. I knew my grandmother to be a good, noble and truthful woman, and I have not the least doubt of her statement in regard to seeing the plates being strictly true. She was a strong believer in the Book of Mormon until the day of her death.Mary Whitmer was the only woman that I am aware of that saw the plates directly. Emma worked as a scribe for Joseph at certain points, but did not see the plates. Mary's experience probably pre-dated that of the 11 witnesses (correct me if I'm wrong, history buffs!). Later on, her family had a falling out with Joseph, and they did not join the saints out West. However, she never denied her testimony.
Mary inspires me for many reasons. I think everybody can relate to feeling like your hard work towards an important cause goes unnoticed. I love this account because it demonstrates that the Lord truly does notice our efforts, and will provide us the strength we need to move forward in them. I love that when she had this affirmation, she not only went to work, but she stopped worrying about the difficulty in doing it. Mary's experience reminds me that the Lord is aware of and values my contributions towards His work.
Mary Musselman Whitmer, James Lamond Carroll
Mary Musselman Whitmer, Moroni's Latter Day Saints Page