I, William Holmes Walker, son of John and Lydia Holmes Walker, was born at Peacham, Caledonia county, Vermont, August 28, 1820.
My parents were sincere believers in the established Christian religion of the day, being members of the Congregational Church. I was trained in all the tenets of the same and a firm believer in the King James Version of the Old and New Testament as the Word of God.
In the spring of 1832, my father joined the Mormons. They, in that day, were represented as the lowest and most degraded people on the face of the earth from every point of view. At that time I was away from home, boarding with my uncle and going to school. He, being on business in the vicinity where my father resided, learned that my father had been baptized by emersion and had joined that dreadful and most detestable Mormon religion and "Old Joe Smith", who claimed to be a Prophet and leader and had found the "Golden Bible". My uncle returned home and related the sad news. I felt worse, if possible, than if I had heard of my father's death and burial. I felt that he had become suddenly deranged and had entirely lost his reason or had wilfully committed a crime by which he was unworthy of recognition as a father. However, at the close of school, I had a great desire to see my mother and my brothers and sisters, and on my visit I met my father. To my great surprise, I was unable to discover any change in him for the worse, but if anything, the reverse. He appeared to be very happy. I found that my mother did not approve of his course and that she felt that he had disgraced himself and family.
A few months after, my father was solicited to take charge of a manufacturing establishment in Stanstead Plains, Canada, which he accepted. He invested in the business and added some improved machinery.
In the meantime for two years my mother was earnestly and dili-gently engaged in reading the Bible, thinking to find something that would condemn and put down Mormonism. I heard her say repeatedly that during the two years she had read the Bible more than she had in all of her life before, for that purpose, and was greatly disappointed to find that the more she read the more she found to condemn herself and to favor and confirm or establish Mormonism. After this rigid and thorough investigation, and being fully convinced that God had again spoken from the heavens, had restored the everlasting gospel in its fullness to the earth, and had conferred upon man the Holy Priesthood with authority to administer in all the ordinances thereof, she desired to be baptised for the remission of her sins and have hands laid on her head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and was not only willing, but glad to unite her destinies with that unpopular people called Mormons.
Notwithstanding all this, I had not yet fully concluded to accept Mormonism, although previous to leaving Vermont, unknown to my parents, I went and heard a Mormon elder preach. After meeting was dismissed, a number of my acquaintances, some of whom were well educated and well versed in the Bible, surrounded this Mormon elder and commenced an attack of severe criticism upon the doctrine that he had advanced; but they could not refute one point of doctrine or one of his arguments. Although my prejudices were strongly in favor of my acquaintances and against the Mormon elder, yet I found they could not produce any proof from the Bible to overthrow the doctrine or principles he advocated.