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Oliver Cowdery, One of the Three Witnesses of the Golden Plates, Never Recanted...Right?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Abstract: It is generally stated by many apologists across the Restoration Movement

that Oliver Cowdery and the other witnesses to the golden plates never denied their testimonies. Is that conclusion historically valid? Using the same historical method applied in the book, Witnessing Miracles, author Josh Gehly provides fair evaluation of controversial statements attributed to Oliver Cowdery. Only after carefully weighing the evidence can one infer that the best explanation of the facts is that Oliver never denied his published testimony.

Oliver Cowdery will forever be remembered as one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He lodged with the Smiths during the 1820s and became intimately associated with Joseph Smith, Jr. Besides Joseph himself, no other person from the 19th century spent more time or had a greater hand in the production of the English Book of Mormon. Oliver served as the primary scribe during the translation process of the original manuscript. He later copied the original manuscript into the printer's manuscript. His efforts were painstaking and tedious. With his handwriting sprawling across the earliest scriptures of a new religious movement, it seems obvious to acknowledge Oliver Cowdery's testimony as essential. He was either privy to a miracle, duped or part of a masterful conspiracy. His life and witness remain a lynch pin upon which tens of thousands upon tens of thousands stake their faith.

We will evaluate Oliver's life and testimony through the lens of a strict historical method: inference to the best explanation. Discovering the truth of the past will herein rely upon uncovering a series of undisputed facts and determining their best explanation. Facts are established using a set of criteria including early testimony, eyewitness accounts, embarrassing admissions, multiple attestation and testimony from enemies. Those interested in a slightly more detailed summary are welcomed to purchase my book or—for even deeper dives—plunge themselves into the works of Behan McCullagh and others on the logic of history.

Fact #1: Oliver Cowdery ardently shared his witness of the golden plates and angel of the Lord during the late 1820s and early 1830s.

In a letter dated Nov 6, 1829, Oliver wrote to Joseph. The majority of the letter is Oliver marveling in having his sins forgiven and in being used and called by God for holy purposes. He alludes and quotes from the Book of Mormon throughout the letter. He talks about copying the original manuscript into the printer's manuscript. He was on page 261 of a project that would require 464 pages. [1]

Interestingly, the letter discusses Oliver's non-extant correspondence to a Thomas Marsh from Boston, Massachusetts. Marsh later recalled learning about the Book of Mormon and corresponding with Joseph and Oliver. This confirms Oliver's mention. Oliver must have shared about his testimony and experiences as Thomas Marsh travels to New York, obtains a proof sheet from the first 16 pages of the Book of Mormon and eventually was baptized.

The letter from Oliver to Joseph provides some riveting insider details:

  1. Oliver was referencing the Book of Mormon as scripture in personal correspondence before it ever was published. In other words, he clearly believed it was the Word of God even in private conversation.

  2. He was sharing about the Book of Mormon and his testimony to interested parties (like Thomas Marsh) who were inquiring about the Book of Mormon and its origins.

*Note: the letter provides an early source from an eyewitness with specifics corroborated by a second hand source via Thomas Marsh who was totally unaware of the private letter's existence.

Supporting Source(s): Painesville [Ohio] Telegraph

The Painesville Telegraph, like most newspapers from the era, was critical and skeptical of Oliver Cowdery and the Book of Mormon. Yet in an article dating December 7, 1830, titled The Book of Mormon the paper recounts a series of key points of information. The paper says:

Those who are the friends and advocates of this wonderful book, state that Mr. Oliver Cowdry has his commission directly from the God of Heaven....By this authority, they proclaim to the world, that all who do not believe their testimony...must be forever miserable, let their life have been what it may. [2]

The paper reported only a month previously:

About two weeks since some persons came along here with the book, one of whom pretends to have seen Angels, and assisted in translating the plates....The name of the person here, who pretends to have a divine mission, and to have seen and conversed with Angels, is Cowdray [sic]. [3]

This critical, early source confirms Oliver Cowdery was witnessing publicly to the world of miraculous experiences and testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Whether or not this unsympathetic source tried to get every detail correct is irrelevant to the question at hand. One thing disclosed for certain from the newspaper—Oliver was sharing his testimony regarding the miraculous origins of new scripture.

These are two less cited sources, but the first represents the earliest extant, relevant letter in Oliver’s own writing and the second represents a critical and early source. That would seem enough to establish a matter on historical grounds, but remember we also have the printer’s manuscript written in Oliver’s own handwriting. Included on the manuscript is the official Testimony of Three Witnesses. This portion of the original manuscript is no longer extant, but the first copy remains as written by one of the original signatories within mere months of the original.

Testimony of Three Witnesses

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true… [4]

In the 1830s Oliver spent a significant amount of time preaching, spreading the restored Gospel and bearing his testimony to many inquirers. Several retell accounts of Oliver witnessing to the Book of Mormon and its origins. In his own hand he wrote a letter to W.W. Phelps describing the translation process through which the Book came to quill and paper:

These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated, the Nephites whould [sic] have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’ [5]

He not only described the means of production, but he also outlined the very day he saw the plates in a letter again dating extremely early to November 1829. The letter states:

It was a clear, open beautiful day, far from any inhabitants, in a remote field, at the time we saw the record, of which it has been spoken, brought and laid before us, by an angel, arrayed in glorious light…[6]

Oliver went on a missionary trip and suffered greatly during the winter of late 1830. Prior to reaching the western frontier of modern day Kansas to preach to indigenous tribes about the Book of Mormon, the missionaries tarried in Ohio. An unconvinced and critical Shaker named Richard McNemar recorded a journal entry describing Oliver's description of events:

The engraving being unintelligible to learned & unlearned. there is said to have been in the box with the plates two transparent stones in the form of spectacles thro which the translator looked on the engraving & afterwards put his face into a hat & the interpretation then flowed into his mind. which he uttered to the amanuensis who wrote it down, The said amanuensis by name Oliver Cowdery, was lately at the North lot & gave this account... [7]

Once again a critical, unbeliever leaves a trail of clear and precise evidence that Oliver Cowdery was sharing his testimony about the origins and miracles surrounding the Book of Mormon. To have so many early sources relaying the circumstances with multiple, independent testimonies coming from strangers and those not sympathetic to the witness leaves only one option in front of an investigator of historical facts. Oliver Cowdery ardently shared his witness of the golden plates and angel of the Lord during the late 1820s and early 1830s. Now we must move on to historical fact #2.

Fact #2: Oliver continued to bear witness to His testimony of the golden plates and Book of Mormon even during estrangement from Joseph Smith, Jr. and being excommunicated from the church he helped establish. He stayed true to his testimony until his death.

Quoting from my book, Witnessing Miracles:

"The bond between Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith, Jr. started as inseparable but ended in disrepair. Minor issues arose early, but nothing tested their friendship more than when Oliver insinuated Joseph had an adulterous relationship with a teenager named Fannie Alger. Writing to his brother, Oliver called it a, “...dirty, nasty, filthy scrape of his and Fanny Alger’s.” Fanny later moved to Indiana and married Solomon Custer in 1836.

Economic woes also splintered the two ministers and plagued the church. The Kirtland Temple strapped the church with debt exceeding tens of thousands of dollars. Dedicated in 1836, the church’s first building project brought the entire organization towards financial ruin. Leadership oversaw banking projects to raise investment funds and recoup losses. Oliver was appointed as vice president over the doomed Monroe Bank in Michigan. The bank had investments from the never-chartered Kirtland Safety Society, later renamed the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. It was also run by church leadership. These financial institutions all failed, leaving angry investors with empty pockets. The problems were not isolated to Ohio and Michigan. The United States went through a banking crisis in 1837 which forced many institutions across the nation to close their doors. In the middle of the monetary madness from Michigan, Oliver wrote with determination that:

...the doctrines which I commenced to preach some seven years since are as firmly believed by me as ever; and though persecutions have attended, and the rage and malice of men been heaped upon me, I feel equally as firm in the great and glorious cause as when I first received my mission from the holy messenger.

Oliver returned from Michigan to Ohio only to be elected Justice of the Peace over a city lacking both justice and peace. In only 94 days he heard 230 cases. He inherited the duties when Kirtland was swallowed in inflation and flooded with worthless banknotes. The fiscal strain on the church disenfranchised many converts. Warren Cowdery, Oliver’s brother, wrote in the Messenger and Advocate, “If you come here [Kirtland, Ohio] to see perfection in the church and all living like the saints of God; you will be disappointed, sadly disappointed.” The banking failures, church division, economic turmoil, rioting in Kirtland and alleged womanizing by Joseph Smith, Jr. all estranged Joseph from Oliver and several other Book of Mormon witnesses...

The church and its leaders abandoned Ohio for its growing community in Missouri. Things soured quickly when the leadership from a splintered Kirtland took over administration in the west. Under Joseph’s direction, the church in Missouri strengthened its grip on land rights. For loyal followers, the church was striving to have all things in common. For dissenters, this was a power grab taking away from an individual’s right to own land and better themselves. Oliver, working as a lawyer in Missouri, felt the church crossed the line separating church and state. He voiced his displeasure. The church reacted swiftly. Accusations came against Oliver through a letter demanding his apology and compliance or face excommunication. He withdrew his membership before the excommunication hearing, but it was held anyway. The nine charges filed against him included his statements against Joseph Smith, Jr., lack of church attendance, working as a lawyer and several other items. For Oliver, the personal attack on his character through the church letter formed a deep wound." [8][9]

Interestingly from these excerpts, Oliver published a reaffirmation of his testimony to the church in the late 1830s just prior to his excommunication. In 1846 while still estranged from any restoration church he wrote a letter stating:

And that I may not be misunderstood, let me here say, that I have only sought, and only asked, that my character might be exonerated from those charges imputed to me...Those which all my former associates knew to be false...I have cherished a hope...that I might leave such a character as those who might believe in my testimony, after I should be called hence, might do so, not only for the sake of truth, but might not blush for the private character of the man who bore that testimony.[10]

While distanced from the body of the church, Oliver's primary desire was to clear the air and highlight the testimony he had given throughout his adult life. He wanted nothing to tarnish his name and through that diminish his testimony as a witness of the Book of Mormon. From outside the church looking in, Oliver's concern was leaving a clear witness to the truth of what God had shown him. In one of his last public testimonies before his death, Oliver stated the following:

I wrote with my own hand the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of...Joseph Smith...I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed. [11]

Several people were present with Oliver Cowdery on his deathbed. David Whitmer and others reported Oliver testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon while dying. His wife shared her retrospect on this, the most intimate, of moments:

My husband, Oliver Cowdery, bore his testimony to the truth and divine origin of the Book of Mormon, as one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon; as to his standing on doctrine he stood where he did when he preached his first sermon...when the Bible and Book of Mormon alone were the guide to the faith of the church. From the hour when the glorious vision of the Holy Messenger revealed to mortal eyes the hidden prophecies which God had promised his faithful followers should come forth in due time, until the moment when he passed away from earth. He always without one doubt or shudder of turning affirmed the divinity and truth of the Book of Mormon. [12]

The statements from 1846 and 1848 get reported, sometimes by several people, in close proximity to their activating events. The deathbed reports, wife recounting, and public testimonies all happen after being shamefully dealt with during an excruciating excommunication from the church Oliver Cowdery founded. From Oliver's perspective, the man he once viewed as a living prophet—Joseph Smith, Jr.—had committed adultery with a teenager. He utterly rejected polygamy. Yet...yet...instead of exposing a fraud, Oliver later rejoined one of the Restoration churches again after Joseph's death. He doubled down on his testimony and stayed true to his death.

Possible Disconfirming Statements: Does any historical source refute Fact #2?

This all leads to our ultimate question of the article. At different times Oliver clearly did persevere and shared his testimony facing hardship, rejection, physical affliction, estrangement and excommunication. Yes, he went through embarrassing adversity, including robberies and threats of death, from fellow church members. Of course, Joseph wrote harsh things about him after he was kicked out of the church (like saying he was "too mean to mention"). Yet, multiple unbelievers remembered his faithful witness. The accounts have multiple, independent attestation. We have Oliver's own handwriting on the matter. This is about as open and shut historical case that could be presented...if it weren't for two accounts given long after Oliver Cowdery's death in March, 1850. With these alleged accounts coming long after his death, Oliver cannot speak for himself. The accounts can only be submitted as contradicting evidence if they pass the same bar which all previous reports have been evaluated.

Controversial Statement from William Lang

This statement almost should not be included in an evaluation. All historians reject this account, including critics and unbelievers. The letter circulated through anti-Mormon literature dating to 1881. The flyer attributes the letter as originating through Oliver's business and law partner Judge William Lang. The document claims Oliver stated privately to Judge Lang that the Book of Mormon was a hoax derived from a (then) undiscovered manuscript from Solomon Spaulding. Here are the issues with this purported source:

  1. It originates >30 years after the death of Oliver. It is neither recent nor original.

  2. The original letter does not exist.

  3. William Lang publicly attested to the truthfulness and trustworthiness of Oliver in other, verified, documents. He even stated that, "...Cowdery had more to do with the production of the Mormon Bible [Book of Mormon] than its history ever gave him credit for..."

  4. Oliver was dead and could not verify or refute the account.

  5. The letter dated to 1881 and accused the Book of Mormon as being a fraud sourced from a lost manuscript called Solomon Spaulding's manuscript. That manuscript was found in 1884 and has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. In other words, this letter contains an anachronism which demonstrates it as being not a trustworthy source.

  6. The letter claimed Sidney Rigdon had a hand in Book of Mormon production. Sidney Rigdon did not read the Book of Mormon until after its publication. A missionary team which included Oliver Cowdery actually presented the first Book of Mormon to Sidney Rigdon. Again, we have an anachronism inside the document.

Stated kindly, this source does not pass the bar of the historical method used to build a case to infer the best explanation of the facts. A late source proliferated from a propaganda agency filled with blatant historical errors cannot be taken seriously. Thankfully, it isn't.

This belongs in a corpus of propaganda of anti-Restoration Movement sources. Typically, these sources come from individuals with an agenda seeking to disparage the Smith family or the church they founded. Regarding the Book of Mormon, several jumped aboard the Solomon Spaulding theory. Disgruntled former neighbors and excommunicated members alike told and retold a rumor that the Book of Mormon was copied from a lost manuscript attributed to Spaulding. The rumor traces its origins back to an anti-Restoration book called Mormonism Unvailed [sic] published by E.D. Howe in 1834.

Even the most critical historians like Fawn Brodie, Dan Vogel and others reject the Solomon Spaulding theory. They do so based upon historical grounds:

  1. The Solomon Spaulding's lost manuscript has been discovered.

  2. The manuscript has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon.

  3. It does not account for the eyewitnesses of the golden plates, their suffering and persecution while remaining true to their testimony.

  4. It does not account for the descriptions from eyewitnesses of how the Book of Mormon was translated/dictated.

  5. Stylometric authorship tests verify the manuscript was not plagiarized by Book of Mormon authors.

  6. The theory accuses Sidney Rigdon of somehow obtaining the manuscript and influencing Joseph Smith prior to the Book of Mormon's publication. This might show just how prominent Rigdon was in the eyes of church critics during the later 1830s, but is an obvious historical error. Rigdon never met Joseph or Oliver until after the Book of Mormon was published.

  7. No sources are early (prior to 1834).

  8. No sources come from the original witnesses to the golden plates or Book of Mormon production.

Critic to the Restoration Movement, Sandra Tanner, nicely summarizes:

The whole theory rests on too many assumptions. One must first theorize that Cowdery had met Smith prior to 1826...there is no evidence that they knew each other at that time. Then it must be assumed that Cowdery met Rigdon at the revival meeting in the fall of 1826. Again, no direct evidence exists. Even if Cowdery had met Smith and Rigdon, why would he and Rigdon think this young money-digger was a good candidate for publishing the book? Smith certainly didn't have the resources to ensure its publication and there was no way to be sure he could convince anyone else to back such a venture. [13]

Any credible historian evaluating the corpus of anti-church literature lauding this theory recognize it as propaganda. It was a counter explanation from those opposed to the new religious movement. It fits will into the category of the Jewish Sanhedrin at the time of the New Testament church. When Jesus rose from the dead, a counter narrative needed to coalesce to refute the disciples in Palestine. Matthew 28 describes the counter explanation: the disciples stole the body. Believers can rest easy on this counter explanation on historical grounds. Even the most critical historian must acknowledge IF the Sanhedrin accused the disciples of stealing the body THEN they are admitting the tomb of Jesus Christ was empty. An empty tomb is quite an admission from enemies to the New Testament church.

The Solomon Spaulding theory is also quite an admission from the enemies of the Restoration Movement's church. The enemies are intimating the new scripture was of such quality and character that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery could not have created it on their own. They must have had an external source to plagiarize. The theory brings in the most charismatic person from the church era, namely Sidney Rigdon, as being a co-conspirator. It also brings in a then undiscovered document. This theory might unravel in the face of historical critique, but underneath the shambles of false accusation lies a kernel of truth. The Book of Mormon existed and the critics of the time needed a counter explanation...even if the counter explanation was a bluff which time and research unraveled. The enemies from one church admit the tomb was empty. The enemies from another admit the Book of Mormon could not have been created by Joseph and Oliver alone. Powerful admissions from enemies to both movements.

Possible Disconfirming Statement from Oliver When Joining the Methodist Church

Oliver Cowdery joined the Methodist church during his time of estrangement from the Restoration Movement. After his excommunication, he practiced law. When requesting to join a local, Methodist church a man named G.J. Keen swore an affidavit about the events in 1885 (again, >30 years after the death of Cowdery):

We then inquired of him if he had any objection to a public recantation He replied that he had objections that in the first place it could do no good that he had known several to do so they always regretted it And in the second place it would have a tendency to draw public attention invite criticism and bring him into contempt But said he nevertheless if the church require it I submit to it but I authorize and desire you and the church to publish and make known my recantation We did not demand it but submitted his name to the church and he was unanimously admitted a member thereof At that time he arose and addressed the audience present admitted his error and implored forgiveness and said he was sorry and ashamed of his connection with Mormonism...[14]

Mr. Keen's statement has key elements of truth:

1. True: Oliver joined the Methodist church.

2. True: He was willing at the time to give up "Mormonism"

There are other keys to draw from this statement:

1. Oliver objected to a recantation.

2. He requested if he did recant for it to be published.

3. Nothing was ever published or made public.

Oliver's objection gets noted by Mr. Keen several decades after Oliver's death. That rings true as would his request for a published statement if a recant was required. This seems like Oliver wanted clarity on the record if he was required to actually recant something. As someone practicing law, this fits Oliver's personality and character.

I have no doubt Oliver at one point in his life was ashamed of being connected to the church. Its members had threatened his life and personally robbed him. He was anti-polygamy. Weighing this account from Mr. Keen, it fits the historical record for Oliver to be willing to recant on his membership from the main body of "Mormonism". However, his requesting a public record in doing so and the church's not requesting it makes it appear Oliver wanted to be clear about what he was rejecting...and what he was not rejecting.

There is nothing in the letter from Mr. Keen which would make me accept this as a rejection of the Book of Mormon on historical grounds...not even accounting for its late presentation 30 years after Oliver's death. There is just not enough evidence for me to do so. I find the source credible—albeit late—but the contents not disconfirming.

Additionally, I do not find enough evidence to corroborate the second hand account given much later for Oliver standing up in court and defending his testimony of the Book of Mormon in a courtroom. It's possible it happened but the evidence is not strong enough for me to accept. So, I am being impartial with my probability analysis. Both Mr. Keen's letter and the later courtroom account would not stand up to historical scrutiny if this was a different event in history being questioned. However, there certainly appears to be a time when Oliver is very anti-church in Far West, Nauvoo and beyond and Mr. Keen's account fits securely into that narrative. Oliver was very willing to disassociate himself from the church which disassociated themselves from him, however he never went on record to reject or refute his eyewitness testimony regarding the golden plates or Book of Mormon.


A certain sequence of events fits well into the historical narrative regarding our witness on trial, Oliver Cowdery.

First, whether working alongside Joseph Smith during the Book of Mormon's dictation or trudging through the snow westward to evangelize the Book of Mormon in 1830, Oliver spent his first years in the Restoration Movement constantly professing and proclaiming the authenticity of the miracles he witnessed. He worked tirelessly for the book's production and printing.

Second, he endured internal, physical and external hardships for his eyewitness. He was robbed by church members and forced from his home under duress and threats of death. His close association with Joseph Smith fell into disarray. Afterwards, for several years, Oliver became a recluse to that part of his past. Little records about his testimony exist during that time. He joined another church. No credible, historical evidence exists of his rejecting his testimony. He was estranged from a friend and from a church, but not from his faith.

After Joseph Smith died in 1844, Oliver again testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon to private inquirers and publicly. He later joins a branch of the Restoration Movement and testifies to the truth of his original testimony and the Book of Mormon on his deathbed.

On clear historical grounds, one must conclude Oliver Cowdery sincerely believed he saw golden plates and that the Book of Mormon came forth by divine origins. No other conclusion provides the same explanatory power and scope without tallying major disconfirmations and ad hoc assumptions. The data stacks on top of itself until the pile of sources outweigh all counter explanations. This best explains the facts of why Oliver was willing to...

  • work on the translation of the Book of Mormon.

  • transcribe the original manuscript to the printer's manuscript.

  • sign his name on the printer's manuscript copying from the original about his testimony as one of the Three Witnesses.

  • speak favorably about the power of testimony from other witnesses such as John Whitmer (one of the Eight Witnesses) when preaching at church.

  • share his testimony with multiple, independently attested early inquirers.

  • leave his home and travel west, enduring one of the harshest winters on record from the time, to preach the gospel found in the Book of Mormon, to the indigenous people from then Indian Territory (now modern day Kansas). He also proselytized during all parts of said trip.

  • endure hardships confronting the church in Kirtland.

  • oppose Joseph Smith, Jr. with an adultery accusation while still publishing statements supporting his Book of Mormon testimony and eyewitness.

  • never reject his testimony even when excommunicated by the church he helped establish and organize.

  • never reject his testimony when he was robbed and his life was threatened by church members from the church he helped found.

  • rejoin a Restoration church after Joseph Smith's death.

  • share his eyewitness testimony publicly and privately after all previous bullet points.

No other counter explanation has as broad of an explanatory scope or is as powerful. There is no disconfirming information to oppose the historical narrative. There are uncomfortable parts to be sure, but those are only embarrassing admissions which actually support the explanation on historical grounds. Oliver was not a part of any fraud or conspiracy. He believed what he saw was true. The question is not in his belief or testimony, but what modern readers conclude from that established fact.


[1] "Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 6 November 1829," p. 6-8, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed December 7, 2022,

[2] Painesville telegraph; 1829-1835 (Volumes 1-6); 1830-1831 (Volume 2); 1830 December 07 (No. 25); Church History Library, (accessed: December 7, 2022)

[3] "The Golden Bible," Painesville Telegraph (Ohio) (16 November 1830).

[4] "Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon, circa August 1829–circa January 1830," p. 463, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed December 7, 2022,

[5] Oliver Cowdery, “Letter I,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1, no. 1 (October 1834): 6, spelling as in the original.

[6] Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, in a letter dated 29 November 1829, quoted in Cornelius C. Blatchly, “THE NEW BIBLE, written on plates of Gold or Brass,” Gospel Luminary 2/49 (10 Dec. 1829): 194.

[7] Richard McNemar, Diary entry for January 29, 1831, 45-46, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Shaker Collection, Item 253. Available online at

[8] From Oliver Cowdery, Letter to Warren A. Cowdery, January 21, 1838, Letterbook, Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

[9] From Oliver Cowdery, “Valedictory,” Feb. 1837, Latter-day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 3, no. 11 (August 1837): 548.

[10] Oliver Cowdery letter to Phineas H. Young, 23 March 1846, Church History Library, MS 2646.

[11] Reuban Miller, “Last Days of Oliver Cowdery,” Deseret News, April 13, 1859. Reprinted in Millennial Star 21 (1859): 544-546, cited in Dan Vogel ed, Early Mormon Documents, Volume II (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 495.

[12] Elizabeth Ann Cowdery to David Whitmer, March 8, 1887, in Dan Vogel ed., Early Mormon Documents, Volume II (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 510-511.

[13] Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Joseph Smith’s Plagiarism of the Bible in the Book of Mormon. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Lighthouse Ministry), 243.

[14] Affidavit of G. J. Keen, 14 April 1885, in Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon (Cincinnati, OH: Standard, 1914), 58-59.


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