Mormonism and Wikipedia/Oliver Cowdery

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    An analysis of the Wikipedia article "Oliver Cowdery"

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: Oliver Cowdery
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 Updated 11/7/2010

From the Wikipedia article:
Oliver Hervy Pliny Cowdery'

Wikipedia footnotes:
Prior to the winter of 1830-31, Cowdery generally signed his name "Oliver H P Cowdery", the "H P" standing for "Hervy" and "Pliny," two of his father's relatives. For unknown reasons Cowdery discontinued using his middle initials about 1831. Cowdery may have wished his name to match the form in which it was printed in the 1830 Book of Mormon. [http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/NY/telescp1.htm]. It is also possible that teasing by the [http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/NY/wayn1830.htm#060130 ''Palmyra Reflector''] (June 1, 1830) about Cowdery's pretentious moniker may have influenced Cowdery to abandon the initials.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
(3 October 1806 – 3 March 1850) was, with Joseph Smith, Jr., a important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836, becoming one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, and the Second Elder of the church.


FAIR's analysis:


Biography

Family background

From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery was born October 3, 1806 in Wells, Vermont. His father, William, may have been a follower of sectarian leader Nathaniel Wood of Middletown, Vermont, whose small religious sect, the "New Israelites," practiced divining for buried treasure and for revelatory purposes.

Wikipedia footnotes:
D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Revised and enlarged (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 34-36; Alan Taylor, "The New Jerusalem of the American Frontier"; Barnes Frisbie, The History of Middletown, Vermont in Three Discourses.... (Rutland, VT: Tuttle and Company, 1867), 43, 62.

FAIR's analysis:


View of the Hebrews controversy

From the Wikipedia article:
The Cowdery family also attended the Congregational Church of Poultney, Vermont, where Ethan Smith was pastor.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Grant H. Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), 58-60.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
At the time, Ethan Smith was writing View of the Hebrews (1823), a book speculating that Native Americans were of Hebrew origin.

Wikipedia footnotes:
During the colonial and early national periods many Americans speculated about a possible connection between the Hebrews and the Americans Indians. Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 94-97.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
David Persuitte argues that Cowdery had a knowledge of View of the Hebrews and that this acquaintance significantly contributed to the final version of the Book of Mormon.

Wikipedia footnotes:
David Persuitte, Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon (McFarland & Company, 2000), 125: "Oliver Cowdery surely had a copy of View of the Hebrews—a book that was published in his home town of Poultney, Vermont by the minister of the church his family was associated with. Considering his joint venture with Joseph Smith in 'translating' The Book of Mormon and the common subject matter, Cowdery could have shared his copy of Ethan Smith's book with Joseph, perhaps even sometime before Joseph began the 'translation' process."

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Even noted LDS scholar Richard Bushman has written in Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling that though "Joseph Smith is not known to have seen View of the Hebrews until later in life, the parallels seem strong enough for critics to argue that Ethan Smith provided the seeds for Joseph Smith's later compositions."

Wikipedia footnotes:
Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 96.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Nevertheless, Mormon apologists such as John W. Welch reject the connection and argue that there is little relationship between the contents of the two books.

Wikipedia footnotes:
John W. Welch, Reexploring the Book of Mormon, 83-7, and A Sure Foundation: Answers to Difficult Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988); John W. Welch, "An Unparallel" (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1985); Spencer J. Palmer and William L. Knecht, "View of the Hebrews: Substitute for Inspiration?" BYU Studies 5/2 (1964): 105-13.

FAIR's analysis:


Youth

From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery was reared in Poultney, but beginning at age twenty, he clerked at a store in New York for several years until 1829, when he taught school in the town of Manchester.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Lucy Cowdery Young to Andrew Jenson, March 7, 1887, Church Archives

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
While teaching, Cowdery lodged at different houses in the Manchester area, including that of Joseph Smith, Sr., who apparently provided Cowdery with additional information about the golden plates of which he had heard "from all quarters."

Wikipedia footnotes:
Junius F. Wells, "Oliver Cowdery", Improvement Era XIV:5 (March 1911); Lucy Mack Smith, "Preliminary Manuscript," 90 in Early Mormon Documents 1: 374-75.

FAIR's analysis:


Book of Mormon scribe and witness

From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery met Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 5, 1829—a year and a day before the official founding of the church—and heard from him how he had received golden plates containing ancient Native American writings.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Joseph Smith—History 1:66.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Like Smith, who was a distant relative,

Wikipedia footnotes:
Cowdery genealogy

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
during his youth, Cowdery had engaged in hunting for buried treasure and had used a divining rod.

Wikipedia footnotes:
EMD, 1: 603-05, 619-20; Quinn, 37.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery told Smith that he had seen the golden plates in a vision before the two ever met.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 73; Grant Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2002), 179.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
From April 7 to June 1829, Cowdery acted as Smith's primary scribe for the translation of the plates into what would later become the Book of Mormon. Cowdery also unsuccessfully attempted to translate part of the Book of Mormon himself.

Wikipedia footnotes:
History of the Church 1:36-38; D&C 8, 9.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Before meeting Cowdery, Joseph Smith's translation had come to a near standstill after the first 116 pages were lost by Martin Harris. But after Smith met Cowdery, the manuscript was completed in a remarkably short period (April–June 1829) during what Richard Bushman called a "burst of rapid-fire translation."

Wikipedia footnotes:
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 70."

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
On May 15, 1829, Cowdery and Smith said that they received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, after which they baptized each other in the Susquehanna River.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Messenger and Advocate (October 1834), 14-16; Bushman, 74-75.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery also said that he and Smith later went into the forest and prayed "until a glorious light encircled us, and as we arose on account of the light, three persons stood before us dressed in white, their faces beaming with glory." One of the three announced that he was the Apostle Peter and said the others were the Apostles James and John.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Charles M. Nielsen to Heber Grant, February 10, 1898, in Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1998), 2: 476; History of the Church 1:39-42.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Later that year, Cowdery reported experiencing a vision along with Smith and David Whitmer in which an angel showed him the golden plates. Martin Harris said he saw a similar vision later that day, and Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris signed a statement to that effect. They became known as the Three Witnesses, and their testimony has been published with nearly every edition of the Book of Mormon. Also in 1829, Cowdery received a revelation entitled "Articles of the Church of Christ", which directed the formation of the Church of Christ.


FAIR's analysis:


Second Elder of the church

From the Wikipedia article:
When the Church was organized on April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr. became "First Elder" and Cowdery "Second Elder." Although Cowdery technically second in authority to Smith from the organization of the church through 1838, in practice Sidney Rigdon, Smith's "spokesman" and counselor in the First Presidency, began to supplant Cowdery as early as 1831. Cowdery held the position of Assistant President of the Church from 1834 until his excommunication in 1838.


FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
On December 18, 1832, Cowdery married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, the daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr. and sister of David, John, Jacob and Peter Whitmer, Jr.. They had five children, only one of whom survived to maturity.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Maria Louise Cowdery, born August 11, 1835.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery helped Smith publish a series of Smith's revelations first called the Book of Commandments and later, as revised and expanded, the Doctrine and Covenants. Cowdery was also the editor or on the editorial board of several early church publications including the Evening and Morning Star, the Messenger and Advocate, and the Northern Times.


FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
When the Church created a bank known as the Kirtland Safety Society in 1837, Cowdery obtained the money-printing plates. Sent by Smith to Monroe, Michigan, he became president of the Bank of Monroe, which the church had purchased. Both banks failed that same year. Cowdery moved to the newly founded Latter Day Saint settlement in Far West, Missouri and suffered ill health through the winter of 1837-38.


FAIR's analysis:


Early written history of the church

From the Wikipedia article:
In 1834 and 1835, with the help of Smith, Cowdery published a contribution to an anticipated "full history of the rise of the church of Latter Day Saints" as a series of articles in the church's Messenger and Advocate, a version not entirely congruent with the later official history of the church.

Wikipedia footnotes:
W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, December 25, 1834, EMD, 3: 28

FAIR's analysis:


Question: Did Oliver Cowdery state that Joseph did not know if a "supreme being" existed in 1823?

In the first installment of his history published in December 1834, Oliver established Joseph's age as 14 and very accurately described the religious excitement leading up to the First Vision

Oliver Cowdery began publishing a history of the Church in the Messenger and Advocate in December 1834 which is commonly misunderstood:

In 1834, Oliver Cowdery began publishing a history of the Church in installments in the pages of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. The first installment talks of the religious excitement and events that ultimately led to Joseph Smith’s First Vision at age 14. However, in the subsequent installment published two months later, Oliver claims that he made a mistake, correcting Joseph’s age from 14 to 17 and failing to make any direct mention of the First Vision. Oliver instead tells the story of Moroni’s visit, thus making it appear that the religious excitement led to Moroni’s visit.

This curious account has been misunderstood by some to be evidence that the “first” vision that Joseph claimed was actually that of the angel Moroni and that Joseph invented the story of the First Vision of the Father and Son at a later time. However, Joseph wrote an account of his First Vision in 1832 in which he stated that he saw the Lord, and there is substantial evidence that Oliver had this document in his possession at the time that he wrote his history of the Church. This essay demonstrates the correlations between Joseph Smith’s 1832 First Vision account, Oliver’s 1834/1835 account, and Joseph’s 1835 journal entry on the same subject. It is clear that not only did Oliver have Joseph’s history in his possession but that he used Joseph’s 1832 account as a basis for his own account. This essay also shows that Oliver knew of the First Vision and attempted to obliquely refer to the event several times in his second installment before continuing with his narrative of Moroni’s visit.[1]

Two months later in the second installment published in February 1835, Oliver abruptly "corrects" Joseph's age from 14 to 17 years old, skips the First Vision and then proceeds instead to describe Moroni's visit

After spending the previous installment leading up to the First Vision, Oliver abruptly skips three years ahead and does not mention the vision directly. However, before describing Moroni's visit, Oliver even takes the time to minimize the importance of the religious excitement that he described in the previous installment, stating,

And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him.
Oliver Cowdery, Messenger and Advocate (February 1835)

The religious "excitement" that Oliver is describing is now portrayed as an event in the past, during which Joseph desired to know "if a Supreme being did exist"

Note carefully what Oliver is saying. The religious "excitement," and the event that Oliver described in the first installment when he said that Joseph was 14 years of age, was when Joseph was seeking a "full manifestation of divine approbation" with the desire to know "if a Supreme being did exist." Oliver then alludes to the First Vision in the past tense by saying,

This, most assuredly, was correct—it was right. The Lord has said, long since, and his word remains steadfast, that for him who knocks it shall be opened, & whosoever will, may come and partake of the waters of life freely.
Oliver Cowdery, Messenger and Advocate (February 1835)

Oliver is stating that something of significance happened in Joseph’s life prior to the events that Oliver would be describing next, and he assures the reader that “this, most assuredly, was correct.” Oliver then proceeds to describe Moroni's visit to Joseph at age 17.


Question: What criticisms are related to Oliver Cowdery's 1834-1835 history of the Church?

Critics of the Church conflate Oliver's first and second installments of his Church history in order to "prove" that Joseph was not aware that a "Supreme being" existed three years after he claimed to have had his first vision

When Oliver Cowdery published his version of the history of the Church in December 1834 and February 1835 he did not include a recital of the First Vision story - thus implying that it was not known among the Saints by that point in time. One critical website makes the following claim:

In the first history of Mormonism from 1835 written under Joseph Smith's direction, it says that the night of September 1823 Joseph Smith began praying in his bed to learn 'the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him.' (LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Feb. 1835). It makes no sense for him to ask if God existed, if Smith had already seen God face-to-face some three years earlier, and knew he existed.[2]

and

In Joseph Smith's 1835 published history of the church, he claimed that his first spiritual experience was in 1823 after a religious revival in Palmyra that same year. Smith testified that he prayed while in bed one night, to discover if God existed.

These claims, however, are false. Oliver's February 1835 installment did not describe Joseph's First Vision - it described Moroni's visit. It should also be noted that this was not "Joseph Smith's 1835 published history."

Only two years prior to Oliver's history, Joseph's 1832 account of the First Vision clearly establishes the date of both the first vision, and the vision of Moroni

Oliver Cowdery did, in fact, know about the First Vision when he recorded his version of the history of the Restoration—he had physical possession of the Prophet's 1832 history, which contains an account of the First Vision.

In October 1834 Cowdery announced in his newspaper that Joseph Smith would help with the history project but the Prophet himself noted that "no month ever found [him] more busily engaged than November." [3] In December 1834 President Smith was busy lecturing at the School of the Elders and acting as a trustee for the Kirtland High School and so during this month he sent Oliver a short letter to be included as part of the project, but also noted within it that he learned of his prominent role in the project, and its imminent appearance in the press, by reading Cowdery's periodical! [4]


From the Wikipedia article:
For instance, Cowdery ignored the First Vision but described an angel (rather than God or Jesus) who called Smith to his work in September 1823, placing the religious revival that stimulated Smith to ask which church to join in 1823 (rather than 1820) and stating that this revival experience had caused Smith to pray in his bedroom (rather than the woods).

Wikipedia footnotes:
Grant Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), 239; Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), 26; Vogel, EMD, 2: 428.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Further, after first asserting that the revival had occurred in 1821, when Smith was in his "fifteenth year," Cowdery corrected the date to 1823—Smith's 17th (actually, 18th) year.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Cowdery also said that the final battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites had occurred in the vicinity of the Hill Cumorah, where Smith claimed he found the golden plates. There is little evidence for mass graves for tens of thousands of soldiers at the site and most modern Mormon apologists now argue that the events likely took place in Central America. Messenger and Advocate, 1, no. 3 (December 1834),42, 78-79. “You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.’s age — that was an error in the type — it should have been in the 17th. — You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823."

FAIR's analysis:


Excommunication

From the Wikipedia article:
By early 1838 Smith and Cowdery disagreed on three significant issues. First, Cowdery competed with Smith for leadership of the new church and "disagreed with the Prophet's economic and political program and sought a personal financial independence [from the] Zion society that Joseph Smith envisioned."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Cowdery, Oliver, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, 1992.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Then too, in March 1838, Smith and Rigdon moved to Far West, which had been under the presidency of Cowdery's brothers-in-law, David and John Whitmer. There Smith and Rigdon took charge of the Missouri church and initiated policies that Cowdery and the Whitmers believed violated separation of church and state. Finally, in January 1838, Cowdery wrote his brother Warren that he and Joseph Smith had "had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that which I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself." Alger, a teenage maid living with the Smiths, may have been Joseph Smith's first plural wife, a practice that Cowdery opposed.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Richard Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 323-25, 347-49.

FAIR's analysis:


Question: Did Joseph Smith marry Fanny Alger as his first plural wife in 1833?

Joseph Smith met Fanny Alger in 1833 when she was a house-assistant to Emma

Joseph Smith came to know Fanny Alger in early 1833 when she stayed at the Smith home as a house-assistant to Emma. Neither Joseph nor Fanny ever left any first-hand accounts of their relationship. There are no second-hand accounts from Emma or Fanny's family. All that we do have is third hand accounts from people who did not directly observe the events associated with this first plural marriage, and most of them recorded many years after the events.

Joseph said that the "ancient order of plural marriage" was to again be practiced at the time that Fanny was living with his family

Benjamin F. Johnson stated that in 1835 he had "learned from my sister’s husband, Lyman R. Sherman, who was close to the Prophet, and received it from him, 'that the ancient order of Plural Marriage was again to be practiced by the Church.' This, at the time did not impress my mind deeply, although there lived then with his family (the Prophet’s) a neighbor’s daughter, Fannie Alger, a very nice and comely young woman about my own age, toward whom not only myself, but every one, seemed partial, for the amiability for her character; and it was whispered even then that Joseph loved her."[5]

Joseph asked the brother-in-law of Fanny's father to make the request of Fanny's father, after which a marriage ceremony was performed

Mosiah Hancock discusses the manner in which the proposal was extended to Fanny, and states that a marriage ceremony was performed. Joseph asked Levi Hancock, the brother-in-law of Samuel Alger, Fanny’s father, to request Fanny as his plural wife:

Samuel, the Prophet Joseph loves your daughter Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Uncle Sam says, “Go and talk to the old woman [Fanny’s mother] about it. Twill be as she says.” Father goes to his sister and said, “Clarissy, Brother Joseph the Prophet of the most high God loves Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Said she, “Go and talk to Fanny. It will be all right with me.” Father goes to Fanny and said, “Fanny, Brother Joseph the Prophet loves you and wishes you for a wife. Will you be his wife?” “I will Levi,” said she. Father takes Fanny to Joseph and said, “Brother Joseph I have been successful in my mission.” Father gave her to Joseph, repeating the ceremony as Joseph repeated to him.[6]


Question: Did some of Joseph Smith's associates believe that he had an affair with Fanny Alger?

Oliver Cowdery perceived the relationship between Joseph and Fanny as a "dirty, nasty, filthy affair"

Some of Joseph's associates, most notably Oliver Cowdery, perceived Joseph's association with Fanny as an affair rather than a plural marriage. Oliver, in a letter to his brother Warren, asserted that "in every instance I did not fail to affirm that which I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself."[7]

Gary J. Bergera, an advocate of the "affair" theory, wrote:

I do not believe that Fanny Alger, whom [Todd] Compton counts as Smith’s first plural wife, satisfies the criteria to be considered a “wife.” Briefly, the sources for such a “marriage” are all retrospective and presented from a point of view favoring plural marriage, rather than, say, an extramarital liaison…Smith’s doctrine of eternal marriage was not formulated until after 1839–40. [8]

There are several problems with this analysis. While it is true that sources on Fanny are all retrospective, the same is true of many early plural marriages. Fanny's marriage has more evidence than some. Bergera says that all the sources about Fanny's marriage come "from a point of view favoring plural marriage," but this claim is clearly false.

Even hostile accounts of the relationship between Joseph and Fanny report a marriage or sealing

For example, Fanny's marriage was mentioned by Ann Eliza Webb Young, a later wife of Brigham Young's who divorced him, published an anti-Mormon book, and spent much of her time giving anti-Mormon, anti-polygamy lectures. Fanny stayed with Ann Eliza's family after leaving Joseph and Emma's house, and both Ann Eliza and her father Chauncey Webb [9] refer to Joseph's relationship to Fanny as a "sealing." [10] Eliza also noted that the Alger family "considered it the highest honor to have their daughter adopted into the prophet's family, and her mother has always claimed that she [Fanny] was sealed to Joseph at that time." [11] This would be a strange attitude to take if their relationship was a mere affair. And, the hostile Webbs had no reason to invent a "sealing" idea if they could have made Fanny into a mere case of adultery.


From the Wikipedia article:
On April 12, 1838, a church court excommunicated Cowdery after he failed to appear at a hearing on his membership and sent a letter resigning from the Church instead.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Bushman, 347-48. Among other things, Cowdery was accused of "virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority nor Revelations whatever in his temporal affairs."

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
The Whitmers, William Wines Phelps and Book of Mormon witness Hiram Page were also excommunicated from the church at the same time.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Far West Record, 165-66

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery and the Whitmers became known as "the dissenters," but they continued to live in and around Far West, where they owned a great deal of property. On June 17, 1838, President Sidney Rigdon announced to a large Mormon congregation that the dissenters were "as salt that had lost its savor" and that it was the duty of the faithful to cast them out "to be trodden beneath the feet of men." Cowdery and the Whitmers, taking this Salt Sermon as a threat against their lives and as an implicit instruction to the Danites, a secret vigilante group, fled the county. Stories about their treatment circulated in nearby non-Mormon communities and increased the tension that led to the 1838 Mormon War.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 349-53.

FAIR's analysis:


Life apart from the church

From the Wikipedia article:
From 1838 to 1848, Cowdery put the Latter Day Saint church behind him. He may even have briefly denied his testimony regarding the Golden Plates because in 1841, the Mormon periodical Times and Seasons published the following verse: "Or does it prove there is no time,/Because some watches will not go?/...Or prove that Christ was not the Lord/Because that Peter cursed and swore?/Or Book of Mormon not His word/Because denied, by Oliver?"

Wikipedia footnotes:
Times and Seasons 2: 482

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Nevertheless, there is no direct evidence that Cowdery ever denied his testimony, and he repeated it even while estranged from the church.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Stanley R. Gunn, Oliver Cowdery, Second Elder and Scribe (Salt Lake City, 1962).

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Cowdery studied law and practiced at Tiffin, Ohio, where he became a civic and political leader. He edited the local Democratic newspaper until it was learned that he was one of the Book of Mormon witnesses. He did not recant his testimony, but he was still able to become assistant editor. In 1846, Cowdery was nominated as his district's Democratic party candidate for the state senate, but when his Mormon background was discovered, he was defeated.


FAIR's analysis:


Final Latter Day Saint contacts

From the Wikipedia article:
After Joseph Smith was assassinated, Cowdery's brother Lyman recognized James J. Strang as Smith's successor to the church presidency, and in 1847, Oliver moved to Elkhorn, Wisconsin near Strang's headquarters in Voree and entered law practice with his brother. He became co-editor of the Walworth County Democrat and in 1848 he ran for state assemblyman. However, his Mormon ties were once again discovered and he was defeated.


FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In 1848, Cowdery traveled to meet with followers of Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve encamped at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and he asked to be reunited with the Church.

Wikipedia footnotes:
"Brethren, for a number of years, I have been separated from you. I now desire to come back. I wish to come humble and be one in your midst. I seek no station. I only wish to be identified with you. I am out of the Church, but I wish to become a member. I wish to come in at the door; I know the door, I have not come here to seek precedence. I come humbly and throw myself upon the decision of the body, knowing as I do, that its decisions are right." Stanley R. Gunn, "Oliver Cowdery Second Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Division of Religion, Brigham Young University," (1942), 166, as cited in The Improvement Era, 24, p. 620.)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
On November 12, 1848, Cowdery was rebaptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve in Indian Creek at Kanesville, Iowa. Cowdery never again held high office in the church. He developed a respiratory illness, and on March 3, 1850, he died in David Whitmer's home in Richmond, Missouri.

Wikipedia footnotes:
Of Cowdery's death, David Whitmer said: "Oliver died the happiest man I ever saw. After shaking hands with the family and kissing his wife and daughter, he said ‘Now I lay down for the last time; I am going to my Saviour’; and he died immediately with a smile on his face." (Stanley R. Gunn, Oliver Cowdery Second Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Division of Religion, Brigham Young University. (Stanley R. Gunn: 1942), 170-71, as cited in Mill, Star, XII, p. 207.)

FAIR's analysis:


References

Endnotes


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