Saturday, August 18, 2018

Richard Lloyd Anderson and President Cowdery's letters

The much-loved Richard Lloyd Anderson passed away on August 12, 2018. He was perhaps best known for his work on the Three Witnesses, including his book, Investigating the Three Witnesses. He was working on the Oliver Cowdery Papers at the time of his death at age 92.

That's an awesome legacy.

He wrote many articles over the years. One, published in the Improvement Era in 1970, was titled "Confirming Records of Moroni's Coming." In it, Brother Anderson explained the important role President Cowdery's letters play in our understanding of Church history.

You can read his article here:

In the article, Brother Anderson notes this:

"The first published history of the coming of Moroni appeared in letter form in the Messenger and Advocate in 1835. [Note: this is Letter IV.] Its author was Oliver Cowdery, but its wealth of detail must be attributed largely to the Prophet."

Whether Oliver relied on the notebook he had when he first met Joseph in 1829 in Harmony, or whether Joseph related the details in 1834-5 when he helped Oliver write the eight letters, it does seem apparent that, as Brother Anderson said, "the details must be attributed largely to" Joseph Smith.

One long-overlooked detail from Letter IV is that when Moroni first told Joseph about the Nephite record, he said it was "written and deposited" not far from Joseph's home near Palmyra. For Mormon and Moroni to have written the abridgment not far from Joseph's home, they would have had to have lived not far from Joseph's home.

Which, of course, is what all the prophets have taught; i.e., that the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 is the very hill in New York from which Joseph obtained the record.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Oliver Cowdery Memorial - Modern Prophets Speak

Here's another of the signs on the memorial in Palmyra, New York. I'd like to see all of these statements on display in the Hill Cumorah visitors center. Even better, they should be mounted along the path between the parking lot on the top of the Hill Cumorah and the statue of Moroni.

In the meantime, every visitor to the Palmyra area who drives between the Sacred Grove and the Hill Cumorah passes by this memorial and at least has one chance to learn what the prophets have taught about the Hill Cumorah in New York.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Letter VII in 1909 Course of Study

In 1909, the Church published a manual titled "Course of Study for the Quorums of Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

The First Year book was titled "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon." You can see it here:;view=1up;seq=1

On page 43, the manual cites and quotes from Letter VII on the subject of Cumorah:

Oliver Cowdery was the first to give the world any account in detail of these early events connected with the coming forth of the great work of God. This he did in 1834-35 in a series of nine letters to the “Saints Messenger and Advocate,” published at Kirtland, Ohio, under the caption, “Early Scenes and Incidents in the Church.”  And
as.these letters were published in the lifetime of the Prophet, with his sanction and in a periodical published by the Church, it cannot be doubted but that the statements contained in them are reliable....

The place where the Nephite record was deposited must and ever be of interest to those who believe that record to be true, and therefore a description of the hill of Cumorah will not be out of place in concluding this chapter.

[Letter VII on Cumorah]

The link is here:;view=1up;seq=45

The General Committee who prepared and published the manual included Rudger Clawson (ordained an Apostle in 1898 and President of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1921),  David O. McKay (ordained an Apostle in 1906, Second Counselor in the First Presidency in 1934, and President of the Church in 1951), and Charles W. Nibley (who became Second Counselor in the First Presidency under President Heber J. Grant in 1925).

M2C intellectuals want you to believe that these men, along with the other General Authorities who approved the manual, misled the Church because they were ignorant speculators who needed to be corrected by Matt Roper, Jack Welch, John Sorenson, Tyler Griffin, Mark Alan Wright, Dan Peterson, and all the other M2C intellectuals at BYU/CES and Book of Mormon Central.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Cowdery Memorial - 3 reasons to visit Cumorah

Thanks to the Correlation Department's obsession with Mesoamerica, visitors to the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center near Palmyra, NY, are never told what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah.

Visitors are told that Cumorah is significant only because Joseph got the plates here. They are not informed about Cumorah as the site of Mormon's depository of the ancient Nephite records. They are not informed about Cumorah as the site of the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites.

Consequently, we included a graphic explaining the 3 reasons to visit Cumorah.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Oliver Cowdery Display - with flowers

Oliver Cowdery Memorial, Palmyra, NY
located on route 21, 1 mile north of the Hill Cumorah
My wife added flowers to the display, which is a big improvement.

They have hanging flower baskets everywhere in western New York. Even the Hill Cumorah Pageant is decorated with them.

So far, the only problem we have it there is so much information on the display that we spend 30 minutes to an hour going through it with visitors.

It would be far better for this display to be set up along the top of the Hill  Cumorah, leading to the statue of Moroni.

Some day...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Oliver Cowdery Memorial - Palmyra

The new Oliver Cowdery Memorial is located one mile north of the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, on route 21 (the main road). It is on the west side of the road.

The Memorial is located between the Hill Cumorah and the Sacred Grove, so everyone driving between these locations passes it.

The Memorial features panels explaining President Cowdery's connections to this area. Route 21 is the road to Canandaigua that he referred to in Letter VII.

The Memorial also features Letter VII itself, along with statements from the prophets about the New York Cumorah. It explains the three reasons to visit Cumorah.

Incredibly, visitors to the Hill Cumorah currently are told only that Joseph found the plates on this hill. Visitors wonder why there's even a visitors center there. It's so sad to see bus loads of visitors, including youth, come all the way to the Hill Cumorah only to be misled about what the prophets have taught.

In recent years, thanks to revisionist Church historians who are systematically erasing Church history to accommodate the M2C intellectuals, visitors are not told about (i) Mormon's depository in the hill, or (ii) the great battles fought in the mile-wide valley west of the hill. These were the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites.

Now, visitors to Palmyra can at least learn the truth about what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah, starting with Letter VII and continuing through General Conference addresses by members of the First Presidency.

Finally, the Memorial shows how the New York Cumorah fits in the overall Book of Mormon geography in North America.

If you come to Palmyra, be sure to stop by the Oliver Cowdery Memorial.

Plus, there's an art studio on the same property with some new paintings depicting Book of Mormon people and scenes.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Letter VII published in New York on June 29, 1844

Joseph Smith wanted everyone in the world to know about Letter VII.

It was published to the world in New York City on June 29, 1844, just two days after the martyrdom.

But today's M2C intellectuals and their followers at BYU/CES/COB don't want members of the Church to even know about Letter VII.

Think about that for a minute or two.

M2C can only survive as long as members of the Church are kept in ignorance, with the complicity of employees at the Church History Department, the Correlation Department, BYU, CES, etc.

Your typical BYU and CES instructors are not going to tell you about Letter VII because it contradicts their M2C ideology. 

Just ask them. You'll see. 

Maybe you'll get lucky and find a BYU/CES teacher who is teaching the truth. There are more and more of them, but the employees who run these organizations still include fantasy maps that repudiate the teachings of the prophets.

William Smith, Joseph's brother, was the editor of The Prophet, a Mormon newspaper based in New York City. William republished Letter VII in the June 29, 1844, edition. 

This was two days after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred at the Carthage jail in Illinois.  You can see it for yourself here:

The timing is purely coincidental, but it is an interesting historical fact that people in New York were reading Letter VII *which explains that the Hill Cumorah is in New York) right about the time that Joseph was sealing his testimony with his blood in Carthage.

News traveled slowly in those days. On June 29, 1844, L.O. Littlefield wrote a letter from Nauvoo describing what had happened in Carthage. He sent it to the Editor of The Prophet, but it wasn't published until the July 27, 1844, issue. 

The June 29th issue also announced that William Smith was the editor of The Prophet.

It's interesting that the first issue of The Prophet, published in May 18, 1844, included Oliver's Letter I. The paper showed how significant these letters were to members of the Church in Joseph's day by introducing the letters with this statement:

"As the important particulars, and incidents, connected with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, have ever been, and are now, subjects of enquiry, we shall insert, for the benefit of those who are not acquainted with the coming forth of the above named work, one of the following letters, each week until we are published." 

Each subsequent issue published another of his letters.

My point here is that although Oliver's letters had been published four times already (1835 - Kirtland, 1841 - Nauvoo, 1841 - Philadelphia, and 1844 - England), the editor of The Prophetthought they were so important that he republished them yet again, this time in New York.

The June 29th issue happened to be issue no. 7, which is why it contained Letter VII.

A fascinating coincidence, isn't it?

Some readers may not be familiar with The Prophet. Here is an explanation from the DVD that accompanies Susan Easton Black's excellent book titled The Best of the Prophet.

The Latter-day Saint Experience in the East, 1844–1845
Susan Easton Black
The Prophet is the key to understanding the Latter-day Saint experience in the East from 1844 to 1845. Although only one volume of newsprint, the newspaper contains fifty-two issues, spanning four pages in length, with each page divided into five columns. This translates into approximately twenty-five hundred single-spaced pages on 8½" x 11" paper. And the masthead of the first weekly issue1 on Saturday, May 18, 1844, proudly proclaimed, "We Contend for the Truth." From the eighth issue on Saturday, July 6, 1844, to the final issue on Saturday, May 24, 1845, the proclamation was revised to include "Devoted to the Dissemination of Truth, Moral, Religious, Political, and Scientific."2
Editors of The Prophet printed an unrelenting defense of Mormonism to counteract exaggerated reports and slanderous claims stemming from Hancock County, Illinois, and printed in eastern newspapers. Editors George T. Leach, William Smith, Samuel Brannan, and Parley P. Pratt confronted politicians, newspaper columnists, and even the governor of Illinois on statements that misrepresented Mormon faith and vilified discipleship. In contrast, they wrote in glowing terms of Joseph Smith and the thousands of Mormons gathered on the banks of the Mississippi in the Zion-like society of Nauvoo. They wrote words of encouragement to fellow believers in the East who were planning to migrate to the Illinois capital of Mormonism.

Here is an excerpt from the book, pages 7-8
[William] Smith wrote to Leach (the founder of The Prophet) on June 3, 1844, "I mentioned to them [Church leaders in Nauvoo] concerning your publishing a paper in New York, and the Prophet bid it God speed: the council also sanctioned it by a loud and general vote, so 'go ahead' and do the best you can--which I have no doubt you will do--and the rest I will tell you when I get there."
With John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff engaged in publishing the Times and Seasons [in Nauvoo], Church leaders believed that a man equal to their apostolic status was needed to fill the editorship of The Prophet. Since William Smith was already serving a mission in the East, having been called on April 19, 1843, the choice seemed obvious. Church leaders met with Smith in May 1844 to ascertain his interest in being named editor of The Prophet. With the approbation of his brother Joseph and fellow members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Smith agreed to take the helm of The Prophet.
1Two weekly printings of The Prophet were missed—October 26, 1844, and May 17, 1845.
2"Masthead," The Prophet 1, no. 1 (May 18, 1844): p. 1, col. 1. Editors William Smith and Samuel Brannan added a scriptural caveat to the masthead: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the Prophets” (Amos 3:7). See "Surely the Lord God . . ." The Prophet 1, no. 8 (July 6, 1844): p. 1, col. 1.