Sunday, March 17, 2019

Oliver's Apostolic Blessing

Today's Come Follow Me lesson included a portion of Oliver Cowdery's blessing to the original Quorum of the Twelve.

A lot of people haven't read it, so I'll post it below.
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It was Oliver Cowdery who ordained and blessed the original Twelve. In some cases, the minutes note that Martin Harris and David Whitmer assisted. For other cases, we can infer that all three witnesses participated in the ordination, but the record is not clear.

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-1/153

Traditionally, we've all been taught that the Three Witnesses ordained the original Twelve. That's why everyone's Priesthood line of authority shows the Three Witnesses. It's possible that happened, but the record for February 14, 1835, shows that the Three Witnesses ordained (blessed) Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball.

The minutes say that on Feb. 15, 1835, "President Cowdery called forwarward [sic] Orson Hyde, David W. Patten and Luke Johnson and proceeded to their ordination & blessing."

After recording the blessings of these three men, the minutes record the "blessing" of William E. McLellin, John F. Boynton, and William Smith, without explaining who ordained them.

Later, on Feb. 21, Parley P. Pratt was ordained as one of the Twelve by Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery. Oliver acted as voice and after the ordination, gave Elder Pratt a charge.

The same day Oliver Cowdery "blessed" Thomas B. Marsh. David Whitmer sealed that blessing. Then Orson Pratt was ordained and David Whitmer confirmed the ordination. Following that blessing, Prsident Cowdery gave the charge to the Twelve (below).

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The Three Witnesses received their priesthood authority this way:

Oliver Cowdery - Peter, James and John

David Whitmer - ordained a High Priest by Oliver Cowdery on October 25, 1831
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minutes-25-26-october-1831/5

Martin Harris - ordained a High Priest by Lyman Wight on June 3, 1831. Wight had been ordained an Elder by Oliver Cowdery on Nov. 20, 1830. [Note: Wight was ordained to the "high Priesthood" by Joseph Smith in June 1831, and then Wight ordained Joseph Smith to the "high Priesthood" at the same meeting.]
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/john-whitmer-history-1831-circa-1847/32 and
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minutes-circa-3-4-june-1831/2


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The following Charge was given to the Twelve by President .


Dear Brethren, previously to delivering the charge I shall read a part of a revelation. It is known to you that previous to the organizing of this church in 1830 The Lord gave revelations or the Church could not have been organized. The people of this Church were weak in faith compared with the ancients. Those who embarked in this cause, were desirous to know how the work was to be conducted. They read many things in the Book of Mormon, concerning their duty and the way the great work ought to be done, but the minds of men are so constructed, that they will not believe without a testimony of seeing or hearing. The Lord gave us a revelation, that in process of time there should be Twelve chosen to preach his gospel to Jew & Gentile. Our minds have been on a constant stretch to find who these Twelve were: [p. 158]

When the time should come, we could not tell, but we sought the Lord by fasting and prayer, to have our lives prolonged to see this day, to see you, and to take a retrospect of the difficulties through which we have passed. but, having seen the day, it becomes my duty to deliver to you a charge. And first, a few remarks respecting your ministry. You have many Revelations put into your hands. Revelations to make you acquainted with the nature of your Mission. You will have difficulties by reason of your visiting all the nations of the world. You will need wisdom in a tenfold proportion to what you have ever had. You will have to combat all the prejudices of all nations. 

He then read Revelation, and proceeded to say, Have you desired this ministry with all your hearts. If you have desired it, you are called of God not of man, to go into all the world. 

He read again, from the Revilation, what the Lord said to the 12 Brethren you have your duty presented in this revelation. You have been ordained to the Holy Priesthood, You have received it from those who had their power and authority from an angel.— You are to preach the gospel to every nation. should you in the least degree, come short of your duty, great will be your condemnation, for the greater the calling, the greater the transgression. I, therefore, warn you to cultivate great humility, for I know the pride of the human heart. Beware, lest the flatterers of the world lift you up. Beware lest your affections are captivated by worldly objects. Let your ministry be first. 

Remember the souls of men are committed to your charge, and if you mind your calling you shall always prosper. You have been indebted to other men in the first instance for evidence, on that you have acted. But <​it,​> is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven for [p. 159] yourselves, so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon. And that you have seen the face of God: that is more than the testimony of an Angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God. This testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out. Although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will, therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from Heaven. Never cease striving until you have seen God, face to face. Strengthen your faith, cast off your doubts, your sins and all your unbelief and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid his hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us. God is the same. If the Saviour in former days laid his hands on his deciples. Why not in the latter Days. 

With regard to superiority I must make a few remarks. The ancient Apostles sought to be great. but, brethren lest the seeds of discord be sown in this matter, understand particularly the voice of the spirit on this occasion. God does not love you better or more than others. You are to contend for the faith once deliverd to the saints. Jacob, you know wrestled till he obtained. It was by fervent prayer and diligent search that you have obtained the testimony you are now able to bear. You are as one, you are equal in bearing the keys of the kingdom to all nations. You are called to preach the gospel of the son of God to the nations of the earth. [p. 160]

It is the will of your Heavenly Father that you proclaim his gospel to the ends of the earth. and the Islands of the sea. Be zealous to save souls. The soul of one man is as precious as the soul of another. You are to bear this message to those who consider themselves wise. and such may persecute you, they may seek your life. The adversary has always sought the life of the servants of God. You are, therefore, to be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your lives, should God require them in the advancement and building up of his cause. Murmur not at God. Be always prayerful, be always watchful. 

You will bear with me while I relieve the feelings of my heart. We shall not see another day like this. The time has fully come; The voice of the spirit has come to set these men apart. You will see the time when you will desire to see such a day as this, and you will not see it. Every heart wishes you peace & prosperity. but the scene, with you, will inevitably change. Let no man take your bishopric, and beware that you lose not your crowns. It will require your whole souls. It will require courage like Enoch’s. The time is near when you will be in the midst of congregations, who will gnash their teeth upon you. This gospel must roll and will roll till it fill the whole Earth. 

Did I say congregations would gnash upon you, yea I say nations will gnash upon you. You will be considered the worst of Men. Be not discouraged at this, When God pours out his Spirit, the enemy will rage, but. God, remember is on your right hand and on your left. A man, though he may be considered the worst, has joy who is conscious that he pleases God. The lives of those who proclaim the true gospel will be in danger; this has been the case ever since the days of righteous Abel. The same opposition has been manifest whenever [p. 161] men came forward to publish the gospel. The time is coming when you will be considered the worst by many & by some the best of men. The time is coming, when you will be perfectly familiar with the things of God. This testimony will make those who do not believe your testimony, seek your lives. But their there are whole nations, who will receive your testimony. They will call you good men. Be not lifted up when you are called good men. Remember you are young men, and you shall be spared, I include the other three. Bear them in mind in your prayers carry their cases to a throne of grace. Although they are not present, yet you and they are equal. This appointment is calculated to create an affection in you, for each other, stronger than death.

You will travel to other nations, Bear each other in mind. If one or more is cast into prisons, let the others pray for him, and deliver him by their prayers. Your lives shall be in great jeopardy, but the promise of God, is that you shall be delivered. Remember you are not to go to other nations, till you receive your endowment. Tarry at  until you are endowed with power from on high. You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence such as you never had. 

Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there be no mistake. The world cannot receive the things of God. He can endow you without wor[l]dly pomp or great parade. He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence and that power which characterized the ancient Saints and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world. The greatness of your commission, consists in this; you are to hold the keys of this ministry. You [p. 162] are to go to the nations afar off; nations that sit in darkness. The [time?] is coming when the work of God must be done. Israel shall be gathered, The seed of Jacob shall be gathered from their long dispersion. There will be a feast to Israel, the elect of God. It is a sorrowful tale but the gospel must be preached and his <​God’s​> ministers be rejected. but where can Israel be found, and receive your testimony, and not rejoice? No where. The Prophecies are full of great things that are to take place in the last days. After the Elect is gathered out, destruction shall come on the inhabitants of the Earth; All nations shall feel the wrath of God, after they have been warned by the saints of the Most High. If you will not warn them others will and you will lose your crowns. 

You must prepare your minds to bid a long farewell to . even till the great day come. You will see what you never expected to see. You will need the mind of Enoch or Elijah & the faith of the brother of Jared. You must be prepared to walk by faith, however, appalling the prospect to human view. You, and each of you should feel the force of the imperious mandate, “Son go labor in my vineyard” and cheerfully receive what comes, but in the end you will stand while others will fall. You have read in the Revelation concerning ordination. Beware how you ordain, for all nations are not like this nation. They will willingly receive the ordinances at your hand to put you out of the way. There will be times when nothing but the angels of God can deliver you out of their hand. We appeal to your intelligence, we appeal to your understanding, that we have so far discharged our duty to you. We consider it one of the greatest condescentions of our Heavenly Father in pointing you out to us. You will be steward over this ministry. [p. 163]

We have work to do, that no other man can do. You must proclaim the Gospel in its simplicity and purity. and we commend you to God and the word of his grace. You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony, that you have seen the face of God. Therefore, call upon him in faith and mighty prayer, till you prevail, for it <​is​> your duty and your privelege to bear such testimony for yourselves. We now exhort you to be faithful to fulfil your calling, there must be no lack here. You must fulfil in all things, and permit is us to repeat, all nations have a claim on you. You are bound together as the three witnesses were. You, notwithstanding can part & meet & meet and part again till your heads are silvered o[v]er with age.

He then took them separately by the hand and said, Do you with full purpose of heart take part in this ministry, to proclaim the gospel with all diligence with these your brethren, according to the tenor and intent of the charge you have received, each of which answered in the affirmative.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Letter IV - Moroni's visit

The first detailed account of Moroni's visit to Joseph Smith is included in Letter IV. You can read it in Joseph's own history in the Joseph Smith Papers here:

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/69

Recall that Oliver wrote these essays with the assistance of Joseph Smith, using documents then in their possession that we no longer have. Presumably one of these documents was the notebook Oliver kept from the time he first met Joseph Smith in April 1829. He recorded things Joseph told him, which undoubtedly included the first visit of Moroni.

After explaining how Moroni appeared in the night, Oliver recorded what Moroni said. I've highlighted important passages in bold type. Original spelling is retained.

Two key points:

1. Moroni gave "a history of the aborigines of this country." Country refers to a region or territory. This qualifies country; it refers to the region or territory in which he was visiting Joseph (i.e., western New York or the United States, circa 1823).

2. Moroni said the record was "written and deposited" not far from Joseph's house. It was not written elsewhere and transported thousands of miles to western New York.
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The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam.

Though fear was banished from his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard; and that the scriptures might be fulfilled, which say— 

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are that no flesh should glory in his presence. Therefore, says the Lord, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; the wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid; for according to his covenant which he made with his ancient saints, his people, the house of Israel must come to a knowledge of the gospel, and own that Messiah whom their fathers rejected, and with them the fulness of the Gentiles be gathered in, to rejoice in one fold under one Shepherd”.

“This cannot be brought about untill first certain preparatory things are accomplished, for so has the Lord purposed in his own mind. He has therefore chosen you as an instrument in his hand to bring to light that which shall perform his act, his strange act, and bring to pass a marvelous work and a wonder. 

Wherever the sound shall go it shall cause the ears of men to tingle, and wherever it shall be proclaimed, the pure in heart shall rejoice, while those who draw near to God with their mouths, and honor him with their lips, while their hearts are far from him, will seek its overthrow, and the destruction of those by whose hands it is carried. 

Therefore, marvle not if your name is made a derission, and had as a by-word among such, if you are the instrument in bringing it, by the gift of God, to the knowledge of the people.”

He then proceeded and gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigenes of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham. 

He represented them as once being an enlightned and intelligent people, possessing a correct knowledge of the gospel, and the plan of restoration and redemption. He said this history
was written and deposited not far from that place, and that it was our brother’s privilege, if obedient to the commandments of the Lord, to obtain and translate the same by the means of the Urim and Thummim, which were deposited for that purpose with the record.

“Yet,” said he, “the scriptures must be fulfilled before it is translated, which says that the words of a book, which were sealed, were presented to the learned; for thus has God determined to leave men without excuse, and show to the meek that his arm is <​not​> shortned that it cannot save.”

A part of the book was sealed, and was not to be opened yet. The sealed part, said he, contains the same revelation which was given to John upon the isles of Patmos, and when the people of the Lord are prepared, and found worthy, then it will be unfolded unto them.

On the subject of bringing to light the unsealed part of this record, it may be proper to say, that our brother was expressly informed, that it must be done with an eye single to the glory of God; if this consideration did not wholly characterize all his procedings in relation to it, the adversary of truth would overcome him, or at least prevent his making that proficiency in this glorious work which he otherwise would.

While describing the place where the record was deposited, he gave a minute relation of it, and the vision of his mind being opened at the same time, he was permitted to view it critically; and previously being acquainted with the place, he was able to follow the direction of the vision, afterward, according to the voice of the angel, and obtain the book.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Joseph Smith's account referring to Cumorah

Here's an interesting reference to Joseph Smith teaching about the Hill Cumorah in 1835 or 1836.

Joseph Curtis reminiscences and diary, October 1839-March 1881. This passage was recorded no later than October 1839.

In the spring of 1835 Joseph smith in Company with his father & mother & some others came to Michigan & paid us a visit-in a meeting stated the reason he preached the doctrin he did I will state a few things according to my memory-as a revival of some of the secs was going on some of this fathers family joined in with the revival himself being quite young he feeling an anxiety to be religious his mind some what troubled this scripture came to his mind which sayes if a man lack wisdom let him ask of god who giveth liberaly and upbraideth not believing it he went with a determinatio[n] to obtain to enquire of the lord himself after some struggle the Lord manifested to him that the different sects were rong also that the Lord had a great work for him to do-it worried his mind-he told his father-his father told him to do as the Lord manifested - had other manifestations saw an angel with a view of the hill cumorah & the plates of gold had certain instructions got the plates & by the assistance of the urim & Thumin translated them by the gift & power of God also stated he had done nothing except he more than he was commanded to do & for this his name was cast out as evil for this he was persecuted[.]



[Note: some think the visit was October 1834. Joseph could have made multiple visits to Michigan.]

You can see this reference in the Church History library. Search for Joseph Curtis reminiscences and go to page 12/208.

The following link may or may not work:

https://catalog.lds.org/assets/24463061-0287-4460-8a45-62d078b75991/0/11







Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Martin Harris - no on else saw the plates

Martin Harris
In January 1859, Martin Harris gave an interview to a magazine titled Tiffany's Monthly. During the interview, he made this statement.

"These plates were usually kept in a cherry box made for that purpose, in the possession of Joseph and myself. The plates were kept from the sight of the world, and no one, save Oliver Cowdrey, myself, Joseph Smith, jr., and David Whitmer, ever saw them.”



This raises a serious question about the traditional narrative regarding the golden plates.

Martin knew about the Eight Witnesses. He knew each of them personally, and he knew their testimony was included in every copy of the Book of Mormon right next to his own testimony as one of the Three Witnesses. 

Why would he say no one but the Three Witnesses (and Joseph Smith) ever saw the plates?
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The traditional narrative teaches that there was only one set of golden plates. If that's true, then this statement by Martin Harris is false. 

(Some might say he was referring only to the experience of the Three Witnesses, but that's changing his unambiguous statement. His words speak for themselves.)

Here is a depiction and explanation of the traditional narrative.

In this scenario, Moroni somehow combined the abridged plates with the original plates of Nephi (commonly called the "small plates") and put them into the stone box on the "hill in New York" where Joseph found them. 

The Title Page was the last leaf of the plates. It lists the contents of the plates but doesn't mention any original plates. 

In Harmony, Oliver attempted to translate but was unable to. In D&C 9, the Lord told him:

I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him.
And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.
"This record" refers to the one and only set of plates Joseph ever had. "Other records" refers to unknown materials, or maybe the Book of Abraham.

When Joseph and Oliver neared the end of the plates, they considered retranslating the Book of Lehi (the lost 116 pages), the Lord told them not to. Instead, they had to translated the "plates of Nephi" (D&C 10).

These plates were contained in the set of plates they already had, but apparently they didn't know it. (Lately, the historians tell us Joseph didn't even use the plates, which makes D&C 10 difficult to understand. Why would the Lord refer to the engravings on the plates of Nephi if Joseph wasn't even looking at the plates? A topic for another time.)

Joseph continued translating the abridged plates in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Before they left Harmony, Joseph and Oliver translated the Title Page--the last leaf of the plates--but somehow Joseph skipped over the plates of Nephi that were supposedly included in this set of plates.

Before leaving Harmony, Joseph gave the original plates to a divine messenger. On the road to Fayette, Joseph, Oliver and David encountered the messenger, who was one of the Three Nephites. David Whitmer reported that the man said he was going to Cumorah, not Fayette.

But David Whitmer lied or had a bad memory because actually, the messenger was taking the plates directly to Fayette.

Both the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses saw this same set of plates. 

And Martin Harris lied to Tiffany's Monthly.
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The new scenario, which I refer to as "two sets of plates," is quite different. 

In this scenario, Moroni put only the abridged plates into the stone box on the Hill Cumorah where Joseph found them. He did not put the plates of Nephi into the stone box; instead, those plates remained with all the other original Nephite records in the repository in a separate department of the hill.

The Title Page was the last leaf of the plates. It lists the contents of the plates but doesn't mention any original plates. 

In Harmony, Oliver attempted to translate but was unable to. In D&C 9, the Lord told him:

I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him.
And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.
"This record" refers to the original set of plates; i.e., the abridged plates that Moroni put in the stone box. "Other records" refers to the plates of Nephi, of which Joseph and Oliver knew nothing at the time.

When Joseph and Oliver neared the end of the plates, they considered retranslating the Book of Lehi (the lost 116 pages), the Lord told them not to. Instead, they had to translate the "plates of Nephi" (D&C 10).

Now they knew what "other records" referred to. Except they didn't have the plates of Nephi--yet.

Joseph continued translating the abridged plates in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Before they left Harmony, Joseph and Oliver translated the Title Page--the last leaf of the plates. They were finished with those plates. They had translated everything Moroni put in the stone box, except for the sealed portion.

Before leaving Harmony, Joseph gave the original plates to a divine messenger. On the road to Fayette, Joseph, Oliver and David encountered the messenger, who was one of the Three Nephites. David Whitmer reported that the man said he was going to Cumorah, not Fayette.

David told the truth.

The messenger took the original plates to the depository of Nephite records in Cumorah, picked up the small plates of Nephi, took them to Fayette, and gave them to Joseph. That's why Joseph and Oliver translated the plates of Nephi in Fayette.

The Three Witnesses saw the original plates, brought by the angel (presumably Moroni). 

The Eight Witnesses saw the plates of Nephi, brought by one of the Three Nephites (as Joseph's mother explained).

Martin Harris was not a liar. He spoke the truth to Tiffany's Monthly.
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If you're not familiar with the "two sets of plates" scenario, there's a diagram on this blog. Look under "Pages" in the menu in the right column.

There are lots of other facts that lead to the "two sets of plates" scenario, as described in my book, Whatever Happened to the Golden Plates.

As always, I'm not trying to persuade anyone of anything. I'm simply presenting facts so you can make an informed decision. 

I'm offering explanations that make sense to me, but don't take my word for it or anything else. I welcome alternative explanations, if any. Just email them and I'll post them in this blog.





Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cumorah depository - Edward Stevenson's account

Edward Stevenson, an ancestor of Elder Gary Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve, interviewed David Whitmer in 1877. In his Reminiscences, Stevenson quoted Brigham Young's statement about the depository of Nephite records inside the Hill Cumorah in New York.

This is the depository that Moron described in Mormon 6:6.

Stevenson wrote,

It was likewise stated to me by David Whitmer in the year 1877 that Oliver Cowdery told him that the Prophet Joseph and himself had seen this room and that it was filled with treasure, and on a table therein were the breastplate and the sword of Laban, as well as the portion of gold plates not yet translated, and that these plates were bound by three small gold rings, and would also be translated, as was the first portion in the days of Joseph. When they are translated much useful information will be brought to light.

You can read it here:

https://archive.org/details/reminiscencesofj00stev/page/n17
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The existence of the depository of Nephite records in the New York Cumorah was attested by several of Joseph's contemporaries. 

Yet we never hears about it in books such as Saints or in any modern Church manuals, artwork, etc.

Why is that?

Because of M2C.

A New York depository contradicts M2C because the M2C intellectuals and their followers believe the "real" Cumorah is in southern Mexico.

For that reason, the M2C intellectuals claim David Whitmer was wrong. Brigham Young was wrong. Heber C. Kimball was wrong. Wilford Woodruff was wrong. Ultimately, they claim Oliver Cowdery was wrong.
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There's a fun new film coming out about the Witnesses.

https://witnessesfilm.com/

It is being produced by M2C intellectuals. It will be fascinating to see how they treat this topic.


Friday, November 16, 2018

Moroni named Cumorah - the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt

The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt is one of the most important sources of early Church history. In addition to being well written, the book is frequently cited by Church historians.

In Chapter 8, Pratt relates his encounter with an Indian Chief. He quotes the teachings of his missionary companion, Elder Oliver Cowdery. I put the original text in blue below.

You can see an original version of the book here:
https://archive.org/details/autobiographyofp00prat/page/58

Cowdery's explanation that it was Moroni who identified the hill in New York as Cumorah, and his comments about the translation, are in bold and red.

There was an interpreter present and through him we commenced to make known our errand, and to tell him of the Book of Mormon. We asked him to call the council his nation together and give us a hearing in full. He promised to consider on it till next day, in the meantime recommending us to a certain Mr. Pool for entertainment; this was their blacksmith, employed by government.

The man entertained us kindly and comfortably. Next morning we again called on Mr. Anderson, the old chief, and explained to him something of the Book. He was at first unwilling to call his council; made several excuses, and finally refused; as he had ever been opposed to the introduction of missionaries among his tribe.

We continued the conversation a little longer, till he at last began to understand the nature of the Book. He then changed his mind; became suddenly interested, and requested us to proceed no further with our conversation till he could call a council. He despatched a messenger, and in about an hour had some forty men collected around us in his lodge, who, after shaking us by the hand, were seated in silence; and in a grave and dignified manner awaited the announcement of what we had to offer. The chief then requested us to proceed; or rather, begin where we began before, and to complete our communication. Elder Cowdery then commenced as follows:

"Aged Chief and Venerable Council of the Delaware nation; we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have travelled a long distance from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news; we have travelled the wilderness, crossed the deep and wide rivers, and waded in the deep snows, and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to our ears and hearts; and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.

"Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea—from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers; their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.

"Thousands of moons ago, when the red men's forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land, the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will, and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book; together with their history, and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.

"This Book was written on plates of gold, and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations. It was then that the people prospered, and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth; built buildings and cities, and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do.

"But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry, and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions; no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets, to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety, and be found and made known in the latter day to the pale faces who should possess the land; that they might again make it known to the red man; in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red man would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it, and do according thereunto, they should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces, who were willing to believe and obey the same Book, and be good men and live in peace.

"Then should the red men become great, and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be his children, while he would be their Great Father, and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men amongst them again, who should teach them many things.

"This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him, Cumorah, which hill is now in the State of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario County.

"In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph Smith, who prayed to the Great Spirit much, in order that he might know the truth; and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him, and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni; and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place, and dug in the earth, and found the Book written on golden plates.

"But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red man; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him, and gave him knowledge of the language, and how to interpret the Book. So he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper, and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of among them; and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the chief of the Delawares, and which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good."

We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.

There was a pause in the council, and some conversation in their own tongue, after which the chief made the following reply: "We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far, and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here"—placing his hand on his heart.

An online text version of the book is available here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/44896/44896-h/44896-h.htm