|Observations are worth more than|
- Galileo Galilei
With Letter VII, we're not dealing with science or humble reasoning, but the concept is the same.
The authority of a thousand intellectuals is not worth the humble statements of fact of a single individual who has actually observed what the intellectuals merely speculate about.
President Oliver Cowdery actually visited Mormon's depository of records in the hill Cumorah in New York. That's why he declared in Letter VII that is was a fact that the final battles took place there.
Someone told me that an acquaintance of his said he believed the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory because John Sorenson's book, Mormon's Codex, was over 800 pages long.
Apparently he was serious.
I've heard similar comments about all the "peer-reviewed" work done by the citation cartel (BYU Studies, Interpreter, FARMS, Maxwell Institute, etc.), but of course none of it is "peer-reviewed" in any meaningful sense.
They don't seek or even allow reviews by peers who don't subscribe to M2C.
It's peer approval, not peer review, driven by confirmation bias.
By comparison, Letter VII is only about 5 pages long (in the Messenger and Advocate), or about 10 handwritten pages in Joseph Smith's history.
When you know the truth, you can simply declare it. Especially when you're an ordained prophet, seer and revelator.
President Cowdery's statements of fact about the New York Cumorah are more valuable than thousands of pages of rhetoric from latter-day intellectuals who insist that, because of their own reasoning, President Cowdery and all the other prophets and apostles were wrong about the New York Cumorah.
Here are some more random observations that relate to Letter VII.
"With regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them."
– Galileo Galilei
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
– Galileo Galilei
"You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities."
– Richard Feynman
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
- Upton Sinclair
"The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."
President Eisenhower January 17, 1961