Oliver was truthful except...

Some time ago I posted the chart below. It shows that Oliver was trustworthy for everything except the New York Cumorah.

In the ensuing years, some of our LDS scholars have decided that Oliver was not truthful about the Urim and Thummim, either.

Of course, many Latter-day Saints still believe what Oliver and Joseph taught on these two topics. Many, probably most, don't reject their testimony about the translation so I don't mark that part as red here. 

But as the youth and new members are taught to reject what Joseph and Oliver said in favor of the stone-in-the-hat (SITH) theory, eventually I'll have to mark their teachings about the translation as red also.

Oliver was truthful about everything except...

Letter VII from Messenger and Advocate, July 1835
Those who reject Letter VII cite no reasons other than their preference for a different location for the Hill Cumorah.

It is interesting to take a look at Oliver Cowdery's participation in the Church to put Letter VII in context. When he wrote it, he was the Assistant President of the Church. He had been commanded by revelation to select materials to publish. All eight of Oliver's letters about history are accepted by Church historians as important insights into the early events of the Church.

The only ones who object to any of Oliver's writings are the advocates of the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory (M2C)  who reject just a few critical paragraphs out of one of the eight letters.

Oliver published Letter VII in July 1835. In February 1835, he, as one of the Three Witnesses, had selected the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He gave them their aspostolic charge. In April 1836, he, along with Joseph Smith, was visited in the Kirtland temple by Moses, Elias, Elijah, and the Savior Himself. Oliver and Joseph were given the keys of the gathering of Israel and the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.

M2C advocates expect you to believe that Oliver Cowdery could faithfully record the entire Book of Mormon, most of the Book of Moses, and much of Church history. Oliver could faithfully edit and publish two Church newspapers, the Book of Commandments, and the original Doctrine and Covenants. He could accurately write the statement for the Three Witnesses. Of all the writing he did, you're supposed to believe he was faithful and accurate except for a few paragraphs he wrote about Cumorah in one letter, solely because those paragraphs contradict the opinions of the scholars.

But that's not all.

Because of their M2C theory, they also expect you to ignore the facts that Joseph helped write the letters, that Joseph had his scribes copy them into his own journal as part of his life history, that Joseph encouraged Benjamin Winchester to republish them in his Gospel Reflector, that Joseph gave the letters to his brother Don Carlos to publish in the 1841 Times and Seasons, that Parley P. Pratt republished them in the Millennial Star in 1841, all of which provided the context for Joseph's reference to Cumorah in 1842 (D&C 128:20), and.that Joseph's brother William republished them again in 1844 in the New York newspaper called The Prophet,

They also expect you to reject what Oliver said about entering the Hill Cumorah multiple times and seeing the repository of Nephite records.

They also expect you to reject what Lucy Mack Smith, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and others said about the New York Cumorah.

Here is the chronology. Everything that is okay is marked green. The items the scholars object to is marked red.


1829 April
Transcribes Book of Mormon as Joseph dictates

1829 May
Receives Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, baptizes Joseph and is baptized by him

1829 May
Receives Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John

1829 June
Sees the plates and angel as one of the Three Witnesses

1829 June
Completes Book of Mormon and makes a printer’s copy, supervises printing and publication

1830 April
Helps organize the Church as a Second Elder and apostle, ordains Joseph Smith as First Elder

1830 June
Transcribes Book of Moses 1:1 through 5:43

1830 Oct.
Leaves on mission to the Lamanites

1830 Nov.
Baptizes Sidney Rigdon

1831 Jan.
Arrives in Jackson County, Mo.

1831 Summer
Meets Joseph in Jackson County

1831 Nov.
Takes revelations from Ohio to Missouri for publication

Helps Phelps with printing operation in Missouri

1832 Apr.
Approves Book of Commandments

1833 Nov.
Sets up printing press in Kirtland, reprints Evening and Morning Star

1833 Dec.
Begins editing Evening and Morning Star

1834 Feb.
Chosen as founding member of Kirtland Council

1834 May-Aug.
Leader in Kirtland after Zions Camp left

1834 Oct
Edits LDS Messenger and Advocate and Northern Times

1834 Oct
Publishes Letter I about Church history, part of which is in the current Pearl of Great Price, in which Oliver claims Joseph translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, "interpreters"

1834 Nov
Publishes Letter II about Church history

1834 Dec
Publishes Letter III about Church history

1834 Dec
Ordained by Joseph Smith as “Assistant President of the Church”

Publishes Letter IV about Church history

1835 Feb
With David Whitmer and Martin Harris, selects first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

1835 Feb
Ordains the Twelve Apostles and gives an apostolic charge

1835 Mar
Publishes Letter V about Church history

1835 Apr
Publishes Letter VI about Church history

1835 May
Resigns from Messenger and Advocate

1835 July
Publishes Letter VII about Church history, declaring it's a fact that the Hill Cumorah in New York is the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6.

1835 Aug.
Gets Doctrine and Covenants approved for printing

1835 Oct.
Publishes Letter VIII about Church history

1836 Mar.
Resumes editing the Messenger and Advocate

1836 Apr.
Visited in Kirtland temple by Moses, Elias, Elijah, and Christ, receives the keys of the gathering of Israel and dispensation of gospel of Abraham

1836 July
Accompanies Joseph to Salem, MA

1837 Feb.
Turns over printing company to Joseph and Sidney

1838 July
“Excluded from fellowship” for accusations against Joseph

1848 Nov.
Rebaptized into the Church and reiterates that Joseph translated with the Urim and Thummim

1850 March
Dies in Richmond at home of David Whitmer

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