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:

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:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Elizabeth Kane and the Hill Cumorah

Because of the Saints book, a lot of people in the Church are focusing on the question of the Hill Cumorah.

Elizabeth Kane and her husband, General Thomas Kane, were not members of the Church, but they were very friendly to Brigham Young. Gen. Kane helped negotiate peace in the Utah War. 

The Kanes were invited to St. George for a couple of months in 1872.  Elizabeth wrote a memoir of her time in St. George, Utah, from 1872-3 that included a conversation with Brigham Young and others about the Hill Cumorah.

In this account, she relates how Brigham Young told her that when Joseph and Oliver entered the repository the third time, their eyes adjusted to the dim light so they could see all the artifacts.

You can read the typed manuscript here.

Key passages are found on pages 74-5.

It's also interesting that when she asked where Cumorah was, she was told "in Manchester Township, Ontario County, New York."

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Church History - 1835 Dec JS comment on Mormonism Unvailed


Vol. II No. 3 KIRTLAND, OHIO, DECEMBER, 1835. Whole No. 15

(Continued from page 212.)
To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

Joseph Smith “To Elders,” in M&A 2 (Dec 1835)

I have shown unto you, in my last, that there are two Jerusalems spoken of in holy writ, in a manner I think satisfactorily to your minds. At any rate I have given my views upon the subject. I shall now proceed to make some remarks from the sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 13th chapter of his gospel according to St. Matthew, which in my mind affords us as clear an understanding, upon the important subject of the gathering, as any thing recorded in the bible. At the time the Savior spoke these beautiful sayings and parables, contained in the chapter above quoted, we find him seated in a ship, on the account of the multitude that pressed upon him to hear his words, and he commenced teaching them by saying: [Matt 13:3–12] “Behold a sower went forth to sow, and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up; some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had not root they withered away; and some fell among thorns and the thorns sprang up and choked them; but other, fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold: who hath ears to hear let him hear. And the disciples came and said unto him, why speakest thou unto them in parables,” (I would remark here, that the “them,” made use of, in this interrogation, is a personal pronoun and refers to the multitude,) “he answered and said unto them, (that is the disciples,) it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them (that is unbelievers) it is not given, for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, shall be taken away, even that he hath.”

We understand from this saying, that those who had previously been looking for a Messiah to come, according to the testimony of the Prophets, and were then, at that time, looking for a Messiah, but had not sufficient light on the account of their unbelief, to discern him to be their Savior; and he being the true Messiah, consequently they must be disappointed and lose even all the knowledge, or have taken away from them, all the light, understanding and faith, which they had upon this subject; therefore he that will not receive the greater light, must have taken away from him, all the light which he hath. And if the light which is in you, become darkness, behold how great is that darkness? Therefore says the Savior, speak I unto them in parables, because they, seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand: and in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esias, which saith: by hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and not perceive.

Now we discover, that the very reasons assigned by this prophet, why they would not receive the Messiah, was, because they did or would not understand; and seeing they did not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross; their ears are dull of heaving; their eyes they have closed, lest at any time, they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and should be converted and I should heal them.

But what saith he to his disciples: Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear; for verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
We again make a remark here, for we find that the very principles upon which the disciples were accounted blessed, was because they were permitted to see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and the condemnation which rested upon the multitude, which received not his saying, was because they were not willing to see with their eyes and hear with their ears; not because they could not and were not privileged to see, and hear, but because their hearts were full of iniquity and abomination: as your fathers did so do ye.—The prophet foreseeing that they would thus harden their hearts plainly declared it; and herein is the condemnation of the world, that light hath come into the world, and men choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil: This is so plainly taught by the Savior, that a wayfaring man need not mistake it.

And again hear ye the parable of the sower: Men are in the habit, when the truth is exhibited by the servants of God, of saying, all is mystery, they are spoken in parables, and, therefore, are not to be understood, it is true they have eyes to see, and see not; but none are so blind as those who will not see: And although the Savior spoke this parable to such characters, yet unto his disciples he expounded it plainly; and we have reason to be truly humble before the God of our fathers, that he hath left these things on record for us, so plain, that, notwithstanding the exertions and combined influence of the priests of Baal, they have not power to blind our eyes and darken our understanding, if we will but open our eyes and read with candor, for a moment. But listen to the explanation of the parable: [Matt. 13:18–23] when any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. Now mark the expression; that which was before sown in his heart; this is he which received seed by the way side; men who have no principle of righteousness in themselves, and whose hearts are full of iniquity, and who have no desire for the principles of truth, do not understand the word of truth, when they hear it.—The devil taketh away the word of truth out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in them. But he that received the seed into stony places the same is he that heareth the word and, anon, with joy receiveth it, yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that receiveth the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful: but he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty. Thus the Savior himself explains unto his disciples the parable, which he put forth and left no mystery or darkness upon the minds of those who firmly believe on his words.

We draw the conclusion then, that the very reason why the multitude, or the world, as they were designated by the Savior, did not receive an explanation upon his parables, was, because of unbelief. To you, he says, (speaking to his disciples) it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: any why? because of the faith and confidence which they had in him. This parable was spoken to demonstrate the effects that are produced by the preaching of the word; and we believe that it has an allusion directly, to the commencement, or the setting up of the kingdom in that age: therefore, we shall continue to trace his sayings concerning this kingdom from that time forth, even unto the end of the world.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, (which parable has an allusion to the setting up of the kingdom, in that age of the world also) [Matt. 13:31–32] the kingdom of Heaven in likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way; but when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also; so the servants of the householder came and said unto him, sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him wilt thou then that we go and gather them up; but he said nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.—Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles, to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.

Now we learn by this parable, not only the setting up of the kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions of the church, which is represented by the tares, which were sown by the enemy, which his disciples would fain have plucked up, or cleansed the church of, if their views had been favored by the Savior; but he, knowing all things, says not so; as much as to say, your views are not correct, the church is in its infancy, and if you take this rash step, you will destroy the wheat or the church with the tares: therefore it is better to let them grow together until the harvest, or the end of the world, which means the destruction of the wicked; which is not yet fulfilled; as we shall show hereafter, in the Savior’s explanation of the parable, which is so plain, that there is no room left for dubiety upon the mind, notwithstanding the cry of the priests, parables, parables! figures, figures! mystery, mystery! all is mystery! but we find no room for doubt here, as the parables were all plainly elucidated.

And again, another parable put he forth unto them, having an allusion to the kingdom which should be set up, just previous or at the time of harvest, which reads as follows:—The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Now we can discovery plainly, that this figure is given to represent the church as it shall come forth in the last days. Behold the kingdom of heaven is likened unto it. Now what is like unto it?

Let us take the book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field; securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time: let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth; yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it becomes the greatest of all herbs: and it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth; and righteousness begins to look down from heaven; and God is sending down his powers gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a mustard seed. Behold, then, is not this the kingdom of heaven that is raising its head in the last days, in the majesty of its God; even the church of the Latter day saints,—like an impenetrable, immovable rock in the midst of the mighty deep, exposed storms and tempests of satan, but has, thus far, remained steadfast and is still braving the mountain waves of opposition, which are driven by the tempestuous winds of sinking crafts, have and are still dashing with tremendous foam, across its triumphing brow, urged onward with redoubled fury by the enemy of righteousness, with his pitchfork of lies, as you will see fairly represented in a cut, contained in Mr. Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled?”

And we hope that this adversary of truth will continue to stir up the sink of iniquity, that people may the more readily discern between the righteous and wicked. We also would notice one of the modern sons of Seeva, who would fain have made people believe that he could cast out devils by a certain pamphlet (viz. the “Millennial Harbinger,”) that went the rounds through our country, who felt so fully authorized to brand Jo Smith, with the appellation of Elymus the sorcerer, and to say with Paul, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord! We would reply to this gentleman—Paul we know, and Christ we know, but who are ye? And with the best of feelings, we would say to him, in the language of Paul to those who said they were John’s disciples, but had not so much as heard there was a Holy Ghost, to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins by those who have legal authority, and under their hands you shall receive the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures.

Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.—Acts 8:17.

And, when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.—Acts 19:6

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.—Heb. 6:2.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed; and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!—Rom. 10:14–15.

But if this man will not take our admonition, but will persist in his wicked course, we hope that he will continue trying to cast our devils, that we may have the clearer proof that the kingdom of satan is divided against itself, and consequently cannot stand: for a kingdom divided against itself, speedily hath an end. If we were disposed to take this gentleman upon his own ground and justly heap upon him that which he so readily and unjustly heaps upon others, we might go farther; we might say that he has wickedly and maliciously lied about, vilified and traduced the characters of innocent men. We might invite the gentleman to a public investigation of these matters; yea, and we do challenge him to an investigation upon any or all principles wherein he feel opposed to us, in public or in private.

We might farther say that, we could introduce him to “Mormonism Unveiled.” Also to the right honorable Doct. P. Hurlburt, who is the legitimate author of the same, who is not so much a doctor of physic, as of falsehood, or by name. We could also give him an introduction to the reverend Mr. Howe, the illegitimate author of “Mormonism Unveiled,” in order to give currency to the publication, as Mr. Hurlburt, about this time, was bound over to court, for threatening life. He is also an associate of the celebrated Mr. Clapp, who has of late immortalised his name by swearing that he would not believe a Mormon under oath; and by his polite introduction to said Hurlburt’s wife, which cost him (as we have been informed) a round sum. Also his son Mathew testified that, the book of Mormon had been proved false an hundred times, by Howe’s book: and also, that he would not believe a Mormon under oath. And also we could mention the reverend Mr. Bentley, who, we believe, has been actively engaged in injuring the character of his brother-in-law, viz: Elder S. [Sidney] Rigdon.

Now, the above statements are according to our best information: and we believe them to be true; and this is as fair a sample of the doctrine of Campbellism, as we ask, taking the statements of these gentlemen, and judging them by their fruits. And we might and many more to the black catalogue; even the ringleaders, not of the Nazarenes, for how can any good thing come out of Nazareth, but of the far-famed Mentor mob: all sons and legitimate heirs of the same spirit of Alexander Campbell, and “Mormonism Unveiled,” according to the representation in the cut spoken of above.

The above cloud of darkness has long been beating with mountain waves upon the immovable rock of the church of the Latter Day Saints, and notwithstanding all this, the mustard seed is still towering its lofty branches, higher and higher, and extending itself wider and wider, and the charriot wheels of the kingdom are still rolling on, impelled by the mighty arm of Jehovah; and in spite of all opposition will still roll on until his words are all fulfilled.

Our readers will excuse us for deviating from the subject, when they take into consideration the abuses, that have been heaped upon us heretofore, which we have tamely submitted to, until forbearance is no longer required at our hands, having frequently turned both hand the right and left cheek, we believe it our duty now to stand up in our own defence. With these remarks we shall proceed with the subject of the gathering.

[Matt. 13:33] And another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took the hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. It may be understood that the church of the Latter Day Saints, has taken its rise from a little leaven that was put into three witnesses. Behold, how much this is like the parable: it is fast leavening the lump, and will soon leaven the whole. But let us pass on.

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitudes, in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world: Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house, and his disciples came unto him, saying, declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, he that soweth the good seed is the son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one. Now let our readers mark the expression, the field is the world; the tares are the children of the wicked one: the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world. Let them carefully mark this expression also, the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Now men cannot have any possible grounds to say that this is figurative, or that it does not mean what it says; for he is now explaining what he had previously spoken in parables; and according to this language, the end of the world is destruction of the wicked; the harvest and the end of the world have an allusion directly to the human family in the last days, instead of the earth, as many have imagined, and that which shall precede the coming of the Son of man, and the restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began; and the angels are to have something to do in this great work, for they are the reapers: as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world; that is, as the servants of God go forth warning the nations, both priests and people, and as they harden their hearts and reject the light of the truth, these first being delivered over unto the buffetings of satan, and the law and the testimony being closed up, as it was with the Jews, they are left in darkness, and delivered over unto the day of burning: thus being bound up by their creeds and their bands made strong by their priests, are prepared for the fulfilment of the saying of the Savior: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
We understand, that the work of the gathering together of the wheat into barns, or garners, is to take place while the tares are being bound over, and preparing for the day of burning: that after the day of burnings, the righteous shall shine forth like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father: who hath ears to hear let him hear.

But to illustrate more clearly upon this gathering, we have another parable. [Matt. 13:44] Again the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth and for joy thereof, goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field: for the work after this pattern, see the church of the Latter Day Saints, selling all that they have and gathering themselves together unto a place that they may purchase for an inheritance, that they may be together and bear each other’s affliction in the day of calamity.

[Matt. 13:45–46] Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. For the work of this example, see men traveling to find places for Zion, and her stakes or remnants, who when they find the place for Zion, or the pearl of great prices; straightway sell all that they have and buy it.

[Matt. 13:47–50] Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind, which when it was fully they drew to shore, and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, and cast the bad away.—For the work of this pattern, behold the seed of Joseph, spreading forth the gospel net, upon the face of the earth, gathering of every kind, that the good may be saved in vessels prepared for that purpose, and the angels will take care of the bad: so shall it be at the end of the world, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

[Matt. 13:51–52] Jesus saith unto them, have you understood all these things? they say unto him yea Lord: and we say yea Lord, and well might they say yea Lord, for these things are so plain and so glorious, that every Saint in the last days must respond with a hearty amen to them.

Then said he unto them, therefore every scribe which is instructed into the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an house holder; which bringeth forth out of his treasure things that are new and old.

For the work of this example, see the book of Mormon, coming forth out of the treasure of the heart; also the covenants given to the Latter Day Saints: also the translation of the bible: thus bringing forth out of the heart, things new and old: thus answering to three measures of meal, undergoing the purifying touch by a revelation of Jesus Christ, and the ministering of angels, who have already commenced this work in the last days, which will answer to the leaven which leavened the whole lump. Amen.

So I close but shall continue the subject in another number.
In the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant.
Joseph Smith, jr.
To J. [John] Whitmer Esq.
(Messenger and Advocate II.3:225–230 ¶4)

Church History - 1835 Feb M&A response to Campbell

From the foregoing extracts it may be seen, how much truth there is in the reports which are circulated by many of all parties and sects. We are confident that there never has been a time since the church commenced, that the prospects have been more flattering than they are at present. In all parts of our country, multitudes are enquiring after truth. So numerous are the calls, that if the number of elders were three to every one, they could not supply them. These facts are opening the eyes of some of the worst of our enemies, among whom is A. [Alexander] Campbell, of “Millennial Harbinger” memory. He has recently began to howl most prodigiously; calling upon the people in great agony to read Mr. How’s [Edward D. Howe’s Mormonism Unveiled] book, as a sure antidote against delusion. As this is all that Mr. [Alexander] Campbell can do, or dare do, we do not wish to deprive him of this privilege. So we say concerning Alexander, Dudley and co. let them exert themselves with all their power, for they will find it a harder task to “kick against the pricks,” than to reform, as they call it, masons and sectarians,—they have undertaken a task too great for them: the arm of Omnipotence is too potent for “school boys,” and this they will find after they have exhausted all their power. The “black speck” will still “stain the American character,” for the people will receive the everlasting gospel, nor can men nor devils prevent it. The people may rage and the heathen imagine a vain thing: but HE who sits in the heavens will laugh, the Lord will have them in derision, and ere long, he will speak to them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure.

Mr. [Alexander] Campbell has been invited to show himself a man of principle—after repeated insults to the church of the “Latter Day Saints,” and to exchange papers and cut a quill like a man; but seeing he dare not do it, (for notwithstanding the confidence which his satellites have in him, he knows the weakness of his cause too well to hazard an investigation with an Elder of the church of the “Latter Day Saints,”) we consider this effort of his in the same point of light which we do a whippet spaniel, when he is afraid to face his enemy, he turns his hind parts and barks—so bark on Alexander.
(Messenger and Advocate I.5:76 ¶10–77 ¶2)

The following is taken from the Brookville (Ia.) Enquirer; and we copy it into the Advocate to show our friends the different feeling with which the elders of this church are received. All we have to say now on the extract, is that the Editor could not have been a sectarian—We judge him to be a Republican, and a gentleman.


“The Latter day Saints, or Mormons.”

Oliver Cowdery ed “Mormons,” Brookville Enquirer in M&A 1 (Feb 1835)

On last Saturday evening, for the first time, in this place, a gentleman, and minister belonging to this new sect, preached in the court house, to a very respectable audience; and discoursed briefly on the various subjects connected with his creed; explained his faith and gave a brief history of the book of Mormon—united it with the Holy Bible, &c.

By request, he tarried over Sabbath, and at 2 o’clock again opened public worship by an able address to the Throne of the Most High. He spoke for about an hour and a half to a very large audience, during which time he explained many important passages of the prophecies contained in the Old & New Testaments, and applied them according to their literal meaning. He was not lame in the attempt, and in a succinct and lucid manner imparted his belief to the audience.

He believes the book of Mormon to be a series of revelations, and other matters appertaining to the Ephraimites, Lamanites, &c. whom he believes to have been the original settlers of this continent; and that an ancient Prophet caused the plates from which the book of Mormon was translated to be buried nearly two thousand years ago, in what is now called Ontario county, New York. He is also of the belief that Joseph Smith was cited to the plates by an angel from Heaven, and endowed with the gift to translate the engraving upon them into the known language of the country.

This book, he is of opinion, is an event intended to prepare for the great work, the second appearance of Christ, when he shall stand on the Mount of Olives, attended by Abraham and all the Saints, to reign on the Earth for the space of a thousand years.

After he had closed his discourse, on Sabbath afternoon, he remarked that if “no one had any thing to say, the meeting would be considered as closed.” Rev. Daniel St. John, a clergyman of the universal order, ascended the pulpit and in his usual eloquent strain held forth for a considerable time; taking exceptions to some of the positions of the preceding speaker— more particularly as regarded his belief as to the second appearance of Christ, and his doctrine of future rewards and punishments. An interesting debate of about three hours ensued in which each had four hearings, and at the request of the audience, a division of the house was called for on the merits of the argument, and carried in favor of the Latter Day Saint by an overwhelming vote.

Though in some things he characterized the fanatic; yet, in the main, his doctrines were sound and his positions tenable. We would do injustice to the gentleman were we to omit stating, that in all the discourses, of the like character, that we have ever heard it has never fallen to our lot to hear so much harmony in the arrangement of quotations from the sacred book. No passage could be referred to that would in the least produce discord in his arguments. The whole of his discourses were delivered in a very clear and concise manner, rendering it obvious that he was thoroughly acquainted with the course he believed he was called upon to pursue, in obedience to his Master’s will.
If a man may be called eloquent who transfers his own views and feelings into the breasts of others—if a knowledge of the subject, and to speak without fear—are a part of the more elevated rules of eloquence we have no hesitancy in saying ORSON PRATT was eloquent; and truly verified the language of Boileau: “What we clearly conceive, we can clearly express.”

Oliver Cowdery “Letter IV,” M&A 1 (Feb 1835)
To W. W. Phelps, Esq.
In my last, published in the 3d No. of the Advocate I apologized for the brief manner in which I should be obliged to give, in many instances, the history of this church. Since then yours of Christmas has been received. It was not my wish to be understood that I could not give the leading items of every important occurrence, at least so far as would effect my duty to my fellowmen, in such as contained important information upon the subject of doctrine, and as would render it intelligibly plain; but as there are, in a great house, many vessels, so in the history of a work of this magnitude, many items which would be interesting to those who follow, are forgotten. In fact, I deem every manifestation of the Holy Spirit, dictating the hearts of the saints in the way of righteousness, to be of importance,, and this is one reason why I plead an apology.
(Messenger and Advocate I.5:77 ¶3–78 ¶1)

Church History - JS letter re Alexander Campbell

I'm going to be posting some historical references that relate to a project I'm working on. These are my online notes that will make sense shortly.

Joseph Smith ltr
24 Sep 1834
in Evening & Morning Star 2 (Sep 1834)

Kirtland, Ohio, September 24, 1834.

I have, of late, been perusing Mr. A. [Alexander] Campbell’s “Millennial Harbinger.” I never have rejoiced to see men of corrupt hearts step forward and assume the authority and pretend to teach the ways of God—this is, and always has been a matter of grief; therefore I cannot but be thankful, that I have been instrumental in the providence of our heavenly Father in drawing forth, before the eyes of the world, the spirits by which certain ones, who profess to be “Reformers, and Restorers of ancient principles,” are actuated! I have always had the satisfaction of seeing the truth triumph over error, and darkness give way before light, when such men were provoked to expose the corruption of their own hearts, by crying delusion, deception, and false prophets, accusing the innocent, and condemning the guiltless, and exalting themselves to the stations of gods, to lead blind-fold, men to perdition!

I have never been blessed, (if it may be called such,) with a personal acquaintance with Mr. Campbell, neither a personal interview; but the GREAT MAN, not unfrequently condescends to notice an individual of as obscure birth as myself, if I am at liberty to interpret the language of his “Harbinger,” where he says, “Joe Smith! Joe Smith! imposture! imposture!” I have noticed a strange thing! I will inform you of my meaning, though I presume you have seen the same ere this. Mr. Campbell was very lavish of his expositions of the falsity and incorrectness of the book of Mormon, some time since, but of late, since the publication of the Evening and the Morning Star, has said little or nothing, except some of his back-handed cants. He did, to be sure, about the time the church of Christ was established in Ohio, come out with a lengthy article, in which he undertook to prove that it was incorrect and contrary to the former revelations of the Lord. Perhaps, he is of opinion that he so completely overthrew the foundation on which it was based, that all that is now wanting to effect an utter downfall of those who have embraced its principles is, to continue to bark and howl, and cry, Joe Smith! false prophet! and ridicule every man who may be disposed to examine the evidences which God has given to the world of its truth!

I have never written Mr. [Alexander] Campbell, nor received a communication from him but a public notice in his paper:—If you will give this short note a place in the Star you will do me a kindness, as I take this course to inform the gentleman, that while he is breathing out scurrility he is effectually showing the honest, the motives and principles by which he is governed, and often causes men to investigate and embrace the book of Mormon, who might otherwise never have perused it. I am satisfied, therefore he should continue his scurrility; indeed, I am more than gratified, because his cry of Joe Smith! Joe Smith! false prophet! false prophet! must manifest to all men the spirit be is of, and serves to open the eyes of the people.

I wish to inform him further, that as he has, for a length of time, smitten me upon one cheek, and I have offered no resistance, I have turned the other also, to obey the commandment of our Savior; and am content to sit awhile longer in silence and see the great work of God roll on, amid the opposition of this world in the face of every scandal and falsehood which may be invented and put in circulation.

I am your brother in the testamony of the book of Mormon, and shall ever remain.
(Evening and Morning Star II.24:192 ¶14–22)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

September 22, 1828

September 22, 1828

Today is the 190th anniversary of the day when Joseph obtained the Harmony plates from Moroni for the second time. This was after Martin Harris lost the 116 pages.

Exactly one year previously, Joseph opened the stone box on the Hill Cumorah in western New York. This was in a department of the hill separate from the depository of Nephite records (Mormon 6:6).

Joseph took the plates to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to translate them. He translated all of them, except a sealed portion, when he was in Harmony. Then, as indicated by D&C 10, he went to Fayette and translated the second set of plates; i.e., the plates of Nephi that the messenger brought to him from the hill Cumorah.

Maybe by the 200th anniversary, in 2027, everyone in the Church will accept what Joseph and Oliver taught about Cumorah in Letter VII.

Actually, I hope that day arrives sooner. Maybe in 2023, the 200th anniversary of the date when Joseph first saw the plates?

Or 2020, the 200th anniversary of the First Vision?

But why wait? How about this year, in 2018?

Think of what a difference it would make in the Church and in the world if all of our LDS scholars and educators decided, finally, to embrace what Joseph and Oliver and all of their successors taught?

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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Editing the Wentworth letter

To keep Church history correct, it's important to know when scholars have made modifications. Here's one of the worst examples.

Editing the Wentworth Letter

It seems to me that the location of Cumorah/Ramah in New York is as well established as just about anything else in Church history and in the statements of the prophets and apostles. So far as I've been able to determine, every modern prophet and apostle who has formally spoken or written on the issue has said Cumorah is in New York, and none of them have said it is not in New York or that it is somewhere else.

It is only a few LDS scholars with disproportionate influence who insist Cumorah cannot be in New York.

Beyond Cumorah, of course, there have always been a variety of opinions about geography, ranging from as large as the entire hemisphere to as small as the borders of New York State. So beyond Cumorah, meaning other than Cumorah, with the information we currently have, there could not be an official position. There are many possibilities that are consistent with the text, and no clear way to choose among them at this point.

The prophets are correct about both elements:

1. Cumorah is in New York.
2. We don't know where the other events took place.

This is exactly what was reflected in the 1879 official edition of the Book of Mormon, when Orson Pratt divided the text into the modern chapters and verses. He also included footnotes about Book of Mormon geography. He suggested locations for Zarahemla, the River Sidon, etc., but always with qualifiers such as "it is believed."

The footnote for Cumorah, however, declares unequivocally that the Hill Cumorah is in New York.

Just like Joseph and Oliver declared in Letter VII.

Then why, I wondered, do so many LDS scholars and educators insist there is no official position even about Cumorah?

The first question is, how is an official position of the Church expressed?

Maybe the clearest statement of official positions is the Articles of Faith, which have been canonized. However, these are expressions of belief about doctrines, and the 8th article of faith itself leaves a lot of room for individual variation:

 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

The location of Cumorah, like the location of Palmyra or Harmony, is not a statement of belief about doctrine. These are facts, and Letter VII declared the New York location of Cumorah as a fact.

Another interesting aspect of the Articles of Faith is that they were included in the Wentworth letter, published in the Times and Seasons on March 1, 1842. Joseph explained the purpose in the opening paragraph:

"March 1, 1842.—At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow [Barstow], a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands is that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation."

Joseph considered the letter to be a complete statement as it was. 

The extraction of the articles of faith is useful because of how they were framed, but because Joseph specified that the letter be published "entire," we can wonder whether the articles of faith are any more or less inspired than the rest of the letter.

IOW, if the articles of faith are now the "official position of the Church" on the covered topics, would not the rest of the Wentworth letter also be the official position of the Church on the covered topics? If not, why not?

I raise this because of the well known suppression of an important part of the Wentworth letter in Chapter 38 of the manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.

If you want to read the entire letter, you can see it in the Times and Seasons link above, or on at this link:

But you can't read the entire letter in the lesson manual because the following passage was omitted:

Direct quotation from the lesson manual (note the ellipses):

“Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.… This book … tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His resurrection;"

Direct quotation from the original letter (with the omitted portions in red): 

"Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.

"In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His Resurrection;"

It turns out, Joseph didn't need to worry about Mr. Barstow declining to "publish the account entire." Instead, he needed to worry about the Curriculum Department.

It's bad enough that they deleted the important passage in red, but they even deleted the "also" so readers would have no idea that the Book told us something else important.

I've asked around but haven't been able to discover why the Curriculum Department deleted this passage. I'm left to wonder why. Here are some possibilities, and if anyone who reads this knows the real reason, let me know and I'll edit this post to explain it.

For which of the following reasons did the Curriculum Department delete the passage?

1. Because it is no longer considered an "official position" the way Joseph Smith himself considered it.

2. Because it contradicts the Mesoamerican and two-Cumorahs theory.*

3. Because it contradicts what modern anthropological and evolutionary science tells us about the history of humanity.

4. Because the Department doesn't want members to know about these issues, let alone discuss them.

In my opinion, #2 is the most likely reason. (I hope #1 is not the case.) #3 and #4 are both plausible, of course, but that's digressing.**

The Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory (M2C) is so widely held that many people take them for granted, unexamined and unchallenged. They are in the M2C bubble. 

The last thing the M2C intellectuals want is for members of the Church to read that Joseph Smith wrote "The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country" and for that to be considered the official position of the Church. 

[D&C 28, 30, and 32 say the same thing, which is a little more difficult for M2C intellectuals to avoid, so they just don't mention those sections. The old display of the Mission to the Indians at the Church History Museum was an example. That's the famous exhibit once explained "Early members of the Church believed the American Indians were Lamanites," instead of explaining that the Lord identified the tribes in New York and Ohio as Lamanites, and that there are still at least some members today who believe what the D&C says. Fortunately, the Museum has corrected the display now, but the same comment remains in the Joseph Smith Papers.]

M2C is also why you'll never read Letter VII in anything approved by the Curriculum Department. The Joseph Smith papers had to publish Letter VII because Joseph had his scribe copy it into his personal journal, but even when they cite it, they refer to "a hill in New York" instead of "Cumorah," which Letter VII unequivocally identifies as the hill in New York where three important things happened: (i) the final battles of the Jaredites and the Nephites; (ii) the site of Mormon's record repository; and (iii) the site of Moroni's stone box from which Joseph obtained the Harmony plates.

We're left wondering what is an "official position" at this point. If one part of the Wentworth letter is official (i.e., the Articles of Faith), but the rest is not, why would Joseph insist the account be published "entire" when he wrote it?

A related example is Letter VII itself.

Not only was it written by the Assistant President of the Church, Oliver Cowdery, with the assistance of Joseph Smith.

Not only did Oliver receive the Priesthood and the keys of the gathering together with Joseph Smith.

Not only was Oliver commanded to select things to publish "as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him." (D&C 57)

But Joseph Smith specifically endorsed all 8 letters, including Letter VII, on at least three occasions after they were first published in the Messenger and Advocate. He did not do this for any written material besides these letters and the formal revelations.

Part of Letter I was included in the Pearl of Great Price, but the others were never formally canonized, possibly because of their length, but also possibly because Oliver had left the Church (although that didn't stop Joseph from endorsing the letters and making sure they would be reprinted so all members of the Church would have them).

It takes a lot of audacity to claim, as the M2C intellectuals do, that Letter VII is not an official position of the Church--especially when they're constantly citing anonymous articles from the Times and Seasons that were never again cited or reprinted and were never once endorsed by Joseph Smith.***

* As you can imagine, M2C intellectuals have managed to contort Joseph's plain language into a Mesoamerican setting. Joseph was living in Nauvoo, Illinois. He wrote to Mr. Wentworth, an editor living in Chicago, Illinois. The cities were about 250 miles apart. They shared the same state, the same "country" (in the sense of a nation, the United States), and the same "country" in the generic sense of an expanse of land. But you'll find Mesomaniacs using sophistry to claim Joseph really meant the entire Western Hemisphere and just mis-wrote this one word in the entire letter.

** BYU has become one of the more strident institutions promoting Darwinian evolution; I'm told students can get extra credit for working on evolution, while they are discouraged from even mentioning intelligent design or creation science. If I'm wrong about that, I'd like to have someone tell me of any science professor at BYU who even allows a discussion of intelligent design or creationism in class, or approves research on that topic. People who believe the Bible and Book of Mormon are literal are in a quandary because the only universities that allow the study of creation science or intelligent design are Christian, and they don't accept the Book of Mormon (yet). I prefer the approach of multiple working hypotheses with regard to science (as well as Book of Mormon geography). Why not teach both evolution and intelligent design and let the respective theories fend for themselves? Evolution itself relies on faith because no one has shown the mechanism for nonlife becoming life, which requires the simultaneous evolution of independent but necessary complex systems. Evolutionary biologists use a mathematical construct that multiplies the infinitesimal possibility of such simultaneous complex random combinations times the infinity of alternative universes, a topic I address elsewhere. The point here being that academics can "prove" anything they want, when they want it badly enough.

***I know, the M2Cers argue that because the boilerplate at the end of the relevant 1842 issues of the Times and Seasons claimed it was "edited, printed and published by Joseph Smith," Joseph must have approved of these anonymous articles. But no one believes Joseph actually printed the newspaper, so why insist he actually edited it? I've shown he did no editing, printing, or publishing in my 3-volume series on the 1842 Times and Seasons.

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.