Mormon History

Oliver Cowdery Unanswered Questions - 1878

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune December 1, 1878


Examination of Oliver Cowdery, one of the
three witnesses to the Book of Mormon

What was the gift of Aaron, spoken of in a revelation given to J. Smith and O. Cowdery in May, 1829?

Was not this "gift" spoken of in the first edition of the "Book of Commandments," as the "gift of working with the rod," even the "rod of nature"?

Was not this "rod of nature" simply a "witch hazel," that would turn when held in the hands?

Did it take more than six weeks to write out the whole Book of Mormon, say from the middle of April to the beginning of June, 1929?

When you desired to assist in the "translation" of the plates, as promised to you in the first revelation, were you not bluffed off with the excuse that there were other records which you should translate that belonged to "the sealed portion" of the Book?

How about this "sealed portion" -- who is to translate that, now you are gone who was to do that work?

Did you not, like Martin Harris, obtain the privilege of being a witness to the Book of Mormon, because you "teased" for it?

Did you not go with P. P. Pratt and two others to Kirtland, to introduce the Book of Mormon to Sidney Rigdon, and was not his the first house visited by you after your arrival in Kirtland?

Were not you and P. P. Pratt closeted all night with Sidney Rigdon, and the other two missionaries sent off elsewhere?

Was not the conversation of Sidney Rigdon cut and dried, and so understood by yourself and P. P. Pratt?

How was it, although you were called to be the second elder in Joseph Smith's cgurch, that you immediately gave up that position to Sidney Rigdon and took the humble place as scribe and clerk?

Was not this a part of the programme from the beginning, and so understood by you?

When and where did Peter, James and John appear to you, and confer the apostleship upon you and Joseph Smith?

Will you please impress the minds of some of the Elders, who have thundered forth to the world the fact (?) of this visitation, to state, if they can, where any account of the same is to be found?

What did "the Lors" mean by saying that you should see the plates, "even as my servant Joseph hath seen them?" Why did you not "heft" them and testify that you "hefted" them?

Why were others, outside, so much more highly favored in this respect, when this was the point, namely, to know if J. Smith really had the plates, upon which yourself and Martin Harris were from the first most sceptical?

Were not you, in connection with four others, in June, 1838, warned to leave the city of Far West, Missouri, within three days, at the peril of your lives?

Was not this warning written by Sidney Rigdon and signed by eighty four Mormons?

Did not S. Rigdon charge you and others in this document, with being associated with a gang of "counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs of the deepest dye?"

If you were justly charged with these crimes, can you be considered a competent witness in a matter involving the salvation or damnation of the human family?

Did you not, as shown by S. Rigdon's address to the Dissenters, and by D. P. Kidder's book on Mormonism, withdraw your testimony and utterly repudiate the Book of Mormon?

David Whitmer, come into court.


Salt Lake, Nov. 30, 1878.