Christian Standard – July 8, 1905
R. B. NEAL.
At last I
have secured a document that is as rare as oranges in Greenland or polar bears
in the Philippines. Here's the title-page
D E F E N
REHEARSAL OF MY GROUNDS
LATTER DAY SAINTS
BY OLIVER COWDERY
Second Elder of The Church of Christ
This defense is not
protected by a copyright, as I wish no man, to be confined alone to my
permission in printing what is meant for the eyes and knowledge of the nations
of the earth.
God doth not walk in crooked paths; neither doth he turn to the right hand, nor the the left; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said.
Pressley's Job Office,
Norton, Ohio, 1839.
The document is as full of meat as an egg, for an anti-Mormon polemic.
With it in his hands, a Mormon elder has no more show against him than Rojestvensky had against the Japs.
He says, speaking of Joseph Smith:
"When the Church of Christ was set up by revelation, he was called to be the first elder, and I was called to be the second elder, and whatever he had of priesthood (about which I am beginning to doubt) also had I.
But I certainly followed him too far when accepting and reiterating, that none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel, as I had then forgotten that John, the beloved disciple, was tarrying on earth and exempt from death."
He might have added the "Three Nephite Apostles" also were on earth, the Book of Mormon being true.
Yet, Joe and Oliver both stated that no one on earth at the time of John the Baptist, he whom Herod beheaded, appeared to them and laid hands upon them, and gave them the right to baptize; viz. the keys of the Aaronic priesthood.
Early in my warfare I pressed this argument hard upon the Elders. that either Joseph Smith and Oliver lied, or the Book of Mormon lied, about none on earth at that time having the right to baptize or the power to impart the Holy Spirit. From this it appears that Oliver realized that he had "crossed himself."
He must now account for his own testimony about the angel. He does so, and
"LETS THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG."
"Bro. Page and I did not
think that God would have deceived us through "Urim and Thummim," exactly as
came the Book of Mormon; and I well remember how hard I strove to drive away the
foreboding which seized me, that the First Elder had made tools of us, where we
thought, in the simplicity of out hearts, that we were divinely commanded.
And what served to render the reflection past expression in its bitterness to me, was, that from his hand I received baptism, by the direction of the Angel of God whose voice, as it has since struck me, did most mysteriously resemble the voice of Elder Sidney Rigdon, who, I am sure, had no part in the transactions of that day, as the Angel was John the Baptist, which I doubt not and deny not. When I afterward first heard Elder Rigdon, whose voice is so strikingly similar, I felt that this "dear" brother was to be in some sense, to me unknown, the herald of this church as the great Baptist was of Christ."
This is enough to show the value of the find. It should be printed by the Tens of thousands and scattered among the young Mormons of this day and age, with pertinent comments thereon. I make this proffer:
Drop me a card at Grayson, Ky., promising to take ten copies of the tract, when printed, at ten cents per copy, and when pledges enough come in to pay the printer, the copy will be handed in.
Better, some philanthropist, with money, foot the bill for the first five thousand copies. have him, or her, imprint on it, and the sales, even if the edition is given away largely, will be sufficient, with plates, to pay for another edition, and so on, and thus be perpetual.
Surely the country should be flooded. with Cowdery's Defence. R. B. NEAL.
Note 1: Rev. R. B. Neal's title for this article was apparently taken from the phrase, "ready to go blow for blow..." He meant it as the opening "blow" against Mormon claims that Oliver Cowdery remained faithful to his testimony for the divine origin of the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church, all through his life. The term "Togo" was also a play on words, for the Japanese Admiral Tojo, who had recently defeated the Russian Pacific Fleet, with the surprise "knock-out blow" of a major naval victory.
Note 2: Although no such copy has yet been located, it seems likely that Rev. Neal first disclosed this "document that is as rare as oranges in Greenland" in a short, mid June notice published in the Cincinnati Christian Weekly or a secular Kentucky newspaper. According to his words, in a letter he wrote to Wingfield Watson, on June 5, 1903, Rev. Neal received the text to this spurious Cowdery "Defence" on June 4th; so it is unlikely that he published any lengthy report on the text prior to June, 1905. See a somewhat similar announcement, with the same heading, that Rev. Neal printed in the 7th issue in his first series of Sword of Laban Leaflets, published in Grayson, Kentucky during 1905-07.
Note 3: In the above article Rev. Neal purportedly quotes the words of Oliver Cowdery, as first published in an 1839 pamphlet, entitled Defence in a Rehearsal of My Grounds for Separating Myself From the Latter Day Saints. No such pamphlet has ever been discovered, but Neal apparently did not doubt its authenticity. In his c. June, 1905 "7th Leaflet, "Neal says, "I have been able to locate but one copy of this rare pamphlet in all the earth." In the same leaflet he also says he is handing out "another sample of 'Oliver Cowdery's Defence.'" Perhaps the first "sample" was the above excerpt, published the Christian Standard. Neal also inserted a lengthy excerpt from the so-called Cowdery text in the 11th issue of his first series of Sword of Laban Leaflets. Rev. Neal also published the entire text, as the lead item in his 1906 pamphlet, Anti-Mormon Tracts, No. 9.
Note 4: Rev. Neal's first known published reference to the Cowdery "Defence" came in the comments he appended to an article titled, "Oliver Cowdery's Recantation," in the Apr.-May, 1905 issue of his Helper newspaper. There Rev. Neal says "We have confirmatory evidence to hand out." His readers would have to wait until the next issue of The Helper to appear, in July of 1905, to see exactly what the "confirmatory evidence" was that Neal here so cryptically refers to. The modern reader, skipping ahead to the June-July issue can there read the article "Oliver Cowderyand the Canada Revelation." containing the purported words of Oliver Cowdery, as reportedly first published in his 1839 pamphlet. In introducing the alleged Cowdery excerpt, Rev. Neal says: "We are indebted to Bro. D. B. Turney, Goreville, Ill., for the following extract from 'Cowdery's Defence' made in 1839." The impression conveyed by this sentence is that Daniel B. Turney first sent Rev. Neal a handwritten paragraph, which he purported to have copied from the 1839 pamphlet. Presumably Turney first informed Rev. Neal of this "rare find" during the spring of 1905; next sent him the handwritten excerpt; and finally provided Neal with the entire text -- but whether as a publication or a written transcript remains unknown.
Note 4: Note 3: Dr. Daniel Braxton Turney (1848-1926) was a well educated Illinois politician and a clergyman-turned-polemicist in the Methodist Protestant Church. He was ordained in 1873 and in later years sometimes served as President of annual conferences of that church. Turney was a U. S. Presidential candidate for the "United Christians" in the campaigns of 1908 and 1912. He authored numerous articles and tracts; his pamphlets include: "The Mythifying Theory," Metropolis, IL, 1872. 8 p.; "A Peep into Psychomancy," Mansfield, OH, 1878. 13 p.; "Garfield or Hancock?" 1880, 25 p.; "Baptismal Chain," c. 1885; Was Abraham Lincoln a Myth? c. 1885, 18 p.; and Mode of Baptism According to the Scriptures, 1887, 1894. Turney evidently supplied Rev. Neal with several unique and highly suspicious Mormon texts -- see his alleged 1832 Martin Harris letter and his otherwise unknown expansion of an 1843 Nauvoo hymn, both of which appear have been a products of an over-active, early 20th century imagination. Two other spurious texts possibly supplied by Turney are the bogus 1831 Cephas Dodd statement and the undated "Overstreet Confession," the latter of which is known only in manuscript form.
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