Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 December 1829

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

<​Let[ter] 2​> Dececember 28th AD 1829
Brother Joseph Smith Jr—
It may Seam Supe[r]fluous for me to write as [p. 4] is going directly to your country but knowing that if a few lines from you under my hand is as gladly rec[e]ived by you as one from you would at all times be by me I cannot in duty to my feelings let this oppertunity <​pass​> u[n]improved Your great anxiety will probably be to know of the progress of the work in the which we are <​So deeply​> engaged and possibly our Souls wellfare al[l] of which can make known unto you it may look rather Strange to you to find that I have So Soon become a printer and you may cast in your mind what I Shall become next but be asured my cahngeing [changing] business has not in any degree I trust taken my mind from meditateing upon my mission which I have been called to fulfill nor of changing Slacking my diligence in prayr and fasting but but Some times I feel almost as though I could quit time and fly away and be at rest in the Bosom of my Redeemer for the many deep feelings of Sorrow and the many long Struglings in prayr of Sorrow for the Sins of my fellow beings and also for those whose pretend to be of my faith almost as it were Seperateth my spirit from my mortal body do not think by this my Brother that I am would find give you to understand that I am freed from Sin and temptations no not by any means that is what I would that you Should undersstand is my anxiety at some times to be at rest in King in the Paradice of my God is to be freed from sin temptation &c. You have our prayrs and our best wishes
Yours in Christ Amen
Joseph Smith Jr
P S we Send our respects to &c—— [p. 5]


  1. new scribe logo

    This scribal notation, in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, indicates that this was the second letter copied into JS Letterbook 1.  

  2. 1

    At the time he wrote this letter, Cowdery was likely at the Hyrum Smith residence in Palmyra. If this is the case, the letter was written in Palmyra, not in Manchester.  

  3. 2

    Joseph Smith Sr.  

  4. 3

    In addition to aiding the printing process by creating a printer’s copy of the original manuscript for use in the printshop, Cowdery apparently set type for some of the pages as well. John H. Gilbert, typesetter for most of the Book of Mormon, later recalled that Cowdery, though not a printer, “was a frequent visitor to the office, and did several times take up a [composing] ‘stick’ and set a part of a page—he may have set 10 or 12 pages, all told.” (John H. Gilbert, Palmyra, NY, to James T. Cobb, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, 10 Feb. 1879, in Theodore Schroeder Papers . . . Relating to Mormonism.)  

    Gilbert, John H. Letter, Palmyra, NY, to James T. Cobb, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, 10 Feb. 1879. Theodore Schroeder Papers: Corres., Writings and Printed Ephemera Relating to Mormonism. Microfilm. New York: New York Public Library Photographic Service, 1986. Copy at CHL.

  5. 4

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 144 [Enos 1:11].  

  6. 5

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 304 [Alma 29:16].  

  7. 6

    In several early documents, Oliver Cowdery signed his name with “H P” as middle initials. What the initials stand for is unknown. JS used just the “H” when writing to Oliver in October. (Letter to Oliver Cowdery, 22 Oct. 1829.)