Letter to Oliver Cowdery, 22 October 1829

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

— Oct. 22d— 1829——
<​Let[ter], 6 ​>
Respected sir I would in form you that I arrived at home on sunday morning the 4th. after having a prosperous journy, and found all well the people are all friendly to <​us​> except a few who are in opposition to evry thing unless it is something that is axactly like themselves and two of our most formadable persacutors are now under censure and are cited to a tryal trial in the church for crimes which if true are worse than all the Gold Book business. we do not rejoice in the affliction of our enimies but we shall be glad to have truth prevail[.] there begins to be a great call for our books in this country the minds of the people are very much excited when they find that there is a copy right obtained and that there is really books about to be printed I have bought a horse of and want some one to come after it as soon as convenient has a prospect of getting five or six hundred dollars he does not know certain that he can get it but he is a going to try and if he can get the money he wants to pay it in immediately for books we want to hear from you and know how you prosper in the good work, give our best respects to & and all our brothers and Sisters to and all the company concerned tell them that our prayers are put up daily for them that they may be prospered in evry, good word and work and that they may be preserved from sin here and and from the consequen[c]e of sin here after and now dear brother be faithful in the discharge of evry duty looking for the reward of the righteous and now may God of his infinite mercy keep an<​d​> preserve us spotless untill his coming and receive us all to rest with him in eternal repose through the attonement of Christ our Lord Amen
Joseph Smith Jr
[p. 9]


  1. new scribe logo

    This scribal notation, in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, numbered the letter in JS Letterbook 1.  

  2. 1

    By fall 1829, it was well known in the region that JS claimed to have plates and to be translating them. In June 1829 the Wayne Sentinel reported on the rumors surrounding the translation of the “Golden Bible” and explained that “most people entertain an idea that the whole matter is the result of a gross imposition and a grosser superstition. It is pretended that it will be published as soon as the translation is completed.” Jonathan Hadley of the Palmyra Freeman also reported that by early August 1829, JS’s translation of the plates was “generally known and spoken of as the ‘Golden Bible.’” The Freeman incredulously reported JS’s claims: “Now it appears not a little strange that there should have been deposited in this western world, and in the secluded town of Manchester, too, a record of this description: and still more so, that a person like this Smith (very illiterate) should have been gifted by inspiration to find and interpret it.” Newspapers as far away as Ohio reprinted this denunciation of the “Golden Bible.” (News item, Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 26 June 1829, [3]; “Golden Bible,” Palmyra (NY) Freeman, 11 Aug. 1829, [2], italics in original; see also, for example, “Golden Bible,” Niagara Courier [Lockport, NY], 27 Aug. 1829, [2]; “Golden Bible,” Rochester [NY] Daily Advertiser and Telegraph, 31 Aug. 1829, [2]; “Golden Bible,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 22 Sept. 1829, [3]; and “Golden Bible,” Salem [MA] Gazette, 2 Oct. 1829, [1].)  

    Wayne Sentinel. Palmyra, NY. 1823–1852, 1860–1861.

    Palmyra Freeman. Palmyra, NY. 1828–1829.

    Niagara Courier. Lockport, NY. 1827–1834.

    Rochester Daily Advertiser and Telegraph. Rochester, NY. 1826–1829.

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

    Salem Gazette. Salem, MA. 1825–1888.

  3. 2

    The Book of Mormon.  

  4. 3

    See Copyright for Book of Mormon, 11 June 1829.  

  5. 4

    There is no evidence that Stowell ever provided JS with these funds or received hundreds of copies of the Book of Mormon, which a $500 or $600 investment would have procured.  

  6. 5

    This line indicated that Oliver Cowdery was the addressee of the letter. Although Cowdery generally signed his name “Oliver Cowdery” or “O. Cowdery,” he also sometimes used “Oliver H P Cowdery” but never explained what either initial stood for.