January 12, 2023

Who is Oliver Cowdery?

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Oliver Cowdery was born October 3, 1806 in Wells, Vermont.

Oliver Cowdery was a teacher in Manchester New York. While teaching in New York he heard about the prophet Joseph Smith and the translation of The Book of Mormon.

In 1829, he accompanied the prophets brother, Samuel Smith to Harmony Pennsylvania where the young prophet was working on translating The Book of Mormon.

Oliver Cowdery was a scribe for the translation of The Book of Mormon.

Oliver Cowdery had many amazing angelic visitations with the prophet Joseph Smith. He was one of the three witnessed of The Book of Mormon. An angel from heaven came down and showed him, David Whitmer and Martin Harris the ancient record. They were shown the golden plates to be witnesses of this important work of the restoration.

On May 15, 1829 Oliver Cowdery, along with the prophet Joseph Smith, received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist!

Then, both went on to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John.

On April 3, 1836 Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood keys from Elijah, Elias and Moses(Doctrine and Covenants 110:11-16)

Oliver Cowdery married the youngest daughter of Peter and Mary Whitmer, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer. Elizabeth is the the sister of David Whitmer, one of the other of the three witnesses of The Book of Mormon. They were married on December 18, 1832.

Seeing angels will not give you a testimony, or even help you keep a testimony, as proof from Oliver Cowdery. Oliver and Joseph Smith had a very large ‘falling out.’ Oliver ended up being excommunicated from the Church on April 12, 1838.

Oliver Cowdery left the Church for eleven years. He put everything into a struggling law practice, and continually had financial difficulties.

Joseph Smith wrote to Oliver on multiple occasions to see if he was willing to come back to the Church. Oliver was not ready to make recompense.

Oliver ended up in Wisconsin where he ended up meeting up with members of the Church heading out West to Utah. After meeting again with members Oliver told the people going west he was interested in coming back to the Church.

When the brothern heard Oliver was ready to come back, they were very excited to welcome their brother back to the church. After eleven years Oliver was finally interested in coming back to the Church. Brigham Young wrote him a letter saying how welcome he would be to come back. Oliver was re-baptized back into Church membership, in Kanesville Iowa November 12, 1848.

Oliver had some heath problems and never made it to Utah.

On March 3, 1850 he passed away at his brother-in-laws, David Whitmers home. When he was close to death Oliver “admonished his loved ones to live the teachings of the Book of Mormon and promised if they did, they would meet him in heaven.”(p.76)

Other Blog Posts:

David Whitmer’s Miracle

Who is David Whitmer?

Women Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

Importance of the Whitmer Family, and Whitmer Home

Places to Visit:

Priesthood Restoration-Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

Home of Joseph and Emma Smith, Harmony Pennsylvania.

Whitmer Home

Richmond Missouri Monument, where Oliver Cowdery was buried.


”Who’s who in the Doctrine and Covenants by Susan Easton Black (p 76-76)


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