Joseph Smith – The Oliver Cowdery Period

This is a continuation of the story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon that was published in the Times and Seasons in 1842. It is a continuation of the writeup that included Joseph Smith receiving the Gold Plates and the Martin Harris period of the translation. (Joseph Smith Receives the Gold Plates and The Martin Harris Period). As found in all my write-ups from the original Times and Seasons publication and I have attempted to retain all grammar, punctuation, and misspellings of the original document.

The Arrival of Oliver Cowdery

On the fifteenth day of April, eighteen hundred and twenty nine, Oliver Cowdery came to my house, until when I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided; and my father being one of those who sent to the school; he had went to board for a season at my father’s house, and while there the family related to him the circumstance of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make enquiries of me.

Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery, (being the 17th of April,) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he commenced to write for me, which having continued for some time, I enquired of the Lord, through the Urim and Thummim, and obtained the following revelation:–

Revelation given April, 1829, to Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Smith, Jr.

A great and marvellous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints ad marrow: Therefore give heed unto my words.

Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the Kingdom of God: Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God; therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing b repentance unto this generation: keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

Behold thou has a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above: and if thou wild inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways. Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things. If thou wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me, and behold as often as thou hast inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.

Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God, that knowest thy thought and the intents of thy heart: I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee, that the words or the work which thou hast been writing is true.

Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be, for the word’s sake. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity.

Behold thou are Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God; and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God. I am the same that came unto my own and my own received my not — I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night when you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God? And now behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness? And behold I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I command you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourselves, in heaven, then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.

A now, behold I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry: and in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established.

Verily, verily I say unto you if they reject my words, and this part of my gospel and ministry, blesses are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you, even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory; but if they reject not my words, which shall be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they; and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labors.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold there will I be in the midst of them: even so am I in the midst of you. Fear not to do good my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap: therefore, if ye sow good, ye shall also reap good for your reward.

Therefore, fear not little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my Rock, they cannot prevail. Behold I do not condemn you, go your ways and sin no more: perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you: look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not: behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet: be faithful: keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: Amen.

After we had received this revelation he (Oliver Cowdery) stated to me that after he had gone to my father’s to board, and after the family communicated to him concerning my having got the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and that the Lord manifested to him that they were true, but that he had kept the circumstance entirely secret, and had mentioned it to no being, so that after this revelation having been given he knew that the work was true, because that no being living knew of the thing alluded to in the revelation, but God and himself. During the month of April I continued to translate. and he to write, with little cessation, during which time we received several revelations…

…Whilst continuing the work of translation during the month of April; Oliver Cowdery became exceedingly anxious to have the power to translate bestowed upon him, and in relation to this desire, the following revelations were obtained.

Revelation given April, 1829.

Oliver Cowdery, verily verily I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so sure shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my scripture of which have been spoken, by the manifestation of my Spirit; yea, behold I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

Now, behold this is the Spirit of Revelation behold this is the Spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red sea on dry ground; therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction.

O remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember this is your gift. Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron: behold it has told you many things: behold there is no other power save the power of God that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you; therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of our hands; for it is the work of God. And therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you and you shall have knowledge concerning it: remember that without faith you can do nothing. — Therefore, ask in faith. Trifle not with these things: do not ask for that which you ought not: ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you. Behold, it is I that have spoken it: and I am the same who spake unto you from the beginning. Amen.

Revelation given to Oliver Cowdery April, 1829

Behold I say unto you, my son, that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph Smith. jr. even so I would that you should continue until you have finished this record, which I have intrusted unto him: and then behold, other records have I that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.

Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at the present time. Behold the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and behold it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmer my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.

Behold you have not understood, you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you: therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.

Now if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared and the time is not expedient now: for, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? and neither of you have I condemned.

Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation.–Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day. Amen.

Continue Reading with the next article on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery Receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.