26049

Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 6 November 1829

the most to learn of your faithfulness in christ my dear Brother when I think of the goodness of christ I feel no desire to live or Stay here upon the shores of this world of iniquity only to to Serve my maker and be if posible an instriment in his hands of doing Some good in his cause with his grace to assist me when I consider and try to realise what he has done for me I am astonished and amaised why Should I not be for while I was rushing on in sin and crouding my way down to that awful gulf he yet Strove with me and praised be his holy and Eternal name he has redeemed my Soul from endless torment and wo not for any thing that I have merited or any worthyness there was in me for there was none but it was in and through his own mercy wraught out by his own infinite wisdom by prepareing from all Eternity a means whereby man could be saved on conditions of repentance and faith on that infinite attonement which was to be made by a great and last Sacrifice which Sacrifice was the death of the only begotten of the Father yea the eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth4

This passage includes several phrases that are not found in the Bible but appear in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “conditions of repentance” appears in the Book of Mormon multiple times and was also included in a revelation addressed to Cowdery the previous June.a The phrase “great and last sacrifice” occurs three times in the Book of Mormon—all on the same page of the 1830 edition. This same page includes the phrase “infinite atonement.”b According to Cowdery’s postscript at the end of the letter, he had only recently transcribed this passage in his creation of the printer’s manuscript. The phrase “eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth” appears twice in the Book of Mormon.c)  


aBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 270, 338, 418, 446 [Alma 17:15; 42:13; Helaman 5:11; 14:11, 18]; Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:12].

bBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 319 [Alma 34:10–14].

cBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 186, 253 [Mosiah 15:4; Alma 11:39].

that by his reserection all the Family of man might be braught back into the presance of God if therefore we follow christ in all things whatsoever he commandeth us and are buried with him by baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
into death that like as christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Eternal Father even So we also Should walk in newness of life5

See Romans 6:4. A number of JS’s friends and supporters in the vicinity of Palmyra and Fayette townships in New York had already been baptized. (See “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829.)  


and if we walk in newness of life to the end of this probation at the day of accounts we Shall be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air6

See 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  


but I need not undertake to write of the goodness of God for his goodness is unspeakable neither tell of the miteries mysteries of God for what is man that he can comprehend and Search out the wisdom of deity for Great is the misteries of Godliness7

See 1 Timothy 3:16.  


therefore my only motive in this writing is to inform you of my prospects and hopes and my desires and my longing to be freed from Sin and to rest in the kingdom of my Savior and my redeemer when I [p. 7]
and the most to learn of your faithfulness in christ my dear  Brother when I think of the goodness of christ I feel no desire to  live or Stay here upon the shores of this world of iniquity only to  to Serve him my maker and be if posible an instriment in his  hands of doing Some good in his cause with his <grace> to assist me when  I consider and try to realise what he has done for me I am  astonished and amaised why Should I not be for while I was  rushing on in sin and crouding my way down to that awful  gulf he yet Strove with me and praised be his holy name <and>  Eternal name he has redeemed my Soul from endless  torment and wo not for any thing that I have me[r]ited or  any worthyness there was in me for there was none but it  was in and through his own mercy wraught out by his  own infinite wisdom by prepareing from all Eternity  a means wherefore whereby man could be saved on conditions of  repentance and faith on that infinite attonement which  was to be mad[e] by a great and last Sacrif[i]ce which Sacr[i]fice  was the death of the only begotten of the Father yea the eter nal Father of Heaven and of Earth4

This passage includes several phrases that are not found in the Bible but appear in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “conditions of repentance” appears in the Book of Mormon multiple times and was also included in a revelation addressed to Cowdery the previous June.a The phrase “great and last sacrifice” occurs three times in the Book of Mormon—all on the same page of the 1830 edition. This same page includes the phrase “infinite atonement.”b According to Cowdery’s postscript at the end of the letter, he had only recently transcribed this passage in his creation of the printer’s manuscript. The phrase “eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth” appears twice in the Book of Mormon.c)  


aBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 270, 338, 418, 446 [Alma 17:15; 42:13; Helaman 5:11; 14:11, 18]; Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:12].

bBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 319 [Alma 34:10–14].

cBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 186, 253 [Mosiah 15:4; Alma 11:39].

that by his resere ction all the Family of man might be braught back  into the presance of God if therefore we follow christ in  all things whatsoever he comma[n]deth us and are buried  with him by baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
into death that like as christ  was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Eter nal Father even So we also Should walk in newn ess of life5

See Romans 6:4. A number of JS’s friends and supporters in the vicinity of Palmyra and Fayette townships in New York had already been baptized. (See “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829.)  


and if we walk in newness of life to the  end of this probation at the day of accounts we Shall  be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air6

See 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  


 but I need not undertake to write of the goodness of God  for his goodness is unspeakable ne[i]ther tell of the mite ries [mysteries] of God for what is man that he can comprehend  and Search out the wisdom of deity for Great is the misteries  of Godliness7

See 1 Timothy 3:16.  


therefore my only motive in this writing is to  inform you of my prospects and hopes and my desires and  my long<ing> to be freed from Sin and to rest in the king dom of my Savior and my redeemer when I [p. 7]
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Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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composed this letter in response to JS’s letter two weeks earlier.1 By this time Cowdery had been involved with the printing of the Book of Mormon for several weeks, and here he provided JS with a brief update of that work. He also informed JS of the estimated date of completion and explained that illness had delayed the work. In the postscript, Cowdery noted his progress copying the original Book of Mormon manuscript. Pages of the resulting “printer’s manuscript” were then delivered to the printer, E. B. Grandin

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

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, ensuring that if the copy were damaged, either through mischief or carelessness, the original would still be preserved.2

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 9, [2]; John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL.  


The sentiments and language of Cowdery’s expressions of faith in the letter reveal his familiarity with passages from the manuscript.

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