Oliver Cowdery’s eight historical letters were written in 1834 and 1835, partly in response to anti-Mormon attacks that focused on two issues:
1. The character of Joseph Smith
2. The historicity and authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
In 2017, critics of the Church continue to focus on these two issues, so we can learn a lot from the way that Joseph and Oliver addressed the issues in their day.
I’ll post some excerpts from the letters to illustrate how effective they were. You will see why Joseph made sure these letters were republished so often during his lifetime.
The following communication was designed to have been published in the last No. of the Star; but owing to a press of other matter it was laid over for this No. of the Messenger and Advocate. Since it was written, upon further reflection, we have thought that a full history of the rise of the church of the Latter Day Saints, and the most interesting parts of its progress, to the present time, would be worthy the perusal of the Saints.-If circumstances admit, an article on this subject will appear in each subsequent No. of the Messenger and Advocate, until the time when the church was driven from Jackson Co. Mo. by a lawless banditti; & such other remarks as may be thought appropriate and interesting.
That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons, that our brother J. SMITH jr. has offered to assist us. Indeed, there are many items connected with the fore part of this subject that render his labor indispensable. With his labor and with authentic documents now in our possession, we hope to render this a pleasing and agreeable narrative, well worth the examination and perusal of the Saints.-To do justice to this subject will require time and space: we therefore ask the forbearance of our readers, assuring them that it shall be founded upon facts.
Source: Letter VII
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