Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Mormons: Was Oliver Cowdery lying when he accused Joseph Smith of adultery in 1838?


Linda and Mythos: This is common knowledge- give the martyr language a rest.

Update 2:

And if so, what does this say about his credibility is concerned in other matters, especially his status as one of the Three Witnesses to the golden plates?

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, not one bit. Yes they were at odds, but Joseph had plenty to say about his supposed witnesses to the Book of mormon. Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were third cousins.

    First Smith was very positive about his scribes, stating they were accurate and very loyal. The Mormon church accused Oliver Cowdery of Adultery and claimed he had joined "a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs", after leaving the mormon church. Oliver Cowdery did return to the Mormon church and was rebaptized in October of 1848, but there are questions as to his motivation for joining and how long he remained a member after rejoining.

    Oliver Cowdery died, not in Utah, but at the home of fellow witness David Whitmer, who had also left the Mormon church.

    Whitmer makes it clear that Cowdery "died believing as I do to-day," which included a belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet, and that the Doctrine and Covenants contained false revelations (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, pp. 1-2).

    **Smith said, It would only be by their faith that they would be able to obtain a view of them, with their "spiritual eyes." Take that as you may. Later many denied ever seeing anything. Some stated it was like a vivid dream, anly seeing them in a "VISION." Because they were worthy.So, all the witnesses, except Martin Harris, were closely related to one another. It was a big hoax really having seeing any plates.

    THEN, after some negative statements were made about the "witnesses." Joseph Smith said Dec 16, 1838, "Such characters as McLellin, John Witmer, David Witmer, Oliver Cowdry, and Martin Harris are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them." History of the Church, Vol 3, p232



    However, in 1838 in Kirtland, Oliver confronted Joseph Smith with the charge of adultery with Fanny Alger, and with lying and teaching false doctrines.(Private Letter to Brother, Warren Cowdery, by Oliver Cowdery, Jan. 21, 1838)

    Joseph lied about the marriage.

    Fanny Alger was the prophet's first secret plural wife from early 1833 to mid-1836. At the time, Fanny was living in the Smith home, perhaps helping Emma with house work and the children. She was like an adopted daughter to Smith.

    Joseph kept his marriage to Fanny out of the view of the public, and his wife Emma. Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship: “Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house”. (Emma got rid of her)


    Ann Eliza recalls: “ was felt that [Emma] certainly must have had some very good reason for her action. By degrees it became whispered about that Joseph’s love for his adopted daughter was by no means a paternal affection, and his wife, discovering the fact, at once took measures to place the girl beyond his reach...Since Emma refused decidedly to allow her to remain in her mother offered to take her until she could be sent to her relatives...”

    Book of Mormon witness, Oliver Cowdery, felt the relationship was something other than a marriage. He referred to it as “A dirty, nasty, filthy affair...”

    *Church records now show Miss Alger was Smith's first "spiritual wife."

    Oliver was telling the truth.

    (Historical Record, 1886, vol. 5, p. 233)


    *Oliver Cowdery was the Church's second Elder, often called the "Second President."

    **So all was good until Oliver thought Josephs actions were a awful. and then left the LDS church. But before that he was second in charge and a loyal man to Joseph, according to Smith's own words.

    Thanks for reading.

    Edit: Slcbtf, Oliver is a precious witness to you and others to the BOM, right?, HE left the LDS church (was denounced by Smith and others) then returned as a reliable source and good LDS person even today.

    *Oliver, (and others) ALSO stated it was a nasty affair, and that Joseph was in the wrong! For sure.

    Take the good with the BAD ok? Otherwize that picking and choosing as in what the Mormon Church is famous far.

    Source(s): History of the Mormon church and accurate quotes from Mormon history. ~Ex mormon
    • daniel6 years agoReport

      Good complete answer. Please do NOT think the Mormons care about what is the truth and what is not. They will believe what their parents, friends, and elders teach. They cannot and will not think for themselves. They are happy with their "god" who was once a man, and their own planet

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    An interesting thing about human nature. We tend to "see" the things we want to see. Take the present presidential election. Many people are either siding with McCain or Obama. Many are staunch Democrats and many are staunch Republicans. Each side "sees" their side as the valid one, and looks to the other side as being in error. Does that make the one side a liar, and the other righteous? No, it simply means that we hold different perceptions. Oliver Cowdery, when a faithful member, looked at Joseph SMith's actions while wearing the lenses of a believer. When he fell away, he choose to look upon them with a different perspective. You should note, that when Oliver realized that he was again a believing faithful member, he again put on the faithful lenses and looked upon Joseph Smith again with a believers perspective. We all have different perspectives. If ten people witness a traffic accident, there will be ten different versions of it given to the police. It does not make them all liars. It is their human perceptions. And human perceptions are not the same as God's perceptions. When God commands us to do things, we as mankind may not be able to see it in the context God does and feel that it is wrong. But if it is God who commands it, it cannot be anything but right. Finding out if God commands us, then, is the most important thing we could do. God has provided a way whereby we can know the truth. It is called the Comforter or Holy Ghost. See John 14:26 Ask God if somethign is true, the Holy Ghost reveals it to us.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Oliver Cowdery

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  • 1 decade ago

    Vernon at the time Oliver Cowdery was angry at Joseph Smith and the church. Oliver Cowdery did repent and was rebaptized in the church 10 years later and died a faithful LDS.

    In a court case in Iowa in the 1840s Oliver Cowdery had to bear his testimony about the Book of Mormon after an opponant lawyer slandered him in court.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, p.232 - 233

    Even though Joseph took part in the council meetings and presided during this time, he never contravened the council's decisions. Why he chose not to intervene in behalf of the Whitmers and Cowderys and other issues decided by the council is not stated; however, it needs be noted that Church government, which is government by council, began to develop at this date. In a letter to Brigham Young in 1843, Oliver Cowdery took a different view of the matter. He felt that designing men were envious of the "harmony existing between [himself] and the first elders of the Church." Oliver accused them of character assassination that drove a wedge between himself and the Prophet.

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  • phrog
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The facts known are these:

    Oliver Cowdery's time as a leader in the church ended when he CHOSE not to address misconduct charges at the 12 April 1838 Far West, Missouri, high council hearing.

    Instead, he sent a letter explaining his differences of opinion "on some Church regulations." In this letter, he asked Bishop Edward Partridge and the council to "take no view of the foregoing remarks, other than my belief on the outward government of this Church." He indicated that he regretted that these differences existed, but that he was not willing to be dictated to in his earthly business affairs or have his rights abused by those whom he believed were trying to gain position.

    The Far West high council sustained six of the nine charges against him, and he was promptly excommunicated.

    That his disagreements were mainly political or secular rather than theocratic is supported by reports of Thomas B. Marsh's chance meeting of Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer later that summer. Marsh, also a defector from the religion, asked OC and DW if they still held to their witness of the BoM testimony---Marsh recalled that both answered emphatically, "Yes."

    The six charges against OC were:

    1. For stirring up the enemy to persecute the brethren by urging on vexatious lawsuits and thus distressing the innocent;

    2. For seeking to destroy the character of President Joseph Smith Jr. by falsely insinuating that he was guilty of adultery;

    3. For treating the Church with contempt by not attending meetings;

    4. For leaving the calling, in which God had appointed him, by Revelation, for the sake of filthy lucre, and turning to the practice of the Law;

    5. For disgracing the Church by being connected in the 'Bogus' business as common report says; and

    6. (circumstantial) For dishonestly retaining notes after they had been paid.

    Since OC never showed to address these charges, record show yeah, he lied. But his side of the story was never fully presented imho. By all accounts, he did not recant on his BoM testimony.

    Source(s): far west records History of Tho[ma]s Baldwin Marsh," Deseret News, 24 March 1858
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's possible.

    "Oliver Cowdery wrote to his brother Warren stating that Smith had inappropriately spent time alone with [Fannie] Alger, referring to it as a "dirty, nasty, filthy affair." During this time Cowdery was estranged from Smith and they were disagreeing over leadership issues in the new movement."


    Vern, it would say a lot if Cowdery hadn't been prevented from achieving his political ambitions due to his being one of the three witnesses who refused to recant. On a couple occasions he refused to denounce his status as such, and later was re-baptized into the church. Had he recanted, I'd say you have a great point. Judas betrayed the Saviour (not comparing Smith to Jesus btw), so this type of thing has it's precedent.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Cousin Oliver killed the Brady Bunch ... Just thought you'd like to know

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  • 1 decade ago

    You know whats funny about this? Its the same type of thing that you see today...Look and see who say the nastiest lies about Mormons on here. You know the type, the ones who say things that are so obviously untrue and ridiculous that no one really takes it seriously.

    They are the EX_MORMONS! people who were once members and then fall out of favor with the church by living a lifestyle contrary to the morals of the church, these are the biggest anti people out there.

    So, as others have said, this was at a time that Oliver was at odds with Joseph. So, its tough not to look skeptically at what he said here. (its funny to realize though that Oliver never doubted the book of mormon though...even in his down times)

    So, what I think, people get bitter and talk was true then, its still true now

    Source(s): good old human nature
    • daniel6 years agoReport

      Grow up and see the fake BoM for the fraud it is. Stolen and lifted from the bible and other books, only a tool would believe such garbage was God's revelation. You MORG are a bunch of tools

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  • 1 decade ago

    The kingdom is if anyone looks at any woman with lust, it is like sleeping with the enemy as written in Babylon in Revelation and Paul as the sinful desires of the flesh of the inner being regarding the sensual person. David said that I was conceived in sin. Adam said bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. He said nothing regarding lust was as it was in the beginning, nor were offspring yet evident as found in the Scripture for Adam. The relationship was 'platonic' for Marriage for the Priests or Prophets. For animals created prior on the very same day as humans. The sixth day, and they were not said to be created until the very last part of that epoch or period. For how is it that God would reckon time as a man would from the perspective of the rotation of earth around the sun, when is so many great things to be found in the universe?

    However, some testify that Joseph did have more than one wife; others that he had only one and that this phenomenon did not actually start until Brigham sent the young men to remember the Alamo for he had journeyed close to the border of Mexico for one another reasons in the time of Lincoln's (who had vehemently objected to the non sparing of lives and later proved no hypocrite in this; did he?? 'friend' who helped settle the war in a more amiable fashion by making the mexican General the fall guy and affirming the Supreme Court and other bourgeoise local to Mexico.

    In the area where Joseph Smith was 'somehow' propitiously stationed, there was a vote to expand slavery in Nauvoo, Missouri...

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