Turley reviews the Cowdery "Defence"; concludes its a forgery.

Richard E. Turley, Jr.

Richard E. Turley, Jr., Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 14–15

University of Illinois Press
Oliver Cowdery, Richard E. Turley, Jr.
Reading Public

In 1838, Book of Mormon scribe and witness Oliver Cowdery had been excommunicated from the church. In 1906, an anti-Mormon tract included a "reprint" of a pamphlet purportedly published by Cowdery in 1839 under the title Defence in a Rehearsal of My Grounds for Separating Myself from the Latter Day Saints. In the pamphlet, Cowdery maintained that he was sincere in his early religious professions but later wondered if Joseph Smith had deceived him. He noted, for example, that his 1829 baptism at the hands of Joseph Smith came "by the direction of an Angel of God whose voice, as it has since struck me, did most mysteriously resemble the voice of Elder Sidney Rigdon."

For years, many treated the pamphlet as genuine. Critics of Joseph Smith and the church reprinted its text repeatedly, and Latter-day Saints also cited it. Over the next half century, however, serious questions about its authenticity gradually arose. No one, it seemed, could locate a copy of the pamphlet published before the 1906 "reprint," nor could anyone find the least reference to it before 1906, even though the early Mormon press would likely have refuted it, and anti-Mormons would hardly have let it go unnoticed. On the contrary, acquaintances of Cowdery left statements suggesting he did not publish any statements against the church following his excommunication.

Additional research gailed to turn up any proof that the printing office ever existed from which the pamphlet was supposed to have been issued. Furthermore, both Mormons and anti-Mormons began to point out aspects of the pamphlet's contents that seemed incongruous with Cowdery. Finally, the weight of evidence led both Mormon and anti-Mormon researchers to conclude that the pamphlet was the bogus production of an anti-Mormon sometime between 1887 and 1906.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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