On June 15 in 1828, Joseph and Emma Smith buried their firstborn child. This wasn't the first time they would face difficult and trying times, nor would it be their last. I know their story well. My name is Oliver Cowdery. And I would witness much of what would happen to them. And it would change my life.

Thank you.

Have you received word of the manuscript?

What has Martin done with it? Emma, please eat. Joseph, something isn't right. I just know it. You must go to him. You've waited long enough. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Joseph hesitated to leave, but Emma insisted that he go. So he began the 130-mile trip to his old home. a journey that would take him nearly five days.

Joseph would worry the entire way about his wife and what happened to the manuscript. He would return home three weeks later with news that his deepest fears had indeed come true.


All is lost.

Martin lost the pages we had translated.

The manuscript is gone.

All is lost. Just start over. You can do it again. Emma, it won't work. I can't translate anymore. The gift is gone. The Lord has chosen you. He led you to this work.

You've seen an angel.

You can make this right. [MUSIC PLAYING]

When I first heard of Joseph, he was already known far and wide for his account of the angel and gold plates. Good morning, Mr. Cowdery. The stories I heard were quite sensational, and I didn't know what to think. But there was something inside me that compelled me to ask myself, "Are his stories true?" Especially once I had accepted employment as a school teacher and began to launch with his family. How is everyone? Good, how are you? Good, thank you. Beloved Father, we are grateful for all that we have. At first, the Smith family was careful about what they said owing to the tumult such a story made. But with time, they began to place their trust in me and started to tell me more. Is your son learned in ancient languages? Joseph? No. The only way Joseph could translate any text is by the power of God. Martin Harris, Joseph's first scribe, he lost the original pages. And for that transgression, the plates and the power to translate them were taken from Joseph. Was that the end of it then? We feared so. Eventually, the plates were given back, along with the power to translate. Joseph is eager to fulfill the commandment the Lord has given him to complete the translation. But the demands of life so occupy him that the work progresses slowly. Yet, I have faith that the Lord will provide a way for it to happen. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Father, which art in heaven, is it true?

Is it Thy work?

I cannot stop thinking about it--your son, the record. I have been deep in thought all day.

I'm going to Harmony. [MUSIC PLAYING]

And so my journey to finally meet Joseph Smith began. For nearly three days, his brother Samuel and I trekked in the spring rain toward his home.

I planned to ask him my questions and then to offer him my help. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Samuel, what on earth?

Emma, this is Oliver Cowdery. Emma Smith. Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Smith. Please, come in.

I expect Joseph to be arriving soon, Mr. Cowdery. I wish it were more--had I known you were coming. Joseph. Samuel.

I'm so happy you're here. And who's your friend? Joseph, this is Mr. Oliver Cowdery. The man is half white-tail deer. He practically ran the whole way here just to see you. Joseph Smith. Mr. Smith, I've come to inquire about the work which you are endeavoring to accomplish. Oliver, I've been expecting you. Please call me Joseph. We talked late into the night. Joseph recounted the tribulations and miracles he had experienced and how he obtained the record from an angel of God. What it must be like to experience the things you have. Where are the plates now? They are safe. May I see them? For now, you cannot.

I've made a covenant with the Lord to show them to no one. But If I cannot see them how will we work? By the gift and power of God. You will soon learn that with the Lord, all things are possible.


Shall we commence? [MUSIC PLAYING]

Father, I thank Thee for sending such a fine fellow to assist in this Thy work. We pray for Thy Spirit to attend us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Amen.

I shall speak a dozen or so words at a time and pause so you have a moment to write.

And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth. And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth. The Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. The creator of all things; and his mother shall be called Mary.

Oh no. That isn't right. It needs to be exact. The Creator of all things from the beginning. From the beginning. And his mother shall be called Mary.

After a meal or rest, Joseph would, without prompting, resume translating exactly where he had left off.

Z-A-R-A-- He would spell out some of the words, not knowing how to pronounce them. --H-E-M-L-A. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and the scriptures were laid open to our understanding. And his judgment is just. And the infant perish if not that--dieth in his infancy.

Learning the simple and beautiful truth that little children would not perish brought great joy to our souls. Day after day, we continued to learn many other wonderful truth that would never cease to amaze us.

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Yeah. Yeah. [THUD]

Aargh. [LAUGHING] Thank you very much. Yea, even He commanded them that they should preach nothing as if it were repentance and faith on the Lord.

These were days never to be forgotten--days of harmony, days of gratitude, days of hope.



We want to see the plates. Please, I can't show them to anyone. Yes, but we're Emma's cousins. I'm not allowed. All is solved if you just show them to us. I think this means that he doesn't have them. I do have them. Please understand. We understand.

I heard the boys stopped in. Just march straight over and yell at each one of them. I know their family can be pretty rough at times, but they mean well. It might be wise to consider how they feel about all this.

When does Joseph plan to have the crop in? Samuel told him he should have it in next week. Why can't they do it this week if all three of them work. Emma, I thought we had agreed that he wouldn't do this anymore. Father, I know this can be trying for you, but his work is real. You know Joseph. He can hardly write a well-worded letter. Yet when he translates, he brings forth the most beautiful words.

Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. Behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven.

Emma, don't mistake my high expectations for not liking him. Father, we're so grateful for everything--the house, the land. Joseph will soon focus on the farm. Just let him finish. Please, father, for me.

Thank you.

I hear you are a school teacher. We haven't been given proper introductions. Nathaniel Lewis, Emma's uncle. Oliver Cowdery, pleased to meet you. You seem like a intelligent, respectable sort. We could use someone like you down at the schoolhouse. I'm not sure what I'll be doing come fall, but very kind of you. If I may be bold Mr. Cowdery, why align yourself with someone such as Mr. Smith? You must know of his reputation. The man hasn't had the decency to have been baptized-- Joseph is a good and honest man. He's been nothing but open with me. Oh, so he showed you his gold Bible.

I thought not. He is a charlatan, Mr. Cowdery, concocting wild tales to bring fine men like yourself down the road to ruin. This town will not tolerate such people or those who associate with them.

I would think carefully on that. [MUSIC PLAYING]

What's troubling you, my friend? Nothing of great importance. We've been through too much together for you to hold back. Please. When I first arrived, you said you were expecting me. I was expecting you. I prayed to Lord for a scribe. And now you are here. Yes, I suppose. I would appreciate reassurance.

I will ask and I know the Lord will answer.

Look unto me and every thought, doubt not, fear not.

And you are certain that this is meant for me? Yes.

Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak to your mind? What greater witness can you have than from God?

Look unto me in every thought-- Doubt not. Fear not.

No one knew except God and myself.

When your father told me of the plates, I prayed in earnest to know the truthfulness of it. The Lord manifested to me that it indeed was. And yet I told no one. Like I said before, the Lord has led you here.

And again I say unto you, you must repent and be baptized in my name and become as a little child or you can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God. I have not been baptized. Neither have I, at least not in the way the Savior directs here. Nor has anyone else, not since His church was taken from the earth. We should inquire of the Lord. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Let us pray.

Our Father in Heaven, we bow our heads in gratitude. We come before Thee to ask Thee about baptism.

Suddenly, the heavens parted, and an angel of God came down in a cloud of light.

Words cannot begin to describe the majestic beauty, the glory, nor the sublime manner of this holy personage.

He said, I am thy fellow servant, and that his name was John. The same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament.

He commanded us to kneel and conferred upon us the priesthood of Aaron. He told us that it shall never be taken from the earth again. Arise and be baptized. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Immediately after we had been baptized, we were filled with the Holy Ghost and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.

We had seen an angel. And we had received a message from the Most High.

Sometime later, another great and miraculous event came to pass. The Lord sent his chief Apostles, Peter, James, and John, to confer upon us the Melchizedek Priesthood and to give us the keys of the gospel. This gave us the power, the responsibility, indeed, the authority, to act in the name of Jesus Christ. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Believest Thou in Jesus Christ who shall come?

Forgive me. I am somewhat fatigued.

I think we both are.

Joseph, may I ask you a question? Of course. When will we translate the lost pages again?

We won't be. Could we not replace them? We could, but the Lord has forbidden it.

[THUD] You're a dead man, Joe.

It doesn't matter what I tell them. They won't believe me.

What should we do?

There's nothing we can do except look to the Lord. If Joseph doesn't show them the plates, then I just can't hold them back anymore, Isaac. It is a matter of time now.

The threats of persecution only continued to grow. And so Joseph took the matter to the Lord. The Lord has directed us to ask you if you would bring us to your home where we might complete the translation without interruption. Sincerely, Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith. Thankfully, the Lord touched the hearts of the Whitmer family, and they offered us a secure place in their home.

As difficult as it was for Joseph to leave his wife and home, he chose to follow the Lord's counsel, and we prepared to leave. [MUSIC PLAYING]

As we departed, we were all filled with peace and with the certainty that the Lord was directing our move to the Whitmer's farm in Fayette, New York. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Many years later, I was asked about my experiences with Joseph Smith. My response was, my eye saw and my ears heard. It was no dream. It was real. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Days of Harmony

Witness Oliver Cowdery’s experience as Joseph Smith’s scribe during the translation of the Book of Mormon.

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