The Courage of Oliver Cowdery

After Oliver Cowdery had been excommunicated from the Church, he moved to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and took up the practice of law. Later he moved to Michigan, where he was elected prosecuting attorney. The defending attorney in a murder case sarcastically asked him, in court, to “tell us something about that golden Bible that Joe Smith dug out of the hill.” Under that pressure, Oliver still did not deny his testimony. With great courage he rose and made the following comments:

“May it please the court and gentlemen of the jury, my brother attorney on the other side has charged me with connection with Joseph Smith and the golden Bible. The responsibility has been placed upon me, and I cannot escape reply.

“Before God and man I dare not deny what I have said, and what my testimony contains as written and printed on the front page of the Book of Mormon. May it please your honor and gentlemen of the jury, this I say:

“I saw the angel and heard his voice—how can I deny it? It happened in the daytime when the sun was shining bright in the firmament; not at night when I was asleep. The glorious messenger from heaven, dressed in white, standing above the ground, in a glory I have never seen anything to compare with—the sun insignificant in comparison—told us if we denied that testimony there is no forgiveness in this life or in the world to come. Now how can I deny it—I dare not: I will not!”


Taken from “Brother Joseph: Stories and Lessons from the Life of the Prophet” by Kay W. Briggs, pp. 29-30.

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