Oliver Cowdery wrote about Cumorah
It’s interesting to note that Oliver wrote Letter VII (the essay that declares it is a fact that the Hill Cumorah in New York is the scene of the final battles of the Jaredites and Nephites and the site of Mormon’s depository of Nephite records) in his capacity as Assistant President of the Church.
He wrote Letter VII with the assistance of Joseph Smith.
He wrote Letter VII just a few months after ordaining the original Quorum of the Twelve and a few months before receiving the priesthood keys from Moses, Elias and Elijah in the Kirtland temple (together with Joseph Smith).
Joseph had his scribes copy Letter VII into his personal history, where you can read it in the Joseph Smith Papers, here. Joseph had Letter VII reprinted in all the Church newspapers during his lifetime. Both of his brothers who served as editors of newspapers, Don Carlos and William, republished Letter VII in their respective newspapers.
Yet some people continue to insist that Oliver misled the Church when he wrote Letter VII.
It is not contentious or argumentative to share and discuss relevant facts about the origins and rationale for those who dispute Cumorah being in New York.
Some who disbelieve President Cowdery say that there are no extant records that he ever claimed a revelation about the location of Cumorah.
This was one of the rationales used by the scholars from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they developed the “two-Cumorahs” theory in the first place.
Those of us who still believe President Cowdery recognize that he and Joseph had lots of revelations they didn’t record, such as the ones they mentioned here (JS History 1:73,74):
73 Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
74 Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of.
We don’t presume to say what Joseph and Oliver did or did not have revelations about. It’s simple: we accept what they taught. And they taught that the hill in New York is the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6, in Letter VII and elsewhere.
Plus, we accept the statements of David Whitmer, Brigham Young, and others that Oliver told them about the times he and Joseph actually visited Mormon’s depository of records in the Hill Cumorah. If true, Oliver would need no revelation on the matter. His personal experience there would more than justify his statement of fact about Cumorah.
Plus, we accept the statement of Joseph’s mother Lucy that Joseph referred to the hill as Cumorah even before he got the plates.
Plus, we accept the statement of Parley P. Pratt, quoting Oliver Cowdery, that Moroni called the hill Cumorah anciently.
Plus, we accept the statements of every prophet and apostle who has ever formally addressed the issue, including members of the First Presidency speaking in General Conference.
Plus, we think the relevant sciences – archaeology, anthropology, geology, geography – support the teachings of the prophets as well as the text of the Book of Mormon.
We don’t claim prophetic or Church support for any theory of Book of Mormon geography. Instead, we support what the prophets have taught.
No one has to accept President Cowdery’s statement or anyone else’s. We’re all free to believe whatever we want. We have no problem with people believing Cumorah is elsewhere or any other theory of Book of Mormon geography.
We just want everyone in the Church to be fully informed of the facts so they can make informed decisions for themselves.
While we have no problem with people believing whatever they want, we think that alternate theories survive mainly because some people continue to censor and reject the teachings of the prophets about Cumorah.