Question: Why did Oliver Cowdery join the Methodists if all other churches had been "condemned of God"?

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Question: Why did Oliver Cowdery join the Methodists if all other churches had been "condemned of God"?

Latter-day Saints do not believe that other churches are "condemned of God"

What do we understand about Oliver Cowdery joining the Methodists during his separation from the Mormons? As Richard L. Anderson has observed:

Since faith in Jesus Christ was the foundation of his religion, he logically affiliated himself with a Christian congregation for a time, the Methodist Protestant Church at Tiffin, Ohio. There is no more inconsistency in this than Paul's worshiping in the Jewish synagogue, or Joseph Smith's becoming a Mason in order to stem prejudice.[1]

The supposed relation between Oliver's temporary affiliation with the Methodists and his credibility as a witness to the Book of Mormon is a red herring, and an ironic one at that. While critics attempt to show that the Latter-day Saints believed that Methodism was "condemned of God," they also point out that Oliver Cowdery--a faithful witness to the Book of Mormon--had no problem joining this "condemned" denomination. Our critics want to have their cake and eat it too! There is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates that Oliver never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon. For example, there is evidence that after leaving the Church and practicing law, Cowdery's integrity was once challenged in court because of his Book of Mormon testimony.

Oliver reaffirmed his testimony of the Book of Mormon even after he had joined the Methodists

The opposing counsel thought he would say something that would overwhelm Oliver Cowdery, and in reply to him in his argument he alluded to him as the man that had testified and had written that he had beheld an angel of God, and that angel had shown unto him the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. He supposed, of course, that it would cover him with confusion, because Oliver Cowdery then made no profession of being a "Mormon," or a Latter-day Saint; but instead of being affected by it in this manner, he arose in the court, and in his reply stated that, whatever his faults and weaknesses might be, the testimony which he had written, and which he had given to the world, was literally true.[2]

Oliver rejoined the Church and prepared to journey to Utah to unite with the main body of the Latter-day Saints when he suddenly became ill in Richmond Missouri. Oliver Cowdery had contracted tuberculosis. His dying breaths were spent testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Lucy P. Young, his half-sister, was at his bedside and reported:

Oliver Cowdery just before breathing his last, asked his attendants to raise him up in bed that he might talk to the family and his friends, who were present. He then told them to live according to the teachings contained in the Book of Mormon, and promised them, if they would do this, that they would meet him in heaven. He then said, 'Lay me down and let me fall asleep.' A few moments later he died without a struggle.[3]


  1. Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 57. ISBN 0877478465.
  2. George Q. Cannon, "The Abundant Testimonies to the Work of God, Etc.," Journal of Discourses 22:254.
  3. Eldin Ricks, The Case of The Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1971), 11.