They started their association working together on the Book of Mormon starting in May 1829. Within days they reportedly received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist so they would have the proper authority to baptize one another.
Oliver Cowdery was also involved in the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood. 1
Oliver Cowdery would marry in 1832, becoming husband to Elizabeth Ann Whitmer. This made Oliver brother-in-law to all the witnesses of the Book of Mormon other than Joseph Smith’s relatives and Martin Harris. 2
Oliver Cowdery was at Joseph’s side on April 3, 1836, when the two reported receiving a glorious vision of Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias, and Elijah.
Elijah’s return had been foretold for millennia. The prophet Malachi had prophesied Elijah would return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children. Jewish Passover seders continue to set a place for Elijah, sending a child to the door to see if Elijah is come.
The visit of Malachi is described in D&C 110:
“Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
“Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.”
- Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood was originally associated with a June 3, 1831, conference of the Church. Later it was asserted that the Melchizedek Priesthood must have been restored in association with a vision of Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna in 1829. Whether near the Susquehanna in 1829 or in Kirtland in June 1831, Oliver Cowdery was present. ↩
- Elizabeth’s brothers were David, one of the three witnesses, and Christian, Jacob, Peter Jr., and John, all of whom were among the eight witnesses. Hiram Page was Elizabeth’s brother-in-law through marriage to her sister, Catherine. ↩
- See Bradley, Don, “Weighing the Case of Fanny Alger,” The Persistence of Polygamy, Volume I, pp. 14-58. ↩