This volume, edited by John W. Welch and Larry E. Morris, is a collection of seventeen essays originally published in BYU Studies, FARMS, and other publications. The volume was published in commemoration of Oliver Cowdery's two-hundredth birthday. The contributing scholars seek to detail the highs and lows of one of Mormonism's most important early leaders. Editors Welch and Morris have compiled a well-rounded biography of the man and his life.
Cowdery's many contributions to the Restoration are the focal point of this compilation. Richard Lloyd Anderson begins with a brief overview of Cowdery's life; Larry E. Morris covers Cowdery's Vermont years; John W. Welch and Royal Skousen each treat aspects of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; and Brian Q. Cannon and others cover the restoration of the priesthood. This volume reminds readers how integral Cowdery was to the major events of the Restoration. As Joseph Smith's scribe and assistant, Cowdery was present when the Prophet received many of the great early revelations. He also received both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods with Joseph, and transcribed nearly the whole Book of Mormon, as dictated by the Prophet. Along with Martin Harris and David Whitmer, Cowdery was privileged to view the Book of Mormon and declare his witness of its truthfulness. Cowdery was later called to be one of the Church's first missionaries.