Joseph Smith Jr. Meets Oliver Cowdery

Cowdery met Joseph Smith, Jr. on April 5, 1829, (one year and a day before the official founding of the church) and heard from him how he had received the golden plates containing ancient Native American writings.

Like Smith, who was a distant relative, during his youth, Cowdery engaged in hunting for buried treasure and used a divining rod. Cowdery told Smith that he had seen the golden plates in a vision before the two ever met.
From April 7 to June 1829, Cowdery acted as Smith's primary scribe for the translation of the plates into what would later become the Book of Mormon. Cowdery also attempted to translate part of the Book of Mormon, but was unsuccessful. Before meeting Cowdery, Joseph Smith's translation had come to a standstill after the first 116 pages were lost by Martin Harris. Once Smith and Cowdery met, the translation continued and transcribed in a remarkably short period (April-June 1829) in what Richard Bushman called a "burst of rapid-fire translation."

Oliver Cowdery and Samuel Smith arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, from Manchester, New York, on 5 April 1829. For the Prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver's coming was an answer to prayer. He had petitioned the heavens, saying, "I cried unto the Lord that he would provide [a scribe] for me to accomplish the work whereunto he had commanded me." The loss of 116 pages of manuscript during the initial effort at translating the gold plates had seriously jeopardized the whole process and had effectively removed the scribal services of Martin Harris through a broken covenant. Oliver's affirmation that he would take up the pen provided the needed recorder. On 7 April 1829 Oliver was busily employed in his new capacity with Joseph.