An independent researcher by the name of Erin Jennings may have located passages from the earliest account yet known of Oliver Cowdery’s experience as one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon:
Dated 9 November 1829 — which is to say, nearly five months before the actual publication of the Book of Mormon — the account is contained in a letter that was evidently written by Oliver Cowdery to a Mr. Cornelius Blatchly.
Mr. Blatchly had evidently suggested that the Book of Mormon, and the testimonies of the Witnesses to it, might rest upon “juggling.” Noah Webster’s 1828 American dictionary defines the verb to juggle as “1. To play tricks by slight of hand; to amuse and make sport by tricks, which make a false show of extraordinary powers. 2. To practice artifice or imposture.”
Oliver Cowdery responded to Mr. Blatchly as follows (with editorial notes from Mr. Blatchly enclosed within brackets), referring to his encounter with the plates and the angel as one of the Three Witnesses:
“It was a clear, open beautiful day, far from any inhabitants, in a remote field, at the time we saw the record, of which it has been spoken, brought and laid before us, by an angel, arrayed in glorious light, [who] ascend [descended I suppose] out of the midst of heaven.
“Now if this is human juggling — judge ye.”