Matthew Cowley, Mormon Apostle

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Matthew Cowley, Mormon leader

Matthew Cowley was a General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly called the "Mormon Church." He was born on August 2, 1897, at Preston, Franklin County, Idaho to Matthias Foss Cowley and Abbie Hyde Cowley. After his birth, in the same year, Cowley's father was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and they moved from Preston, Idaho to Salt Lake City, Utah. [1]

As a young man, Elder Cowley served a notable mission to New Zealand, becoming amazingly fluent in the Maori language. Whereas young Mormon men serve 2-year missions now, Matthew Cowley served for five years. He re-translated the Book of Mormon into Maori, making many necessary corrections. He also translated the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price assisted by Wiremu Duncan and Stuart Meha. These translations appeared in 1919.

While serving as a young Mormon missionary, Elder Cowley performed many miracles associated by most with the prophets of old. At his bidding, he led a Maori Elder to bless a dead man, and the man rose from the dead. Another time, when giving a baby a name and a blessing, the baby's father explained that the baby was born blind and the the power of the priesthood could restore the baby's sight. Matthew included the blessing of healing, and the baby was able to see. The people of New Zealand, especially the Maori's, had a great love for Elder Cowley. He seemed to be an honorable and gentle person worthy of reverence.

After returning from his mission, Cowley attended the University of Utah. After graduating he went to George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.. While there he worked for as an assistant to Senator Reed Smoot. Afterwards, Cowley started his own law practice in Salt Lake City. [2] Elder Cowley was married July 18, 1922 in the Salt Lake Temple to Elva Taylor and the couple had three children. He was sustained to the Council of the Twelve Apostles and ordained an Apostle October 11, 1945 by President George Albert Smith.

In 1938 he was called to preside over the New Zealand Mission. With the coming of World War II, all American missionaries were called home, but President Matthew and Sister Elva Taylor Cowley chose to remain in New Zealand with their family to supervise the work during the war. It was September 1945 before the Cowleys were released after seven and a half years of service. At the October 1945 general conference, Matthew Cowley was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. [3] As an apostle, he presided over all of the missions of the church in the Pacific. He played a crucial role in the building of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple and also worked in constructing a church school near the temple site.

Cowley was affectionately known as the "Polynesian Apostle." He was also known for being exceptionally compassionate. He encouraged the members of the church to openly welcome sinners rather than ostracize them. He was also known for being an eloquent speaker and writer. A number of his sermons were compiled into Matthew Cowley Speaks, which was published after his death. [4] Elder Cowley died in 1953 at Los Angeles, California and was buried at Salt Lake City, Utah.

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