“Late in 1827 or early in ‘28, was the first I heard Harris speak of Jo’s finding the plates…. The plates found by Jo, as represented at the time, purported to be a history of the lost tribes of Israel–and not establishing a new religion, but confirming the Old Testament.”
John H. Gilbert to James T. Cobb, Feb. 10, 1879
“Your idea that the first start of the book was a money speculation, not a new church, is perfectly correct.”
Hiel Lewis to James T. Cobb, Sept. 29, 1879
The above quotes suggest that Smith’s likely motive during execution of Plan A was money. For Cowdery and Rigdon, mixed motives seem likely. Both men needed money. Rigdon surely would have wanted to use the book as a kind of confirmation of the Old Testament–an aid in his theological struggles with Campbell who dismissed the Old Testament prophets. Cowdery likely justified his efforts on the book as good for society. He could excuse the need for deception because the book was another testament of Jesus Christ.