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Account of John, April 1829–C [D&C 7]

For he desiredst of me that he might bring souls unto me but thou desiredst that thou mightest come unto me in my kingdom I say unto thee Peter this was a good desire but my beloved hath undertaken a greater work Verily I say unto you ye shall both have according to your desires for ye both Joy in that which ye desired [p. 14]
For he desiredst of me that he might bring souls unto  me but thou desiredst that thou mightest come unto me  in my kingdom I say unto thee Peter this was a good  desire but my beloved hath undertaken a greater work  Verily I say unto you ye shall both have according to  your desires for ye both Joy in that which ye desired [p. 14]
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In April 1829, JS dictated the following revelation, which in its first publication was described as the translation

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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of an ancient parchment written by the apostle John.1 Ancient writings besides the Book of Mormon began to interest JS and Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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not long after they started their translation of the gold plates

A record engraved on gold plates, which JS translated and published as the Book of Mormon. The text explained that the plates were an abridgement of other ancient records and were written by an American prophet named Mormon and his son Moroni. The plates ...

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. The Book of Mormon manuscript itself mentioned several ancient texts,2

The Book of Mormon mentions several ancient records, such as “the plates of brass,” “the plates of Nephi,” and twenty-four gold plates. The Bible also mentions ancient texts not included in its pages. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 153–154, 172 [Mosiah 1:3–6; 8:5–11]; see also, for example, Numbers 21:14; Joshua 10:13; and 1 Chronicles 29:29.)  


and additionally, JS had dictated a revelation promising Cowdery the privilege, if he so desired, of translating “records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people.”3 Then, as JS and Cowdery continued the Book of Mormon translation, a “difference of opinion” arose between them regarding a question left unanswered in the New Testament: whether “John the Apostle . . . died, or whether he continued” on earth until the second coming of Christ.4

JS History, vol. A-1, 15.  


The source of this disagreement was the final chapter of the Gospel of John, in which Jesus prophesied of the apostle Peter’s death. When Peter asked what would happen to his fellow apostle John, Jesus responded, “If I will that he should tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”5

John 21:18–23.  


Questions about the fate of John were common in JS’s time. For example, Adam Clarke, a noted Bible commentator, wrote, “For nearly eighteen hundred years, the greatest men in the world have been puzzled with this passage [John 21:22].”6

Clarke, New Testament, 631; see also Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, 957–959; and Scott, Holy Bible, 599.  


JS and Cowdery’s discussion of this issue possibly arose when they encountered a passage in the translation of the plates describing the biblical prophet Moses and the Book of Mormon prophet Alma as having been “taken up by the spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord.”7

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 349 [Alma 45:19].  


JS’s history reports that he and Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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“mutually agreed to settle it [their question] by the Urim and Thummin

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into ...

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, and the following is the word which we received.”8

JS History, vol. A-1, 15.  


As noted, this revelation was said to be “translated from parchment, written and hid up” by John himself,9

Book of Commandments 6. No account suggests that JS had this parchment in his possession; rather, he obtained the English translation of the parchment “by the Urim and Thummin.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 15.)  


and the text begins in the first person, with John stating, “And the Lord said unto me,” followed by an account in which Jesus declares the respective fates of John and Peter.10

Several weeks after recording this revelation, JS and Cowdery translated a similar account in the Book of Mormon in which Jesus asks the twelve Nephite disciples, “What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?” All but three echo Peter’s request to “speedily come” to the Lord. To the three, however, Jesus declares, “Ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, . . . desired of me.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 509–510 [3 Nephi 28:1–2, 6].)  


Facts