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Revelation, April 1829–B [D&C 8]

Shall receive, a knowledge concerning the engraveings of old Records which are ancient which contain those parts of my Scriptures of which hath been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit2

Cowdery’s opportunity to translate is discussed in Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:25–27]; and Revelation, Apr. 1829–D [D&C 9:1–3].  


yea Behold I will tell you in your mind & in your heart by the Holy Ghost which Shall come upon you & which shall dwell in your heart now Behold this is the spirit of Revelation Behold this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the red Sea on dry ground therefore this is thy gift apply unto it3

See Exodus 14:16–22.  


& blessed art thou for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies when if it were not so they would sley thee4

See Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:30, 34].  


& bring thy soul to distruction O remember these words & keep my commandments remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout5

In preparing the text of Revelation Book 1 for publication, Sidney Rigdon replaced “sprout” with “rod.” Green, flexible shoots or rods cut from hazel, peach, or cherry trees were sometimes used as divining rods. (Revelation Book 1, p. 13 [D&C 8:6]; see also Silliman, “Divining Rod,” 202; and “The Divining-Rod,” Milwaukie [Wisconsin Territory] Sentinel, 7 Sept. 1842, [1].)  


Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature6

In preparing the text of Revelation Book 1 for publication, Sidney Rigdon replaced “thing of Nature” with “rod.” Editors of the Book of Commandments reinstated “of nature” so that the phrase read “rod of nature.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 13; Book of Commandments 7:3 [D&C 8:7].)  


to work in your hands for it is the work of God7

Accounts of how divining rods were held and how they functioned were prevalent in 1820s America. Wrote one skeptic: “To use the divining rod, the hands are spread, with the palms upward and the thumbs pointing out, when the ends of the forks are grasped by closing the fingers, and the rod is carried along perpendicularly over the ground to be explored. The practitioners pretend, that on arriving over water, or mass of precious ore, the top of the rod will bend over, and point at it.” (“Divining Rods,” Aurora and Franklin Gazette [Philadelphia], 14 Nov. 1826, [2]; see also “The Electrometrical or Divining Rod,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 5 Sept. 1820, [2]; “The Divining Rod,” Maryland Gazette and Political Intelligencer [Annapolis], 28 Sept. 1820, [3]; “The Divining Rod,” Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal, Oct. 1825, 29; and Silliman, “Divining Rod,” 201–212.)  


& therefore whatsoever ye shall ask to tell you by that means that will he grant unto you that ye shall know remember that without faith ye can do nothing trifle not with these things do not ask for that which ye had not ought ask that ye may know the mysteries of God & that ye may Translate

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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all those ancient Records which have been hid up which are Sacred8

The injunction to Cowdery to “trifle not” with his gifts but to use them to unlock the “mysteries of God” and the translation of “ancient Records” is similar to counsel Cowdery received in another April 1829 revelation. (See Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:10–12, 26–27].)  


& according to your faith shall it be done unto you Behold it is I that have spoken it & I am the same which spake unto you from the begining amen [p. 13]
Shall receive, a knowledge concerning the engraveings of old  Records which are ancient which contain those parts of my  Scriptures of which hath been spoken by the manifestation  of my Spirit2

Cowdery’s opportunity to translate is discussed in Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:25–27]; and Revelation, Apr. 1829–D [D&C 9:1–3].  


yea Behold I will tell you in your mind & in your  heart by the Holy Ghost which Shall come upon you & which  shall dwell in your heart now Behold this is the spirit of  Revelation Behold this is the spirit by which Moses brought the  children of Israel through the red Sea on dry ground there fore this is thy gift apply unto it3

See Exodus 14:16–22.  


& blessed art thou for  [it] shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies when if it  were not so they would sley thee4

See Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:30, 34].  


& bring thy soul to distruction  O remember these words & keep my commandments remem ber this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another  gift which is the gift of working with the sprout5

In preparing the text of Revelation Book 1 for publication, Sidney Rigdon replaced “sprout” with “rod.” Green, flexible shoots or rods cut from hazel, peach, or cherry trees were sometimes used as divining rods. (Revelation Book 1, p. 13 [D&C 8:6]; see also Silliman, “Divining Rod,” 202; and “The Divining-Rod,” Milwaukie [Wisconsin Territory] Sentinel, 7 Sept. 1842, [1].)  


Behold  it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save  God that can cause this thing of Nature6

In preparing the text of Revelation Book 1 for publication, Sidney Rigdon replaced “thing of Nature” with “rod.” Editors of the Book of Commandments reinstated “of nature” so that the phrase read “rod of nature.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 13; Book of Commandments 7:3 [D&C 8:7].)  


to work in your  hands for it is the work of God7

Accounts of how divining rods were held and how they functioned were prevalent in 1820s America. Wrote one skeptic: “To use the divining rod, the hands are spread, with the palms upward and the thumbs pointing out, when the ends of the forks are grasped by closing the fingers, and the rod is carried along perpendicularly over the ground to be explored. The practitioners pretend, that on arriving over water, or mass of precious ore, the top of the rod will bend over, and point at it.” (“Divining Rods,” Aurora and Franklin Gazette [Philadelphia], 14 Nov. 1826, [2]; see also “The Electrometrical or Divining Rod,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 5 Sept. 1820, [2]; “The Divining Rod,” Maryland Gazette and Political Intelligencer [Annapolis], 28 Sept. 1820, [3]; “The Divining Rod,” Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal, Oct. 1825, 29; and Silliman, “Divining Rod,” 201–212.)  


& therefore whatsoever ye shall  ask to tell you by that means that will he grant unto you  that ye shall know remember that without faith ye can do  nothing trifle not with these things do not ask for that  which ye had not ought ask that ye may know the mysteries  of God & that ye may Translate

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...

View Glossary
all those ancient Records which  have been hid up which are Sacred8

The injunction to Cowdery to “trifle not” with his gifts but to use them to unlock the “mysteries of God” and the translation of “ancient Records” is similar to counsel Cowdery received in another April 1829 revelation. (See Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:10–12, 26–27].)  


& according to your faith  shall it be done unto you Behold it is I that have spoken it  & I am the same which spake9

TEXT: Or “spoke”.  


unto you from the begining amen [p. 13]
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In April 1829, soon after 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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met and began working together on 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 the 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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, Cowdery not only wanted to write but also “became exceedingly anxious to have the power to translate bestowed upon him.”1

JS History, vol. A-1, 16; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6].  


Several experiences related to the translation may have intensified his desire, including a revelation JS dictated for Cowdery in early April. “If thou wilt inquire,” the revelation promised Cowdery, “thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous,” and further: “Behold I grant unto you a gift if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph.”2

Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:11, 25].  


As JS dictated the translation of the Book of Mormon to 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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, even the words that Cowdery recorded described the gift of translation. Soon after translation work began, JS dictated several passages describing other ancient records and the divine means of translating them. A king by the name of Limhi, for example, told a man named Ammon that he possessed “twenty-four plates . . . filled with engravings” that he could not decipher, nor did he know anyone who could. Ammon told Limhi that he knew of a man who could translate the plates: “for he hath wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters. . . . And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer

The Book of Mormon identified a seer as a “revelator, and a prophet also,” specifying, however, that a seer was “greater than a prophet.” A seer could “know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come.” The work of a seer included translation...

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[,] . . . a revelator, and a prophet.”3

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 172–173 [Mosiah 8:9, 13, 16].  


The revelation featured below assured 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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that he could translate if he asked “with an honest heart” and with faith, and it declared, “Behold I will tell you in your mind & in your heart by the Holy Ghost

A right or privilege bestowed through the confirmation ordinance. Individuals were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. The Book of Mormon explained that remission of sins requires not only...

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.” By implication, the revelation indicated that the gift to translate was not unlike other spiritual gifts that he possessed. Cowdery’s first gift, according to this text, was “the spirit of Revelation,” the same “spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the red Sea on dry ground.” Cowdery’s second gift was identified as “the gift of working with the sprout,” or rod. Like many of his contemporaries, Cowdery probably used divining rods to find water or minerals,4

See Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 98.  


and though this gift may have been a “thing of Nature,” the revelation confirmed it was also a gift from God.5

This affirmation of Cowdery’s use of a “rod” as a divine gift illustrates the compatibility some early Americans perceived between biblical religion and popular supernaturalism. “From the outset,” according to historian Robert Fuller, “Americans have had a persistent interest in religious ideas that fall well outside the parameters of Bible-centered theology. . . . In order to meet their spiritual needs . . . [they] switched back and forth between magical and Christian beliefs without any sense of guilt or intellectual inconsistency.” (Fuller, Spiritual, but Not Religious, 15, 17; see also Ashurst-McGee, “Pathway to Prophethood,” 126–148; and Agreement of Josiah Stowell and Others, 1 Nov. 1825.)  


According to Revelation Book 1, JS dictated four revelations in April 1829,6

Revelations, Apr. 1829–A, B, D [D&C 6, 8, 9]; Account of John, Apr. 1829–C [D&C 7]. Revelation Book 1 places Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10], after Revelation, Apr. 1829–A.  


all of them associated with translation. While these texts have a closely related historical context, the precise order of their dictation is unknown. One of the four, a revelation that declared itself the translation of an ancient Johannine parchment, was arranged before this revelation in the Book of Commandments and in all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. JS’s history follows the order of the Doctrine and Covenants by suggesting that the translation of the parchment may have come before this second revelation to Cowdery. Nevertheless, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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’s ordering in Revelation Book 1, the earliest extant compilation of revelations, places the revelation featured here before the parchment.7

JS History, vol. A-1, 15–17; Revelation Book 1, pp. 12–14.  


In the absence of more definitive information, Whitmer’s ordering is followed here.

Facts