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Revelation, April 1829–B [D&C 8]

6th. Commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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AD 1829
A Revelation to 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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he being desirous to know whether the Lord would grant him the gift of 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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given in Harmony

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Area settled, by 1787. Organized 1809. Population in 1830 about 340. Population in 1840 about 520. Contained Harmony village (no longer in existence). Josiah Stowell hired JS to help look for treasure in area, Oct. 1825...

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Susquehannah Pennsylvania1

John Whitmer likely created this heading when he copied the text into Revelation Book 1.  


Oliver

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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Verily Verily I say unto you that as Shuredly as the Lord liveth which is your God & your Redeemer even so shure shall ye receive a knowledge of whatsoever things ye shall ask with an honest heart believeing that ye [p. 12]
6th. Commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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AD 1829
A Revelation to 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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he being desirous to know whether  the Lord would grant him the gift of Revelation & th 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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 given in Harmony

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Area settled, by 1787. Organized 1809. Population in 1830 about 340. Population in 1840 about 520. Contained Harmony village (no longer in existence). Josiah Stowell hired JS to help look for treasure in area, Oct. 1825...

More Info
Susquehannah Pennsylvania1

John Whitmer likely created this heading when he copied the text into Revelation Book 1.  


Oliver

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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Verily Verily I say unto you that as Shuredly  as the Lord liveth which is your God & your Redeemer even  so shure shall ye receive a knowledge of whatsoever things  ye shall ask with an honest heart believeing that ye [p. 12]
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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.

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