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Revelation, April 1829–D [D&C 9]

no thought, save it was to ask me; but behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you: therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.
4 Now if you had known this, you could have translated

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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: nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared and the time is past, that it is not expedient now: for, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? and neither of you have I condemned.
5 Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation. Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day: Amen. [p. 21]
no thought, save it was to ask me; but behold I say  unto you, that you must study it out in your mind;  then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right,  I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you:  therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be  not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you  shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you  to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore, you  cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given  you from me.
4 Now if you had known this, you could have  translated

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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: nevertheless, it is not expedient that you  should translate now. Behold it was expedient  when you commenced, but you feared and the time  is past, that it is not expedient now: for, do you not  behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph  sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? and nei ther of you have I condemned.
5 Do this thing which I have commanded you,  and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no  temptation. Stand fast in the work wherewith I  have called you, and a hair of your head shall not  be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day:  Amen. [p. 21]
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Earlier in April 1829, JS had dictated one revelation granting 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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the gift to 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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ancient records and another instructing him to rely on 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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as he translated.1

Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:25–27]; Revelation, Apr. 1829–B [D&C 8:2–4].  


When Cowdery attempted to translate, however, he was unsuccessful. The revelation featured here explained Cowdery’s failure and promised that he would translate at another time.2

The previous revelations promising that Cowdery could translate had stated that he would be able to assist in bringing to light “parts of my scriptures which have been hidden,” “records which contain much of my gospel,” and “the engraveings of old Records,” but did not specify the Book of Mormon in particular. (Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:26–27]; Revelation, Apr. 1829–B [D&C 8:1].)  


Likely dictated in the second half of April, this revelation informed Cowdery that he “could have translated” if he had proceeded correctly. He had apparently begun well but did not continue in the same manner, having “not understood” the process: “You have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me.” While suspending for the present Cowdery’s gift to translate, the revelation underscored his ongoing current responsibility: “Behold the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph.”

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