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Revelation, April 1829–D [D&C 9]

CHAPTER VIII.
1 A Revelation given 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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, 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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, Pennsylvania, April, 1829.1

The partially extant transcript of this revelation in Revelation Book 1 provides a more descriptive introductory statement (likely created by John Whitmer): “A Revelation to Oliver he was disrous [desirous] to know the reason why he could not Translate & thus said the Lord unto him.” The text in Revelation Book 1 also includes the date “1829,” with a later editorial insertion by Cowdery giving the month as April. (Revelation Book 1, p. 14.)  


BEHOLD I say unto you, my son, that, because you did not 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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according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph, even so I would that you should continue until you have finished this record,2 which I have intrusted unto you: and then behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.3

In the mid-1830s, JS began preparing “A translation Of some ancient Records . . . purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt.”a Several extant items of the Kirtland-era Egyptian papers (although not manuscript pages of the Book of Abraham translation itself) are in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery.b  


a“A Translation,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:704.

bSee, for example, [Egyptian Alphabet] and “Valuable Discovery of Hiden Reccords,” Kirtland Egyptian Papers, ca. 1835–1836, CHL; see also JS, Journal, 1 Oct. 1835; Oliver Cowdery, “Egyptian Mummies,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, 2:234–237; and Gee, “Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence,” 196.

2 Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and behold it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you begun to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
3 Behold you have not understood, you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took [p. 20]
CHAPTER VIII.
1 A Revelation given 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...

View Full Bio
, 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
,  Pennsylvania, April, 1829.1

The partially extant transcript of this revelation in Revelation Book 1 provides a more descriptive introductory statement (likely created by John Whitmer): “A Revelation to Oliver he was disrous [desirous] to know the reason why he could not Translate & thus said the Lord unto him.” The text in Revelation Book 1 also includes the date “1829,” with a later editorial insertion by Cowdery giving the month as April. (Revelation Book 1, p. 14.)  


BEHOLD I say unto you, my son, that, because  you did not 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
according to that which  you desired of me, and did commence again to write  for my servant Joseph, even so I would that you  should continue until you have finished this record,2  which I have intrusted unto you: and then behold,  other records have I, that I will give unto you pow er that you may assist to translate.3

In the mid-1830s, JS began preparing “A translation Of some ancient Records . . . purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt.”a Several extant items of the Kirtland-era Egyptian papers (although not manuscript pages of the Book of Abraham translation itself) are in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery.b  


a“A Translation,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:704.

bSee, for example, [Egyptian Alphabet] and “Valuable Discovery of Hiden Reccords,” Kirtland Egyptian Papers, ca. 1835–1836, CHL; see also JS, Journal, 1 Oct. 1835; Oliver Cowdery, “Egyptian Mummies,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, 2:234–237; and Gee, “Eyewitness, Hearsay, and Physical Evidence,” 196.

2 Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and  it is not expedient that you should translate at this  present time. Behold the work which you are cal led to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and  behold it is because that you did not continue as  you commenced, when you begun to translate, that  I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not  murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have  dealt with you after this manner.
3 Behold you have not understood, you have sup posed that I would give it unto you, when you took [p. 20]
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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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