26033

Revelation, March 1829 [D&C 5]

pages & then shalt thou stop for a season even untill I command thee again. then thou mayest 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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& excep thou do this Behold thou shalt have no more gift & I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee14

This happened previously when JS disregarded divine counsel. (See Historical Introduction to Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3].)  


& now because I foresee the lieing in wait to destroy thee yea I foresee that if my Servant humbleth not himself & receive a witness from my hand that he will fall into transgression & there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee off the face of the Earth & for this cause that thy Days may be prolounged I have given unto you these Commandments

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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Yea for this Cause have I said stop & stand still untill I Command thee & I will provide means whereby thou mayest Accomplish the thing I have Commanded thee15

Among the “means” that would soon be provided to enable JS to continue the translation of the Book of Mormon was the arrival in early April of Oliver Cowdery, who would serve as JS’s scribe. Lucy Mack Smith later recalled that JS keenly felt the need for clerical assistance and “accordingly 2 or 3 days before the arrival of Oliver . . . called upon His Heavenly Father for the promised assistance and was informed that the same should be forthcoming in a few days.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [4].)  


& if thou art faithful in Keeping my Commandments ye shall be lifted up at the last Day [p. 3]
pages & then shalt thou stop for a season even untill  I command thee again. then thou mayest 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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& excep  thou do this Behold thou shalt have no more gift & I will  take away the things which I have entrusted with thee14

This happened previously when JS disregarded divine counsel. (See Historical Introduction to Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3].)  


&  now because I foresee the lieing in wait to destroy  thee yea I foresee that if my Servant humbleth not  himself & receive a witness from my hand that he will  fall into transgression & there are many that lie in wait  to destroy thee off the face of the Earth & for this cause  that thy Days may be prolounged I have given unto you  these Commandments

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...

View Glossary
Yea for this Cause have I said  stop & stand still untill I Command thee & I will pro vide means whereby thou mayest Accomplish the  thing I have Commanded thee15

Among the “means” that would soon be provided to enable JS to continue the translation of the Book of Mormon was the arrival in early April of Oliver Cowdery, who would serve as JS’s scribe. Lucy Mack Smith later recalled that JS keenly felt the need for clerical assistance and “accordingly 2 or 3 days before the arrival of Oliver . . . called upon His Heavenly Father for the promised assistance and was informed that the same should be forthcoming in a few days.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [4].)  


& if thou art faithful  in Keeping my Commandments ye shall be lifted  up at the last Day [p. 3]
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This revelation, which promised Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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he would see 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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if he humbled himself, was “given to Joseph and Martin, 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, March, 1829.”1 JS had last seen Harris in the summer of 1828 when he traveled to New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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and found that Harris had lost the portion of 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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later referred to as “the Book of Lehi.” JS returned to Harmony disheartened and without Harris, his scribe. He did not “go immediately to translating, but went to laboring” on the small farm he had purchased from his father-in-law, Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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.2

Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; JS History, vol. A-1, 11.  


There is no indication that JS and Harris met again until March 1829, when Harris traveled to Harmony to see him.
Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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later reported that “in March the People Rose up & united against the Work[,] gathering testimey [testimony] against the Plates.” As Harris recalled, these persecutors threatened a lawsuit and “Said they had testamoney Enough & if I did not Put Joseph in Jail & his father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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for Deseption they Would me.”3

“Testamoney of Martin Harris,” 4 Sept. 1870, [4], Edward Stevenson, Collection, CHL.  


According to Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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, Harris’s wife

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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(also named Lucy) played a central role in generating this opposition to JS’s work: she “mounted her horse [and] flew through the neighborhood like a dark spirit from house to house making diligent enquiry at every house for miles where she had the least hope of gleaning anything that would subserve her purpose.” Lucy Harris sought to prove that JS had pretended to have gold plates “for the express purpose of obtaining money from those who might be so credulous as to believe him . . . [and] entered a complaint before a magistrate at Lyons [New York].”4

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [5].  


It was in the midst of these difficulties that Harris traveled to 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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to see JS. According to the revelation’s heading in the 1833 Book of Commandments, “Martin desired of the Lord to know whether Joseph had, in his possession, the record of the Nephites

A term used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants and followers of Nephi, as well as those who later identified themselves as Nephites for religious reasons. According to JS and the Book of Mormon, Lehi and Sariah, Nephi’s parents, and their family...

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.”5 Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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’s father, Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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, reported that Harris hoped to gain a “greater witness” of the plates.6

Isaac Hale, Affidavit, Harmony, PA, 20 Mar. 1834, in “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian (Montrose, PA), 1 May 1834, [1]. Martin Harris later stated that a man named Rogers accompanied him on the journey to Harmony. Unknown to Harris at the time, Rogers had plotted with Martin’s wife, Lucy Harris, that he would cut off “the covering of the Plates” with his knife when JS displayed them. No other known source mentions this scheme or provides evidence that Rogers followed through with it. Rogers cannot be positively identified, though there was a Joseph Rogers living near Manchester in Phelpstown who later gave a negative account about the Smiths and claimed to have affidavits demonstrating that they were thieves. (“Testamoney of Martin Harris,” 4 Sept. 1870, [4], Edward Stevenson, Collection, CHL; “Joseph Rogers’ Statement,” in Naked Truths about Mormonism [Oakland, CA], Apr. 1888, 1.)  


Addressing Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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’s concerns, the revelation spoke of his desiring “a witness that my Servant Joseph hath got the things which he hath testified,” but stated that JS could not show them to anyone. Harris was then told that God would show the plates to three witnesses who would publicly testify of what they saw, and he was promised he would be one of those witnesses, “if he will go out & bow down before me & humble himself in mighty prayer & faith in the sincerity of his heart.” The revelation also warned JS that “there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee,” perhaps an allusion to those preparing a lawsuit against JS, and declared that “the Swoard of Justice” hung above the people of that generation and that if they would “persist in the hardness of ther hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon them.” The revelation asserted that the book’s authenticity would be evidenced primarily by its message, not by the plates. If the people would not believe the translation, they also would not believe even if JS “could show them all things.”
Though Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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was not allowed to view the plates during his March 1829 visit to 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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, the revelation allayed his doubts. William S. Sayre, a fellow traveler with Harris on the stagecoach back to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, recalled that one of the other passengers “did not believe that Joe [JS] was capable of composing any thing, but that Joe’s father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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was a man of some education & cunning & shr[e]wd . . . & was duping others through Joe, & that they were cheating” Harris out of his money. Harris, however, told his fellow passengers that JS “had found a gold bible & stone in which he look’d & was thereby enabled to translate the very ancient chara[c]ters.” He further explained that JS had “read to him a good deal of the bible & he [Harris] repeated to those in the stage verse after verse of what Smith had read to him.”7

William S. Sayre, Bainbridge, NY, to James T. Cobb, [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], 31 Aug. 1878, in Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers. Although Sayre called his fellow passenger “Richards,” he admitted uncertainty about the name, and the details of Sayre’s account—which describes the man as the Palmyra resident who later financed the Book of Mormon—leave little doubt it was Martin Harris. Sayre dated the incident to April 1829, and Harris was known to be traveling from Harmony to Palmyra in March. The claim that JS was incapable of composing anything and was being assisted by his father was echoed in Harris’s statement, quoted previously, that those involved in the lawsuit wanted to put both JS and his father in jail for deception.  


Harris also defended JS at the hearing in Lyons, New York. Although no contemporary account of this trial has been located, Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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remembered a report that three witnesses each claimed JS had admitted to fabricating the story of the plates to deceive Martin Harris. But Harris, taking the stand, testified that JS had not defrauded him and that Harris had put only “$50 into his hands . . . for the purpose of doing the work of the Lord.”8

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [7]. Lucy Mack Smith wrote that the first witness claimed the box in which JS kept the plates was filled with sand and that JS told him it was “to deceive the people,” the second witness claimed JS said the box was filled with lead, and the third witness declared the box was empty but was used to get Martin Harris’s money. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [6]–[7].)  


Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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reported that he saw JS and Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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comparing two manuscript copies of this revelation shortly after it was dictated.9

Isaac Hale, Affidavit, Harmony, PA, 20 Mar. 1834, in “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian (Montrose, PA), 1 May 1834, [1].  


Though it is unknown what happened to those copies, this text is the earliest extant copy of any of JS’s revelations.10

Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3], by contrast, is the earliest JS revelation for which a text has survived.  


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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possibly created it in April 1829, copying from an earlier manuscript. Another early version of this revelation was copied into Revelation Book 1, but the pages that contained it are missing.11

Revelation Book 1, p. [207].  


The editors of the 1833 Book of Commandments used Revelation Book 1 as their source, but it is unknown what editing to this revelation was done prior to its publication.12 The differences between the text featured here and the version in the Book of Commandments demonstrate that Revelation Book 1 may not consistently represent the earliest text of JS’s revelations.

Facts