26034

Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10]

gone out of your hands, are engraven upon the plates of Nephi; yea, and you remember, it was said in those writings, that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.5

The two references to “the plates of Nephi” in this paragraph actually point to two different sets of plates. The first instance (the things “engraven upon the plates of Nephi,” the translation of which had “gone out of your hands”) is a reference to what JS called “the Book of Lehi,” a record contained within the pages lost by Martin Harris. The second instance (the “more particular account . . . given of these things upon the plates of Nephi”) is a reference to what Nephi’s brother Jacob called “the small plates,” the record that JS translated to replace the lost manuscript. The translation of the small plates now constitutes the first six books of the Book of Mormon: the first and second books of Nephi and the books of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni. (Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 123 [Jacob 1:1].)  


10 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi, is more particular concerning the things, which in my wisdom I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account: therefore,6

Text from this point to the end of the paragraph closely resembles wording later used in the preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The clarifying phrase “down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin,” however, was not included in the preface. (Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829.)  


you shall translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

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the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained; and behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi, and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
11 Behold they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi. Behold there are many things engraven on the plates of Nephi, which do throw greater views upon my gospel: therefore, it is wisdom in me, that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. And behold, all the remainder of this work, does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets; yea, and also my disciples desired in their prayers, should come forth unto this people. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers; yea, and this was their faith, that my gospel which I gave unto them, that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren, the Lamanites

A name used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, one of the sons of Lehi. The Book of Mormon explained that Lehi and his Israelite family migrated from Jerusalem to America around 600 BC. After Lehi’s death, his family ...

View Glossary
,7

The Book of Mormon describes prophets and disciples praying that one day their record would come to the Lamanites. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 144, 538 [Enos 1:13; Mormon 9:30–37].)  


and also, all that had become Lamanites, because of their dissensions.8

In the Book of Mormon, Nephite dissenters periodically break away and join the Lamanites. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 341, 415, 438 [Alma 43:13; Helaman 4:1–8; 11:24].)  


[p. 25]
gone out of your hands, are engraven upon the plates  of Nephi; yea, and you remember, it was said in  those writings, that a more particular account was  given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.5

The two references to “the plates of Nephi” in this paragraph actually point to two different sets of plates. The first instance (the things “engraven upon the plates of Nephi,” the translation of which had “gone out of your hands”) is a reference to what JS called “the Book of Lehi,” a record contained within the pages lost by Martin Harris. The second instance (the “more particular account . . . given of these things upon the plates of Nephi”) is a reference to what Nephi’s brother Jacob called “the small plates,” the record that JS translated to replace the lost manuscript. The translation of the small plates now constitutes the first six books of the Book of Mormon: the first and second books of Nephi and the books of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni. (Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 123 [Jacob 1:1].)  


10 And now, because the account which is engra ven upon the plates of Nephi, is more particular con cerning the things, which in my wisdom I would  bring to the knowledge of the people in this account:  therefore,6

Text from this point to the end of the paragraph closely resembles wording later used in the preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The clarifying phrase “down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin,” however, was not included in the preface. (Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829.)  


you shall translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
the engravings which  are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come  to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to  that which you have translated, which you have re tained; and behold, you shall publish it as the rec ord of Nephi, and thus I will confound those who  have altered my words. I will not suffer that they  shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them  that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the  devil.
11 Behold they have only got a part, or an abridg ment of the account of Nephi. Behold there are  many things engraven on the plates of Nephi, which  do throw greater views upon my gospel: therefore,  it is wisdom in me, that you should translate this  first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth  in this work. And behold, all the remainder of this  work, does contain all those parts of my gospel which  my holy prophets; yea, and also my disciples de sired in their prayers, should come forth unto this  people. And I said unto them, that it should be  granted unto them according to their faith in their  prayers; yea, and this was their faith, that my gos pel which I gave unto them, that they might preach  in their days, might come unto their brethren, the  Lamanites

A name used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, one of the sons of Lehi. The Book of Mormon explained that Lehi and his Israelite family migrated from Jerusalem to America around 600 BC. After Lehi’s death, his family ...

View Glossary
,7

The Book of Mormon describes prophets and disciples praying that one day their record would come to the Lamanites. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 144, 538 [Enos 1:13; Mormon 9:30–37].)  


and also, all that had become Laman ites, because of their dissensions.8

In the Book of Mormon, Nephite dissenters periodically break away and join the Lamanites. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 341, 415, 438 [Alma 43:13; Helaman 4:1–8; 11:24].)  


[p. 25]
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Early in 1828, JS, then living 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, began translating

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
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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with the assistance of various scribes, principally 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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. Working from mid-April to mid-June, JS and Harris prepared a manuscript, which JS referred to as “the Book of Lehi.”1 At Harris’s insistent pleading, JS allowed him to take the manuscript to show to selected family members in 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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, New York. After Harris displayed the manuscript, however, it was taken from its hiding place and never found. JS’s history recounted that an angel

Being who acts as a minister and messenger between heaven and earth. JS taught that angels were individuals who “belonged to this earth”; those who had already lived on earth were often resurrected beings. In addition to giving instruction, direction, and...

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took the plates in consequence and that JS lost his gift to translate, but after a season of repentance, he once again obtained the plates.2

See Historical Introduction to Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3] for details on the translation and loss of this manuscript.  


By March 1829, JS had resumed the translation, which proceeded quickly after 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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arrived on 5 April to serve as a scribe.3

See Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:30]; and JS History, vol. A-1, 13.  


JS and 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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apparently picked up the translation

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
where 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...

View Full Bio
had left off—in the book of Mosiah.4

During the months of February and March 1829, Samuel Smith, Martin Harris, and Emma Smith all may have served briefly as scribes as JS translated small portions of the Book of Mormon. No extant record, however, indicates what portions were translated. (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, [6]; Edward Stevenson, Sandusky, OH, to Franklin D. Richards, 10 Jan. 1887, in Stevenson, Journal, Oct. 1886–Mar. 1887, pp. 106–113; Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 289–290.)  


As JS and Cowdery approached what would become the end of the Book of Mormon, they grew concerned about whether to go back and retranslate the lost portion. The revelation featured below stated that wicked men had changed the lost manuscript to discredit JS and commanded him not to retranslate the lost pages but to substitute another record in their place. This substitute record, described as being “engraven upon the plates of Nephi,” covered the same period as the lost manuscript.5

Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829. Nephi and his father, Lehi, are important prophets in the Book of Mormon.  


Assigning a date to this revelation is problematic, both because the earliest extant versions of the text are dated inconsistently and because the content fits multiple historical contexts. In Revelation Book 1, which contains the earliest extant copy of this revelation, the page or pages containing the revelation heading are missing, so the date presumably listed by 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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has been lost. The index to the revelation book locates this text between two April 1829 revelations, suggesting that Whitmer assigned an April date,6

The index to Revelation Book 1 places this revelation between Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6], and Revelation, Apr. 1829–B [D&C 8]. (Revelation Book 1, p. [207].)  


but the editors of the 1833 Book of Commandments gave it a date of May 1829, a date retained in later publications.7

See, for example, Doctrine and Covenants 36, 1835 ed.  


JS and James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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, the clerk assisting him with his history in 1839, created additional confusion by dating this revelation to “a few days” after the July 1828 revelation.8

JS History, vol. A-1, 11; Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3].  


Yet Mulholland also preserved the heading (with its May 1829 date) from the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants when he copied it into JS’s history.
Certain parts of the text seem to fit an 1828 setting, others 1829, and some both. The beginning of the featured text, for example, reprimands JS, saying, “You delivered up so many writings, which you had power to translate, into the hands of a wicked man”—language strikingly similar to the July 1828 admonition to JS that “thou deliveredst up . . . that which God had given thee right to Translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
. . . into the hands of a wicked man.”9

Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:12]. A revelation dictated in March 1829, by contrast, takes a much softer tone toward Harris and calls him “my servant.” (Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:1].)  


At the same time, another verse from the first part of the featured text instructs JS not to “translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands [the lost manuscript],” a 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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that applied to both 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...

View Full Bio
in 1828 and to JS and 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 1829. Several phrases in the featured text are common to 1829 documents. For example, the text alludes to an earlier manifestation to JS: “And for this cause have I said, if this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them.” The only identifiable antecedents to this statement appear in a March 1829 revelation—“if the People of this Generation harden not their hearts . . . I will establish my Church”—and in a Book of Mormon passage likely dictated in May 1829—“if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them.”10

Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:18]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22].  


Moreover, a series of close textual parallels between the featured text and Christ’s teachings in the Book of Mormon also support a spring 1829 date. These texts share lengthy phrases, including some not found in the Bible, and suggest a relationship between this revelation and the third book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, likely dictated in May 1829.11

See Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:15–16; and JS History, vol. A-1, 17. For example, two phrases uniquely shared by the revelation and Jesus’s teachings to the Nephites are “I will establish my church among them” and “concerning the points of my doctrine.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 478, 501 [3 Nephi 11:28; 21:22].)  


A potential solution to these complexities is to consider the featured text a composite of two revelations, one from 1828 and the other 1829.12

See Parkin, “Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10,” 82–83.  


The stylistic features of this revelation, however, strongly suggest that although JS may have received the first portion of the revelation in the summer of 1828, it was not actually written down until April or May 1829, along with the rest of the text. This revelation, written in the first-person voice of Jesus Christ, more closely resembles JS’s April 1829 texts, which include such proclamations as “behold I am God,” than it does the July 1828 revelation, which speaks of God in the second person. The text featured below also lacks the typical signs of a composite revelation, such as an amen marking the end of a particular revelation within a larger text.13

Facts