2476072

Sample of Pure Language, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832

A Sample of pure Language
given by Joseph the 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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as copied by Br Johnson1

This title likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the document into Revelation Book 1.  


Question What is the name of God in pure Language
AnswerAwmen.
QThe meaning of the pure word Awmen
AIt is the being which made all things in all its parts.
QWhat is the name of the Son of God.
AThe Son Awmen.
QWhat is the Son Awmen.
AIt is the greatest of all the parts of Awmen which is the Godhead the first born.
QWhat is man.
AThis signifies Sons Awmen. the human family the children of men the greatest parts of Awmen Sons the Son Awmen
QWhat are Angels called in pure language.
AAwmen Angls-men
Q What are the meaning of these words.
AAwmen’s Ministerring servants Sanctified who are sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awmen the greatest part of Awmen Son. Sons Awmen Son Awmen Awmen
[p. 144]
A Sample of pure Language  
given by Joseph the 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...

View Glossary
as copied by Br Johnson1

This title likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the document into Revelation Book 1.  


Question What is the name of God in pure Language
AnswerAwmen.2

TEXT: Throughout this document, “Awmen” was changed to “Awman”, either by John Whitmer at the time of inscription or later by an unidentified scribe. John Whitmer’s copy of a June 1833 revelation spells “Awmen” as “Awman.” Orson Hyde’s copy of the same revelation in Revelation Book 2 spells it “Ah Man.” These variations were standardized in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants as “Ahman.” (Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Revelation Book 1, p. 182; Revelation Book 2, p. 60; Doctrine and Covenants 95:3, 1835 ed. [D&C 95:17].)  


QThe meaning of the pure word A[w]men
AIt is the being which made all things in all its parts.
QWhat is the name of the Son of God.
AThe Son3

TEXT: Or “San”. After this point in the text, this reading is possible each time “Son” appears. Similarly, “Sans” is possible when “Sons” appears.  


Awmen.
QWhat is the Son Awmen.
AIt is the greatest of all the parts of Awmen which  is the Godhead the first born.
QWhat is is man.
AThis signifies Sons Awmen. the human family the  children of men the greatest parts of Awmen Sons  the Son Awmen
QWhat are Angels called in pure language.
AAwmen Angls-men
Q What are the meaning of these words.
AAwmen’s Ser◊◊◊ts Ministerring servants Sanctified who are  sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons  Awmen the greatest part of Awmen Son. Sons  Awmen Son Awmen Awmen
[p. 144]
The Book of Mormon contains an account of a people called the Jaredites who, at the time of the confounding of language at the Tower of Babel, petitioned God to keep their language pure. God complied, allowing the Jaredites to maintain their original language.1

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 539–540 [Ether 1:33–37]; Genesis 11:1–9.  


Not long after the publication of the Book of Mormon, JS reviewed the book of Genesis as part of his revision of the Bible. He added a passage about Adam passing down a “book of rememberance” to his children so that they could be taught in a language “which was pure & undefiled.”2

Old Testament Revision 1, p. 11 [Moses 6:5–6]. This idea of a pure Edenic language continued to intrigue JS after 1830. (See Brown, “Joseph (Smith) in Egypt,” 31–35.)  


By the end of March 1832, JS reviewed Revelation 3:12,3

See Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 70.  


which states, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God . . . and I will write upon him the name of my God” and “my new name.” This may have provoked JS’s interest in discovering the name of God in the pure language of Adam. The document below, termed a “sample” 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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, who copied it into Revelation Book 1 sometime after April 1832, contains information “given by Joseph the Seer” about the names of God, the Son of God, angels

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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, and man in what is called a “pure language.” It also deals briefly with man’s relationship to God. Although details of its creation are scant, the document may have been related to JS’s explanation of symbolism in the book of Revelation because it is written in the same question-and-answer style as that document and immediately follows it in Revelation Book 1.4 Whitmer likely copied both documents into Revelation Book 1 in the same sitting.
The original manuscript is no longer extant, and 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 copy in Revelation Book 1 bears no date. That this document immediately follows the circa March 1832 explanation of the book of Revelation and immediately precedes a revelation dated 1 March 1832 suggests that the document was probably prepared sometime in March 1832.5

Although most of the revelations in Revelation Book 1 were entered in chronological order, some of the documents surrounding the “Sample of pure Language” were not, which raises the possibility that it was created at another time. (See Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 1.)  


The sample itself notes that it was “copied by Br Johnson,” which likely refers to John Johnson Sr.

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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, at whose home JS was staying in March 1832.6

Except for a trip to Missouri from April to June 1832, JS stayed at the Johnson home from September 1831 to September 1832. (JS History, vol. A-1, 209–216; [Emma Smith], List, ca. 1845, in Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, Miscellany.)  


The document was apparently not well known. Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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stated in an 1855 sermon in Salt Lake City, Utah, that the sample had “never been published” and that “this people are not generally acquainted” with it.7

Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 18 Feb. 1855, 2:342.  


At least some individuals, however, clearly were aware of it. William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, for example, included notes on the “pure language” (including some of the terms used in the sample) in an 1835 letter to his wife, Sally.8

William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Waterman Phelps, Liberty, MO, 26 May 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU.  


The term “Son Ah man,” meanwhile, was used in a 1 June 1833 revelation to refer to Jesus Christ, which indicates that church members were at least exposed to some of the terminology from this document.9

Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Revelation Book 2, p. 60 [D&C 95:17].  


Facts