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Visions of Moses, June 1830 [Moses 1]

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And the Lord God spake unto Moses saying The Heavens there are many & they cannot be numbered unto man but they are numbered unto me for they are mine & as one Earth shall pass away & the Heavens thereof even so shall another come And there is no end to my works neither my words for behold this is my work to my glory to the immortality & the eternal life of man And now Moses my Son I will speak unto you concerning this Earth upon which thou standest & thou shalt write the things which I shall speak & in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as nought & take many of them from the Book which thou shalt write behold I will raise up another like unto thee7

The Book of Mormon contains a similar prophecy by the biblical Joseph, son of Jacob, who predicted that in the latter days “a seer shall the Lord my God raise up. . . . And he shall be great like unto Moses . . . to deliver my people, O house of Israel.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 66–67 [2 Nephi 3:6, 9].)  


& they shall be had again among the Children of men among even as many as shall believe These words was spoken unto Moses in the mount the name of which shall not be known among the Children of men And now they are also spoken unto you shew them not unto any except them that believe Amen [p. [3]]
And the Lord God spake unto Moses saying The Heavens there are many  & they cannot be numbered unto man but they are numbered unto  me for they are mine & as one Earth shall pass away & the Heavens there of even so shall another come And there is no end to my works neither my  words for behold this is my work to my glory to the immortality & the  eternal life of man And now Moses my Son I will speak unto you concer ning this Earth upon which thou standest & thou shalt write the things wh ich I shall speak & in a day when the children of men shall esteem my  words as nought & take many of them from the Book which thou shalt write  behold I will raise up another like unto theee thee7

The Book of Mormon contains a similar prophecy by the biblical Joseph, son of Jacob, who predicted that in the latter days “a seer shall the Lord my God raise up. . . . And he shall be great like unto Moses . . . to deliver my people, O house of Israel.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 66–67 [2 Nephi 3:6, 9].)  


& they shall be had  again among the Children of men among even as many as shall believe  These words was spoken unto Moses in the mount the name of which  shall not be known among the Children of men And now they are  also spoken unto you shew them not unto any except them that believe <Amen> [p. [3]]
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JS’s 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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and revision of ancient scripture formed a foundational part of his religious beliefs and teachings. His largest work of translation was the Book of Mormon, which he finished by July 1829. During the translation of the Book of Mormon he produced a text said to be the translation of a lost Johannine parchment1 and also dictated a revelation stating that there were additional “records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people” and that 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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was to assist JS “in bringing to light” such scripture

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

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.2

Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:26–27]; see also Revelation, Apr. 1829–B [D&C 8:1, 11].  


Book of Mormon passages also spoke of “plain and precious things” missing from the Bible and promised that these “plain and most precious parts of the Gospel of the Lamb” would be restored.3

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 30–31 [1 Nephi 13:28, 32].  


JS dictated these passages in the spring of 1829 and may have understood them as calling for a reexamination and new “translation” of the Bible, but even as late as March 1830, when the Book of Mormon was published, there are no indications in surviving records that JS planned another extensive translation project.
This June 1830 revelation began a new episode in JS’s involvement with ancient texts, becoming as it did the opening portion of a much larger Genesis-related manuscript.4

Images and a transcript of the full “Old Testament Manuscript 1” may be viewed here. The copy of the King James Bible that JS used for his revision work, which began in summer or fall 1830, was purchased in early October 1829. A notation on the flyleaf, in the handwriting of JS, reads: “The Book of the Jews and the property of Joseph Smith junior and Oliver Cowdery Bought October the 8th 1829 at E. B. Grandins Book Store Palmyra Wayne County New York Price $3.75 H[o]liness to the L[ord].” This Bible, an 1828 stereotype edition printed by H. and E. Phinney of Cooperstown, New York, is now in possession of the Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, MO.  


As 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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had with the Johannine parchment text, they likely saw the “Visions of Moses” as providing insight into a biblical figure and event; in this case, the revelation expands the view of Moses but also records narratives at best hinted at in biblical texts. As JS’s work on the Bible unfolded over the next several months, it became a revision and often an expansion of the King James Version of Genesis. Although it is unknown whether JS or Cowdery originally saw this revelation as the initial step of the larger project, which JS referred to as his “translation” of the Bible, the “Visions of Moses” and the texts that follow in the manuscript became an integral part of that nearly three-year endeavor.5

The translation was not a Bible translation in the conventional sense; rather, it was seen as an inspired revision that included the restoration by revelation of missing texts. In some instances, grammatical or other linguistic changes were made, but in other places modifications elaborated or clarified doctrine. By the time JS stopped working on the translation manuscripts in July 1833, he had revised more than three thousand verses and added phrases, verses, and occasionally even whole chapters to the Bible. He made his most extensive textual changes to Genesis. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints included the revelation featured here as “Visions of Moses” in its Pearl of Great Price, which was canonized in 1880. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 2 July 1833; see also Matthews, Plainer Translation, chap. 3; Howard, Restoration Scriptures, chaps. 4–6; and Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible.)  


The text is in the handwriting of 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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and, similar to many of JS’s revelations in Revelation Book 1, bears a simple heading: “A Revelation given to Joseph the Revelator June 1830.”6

JS’s history, which attempted to place his revelations in chronological order, left this revelation out of the original draft of the history, but William W. Phelps inserted a copy of it after a lengthy description of JS’s arrest and acquittal in the first few days of July 1830. (JS History, vol. A-1, 48; see also JS History, vol. A-1, miscellaneous papers.)  


The heading did not identify the location. During June, JS possibly visited all three branches

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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of the church (in Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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, Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, and Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York)7

See Historical Introduction to Revelation, July 1830–A [D&C 24]. JS was in Fayette, New York, on 9 June 1830, at the first conference of the church. By the end of June he was in the Colesville, New York, area, at South Bainbridge, where he was tried on charges of being a disorderly person. (Minutes, 9 June 1830; Knight, Autobiographical Sketch, 2; “Mormonism,” Morning Star, 16 Nov. 1832, 114; JS History, vol. A-1, 44–47.)  


and may also have returned to his home 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, making it difficult to identify where the text was produced.

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