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William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Summer–Fall 1835 [Abraham 1:1–2:18]

William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Summer–Fall 1835 [Abraham 1:1–2:18]

of thy body,) shall all the families of the  earth be blessed, even with the blessings  of the gospel, which are the blessings  of salvation, even of life eternal. [blank line]
HNow after the Lord had withdrew  from speaking to me, and withdrew  his face from me, I said in my hea rt thy servant has sought thee, earn nestly, now I have found thee, thou  didst send thine angel to delivr me,  from the gods of Elkkener, and I will  do well to hearken, unto thy voice, ther efore let thy servant arise up and depart  in peace so I Abram departed, as the  Lord had said unto me, and Lot with  me, and I Abram was sixty and two  years old, when I departed out of Ha ran.
HAnd I took Sarai, whom I took to  wife in Ur of Chaldeea wife when I was  in Ur, in Chaldeea, and Lot my brothers  Son, and all our substance, that we had  gathered, and the souls that we had  won in Haran, and came forth in the  way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt  in tents, as we came on our way, there fore eternity was our covering, and our  rock, and our salvation, as we journ eyed, from Haran, by the way of jersh  Jurshon, to come to the land of can aan.
[p. 9]
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As discussed in the general introduction to the Book of Abraham manuscripts on this website, JS and his scribes Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, and Warren Parrish spent considerable time in the second half of 1835 engaged in two separate yet related endeavors: the translation of the Book of Abraham, which yielded several Abraham manuscripts; and a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts. Both types of manuscripts exhibit connections to the papyri in JS’s possession and, according to the historical record, both projects occurred roughly concurrently. However, there is presently not enough information to definitively ascertain how these two projects are related to each other or to the revelatory process. The particular text featured here, consisting of a draft of what is currently designated Abraham 1:1−2:18, was inscribed by William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish, apparently between mid-1835 and late-spring 1836.
Phelps’s hand appears on the first twenty-one lines on the initial page, with Parrish’s handwriting on the remainder of the document. Phelps evidently copied this text from an earlier Book of Abraham document that is no longer extant (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 7, 58−59). His contribution, covering passages now associated with Abraham 1:1−3, is not paragraphed but is lightly edited and punctuated and has three hieratic characters appearing in the left margin.
Warren Parrish began copying a text he had worked on earlier (see Warren Parrish Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Fall 1835 [Abraham 1:4–2:2]) onto the first page sometime after Phelps’s entry, probably between 29 October 1835, when he was called to be a scribe for JS, and spring 1836, when he left Kirtland, Ohio, on a mission to Tennessee (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 22, 110; JS, Journal, 29 Oct. 1835; Woodruff, Journal, 19 Apr. 1836). He began his portion of Abraham’s account where Phelps left off and produced a draft of the text of what is now referenced in Latter-day Saint scripture as Abraham 1:4−2:18. Parrish’s nine and one-third pages of transcription is paragraphed and punctuated, with twenty-five hieratic characters in the left margin.
The Phelps/Parrish manuscript was probably available for reference when the Book of Abraham was prepared for publication in the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo, Illinois, beginning with the 1 March 1842 issue. It was in the possession of JS’s widow Emma Smith Bidamon at the time of her death in 1879. The document was inherited by Emma’s second husband, Lewis Bidamon, and at his death by his son Charles, who sold it to collector Wilford Wood in summer 1937. Subsequently that same year, Wood donated the document to the Church Historian’s Office, now the Church History Library (Wilford Wood, Woods Cross, UT, to Heber J. Grant, Salt Lake City, UT, 24 Dec. 1837, microfilm, Wilford Wood, Collection of Church Historical Materials, CHL; Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 110−111; Peterson, Story of the Book of Abraham, 229).
Note: When an Egyptian hieratic character appears on the manuscript, it is represented by a stylized “H” in the transcript. The transcript of the Book of Abraham excerpt presented here is used with permission of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. It was published earlier, with some differences in style, in Brian M. Hauglid, A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010), 66–81.

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