History of the Church Vol.1
Chapter 3. [Jan. 1827 - Mar. 1829]
The Nephite Record Delivered To Joseph-- The Angel's Warning--The Work of Translation.[For an explanation of abbreviations see volume 1, chapter 1]
[Copyright © 1997 BOAP all rights reserved]
AT length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim13, and the Breastplate.(1) On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger should call for them, they should be protected.(2)
I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose.(3) The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.
The excitement, however, still continued, and rumor with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating falsehoods about my father's family, and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them, it would fill up volumes.(4) The persecution, however, became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester, and going with my wife to Susquehanna county, in the state of Pennsylvania.
While preparing to start,--being very poor, and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise--in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris,(5) who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us on our journey. Mr. Harris was a resident of Palmyra township, Wayne county, in the state of New York, and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania; and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them,(6) which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife's father, in the month of December, and the February following.
Some time in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York.(7) For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:
I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon(8) stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyric, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct, I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
He then said to me, "Let me see that certificate." I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying, that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, "I cannot read a sealed book." I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.(9)
Mr. Harris, having returned from his tour, left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the 12th of April, 1828, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we continued until the 14th of June following, by which time he had written one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript on foolscap paper. Some time after Mr. Harris had begun to write for me, he began to importune me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and show them; and desired of me that I would inquire of the Lord, through the Urim and Thummim, if he might not do so. I did inquire, and the answer was that he must not. However, he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should inquire again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented, but insisted that I should inquire once more. After much solicitation I again inquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions; which were, that he show them only to his brother, Preserved Harris, his own wife, his father and his mother, and a Mrs. Cobb, a sister to his wife. In accordance with this last answer, I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me in a most solemn manner that he would not do otherwise than had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings, and went his way. Notwithstanding, however, the great restrictions which he had been laid under, and the solemnity of the covenant which he had made with me, he did show them to others, and by stratagem they got them away from him, and they never have been recovered unto this day.(10)
In the meantime, while Martin Harris was gone with the writings, I went to visit my father's family at Manchester. I continued there for a short season, and then returned to my place in Pennsylvania. Immediately after my return home, I was walking out a little distance, when, behold, the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again--for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings, which he lost by transgression--and I inquired of the Lord through it, and obtained the following:
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., given July, 1828, concerning certain manuscripts of the first part of the Book of Mormon, which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris. [D&C 3](10a)
1. The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.
2. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.
3. Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;
4. For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.
5. Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments, and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.
6. And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.
7. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words--
8. Yet you should have been faithful and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
9. Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
10. But remember God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;
11. Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men and have no more gift.
12. And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man,
13. Who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom.
14. And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy privileges for a season--
15. For thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning.
16. Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come into the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people--
17. And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers--
18. And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.
19. And for this very purpose are these plates preserved which contain these records--that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people;
20. And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.
After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again; but in a few days they were returned to me, when I inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus(11) unto me:
Revelation, given to Joseph Smith, Jun., informing him of the alteration of the manuscript of the fore part of the Book of Mormon. [D&C 10](12)
1. Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim,(13) into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them.
2. And you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened.
3. Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun.
4. Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end:
5. Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.
6. Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you.
7. And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift.
8. And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you.
9. Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness.
10. And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.
11. And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;
12. And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;
13. For he hath put it into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.
14. Verily, I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing.
15. For behold, he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God in asking to translate it over again.
16. And then, behold, they say and think in their hearts--We will see if God has given him power to translate; if so, he will also give him power again;
17. And if God giveth him power again, or if he translates again, or, in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold, we have the same with us, and we have altered them;
18. Therefore they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power;
19. Therefore we will destroy him, and also the work; and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world.
20. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good;
21. And their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness and abominations; and they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil; therefore they will not ask of me.
22. Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction.
23. And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work of God; but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgment.
24. Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work.
25. Yea, he saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him.
26. And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare.
27. And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
28. Verily, verily, I say unto you, woe be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.
29. Now, behold, they have altered these words, because Satan saith unto them; He hath deceived you--and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.
30. Behold, I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands;
31. For, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they will say that you have lied and that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself.
32. And, behold, they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words.
33. Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation.
34. But behold, here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do, show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of translation.
35. Marvel not that I said unto you; Here is wisdom, show it not unto the world--for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be preserved.
36. Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous;
37. But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.
38. And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, is engraven upon the plates of Nephi;
39. 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.
40. 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--
41. Therefore, you shall translate 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;
42. And behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words.
43. 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.
44. Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.
45. Behold, there are many things engraven upon 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.
46. 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.
47. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;
48. 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, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.
49. Now, this is not all--their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land;
50. And thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life;
51. Yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.
52. And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.
53. And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them.
54. Now I do not say this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my church;
55. Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.
56. But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil--yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center.
57. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not.
58. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
59. I am he who said--Other sheep have I which are not of this fold--unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not.
60. And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob;
61. And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;
62. Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
63. And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.
64. Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;
65. For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;
66. Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.
67. Behold, this is my doctrine--whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me, therefore he is not of my church,
69. And now, behold whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
70. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.(14)
I did not, however, go immediately to translating, but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my wife's father, in order to provide for my family. In the month of February, 1829, my father came to visit us,(15) at which time I received the following revelation for him:
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Sen., given February, 1829. [D&C 4](16)
1. Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4. For behold the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7. Ask, and ye shall receive, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
The following I applied for and obtained, at the request of the aforementioned Martin Harris(17):
Revelation, given March, 1829. [D&C 5](18)
1. Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me;
2. And now, behold, this shall you say unto him,--He who spake unto you said unto you; I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things;
3. And I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I commanded you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.
4. And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.
5. Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;
6. For hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men.
7. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you.
8. Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation--mine anger is kindled against them.
9. Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;
10. But this generation shall have my word through you,
11. And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you.
12. Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them.
13. I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are;
14. And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my Church out of the wilderness--clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an array with banners,
15. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word.
16. And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit--
17. And you must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained--
18. And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them;
19. For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming.
20. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
21. And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me and to yield to the persuasions of men no more;
22. And that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you; and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.
23. And now, again, I speak unto you, my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness--
24. Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his head, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.
25. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation; Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.
26. And I the Lord commanded him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say; I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God; and these are the words which he shall say.
27. But if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold, he is condemned.
28. And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views, for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken.
29. And if this be the case, I command you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him, that he shall do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter.
30. And if this be the case, behold, I say unto thee Joseph, when thou hast translated a few more pages thou shalt stop for a season, even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again,
31. And except thou do this, behold, thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee.
32. And now, because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee, yea, I foresee that if my servant Martin Harris humbleth not himself and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into transgression;
33. And there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth; and for this cause, that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments.
34. Yea, for this cause I have said: Stop and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee.
35. And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen.
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Notes Chapter 3
1.Most reports state that throughout the project Joseph used the "Nephite interpreters" or, for convenience, he would use a seer stone (see CHC 1:128-30). Both instruments were sometimes called by others the Urim and Thummim. In 1830, Oliver Cowdery is reported to have testified in court that these tools enabled Joseph "to read in English, the reformed Egyptian characters, which were engraved on the plates" (Benton, Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate 2 [Apr. 9, 1831]:15). In an 1891 interview, William Smith indicated that when his brother Joseph used the "interpreters." William described these as being like a silver bow twisted into the shape of a figure eight with two stones between the rims of the bow connected by a rod to a breastplate; his hands were left free to hold the plates. Other late reports mention a variety of further details. EM, Vol.1, BOOK OF MORMON TRANSLATION BY JOSEPH SMITH. See Daniel N. Rolph, "Prophets, Kings, and Swords: the Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: vol. 2 no. 1, Spring and Fall, 1993, 73.
2.Joseph Knight relates a number of important events surrounding the recovery and translation of the golden plates:From thence he went to the hill where he was informed the Record was and found no trouble for it appeard plain as tho he was acquainted with the place it was so plain in the vision that he had of the place. He went and found the place and opened it and found a plane Box. He oncovered it and found the Book and took it out and laid [it] Down By his side and thot he would Cover the place over again thinking there might be something else here. But he was told to take the Book and go right away. And after he had Covered the place he turned round to take the Book and it was not there and he was astonished that the Book was gone. He thot he would look in the place again and see if it had not got Back again. He had heard people tell of such things. And he opened the Box and Behold the Book was there. He took hold of it to take it out again and Behold he Could not stur the Book any more then he Could the mountin. He exclaimed "why Cant I stur this Book?" And he was answered, "you cant have it now." Joseph says, "when can I have it?" The answer was the 22nt Day of September next if you Bring the right person with you. Joseph says, "who is the right Person?" The answer was "your oldest Brother."Martin Harris claimed that he ". . . hefted the plates many times, and should think they weighed forty or fifty pounds." Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 166. William Smith, fifth son of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith stated that he "was permitted to lift them as they laid in a pillow case. . . . They weighed about 60 pounds according to the best of my judgment." William Smith on Mormonism, (Lamoni, 1O: Herald Steam Book and Job Office, 1883), 12
But before September Came his oldest Brother Died. Then he was Disapinted and did not [k]now what to do. But when the 22nt Day of September Came he went to the place and the personage appeard and told him he Could not have it now. But the 22nt Day of September nex he mite have the Book if he Brot with him the right person. Joseph says, "who is the right Person?" The answer was you will know. Then he looked in his glass and found it was Emma Hale, Daughter of old Mr Hail of Pensylvany, a girl that he had seen Before, for he had Bin Down there Before with me.
Joseph then went to Mr Stowels [Stowell] whare he had lived sometime Before. But Mr Stowel Could not pay him money for his work very well and he came to me perhaps in November and worked for me until about the time that he was Married, which I think was in February. And I paid him the money and I furnished him with a horse and Cutter to go and see his girl Down to Mr. Hails. And soon after this he was Married and Mr Stowel moved him and his wife to his fathers in Palmyra Ontario County.
Nothing material took place untill toard fall the forepart of September. I went to Rochester on Buisness and returnd By Palmyra to be there about the 22nt of September. I was there several Days. I will say there [was] a man near By the name Samuel Lawrance. He was a Seear [Seer] and he had Bin to the hill and knew about the things in the hill and he was trying to obtain them. He [Joseph Smith] had talked with me and told me the Conversation he had with the personage which told him if he would Do right according to the will of God he mite obtain [the plates] the 22nt Day of September Next and if not he never would have them. Now Joseph was some affraid of him [Samuel Lawrence] that he mite be a trouble to him. He therefore sint his father up to Sams as he Called him near night to see if there was any signs of his going away that night. He told his father to stay till near Dark and if he saw any signs of his going you till him if I find him there I will thrash the stumps with him. So the old man came a way and saw no thing like it. This is to shoe [show] the troubles he had from time to time to obtain the plates.
So that night we all went to Bed and in the morning I got up and my Horse and Carriage was gone. But after a while he Came home and he turned out the Horse. All Come into the house to Brackfirst [breakfast]. But no thing said about where they had Bin. After Brackfirst Joseph Cald me into the other Room and he set his foot on the Bed and leaned his head on his hand and says, "Well I am Dissopinted. "Well," say I, "I am sorrey." "Well," says he, "I am grateley Dissopinted; it is ten times Better then I expected." Then he went on to tell the length and width and thickness of the plates, and said he, "they appear to be Gold." But he seamed to think more of the glasses or the urim and thummem then [than] he Did of the Plates, for, says he, "I can see anything; they are Marvelus. Now they are written in Caracters and I want them translated."[Dean Jessee, BYUS, vol. 17, no. 1, p.33]
3. Lucy Mack Smith relates that one Willard Chase, having heard from Martin Harris that Joseph had the plates recruited a certain "conjourer" to locate the plates so they could get them, assuming they were indeed made of gold. When Joseph brought the plates home from a hiding place in the woods, he was attacked. Several incidents involving this group show that Joseph was not exaggerating. [See, Marvin S. Hill; BYUS 24, no. 4, 482; Lucy Mack Smith, ms; ]
4. As Joseph's brother, William said, "we did not learn we were bad folks until after the Book of Mormon appeared." Then rumor made them drunkards, epileptics, madmen, magicians, witches, warlocks, liars, thieves, hunters of enchanted treasure, and generally thought very unusual compared to their neighbors.
5.Martin Harris was the son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Born 18 May 1783 in Easttown, Saratoga County, New York, he married his first cousin Lucy Harris. They had three children: Duty L., George W., and Lucy. Harris owned 240 acres of land in Palmyra. He held a number of prominent positions in the later Church. Of course, he served as scribe to Joseph Smith for part of the translation of Book of Mormon. He became one of Three Witnesses of Book of Mormon in June 1829. He used a portion of his property to assist with the publication of Book of Mormon. Baptized 6 April 1830, he was ordained a priest by June 1830. Ordained a high priest on June 3, 1831. He served on the Kirtland high council and was a member of Zion's Camp. He assisted in choosing twelve apostles in 1835. He married Caroline Young in 1837 after the death of his first wife. They had five children: Martin Jr., John, Julia, Solomon, and Ida Mae. Harris was excommunicated from the Church in December 1837. Rebaptized 6 November 1842. He did not go to Nauvoo and did not immediately follow Brigham Young after Prophet's death. Joined James Strang movement and served a mission for Strangites in England 1846. Joined William E. McLellan in organizing a new church in January 1847. His second wife, Caroline, left him in 1856 to gather with the Saints in Utah. Harris then joined William Smith (Joseph's brother) in organizing a new church about 1858 in Kirtland. He was the custodian of the Kirtland Temple. Martin Harris finally came to Salt Lake City, Utah in August 1870. He was rebaptized and received the temple endowment in September 1870. Martin died still firm in his testimony of the Book of Mormon on July 9, 1875 in Clarkston, Utah.[RJS, 9]
B. H. Roberts inserted the following footnote at this point in the text:
Martin Harris, who subsequently became one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, was born in East-town, Saratoga county, New York, on the 18th of May, 1783. When in his ninth year his father moved with his family into Palmyra, Wayne county, so that man and boy Martin Harris had lived in Palmyra some thirty-six years. He had amassed a considerable property in lands, and had established a reputation for business reliability.
6.The process of translation has been debated and Joseph criticized on the results since then. Professor Royal Skousen of the Brigham Young University English Department has spent a number of years looking at the original and printer's mss for the Book of Mormon. He finds evidence for a tightly controlled translation, where spelling is even important. [See for example, Royal Skousen, "Towards a Critical Edition of the Book of Mormon," BYUS 29, no. 1, p.50]
7.See Isaac Hale's remarks in the chapter 2 notes which verify this. In his 1832 history Joseph gives further details about Harris. He states:
Martin Harris who became convinced of the visions and gave me fifty Dollars to bare my expences and because of this faith and this rightheous deed the Lord appeared unto him in a vision and shewed unto him his marvilous work which he was about to do and he imediately came to Su[s]quehanna and and said the Lord had shown him that he must go to new York City with some of the c[h]aracters so we proceeded to coppy some of them and he took his Journy to the Eastern Cittys and to the Learned saying read this I pray thee and the learned said I cannot but if he would bring the plates they would read it but the Lord had forbid it and he returned to me and gave them [copied characters] to me to translate and I said [I] cannot for I am not learned but the Lord had prepared spectacles for to read the Book therefore I commenced translating the characters and thus the Prophicy of Isiaah was fulfilled which is writen in the 29 chapter concerning the book . . .
It is not clear that either of the parties to the Anthon incident recognized the obvious parallel to Isa. 29. [JD 2:288; Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast, (Milad, Idaho:author, 1888), 71] Though Joseph Smith may have been instructed by Moroni on this matter. [MA Feb. 1835]
8.It is not clear whether Harris saw Anthon or some other scholar first and who else he may have consulted. It is clear that the basic form of the story is correct and that by reputation, Anthon was quite capable of saying the translation was correct (something he could not really know) and then denying he ever verified the translation. The Harris and Anthon accounts differ. Harris said Professor Anthon gave him a certificate certifying that the characters were authentic but when Anthon learned that Joseph Smith claimed to have received the plates from an angel, he took the document from Harris and destroyed it. Anthon, for his part, left written accounts in 1834 and 1841 in which he contradicted himself on whether he had given Harris a written opinion about the document. In both accounts, apparently to dissociate himself from appearing to promote the book, he maintained that he told Harris that he (Harris) was a victim of a fraud. The state of knowledge in the US about Egyptian in 1828 was very meager. Anthon's library would hardly have permitted him to honestly render more than opinion. The Rosetta Stone was discovered at the turn of the century and Champollion and others had begun to understand various Egyptian scripts. But though Anthon was well read, he could not have laid claim to enough of the system to give a translation of Egyptian, whatever its form.
The RLDS Church possesses a handwritten text known as the Anthon Transcript. It may contain characters apparently copied from the plates. But Anthon says the characters he saw were in vertical columns while the AT is horizontally arranged. David Whitmer once owned the document and said it was the text Harris took to Anthon. In 1980 one of Mark Hofmann's forgeries "surfaced" and appeared to be the original AT. But in 1987 Hofmann admitted he had forged it.
Whatever the nature of the Harris-Anthon encounter, it had a positive effect on Harris' support for Smith and we must conclude that he was very encouraged by his interviews with Anthon, et al.
[Stanley B. Kimball, "The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems," BYUS, 10 (1970), no. 3, 325; "Martin Harris' Visit to Charles Anthon: Collected Documents on Short-hand Egyptian." F.A.R.M.S. Preliminary Report. Provo, Utah, 1985; Bushman, 87]
9.In a letter to E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who published a book against the Church in 1834, Professor Anthon acknowledged the visit of Martin Harris to him and the presentation of the characters in question. He states, however, that Harris, whom he describes as "a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer," presented him with a note from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, of New York, requesting him (Anthon) to decipher, if possible, a paper which the "farmer" would hand to him. The call on Dr. Mitchell, alluded to in Martin Harris' statement above, must, therefore, have referred to a second visit to Dr. Mitchell, after his adventure with Professor Anthon. The latter's communication to Howe bears the date of February 17th, 1834, and is published in extenso in Smucker's History of the Mormons, pp. 37-39. (BHR)
10.The first 116 pages of the original manuscript of Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon or the "lost manuscript" were foolscap-size pages written in Harmony, Pennsylvania, between April and June 14, 1828. They were recorded by Martin Harris from dictation by Joseph Smith, but Emma Smith claimed that some of the pages were also written by her and possibly her brother, Reuben Hale. The Lehi record is mentioned in 1 Nephi 1:17. The content survives in an abridged form in 1 Nephi 1- 10. It was rumored that Harris' wife who was angry at Smith for denying her the privilege of looking at the plates removed the manuscript from her husband's bureau and burned it. Harris and his wife separated shortly thereafter.
". . . and it came to pass that after we had translated 116 pages" Joseph wrote in 1832,
. . . that he desired to carry them to read to his friends that peradventure he might convince them of the truth therefore I inquired of the Lord and the Lord said unto me that he must not take them and I spoke unto him (Martin) the word of the Lord and he said inquire again and I inquired again and also the third time and the Lord said unto me let him go with them only he shall covenant with me that he will not shew them to only but four persons and he covenented withe Lord that he would do according to the word of the Lord therefore he took them and took his journey unto his friends to Palmira Wayne County & State of N York and he brake the covenent which he made before the Lord and the Lord suffered the writings to fall into the hands of wicked men and Martin was chastened for his transgession and I also was chastened me for my transgression for asking the Lord the third time wherefore the Plates was taken from me by the power of God and I was not able to obtain them for a season' and it came to pass after much humility and affliction of soul I obtained them again when [the] Lord appeared unto a young man by the name of Oliver Cowdry and shewed unto him the plates in a vision and also the truth of the work and what the Lord was about to do through me his unworthy servant therefore he was desirous to come and write for me to translate now my wife had writen some for me to translate and also my Brother Samuel H Smith but we had be come reduced in property and my wives father was about to turn me out of doors & I had not where to go and I cried unto the Lord that he would provide for me to accomplish the work whereunto he had commanded me
After Harris left Harmony with the pages, Emma Smith gave birth to a son, on 15 June 1828. The baby died the same day. When she seemed to be out of danger, Joseph went to Manchester to visit his family and check on Harris. Almost immediately he discovered that Harris had not been exact in keeping his promises and had lost the manuscript. When Joseph learned that the manuscript was gone, he wept and walked the floor, saying "Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned--it is I who tempted the wrath of God. I should have been satisfied with the first answer which I received from the Lord; for he told me that it was not safe to let the writing go out of my possession. How shall I appear before the Lord? Of what rebuke am I not worthy from the angel of the Most High?"
Lucy Mack Smith stated that two-thirds of Harris's crop was destroyed by a dense fog which she interpreted as a curse related to the lost manuscript (History of Joseph Smith, p. 132). After sincere and anguished repentance, the angel returned the interpreters, taken as a result of the debacle.
With the later arrival of Oliver Cowdery in 1829, Smith was told not to retranslate that part of the record (D&C 10:9-13). Instead, he was to translate the Small Plates of Nephi (1 Nephi-Omni) down to that which he had translated (D&C 10:41). These plates were made available by providential intervention and covered essentially the same events with a somewhat different emphasis. (W of M 1:7).
[Bushman, Beginnings, 89-94; PJS 1:9-10, 286-88; Smith, Lucy Mack. History of Joseph Smith, 124-32.]
11.The fact that D&C 10 appears to be out of chronological order in the Doctrine and Covenants results from historical placement in previous editions. In current editions it has the date "summer of 1828." In all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants before 1921, the date of section 10 was given as May 1829. B. H. Roberts, who edited the History of the Church for publication in 1902, felt that May 1829 was an error and that the revelation was received in the summer of 1828. Accordingly, the date of the revelation was changed to "summer of 1828," but the revelation was not moved from where it was placed in the earlier editions of the D&C.
The ms source for this History for the years 1828-29 was written by James Mulholland, in the summer of 1839. In that section of the ms section 10 was inserted immediately after section 3, but obviously at a later time, and on unnumbered pages (however the unnumbered pages are in Mulholland's hand and he died in 1839.) Although the May 1829 date for section 10 (contained in both the 1833 and 1835 editions of the Doctrine and Covenants and all later editions reviewed by the Prophet) was not altered by Mulholland, the placement suggests the 1828 date. Max H. Parkin presented a study of this dating problem in "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10," Seventh Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1979), pp. 68-84. There appear to be reasons for preferring either date. However, with the evidence seems heavily in favor of the later date. It is possible that the revelation is a composition of two revelations received at different times. But since no original ms of the revelation seems to exist, it is impossible to be completely certain. For another discussion of the dating issue see Woodford. See also Bushman Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling p. 579, note 63.
12.Doctrine and Covenants, sec. x. This revelation was given at Harmony, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1828, a short time after the revelation known as section 3, in the Doctrine and Covenants. (BHR) [See the notes above on Roberts' opinion expressed here.]
13.The term Urim and Thummim, while used in this revelation and in the ms text does not appear in early publications of the revelation, nor does it seem to have been used in any contemporary document of the principals. No early ms of this revelation survives apparently. In the 1833 Book of Commandments, verse one read "Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up so many writings, which you had power to translate, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them. . . ." Thus, the words "by the means of the Urim and Thummim" in verse one were not part of this verse in the Book of Commandments; nor was section 17, which also makes use of the term Urim and Thummim, printed in the Book of Commandments. Both section 17 and verse one of section 10, as we now have them, first appeared in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. Lyndon Cook writes:While the retroactive placement of the term in section 10 has led to some speculation relative to the Prophet's having the instrument in his possession, a preponderance of evidence confirms the Prophet's own testimony: "With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called 'Urim and Thummim,' which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate" (History of the Church, 4:537 [Wentworth letter]). The problem here seems to be one of terminology, not whether or not the Prophet had possession of an ancient artifact. Until some time after the translation of the Book of Mormon, the sacred instruments may have been referred to as "Interpreters," or "spectacles." It is possible that Joseph Smith's inspired translation of the Bible played some part in designating the translating instrument "Urim and Thummim." The earliest use of the term Urim and Thummim in Mormon literature is in the Evening and Morning Star (January 1833). An article on the Book of Mormon, undoubtedly authored by W. W. Phelps, stated, "It was translated by the gift and power of God, by an unlearned man, through the aid of a pair of Interpreters, or spectacles--(known, perhaps in ancient days as Teraphim, or Urim and Thummim)." [RJS, 17][Phelps' speculation that the OT word "Teraphim" refers to an object or objects similar to the Urim and Thummim is wrong. Teraphim were small household idols. Recent studies in regard to Biblical "Urim and Thummim," historically the object of wide speculation, suggest they were similar in character to the "Interpreters" had by Joseph Smith. See notes in JSCOM.]
14.Joseph Smith's original introduction to the Book of Mormon (no longer published) contains relevant information about the loss of the 116 pages:As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again--and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye 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 shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New-York.
15.Joseph Knight, Sr. remembered,Now he Could not translate But little Being poor and nobody to write for him But his wife and she Could not do much and take Care of her house and he Being poor and no means to But work. His wifes father and familey ware all against him and would not hlp him. He and his wife Came up [to Colesville] to see me the first of the winter 1828 and told me his Case. But I was not in easy Circumstances and I did not know what it mite amount to [i.e., were Joseph's claims really authentic?] and my wife and familey all against me about helping him. But I let him have a pair of shoes and three Dollars in money to help him a little. [Dean Jessee, "Joseph Knight's Recollections of Early Mormon History," BYUS 16 (Autumn 1976): 29-39.]
Joseph's mother writes of his parents concern over a lack of news regarding Joseph's mission since the Harris episode:For nearly two months after Joseph returned to his family, in Pennsylvania, we heard nothing from him, and becoming anxious about him, Mr. Smith and myself set off to make him a visit. When we came within three-quarters of a mile of the house, Joseph started to meet us, telling his wife, as he left, that father and mother were coming. When he met us, his countenance wore so pleasant an aspect, that I was convinced he had something agreeable to communicate with regard to the work in which he was engaged. When I entered, the first thing which attracted my attention was a red morocco trunk, lying on Emma's burearu, which Joseph shortly informed me contained the Urim and Thummim, and the plates. [Smith, 133]
16.A ms exists of this revelation in the handwriting of Edward Partridge. It is undated, but may have been copied when Partridge visited Smith in December 1830. In the days before the revelations were published, they circulated among the believers by copying mss. Of course this led to varied readings and other abuses and constituted part of the reason to engage in an official publication as soon as time and circumstance would allow. Many of the early mss may have been destroyed when the mob attacked the printing establishment in Independence, Missouri in 1833. Fortunately, copies of the revelations were preserved in Kirtland (for example in the KRB).
Verse 6 is altered from the Partridge ms and BC printing. The Partridge ms reads as follows
Remember temperance, patience, humility, diligence, &c.
17.After the visit of Joseph's parents, Harris came to see Joseph and Emma. He was evidently very humble and contrite, and still concerned about the promise he had made to assist in the publication of the Book of Mormon.
18.By the time this revelation was to be published, some additional information had been received. By the time of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, several changes had been made from the earliest known ms (possibly to reflect a more general audience, see below). Most of the changes are minor, but verses six and seventeen are additions and changes were made in verses 18 and 19 to reflect fulfillment of prophecy or outcomes relevant to the original content.
The following comparison shows the changes between D&C 5 and an early ms (unidentified handwriting, ms from the Newel K. Whitney collection, BYU)
LDS D&C 5 1981 edition Whitney ms 1. Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me; Behold, I say unto you, that my servant desired a witness at my hand that my Servant Joseph hath got the things that he hath got and born record that he has received of me 2. And now, behold, this shall you say unto him,--He who spake unto you said unto you; I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things; And now Behold this shall ye say unto him I the Lord am God I have given these things unto him my servant Joseph & I have commanded him that he stand as a witness of these things. 3. And I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I commanded you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you. nevertheless I have cause him that he should enter into a covenant with me that he should not show them except I command him and he hath no power over them except I grant it unto him 4. And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished. and he hath a gift to translate the Book. I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift for I will grant unto him no other gift 5. Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words; and verily I say unto you that woe shall come unto the Inhabitents of the Earth if they will not hearken unto my words 6. For hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men. 7. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you. for Behold if they will not believe my words, they would not believe my servants if it were possible he could show them all things 8. Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation--mine anger is kindled against them. O ye unbelieving ye stiffnecked Generation 9. Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; Behold I have reserved the things which have been spoken of which I have entrusted to my servant for a wise purpose in me it shall be made known unto future Generations 10. But this generation shall have my word through you, But for this Generation they shall have my word 11. And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you. Yea & the testimony of three of my servants shall go forth with my word unto this generation 12. Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them. Yea three shall know of a surety that those things are true 13. I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; for I will give them power that they may Behold & view these things as they are 14. And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my Church out of the wilderness--clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an array with banners, & to none else will I grant this power among this Generation 15. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word. & the testimony of three Witnesses will I send forth and my word 16. And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit-- & behold whosoever beleaveth in my word him will I visit with the manifestations of my spirit & they shall be Born of me 17. And you must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained-- 18. And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them; & their testimony shall also go forth & thus if the People of this Generation harden not their hearts I will work a reformation among them 19. For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. & I will put down all lieings & deceivings & Priestcraft & envyings & strifes & Idolatries and sorceries & all manner of Iniquities & I will establish my Church yea even the Church which was taught by my Desciples & now if this Generation do harden their hearts against my words Behold I deliver them up unto Satan for he reigneth & hath much Power at this time for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the People of this Generation & how far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorah do they come at this time & Behold the Sword of justice doth hang above their heads & if they persist in the hardness of their hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon them 20. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified. Behold I tell you these things even as I also told the People of the destruction of Jerusalem & my word shall be verrified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified 21. And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me and to yield to the persuasions of men no more; & now I command my Servant Joseph that he repenteth & walketh more uprightly before me & yield to the perswations of men no more
The part of the ms revelation shown here contains essentially the same information as the more finely edited text of D&C 5 except for two points. [The text of this revelation appearing in BC seems to be an intermediate text making the ms text in the Whitney collection the oldest version of the revelation available.]
The remainder of the revelation beyond verse 21 exhibits the other type of text changes seen in the first 21 verses, including the change from third to first person in reference to Joseph and Martin. Some phrases have been added, but they add no essential content but make the text easier to understand or fill out a thought. D&C 5 contains (comparatively) a remarkable number of changes from this early ms version based mostly in the change from third person reference to first person.
- The future duty of Joseph Smith (verses 4, 6 and 17) David Whitmer especially seemed to resent the change in the text here. In his later life he felt that the developments beyond the Book of Mormon (the Church organization, economic changes, publishing the revelations, etc.) were inspired by Joseph Smith and not God. (See note 8 chapter 13 this volume.)
- The changes in verses 18 and 19. The ms revelation appears to be directed to certain persons or groups who were engaged in persecuting Joseph Smith. It gives the remarkable prediction that a Church will be established. The form of verse 19 appearing in D&C 5 (essentially the same as the 1835 D&C) gives a more global prediction of scenes near the parousia.
A number of the revelations had changes by the time they appeared in print. It must be understood that for the most part, these early revelations involved the immediate direction in regard to challenges that faced the Prophet and his associates. As events evolved, the Lord often gave different counsel or expanded information about some issues. In some cases the revelations were private counsel directed to certain individuals. When they were published the publication committees were evidently directed that this information be removed, generalized or altered. Such an example occurs in what is now section eight of the D&C [see notes there]. Most of Joseph's revelations which appear in the History are either directed to certain individuals, certain situations or are instruction on procedure based on the current situation. With the natural delay between the events that drew forth the revelations and their publication, a slow process in Joseph's day, there could be new counsel and instruction that made changes in the wording of the revelations. For the most part, it is easy to see the wisdom and mercy of God in these substantive changes as they responded to the needs of the believers. However, some early Church members felt tried in their faith over changes in the texts of the revelations made by Joseph and the various publication committees. They felt such changes tampered with sacred words or else proved that Joseph Smith was a charlatan. But the great majority of members understood that Smith was a prophet and felt comfortable with a continuing expansion of information and even voted that Joseph Smith should be able to edit and adjust the revelations as he saw fit under the direction of God. [For example, FWR, November 8, 1831]
10a.D&C 3. Joseph Smith clearly intended his history to include the text of historically significant revelations he received. The ms history places the revelations in the text (usually) at the time they were received. The form of the revelations in the sense of punctuation, spelling, capitalization and division in verses has changed over the years. Occasionally the committees responsible for publishing the revelations have made various minor changes in the texts of the revelations for a wide variety of reasons. See note 18 for some examples. Nearly all the revelations that appear in the history were written down when received but sometimes a period of time elapsed. The revelations were most often dictated by Joseph Smith to a scribe and were recorded without punctuation, etc. The standardization evident now was carried out by the editorial committees when publication took place. These mss were often copied by persons who were understandably concerned about the instruction and direction contained in them. Hence, ms "families" could and did arise for many of the revelations, with the actual original not being in evidence. Many of the original mss vanished for a number of reasons. They were sometimes stolen or destroyed by enemies of Joseph Smith, borrowed by well-meaning believers, or simply lost because of the many cares of Smith and his followers. Fortunately copies were preserved. Because ms families exist for the revelations, comparisons within a family can exhibit variations in the text, modeling in a small way the mss of the NT. Such variations are generally the sort of errors or degradations always induced by this process. A few variations are deliberate and are discussed in a general way in note 18, this chapter. At each revelation, we will discuss significant textual variations. The revelations appearing in the history which also appear in the LDS D&C are always the versions appearing in the LDS D&C edition of 1921. Editions after 1921 include no essential changes in the text, but do add some revelations and text helps.
The known copies of this revelation -D&C 3- do not include the original. There is one ms of this revelation contained in a letter of four pages, the content of which is a recounting of Harris' visit to Anthon and Mitchell. The letter has no date, but Harris is referred to in the first person. The first publication of this revelation is found in the BC, chapter 2. There is one noteworthy change in wording between the current version and the BC version. Changes in this revelation by the 1835 D&C publication committee include
1. Vs. 10:Other variations appear to be copying errors or slight changes in spelling/grammar.[Woodford]
D&C "which is contrary . . . called"2. Vss. 16, 17, 18a of the D&C read as follows in the BC
BC "and he will only cause thee to be afflicted for a season, and thou are still chosen, and wilt again be called"Nevertheless, my work shall go forth and accomplish my purposes, for as the knowledge of a Savior has come into the world, even so shall the knowledge of my people, the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites