In the table which follows, each Sunday in the sequence will be identified in red. Every Sunday is included, even those with nothing significant to report. Other days of the week are included only when there is some purpose for including them. I have made an effort to exclude from the notes those things which do not pertain to a better understanding of the timing of the events discussed.
I have tried to specify the reasons behind each of my assumptions in the extensive notes which follow the timeline. The dates given below are mostly approximations (identified by a ~ symbol), and are sometimes no more than a best guess. There are nevertheless some tight constraints on many of the time sequences, which restrict the possible dates to within a few days.
Sunday, September 02, 1827
Sunday, September 09, 1827
Sunday, September 16, 1827
|Thursday, September 20, 1827, Manchester
||Joseph Knight and Josiah Stowell arrive.
Lucy Smith specifies this date:
"On the twentieth of September Mr. Knight came with his friend Mr. Stowell to see how we were managing matters with Mr. Stoddard and company." [REH 137; see EMD 1:326]
Joseph Knight records that he arranged his business so as to be in Palmyra about the 22nd of September:
"I went to Rochester on Business and returned By Palmyra to be there about the 22nt of September. I was there several Days." [JKR 32]
|Saturday, September 22, 1827, Manchester,
||J Smith gets the plates, hides them in a birch log.
Both Joseph and Lucy Smith specify this date.
"On the twenty second day of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty seven, having went 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." [PJS 1:283; see HC 1:17]
"On the night of the twenty-first, I sat up very late, as my business pressed upon my hands, and I did not retire until past twelve. About twelve o'clock, Joseph came to me and asked me if I had a chest with a lock and key. ..."
"Shortly after this, Joseph's wife passed through the room with her bonnet and riding dress; and in a few minutes they left together, taking Mr. Knight's horse and wagon." [REH 137; see EMD 326]
Joseph Smith's younger sister, Katharine Smith Salisbury added the additional information that Joseph was to meet the angel at Cumorah at 2:00 AM to receive the plates.
"I well remember the trials my brother had, before he obtained the records. After he had the vision, he went frequently to the hill, and upon returning would tell us, 'I have seen the records, also the brass plates and the sword of Laban with the breast plate and interpreters.' He would ask father why he could not get them? The time had not yet come, but when it did arrive he was commanded to go on the 22d day of September 1827 at 2 o'clock." [EMD 1:521]
|Sunday, September 23, 1827, Macedon
||J Smith is hired to work on a well in Macedon.
Lucy Smith states that this was on the day after Joseph got the plates.
"The next day Mr. Warner came to him from Macedon and requested Joseph to go with him to a widow's house in Macedon. The widow, by the name of Wells, wanted a wall of a well taken up, and she would pay Joseph money for the labor." [REH 140; see EMD 1:329-330]
|~Wednesday, September 26, 1827, Manchester
||J Smith returns home, retrieves the plates.
This date is estimated based upon Lucy's account which relates a sequence of events in which one of the neighbors started asking lots of questions about the plates after Joseph had been gone "but a little while." On the morning following, Joseph's father went to a neighbor's house and overheard a group of men scheming to get the plates away from Joseph. One of the men who was there was a conjurer who had been sent for in order to determine by magic where the plates were. This conjurer had traveled 60 miles to get there, which took him all night, and the latter part of the previous day. Someone had to make a similar trip in order to ask him to come. This group could not have assembled sooner than three days after it was known (or suspected) that Joseph had the plates, and four days is more likely. If the trip had been planned prior to Joseph obtaining the plates, there would have been no need for the excessive travel exertions.
After Joseph Smith Sr. returned home, Emma rode on horseback to Macedon to warn Joseph of what was going on. Lucy mentions that Emma rode through Palmyra Village, so the widow's home where Joseph was working was at least four or five miles from the Smith farm, in the opposite direction from Cumorah. Joseph told the widow Wells that he would return as soon as he could to finish the work he had begun, and he returned with Emma. After arriving home, Joseph then set off on foot to retrieve the plates from where he had secreted them in a birch log near the hill Cumorah (about three miles south of the Smith farm). According to Lucy, Joseph was accosted three different times while returning home with the plates, and he ran much of the way. After Joseph got home with the plates, they sent Don Carlos to Hyrum's house for a chest, and found Hyrum at tea with two of his wife's sisters. The fact that they were at tea would indicate that it was probably mid- to late-afternoon when Joseph got the plates home. [See REH 140-145 and EMD 1:331-332
Sunday, September 30, 1827
|~Monday, October 01, 1827, Manchester
||Joseph Smith resumes his work on his father's farm.
Lucy states that:
"After bringing home the plates, Joseph now commenced work with his father on the farm in order to be as near as possible the treasure that was committed to his care." [REH 148; see EMD 1:339]
Presumably Joseph would have returned to Macedon to finish working on Widow Wells' well as he had promised. This would push the date of beginning work on his father's farm out to around the first of October.
Sunday, October 07, 1827
|~Friday, October 12, 1827, Manchester
||Joseph Smith retrieves the breastplate.
"Soon" after beginning work on his father's farm, Joseph retrieved the breastplate, which Lucy then described. [REH 148 and EMD 1:339]
It seems likely that Joseph would not have wanted the breastplate to remain in its hiding place near the hill Cumorah any longer than necessary. It also seems likely that the men who were trying to get the plates away from Joseph would have kept a close watch on Joseph and his activities, at least for a while. I have arbitrarily selected a date more than three weeks after his obtaining of the plates for him to have retrieved the breastplate and brought it home.
Sunday, October 14, 1827
Sunday, October 21, 1827
|Sunday, October 28, 1827, Manchester
||The plates and breastplate are buried under the hearth.
Lucy relates that "shortly" after Joseph retrieved the breastplate, he came to the house with great concerns that a mob would come to the house that night to search for the record.
"It was resolved that a portion of the hearth should be taken up and the plates and breastplate should be buried under the same, and then the hearth relaid to prevent suspicion." [REH 149; EMD 1:341]
The hearth had scarcely been relaid when the mob arrived as had been anticipated. In an agricultural society, there are daily chores to be done every morning and evening, and always a lot of work to be accomplished in between. The most opportune time for enough men to assemble to warrant calling a mob, would be on Sundays when the daily labors (excepting the chores) are frequently suspended. I have here selected a Sunday spaced approximately midway between dates which are more independently defined.
|Thursday, November 01, 1827, Manchester
||Plates are concealed under the cooper's shop floor.
According to Lucy's account they had "but a few days rest" before Joseph received intimations of the return of the mob [REH 169; EMD 1:342] and Joseph Knight relates that a Mr. Beeman discovered the location of the plates under the hearth by use of a divining rod [JKR p 34]. Martin Harris reported a different reason for removing the plates from under the hearth.
"They were then hidden under the hearth in his father's house. But the wall being partly down, it was feared that certain ones, who were trying to get possession of the plates, would get under the house and dig them out. Joseph then took them out, and hid them under the old cooper's shop, by taking up a board and digging in the ground and burying them." [TM 166-167]
|Sunday, November 04, 1827, Manchester
||Plates are removed to the cooper's shop loft.
Joseph was later warned to remove the plates and breastplate, whereupon he removed them from the chest under the floor, and placed them in some flax in the loft of the shop. The mob arrived "as soon as it was dark" [REH 150; EMD 1:342], found the chest under the floor and splintered it to pieces, but were unsuccessful in finding the plates in the loft. I have selected the date as the Sunday following the burial of the plates under the hearth.
Sunday, November 11, 1827
Sunday, November 18, 1827
|Sunday, November 25, 1827, Manchester
||Alva Hale arrives to help Joseph Move to Harmony.
Martin Harris indicated Joseph's reasons for deciding to move to Pennsylvania.
"The excitement in the village upon the subject had become such that some had threatened to mob Joseph, and also to tar and feather him. They said he should never leave until he had shown the plates. It was unsafe for him to remain, so I determined that he must go to his father-in-law's in Pennsylvania. He wrote to his brother-in-law Alvah Hale, requesting him to come for him." [TM p170]
Lucy describes Alva's time at the Smith home as "the short interval of Alva's stay with us," [REH 153; EMD 1:348] which would indicate that he was probably there less than a week. I have estimated the time of his arrival backwards from the date of Joseph's departure for Harmony.
|~Monday, November 26, 1827, Manchester
||Martin Harris gives Joseph Smith $50 in silver
It was during "the short interval of Alva's stay with us," that this much needed gift was given to Joseph. The gift had to be made sufficiently prior to Joseph's departure that he would have time to travel around and pay off his accumulated debts. Lucy Smith and Martin Harris both record the incident.
"During the short interval of Alva's stay with us, Alva and Joseph were one day in Palmyra at a public house doing some business with the landlord, when Mr. Harris entered the room. Many strangers were present. When he came in, he walked up to my son, gave him his hand, and said, "How do you do, Mr. Smith?" Then, taking a bag of silver from his pocket, he said, 'Here Mr. Smith, is fifty dollars. I give it to you to do the Lord's work with. No,' said he, 'I give it to the Lord for his own work.' [REH 153; EMD 1:348-349]
"I advised Joseph that he must pay all his debts before starting. I paid them for him, and furnished him money for his journey." [TM p 170]
|~Saturday, 01 December, 1827, Manchester
||Joseph and Emma begin their move to Harmony.
Martin Harris places the move of Joseph and Emma to Harmony at "the last of October, 1827. It might have been the first of November" [TM 170]. Joseph Smith, however remembers that they arrived at the house of his wife's father in the month of December [JSH 1:62]. Both Larry C. Porter [OCNY 133] and Donna Hill [JSFM 73] accept the December date. Martin Harris' memory might have been a little better about the day of the week. He says "It was understood that they were to start on Monday; but they started on Saturday night and got through safe" [TM 170]. December 1 was a Saturday in 1827.
Sunday, December 02, 1827, (traveling)
Monday, December 03, 1827, (traveling)
Tuesday, December 04, 1827, (traveling)
Wednesday, December 05, 1827, (traveling)
|~Thursday, December 06, 1827, Harmony
||Joseph and Emma arrive at the Isaac Hale home.
Traveling distance was approximately 130 miles (the distance is variously estimated at from 128 to 155 miles. Donna Hill specifies 128 miles, a full four days trip for a team and wagon JSFM 73. For the other extreme see HJS 117 n1). Considering that they had to take all of their possessions with them, and Emma was 2.5 months pregnant, this trip may have taken five or even six days. Since they started on a Saturday night, they could not have gotten very far on the first day.
Sunday, December 09, 1827
|~Monday, December 10, 1827, Harmony
||Joseph and Emma move into the old Jesse Hale house.
"It was also shortly after the ultimatum of Father Hale that Joseph Smith and his wife moved to another home, approximately 150 yards southeast of the Isaac Hale residence. The new home of the Smiths belonged to Jesse Hale, and rested on property owned by Isaac Hale." [OCNY 133; see also EMD 1:540]
It seems probable that Joseph may have resided with his in-laws for as much as a week while arranging to move to a more permanent residence. It also seems that they would want to be settled in their new location before the holiday season began.
Sunday, December 16, 1827
Sunday, December 23, 1827
~December1827 to February 1828, JS copies characters and translates some of them
"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 of the plates. I copyed a considerable number of them and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them 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." [PJS 1:284; HC 1:19]
David E. Sloan has examined what Joseph Smith may have meant when he said he translated some of the characters, and suggests that this "translation" may not have been any intelligible part of the Book of Mormon. [See ATT 72-76] It seems reasonable to believe that prior to hiding up his record, Mormon may have prefaced his abridged history of the Nephite people with some sort of brief notes or comments designed to assist the finder in understanding some of his personal writing traits or peculiarities.
Sunday, December 30, 1827
Sunday, January 06, 1828
Sunday, January 13, 1828
Sunday, January 20, 1828
Sunday, January 27, 1828
|~Tuesday, January 29, 1828, Palmyra
||Martin Harris leaves Palmyra for Harmony.
Lucy says that it was arranged before Joseph Smith left Palmyra that Martin Harris was to follow as soon as Joseph had enough time to translate some of the characters.
"Joseph started in December for Pennsylvania. It was agreed upon that Martin Harris should follow him as soon as Joseph should have sufficient time to transcribe some of the Egyptian characters. Then Mr. Harris was to take the characters to the East and through the country in every direction, and on his way he was to call on all who were professed linguists to give them an opportunity of showing their talents in giving a translation of the characters." [REH 154]
According to Joseph Smith's 1832 history, Martin Harris received a personal vision, in which he was told to go to New York City with some of the characters from the plates and show them to the learned.
"... Martin Harris, who became convinced of the visions and gave me fifty Dollars to bare my expences and because of his faith and the righteous deed [the gift of $50] 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 Susquehanna and said the Lord had shown him that he must go to new York City with some of the characters so we proceeded to coppy some of them and he took his Journy to the Eastern cittys and to the Learned ..." [PJS 1:9]
Wednesday, January 30, 1828, [traveling]
Thursday, January 31, 1828, [traveling]
Friday, February 01, 1828, [traveling]
|~Saturday, February 02, 1828, Harmony
||Martin Harris arrives in Harmony to see Joseph.
February, 1828 to April, 1828: Martin Harris' trip to New York City - Professor Anthon.
The timing for the Martin Harris trip to New York City is largely based upon the distance traveled, and the travel time to and from each new location. We know he left home in February, and began writing for Joseph on April 12. As will be seen, the schedule is very tight, and does not leave much free time to fill in.
"Martin undertook this venture in a small wagon drawn by a team of mules in February, 1828, traveling alone on miles of unimproved roadways. The college to which he went was the forerunner of Columbia University today. New York City was a distance of between four and five hundred miles." [MHS l22]
The four to five hundred miles spoken of would be for the round trip from Harmony, Pennsylvania, but is slightly underestimated since it is probable that he went to Albany, New York first. The distance from Harmony to Albany was just a little more than the distance from Harmony to Palmyra (i.e. about 150 miles). It would then have been a distance of about 300 miles from Albany to New York City. On the return trip to Harmony, Martin would not have had to go through Albany, which would shorten the distance to about 200 miles, making the total round trip from Joseph Smith's farm approximately 550 miles. Add to this the initial trip from Palmyra to Harmony, and two more round trips to Palmyra after the New York City trip, and we have over 1,250 miles covered by Martin Harris in a small two mule wagon in just under two and one-half months. Stanley B. Kimball has suggested that "there is some evidence that he returned to Palmyra after receiving the manuscript before leaving for the East." [ATP p328] but this is highly unlikely as there is simply not enough time to insert an additional eight days of travel. In the estimates given below, I figure an average of approximately 30 miles per day while Martin Harris is traveling alone.
Sunday, February 03, 1828
|~Monday, February 04, 1828, Harmony
||M Harris departs for Albany, New York City, etc.
Since the purpose of the trip had been pre-arranged in December, Martin would have arrived with provisions, and in anticipation of his trip. He would not have tarried long at the Smith home.
"There are two independent sources stating that Harris did indeed seek the opinion and advice of [Luther] Bradish [in Albany] concerning the transcription. The first source is Pomeroy Tucker. ... Tucker reports that Harris 'sought the interpretation and bibliological scrutiny of such scholars as Hon. Luther Bradish, Dr. Mitchell, Professor Anthon and others.' ..."
"The second source is a statement made by John H. Gilbert in September 1892. ... According to Gilbert, Harris 'stopped at Albany and called on Lt. Governor Bradish ...' (Furthermore, the statement by W.W.Phelps, that Harris 'went to New York City by way of Utica and Albany,' strengthens the possibility that Harris consulted Bradish about the transcription.)" [ATP 329-330]
Tuesday, February 05, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, February 06, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, February 07, 1828, [Traveling]
Friday, February 08, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Saturday, February 09, 1828, Albany
||M Harris arrives in Albany, visits Mr. Luther Bradish.
I have estimated five days traveling time for a distance of approximately 150 miles from Harmony, Pennsylvania to Albany, New York.
Sunday, February 10, 1828
|~Monday, February 11, 1828, Albany
||M Harris departs Albany for New York City.
I have estimated one day in Albany for Martin Harris to clean up from his trip, locate and arrange a meeting with Lt. Governor bradish, and then show Joseph Smith's transcriptions, and seek advice from Lt. Governor Bradish.
Tuesday, February 12, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, February 13, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, February 14, 1828, [Traveling]
Friday, February 15, 1828, [Traveling]
Saturday, February 16, 1828, [Traveling]
Sunday, February 17, 1828, [Traveling]
Monday, February 18, 1828, [Traveling]
Tuesday, February 19, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, February 20, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Thursday, February 21, 1828, New York City
||M Harris arrives in New York City.
I have estimated 10 days traveling time for Martin Harris to traverse the distance of approximately 300 miles from Albany to New York City.
|~Saturday, February 23, 1828, New York City
||M Harris visits with Dr. Samuel Mitchill.
I have estimated 2 days to find and make appointments, and to meet with Dr. Samuel Mitchill.
Sunday, February 24, 1828
|~Monday, February 25, 1828, New York City
||M Harris visits with Professor Charles Anthon.
I have estimated 2 additional days to locate, make appointments with and meet with Professor Charles Anthon, and then to make any necessary purchases such as provisions for the return trip.
Professor Anthon wrote two letters, approximately seven years apart, and in each of the two letters he states that Martin Harris arrived with a note of introduction from Dr. Mitchell.
"Some years ago, a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, the paper which the farmer would hand me." Letter to E. D. Howe, February 17, 1834. [CHC 1:103]
"Many years ago--the precise date I do not now recollect,--a plain-looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon a certain paper, marked with various characters, which the doctor confessed he could not decipher, and which the bearer of the note was very anxious to have explained." . . .
"As Dr. Mitchell was our 'Magnus Appollo' in those days, the man called first upon him; but the Doctor, evidently suspecting some trick, declined giving any opinion about the matter, and sent the countryman down to the college, to see, in all probability, what the 'learned pundits' in that place would make of the affair." Letter to T. W. Coit, April 3, 1841. [CHC 1:104-105, 106]
According to Joseph Smith's history, Martin Harris indicates that he saw Professor Anthon before seeing Dr. Mitchill.
"He [Professor Charles Anthon] replied 'I cannot read a sealed book' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthony had said respecting both the characters and the translation." [PJS 1:285-286 and HC 1:20]
If, as Professor Anthon states, Dr. Mitchell initially declined giving any opinion on the matter, it is reasonable to believe that Martin Harris might return to see if Dr. Mitchell would be willing to make some definite statement after Professor Anthon had first expressed an opinion. This would tend to reconcile the differences in the accounts about the sequence of the visits.
|~Tuesday, February 26, 1828, New York City
||M Harris departs New York City for Harmony.
This would be after a total of only five days in New York City.
Wednesday, February 27, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, February 28, 1828, [Traveling]
Friday, February 29, 1828, [Traveling]
Saturday, March 01, 1828, [Traveling]
Sunday, March 02, 1828, [Traveling]
Monday, March 03, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Tuesday, March 04, 1828, Harmony
||M Harris arrives back at the Joseph Smith Farm.
I have estimated 7 days traveling time for Martin Harris to travel the 200 miles back to the Joseph Smith Farm. Note that 1828 was a leap year, hence February had 29 days.
|~Thursday, March 06, 1828, Harmony
||M Harris departs Harmony to return home.
I have estimated two days for Martin to discuss his trip and its results with Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith indicdates that Martin Harris stopped to see him on his way home to Palmyra:
"Mr Harris having returned from this tour he left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house ..." [PJS 1:286; see HC 1:20]
Friday, March 07, 1828, [Traveling]
Saturday, March 08, 1828, [Traveling]
Sunday, March 09, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Monday, March 10, 1828, Palmyra
||M Harris arrives home after 40 days traveling.
I have estimated four days for Martin's trip home, but when he got there he found that Lucy Harris was angry with him. She had planned on making the trip to New York City with him, and he just up and left without her. When he returned she prepared a separate bed and room for him which she refused to enter. [REH 155]
|~Wednesday, March 12, 1828, Palmyra
||M and L Harris leave Palmyra for Harmony visit.
I have allowed Martin only two days at home before returning to Harmony with his wife. When Martin began preparing to return to Harmony to write for Joseph, Lucy decreed that she was going with him. Martin agreed that she could go for a couple of weeks, but then he would take her home and return to Harmony to write for Joseph. [REH 155]
Thursday, March 13, 1828, [Traveling]
Friday, March 14, 1828, [Traveling]
Saturday, March 15, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Sunday, March 16, 1828, Harmony
||M and L Harris arrive, to visit J and E Smith
I have again allowed four days for the 130 mile trip - it may have been a little slower since Lucy is with Martin on this trip.
|~Monday, March 17, 1828, Harmony
||Lucy searches Joseph Smith home for plates.
Lucy Smith relates:
"As soon as she arrived there, she said she had come to see the plates and would never leave until she had accomplished it. Without delay she began ransacking every nook and corner of the house--chest, cupboard, trunk, etc.; consequently Joseph was compelled to take both the breastplate and the record out of the house and secrete them elsewhere." [REH 156-157]
|~Tuesday, March 18, 1828, Harmony.
||Lucy continues her search outside the house.
Lucy Smith continues:
"Not finding them in the house, she [Lucy Harris] concluded that Joseph had buried them, and the next day she went out and hunted the ground over, adjacent to the house. She kept up the search till two o'clock in the afternoon." [REH 157]
Sunday, March 23, 1828
|Monday, March 31, 1828, Harmony
||M and L Harris leave Harmony, after 2 week visit.
Lucy Smith indicates that the Harrises stayed in Harmony approximately two weeks during their visit, before returning home.
"When she returned home, which was about two weeks from the time she arrived in Harmony, she endeavored to dissuade Mr. Harris from having anything further to do with the writing or translating of the record. "[REH 157]
Tuesday, April 01, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, April 02, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, April 03, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Friday, April 04, 1828, Palmyra
||M and L Harris arrive in Palmyra from Harmony.
The normal four day trip.
Sunday, April 06, 1828
|~Tuesday, April 08, 1828, Palmyra
||M Harris leaves Palmyra to return to Harmony.
I have allowed Martin four days at home before returning, in order to have him arrive at Joseph Smith's farm on April 12th, when Joseph said he began as scribe.
Wednesday, April 09, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, April 10, 1828, [Traveling]
Friday, April 11, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Saturday, April 12, 1828, [Traveling]
||M Harris arrives to be Joseph Smith's scribe.
This completes Martin's 1250 mile tour accomplished in just 74 days. Travelling thirty miles in a day by mule team is no particular accomplishment, but averaging that distance for an extended period of time is extremely strenuous, and would require great motivation.
This date is fixed by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his history, and forms the termination point for completion of Martin Harris's trip to New York and it's associated events
"Mr. Harris having returned from this tour he left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and twenty-eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, ..." [PJS 1:286 and HC 1:20]
Saturday, April 12, 1828 through Saturday, June 14, 1828: The translation begins
It is possible, but not likely, that Emma and perhaps her brother Reuben Hale did some writing for Joseph during Martin Harris's trip to New York City. It is more likely that Emma and Reuben assisted on a few occasions during Martin Harris' tenure as scribe. Emma's description of her scribal activities for Joseph indicate a longer term of more regular writing than would fit into this early time frame (see Sun, Oct 26, 1828) but she does relate one incident which would fit most easily into the time frame of the early translation of the Book of Lehi.
"When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him."
As the word "Sarah" does not appear in the Book of Mormon, it is more likely that the word "Sariah" was intended as is found in a later report by Edmund C. Biggs:
"This brings to my mind a statement of the Elect Lady, Emma, in the winter of 1856. She said to me, 'When you see David Whitmer you will see an honest man.' And in the same conversation, she remarked of her husband Joseph's limited education while he was translating the Book of Mormon, and she was scribe at the time, 'He could not pronounce the word Sariah.' [DWI 126]
Joseph's abilities at spelling and pronounciation would have rapidly improved with time and practice, which suggests that the events described here would most likely have occurred during Joseph's initial attempts at translation.
Each of the above reports are immediately followed by another incident which has always been interpreted as also occuring while Emma was acting as a scribe for Joseph. I find nothing in any of the extant reports which would indicate that this incident occurred while Emma was writing for Joseph. I believe it to be more likely that it happened on an occasion while Martin Harris was writing, but while Emma was present in the room.
"When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, 'Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?' When I answered 'Yes,' he replied 'Oh! I was afraid I had been deceived.' He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls." [EMD 1:530-531]
"And one time while translating, where it speaks of the walls of Jerusalem, he stopped and said, 'Emma, did Jerusalem have walls surrounding it.' When I informed him it had, he replied, 'O, I though I was deceived.' [DWI 126-127]
"He [David Whitmer] said Smith translated by means of a pair of large bound Speciales ie the 'Book of Mormon', that the Characters would appear in the air & stay until correctly translated and then disappear that Smith was ignorant of the Bible that when translating he first came to where Jerusalem was spoken of as a 'Walled City' he stopped until they got a Bible & showed him where the fact was recorded - Smith not believing it was a walled city." [MMM 486]
Third Nephi chapter 4 mentions the walls of Jerusalem several times, but that chapter was translated during a time that Oliver Cowdery was Joseph's scribe, in May of 1829. It is not likely that after a full month of translating, and having completed the books of Lehi, Mosiah, Alma and Heleman, that Joseph would still be concerned that he might have been deceived. It is more probable that the incident described occurred during the translation of the lost 116 pages..
Translation of the Book of Lehi
|Saturday, April 12, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 001
|Sunday, April 13, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 002
|Monday, April 14, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 004
|Tuesday, April 15, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 006
|Wednesday, April 16, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 008
|Thursday, April 17, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 010
|Friday, April 18, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 012
|Saturday, April 19, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 013
|Sunday, April 20, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 015
|Monday, April 21, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 017
|Tuesday, April 22, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 019
|Wednesday, April 23, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 021
|Thursday, April 24, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 023
|Friday, April 25, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 024
|Saturday, April 26, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 026
|Sunday, April 27, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 028
|Monday, April 28, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 030
|Tuesday, April 29, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 032
|Wednesday, April 30, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 034
|Thursday, May 01, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 036
|Friday, May 02, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 037
|Saturday, May 03, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 039
|Sunday, May 04, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 041
|Monday, May 05, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 043
|Tuesday, May 06, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 045
|Wednesday, May 07, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 047
|Thursday, May 08, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 048
|Friday, May 09, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 050
|Saturday, May 10, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 052
|Sunday, May 11, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 054
|Monday, May 12, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 056
|Tuesday, May 13, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 058
|Wednesday, May 14, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 059
|Thursday, May 15, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 061
|Friday, May 16, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 063
|Saturday, May 17, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 065
|Sunday, May 18, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 067
|Monday, May 19, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 069
|Tuesday, May 20, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 071
|Wednesday, May 21, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 072
|Thursday, May 22, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 074
|Friday, May 23, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 076
|Saturday, May 24, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 078
|Sunday, May 25, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 080
|Monday, May 26, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 082
|Tuesday, May 27, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 083
|Wednesday, May 28, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 085
|Thursday, May 29, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 087
|Friday, May 30, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 089
|Saturday, May 31, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 091
|Sunday, June 01, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 093
|Monday, June 02, 1818
||Book of Lehi, 095
|Tuesday, June 03, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 096
|Wednesday, June 04, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 098
|Thursday, June 05, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 100
|Friday, June 06, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 102
|Saturday, June 07, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 104
|Sunday, June 08, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 106
|Monday, June 09, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 107
|Tuesday, June 10, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 109
|Wednesday, June 11, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 111
|Thursday, June 12, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 113
|Friday, June 13, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 115
|Saturday, June 14, 1828
||Book of Lehi, 117
The dates given above for the translation of the 118 pages are based upon an even distribution of the total number of pages translated through the period of time for the translation. ~118 pages were translated in 63 days, which yields an overall rate of ~1.87 pages per day. The figure of 118 pages translated instead of the typically referenced number of 116 pages is based upon D&C 10:41.
"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;" [D&C 10:41]
Not all of the pages which Joseph Smith and Martin Harris translated were lost. This means that they actually translated more than 116 pages, but only 116 pages were taken by Martin Harris to Palmyra, and were lost. The lost pages were eventually replaced in our Book of Mormon by the small plates of Nephi, which begin with 1Nephi 1, and end (the plates being full) with Omni 30.
"And I, Amaleki, had a brother, who also went with them; and I have not since known concerning them. And I am about to lie down in the grave; and these plates are full. And I make an end of my speaking." [Omni 30]
It seems impossible to me that Mormon, in his abridgement, would have excluded every mention of Mosiah 1 and his entire people fleeing the land of Nephi with their records and with all of their possessions and discovering the land and the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah becoming their king (Omni 13-14). It seems unlikely that Mormon would not have mentioned the discovery of Coriantumur by the people of Zarahemla and the translation of the large stone by Mosiah 1 about the demise of the Jaredite nation (Omni 20-22). I must therefore conclude that these were among the events chronicled in those 116 pages which were lost.
On the other hand, it seems likely to me that since Amaleki delivered the small plates of Nephi to king Benjamin, he would have inserted them into his own records at the time when he received them.
"Wherefore, it came to pass that after Amaleki had delivered up these plates into the hands of king Benjamin, he took them and put them with the other plates, which contained records which had been handed down by the kings, from generation to generation until the days of king Benjamin." [Words of Mormon 10]
This means that in preparing his abridgement, Mormon would have encountered, in sequence:
The records of Mosiah 1
The early records of king Benjamin
The small plates of Nephi (delivered by Amaleki)
The later records of king Benjamin.
And the later records of king Benjamin would have been prefaced by the Words of Mormon, although the small plates themselves may have been attached either at that point, or to the very end of Mormon's records. Mormon specifies that at the time of his examining the small plates of Nephi he had not yet written his record from the latter days of king Benjamin on.
"Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take [future tense] from the [large] plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people. ... And now, concerning this king Benjamin -- ..." [Words of Mormon 3, 12]
Royal Skousen presents an excellent analysis of Mormon's insertion of the small plates of Nephi at the juncture where the 116 pages were lost, and suggests very plausibly that there may have been two chapters of Mosiah 1 which were lost with the 116 pages, and that our present Book of Mosiah begins with what would have been Mosiah Chapter 3 [CM 138-139].
The additional few pages which were retained by Joseph Smith would therefore be the Words of Mormon, as that is the next book in sequence, mentions the reign of King Benjamin, fits the sequential timing requirements and provides a logical interim stopping point. The Words of Mormon was therefore probably translated before the loss of the 116 pages, and constitutes the earliest translated portion of the Book of Mormon which we still have.
|Saturday, June 14, 1828, Harmony
||Joseph delivers up the Urim and Thummim to the angel.
It appears that Joseph was required to return the Urim and Thummim to the angel during that time while Martin Harris had the manuscript in his possession.
"(For it [the Urim and Thummim] 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)" [PJS 1:2878; see HC 1:21]
"The angel appeared and gave him the interpreters, which had been taken from him when Martin went off with the manuscript." [JSBM 92.]
|Sunday, June 15, 1828, Harmony
||M Harris leaves Harmony for Palmyra with 116 pages.
||Emma gives birth to Joseph Smith's first son.
It was most likely on the morning of Sunday, June 15, 1828 that Martin Harris left Joseph Smith's home in Harmony with the 116 pages of manuscript to show to his family in Palmyra. Proctor and Proctor say that Martin Harris left Harmony on the 14th, but Lucy says that it was immediately after Martin Harris left that Emma gave birth to Joseph Smith's first son, who only lived about one hour. Lucy uses the term "the next day" frequently enough, that to me the term "immediately after" would mean the same day.
"Immediately after Mr. Harris's departure, Emma became the mother of a son, but she had but small comfort from the society of the dear little stranger, for he was very soon snatched from her arms and borne aloft to the world of spirits before he had time to learn good or evil." [REH 161]
Monday, June 16, 1828, [Traveling]
Tuesday, June 17, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, June 1828, [Traveling]
|Thursday, June 20, 1828, Palmyra
||M Harris arrives in Palmyra with the 116 pages.
"When he arrived at home, he was not slow to exhibit the manuscript to his wife and family." [REH 168] I have estimated a four day trip.
|~Sunday, June 29, 1828, Harmony
||Emma starts to recover
"For some time, the mother seemed to tremble upon the verge of the silent home of her infant. So uncertain seemed her fate for a season that, in the space of two weeks, Joseph never slept one hour in undisturbed quiet. At the expiration of this time she began to recover, ..." [REH 161]
Sunday, July 6, 1828
|~Tuesday, July 8, 1828, Harmony
||Joseph Smith leaves for Palmyra in search of M Harris.
Lucy indicates that Emma was on the verge of death for two weeks, after which she finally began to recover. Joseph determined that as soon as Emma was well enough, he would travel to Palmyra to see what had become of Martin Harris. It had been "nearly three weeks" since they had heard from him. Joseph did not tell Emma of his plans, nevertheless "in a few days" Emma voiced to Joseph her own concerns on the subject, but Emma was still weak enough that Joseph was not willing to leave her "just then."
"After much persuasion, he concluded to leave his wife in the care of her mother for a few days, and set out on the before-mentioned journey." [REH 162]
From the entire sequence, it would appear that Martin Harris had been gone for more than three weeks before Joseph left to seek him.
|~Wednesday, July 9, 1828, Palmyra
||The 116 manuscript pages are stolen.
Lucy suggests that Martin kept close cognizance of the manuscript until just shortly before Joseph arrived.
"For a short time previous to Joseph's arrival, Mr. Harris had been otherwise engaged and thought but little about the manuscript. When Joseph sent for him, he went immediately to his drawer, but the manuscript was gone!" [REH 171]
Thursday, July 10, 1828, [Joseph Traveling]
|~Friday, July 11, 1828, Manchester
||Joseph arrives in Manchester to see Martin Harris.
Lucy says that Joseph took the stage, which would have taken about 3 days. After Joseph left the stage, he still had 20 miles to walk. Larry Porter is probably correct in suggesting that Joseph took the stage to Genesee, which is one of the larger towns on the southeast of Palmyra and about 20 miles distant. With the assistance of a stranger whom Joseph met on the stage, Joseph arrived at the Joseph Smith Sr. farm about daybreak (which a footnote suggests would be about 4:15 or 4:30 a.m. in July). Under the existing conditions, a 20 mile walk, much of the way through woods at night, would probably have taken Joseph about 8 hours, so he would have left Genesee about 8:30 or 9:00 on Thursday night. Richard Bushman says the stage "stopped twenty miles from the Smith house at ten in the evening." [JSBM 91] Martin Harris was sent for (a distance of 1.5 miles) about 6:00 a.m., but did not show up until nearly 1:00 p.m., when he disclosed the terrible news that he had lost the manuscript. [REH 164-165]
|~Saturday, July 12, 1828, Manchester
||Joseph Smith begins his return to Harmony.
"The next morning he went home." [REH 166]
Sunday, July 13, 1828, [Joseph traveling]
Monday, July 14, 1828, [Joseph traveling]
|~Tuesday, July 15, 1828
||Joseph arrives back at his home in Harmony
Another three day journey, assuming he also returned on the stage from Genesee.
|~Wednesday, July 16, 1828
||Joseph loses BoM plates and Urim and Thummim,
Receives D&C 3.
Lucy recollects in her history what Joseph told her at their next meeting. Her record, however has some few discrepancies with Joseph's own account. According to Lucy, Joseph said:
"Immediately after I left you, I returned home. After I arrived here, I commenced humbling myself in mighty prayer before the lord, and as I poured out my soul in supplication to him, that if possible I might obtain mercy at his hands and be forgiven of all that I had done which was contrary to his will, an angel stood before me and answered me, saying, that I had sinned in delivering the manuscript into the hands of a wicked man, and as I had ventured to become responsible for the man's faithfulness, I would of necessity suffer the consequences of the indiscretion, and I must now give back the Urim and Thummim [in her original manuscript, Lucy says it is the plates which were returned, not the Urim and Thummim] into his (the angel's) hands."
"This I did as I was directed, and as I handed them to him, he remarked, 'If you are very humble and penitent, it may be you will receive them again; if so, it will be on the twenty-second of next September.'"
"Joseph then related a revelation which he received soon after the angel visited him, a part of which is as follows: [part of D&C 3]" [REH 173-174]
In Joseph's own history, he relates things a little differently:
"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.
"Revelation to Joseph Smith jr, given July 1828 concerning certain manuscripts on the first part of the book of Mormon which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris.
"After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again; ..." [PJS 1:287; see HC 1:21-23]
In concatenating the two statements, I believe the most likely sequence of events to be as follows: The Urim and Thummim was returned to the angel when Joseph Smith was given permission to give custody of the manuscript to Martin Harris. After the manuscript was lost and Joseph returned home, he humbled himself in prayer before the Lord and asked forgiveness for his transgression. The angel then appeared before him and handed him the Urim and Thummim, through which he inquired and received D&C 3. After receiving this revelation, Joseph was required to return both the Urim and Thummim and the Book of Mormon plates to the angel, who told him that if he was humble and penitent he would receive them again, and if he received them, it would be on the 22d of September 1828.
This interpretation is supported in a letter written by William E. McLellan to Joseph Smith III, from Independence, Mo, July & Sept 8, 1872:
"When Joseph Delivered the 116 pages of the translation to Martin Harris, his Plates, his Interpreters, and his gift were taken from him for some two months. The Plates and gift of translation were returned to him, but not the Interpreters. He translated the entire book of Mormon by the use of a little stone he had in his possession before he obtained the plates." [TBM 13]
Sunday, July20, 1828
Sunday, July 27, 1828
Sunday, August 03, 1828
Sunday, August 10, 1828
Sunday, August 17, 1828
Sunday, August 24, 1828
Sunday, August 31, 1828
Sunday, September 07, 1828
Sunday, September 14, 1828
Sunday, September 21, 1828
|Monday, September 22, 1828, Harmony
||BoM plates and U&T returned, D&C 10:1-5 received.
Lucy quotes Joseph as saying,
"'After the angel left me,' said he, 'I continued my supplications to God, without cessation, and on the twenty-second of September, I had the joy and satisfaction of again receiving the Urim and Thummim, with which I have again commenced translating, and Emma writes for me, but the angel said that the Lord would send me a scribe, and I trust that it will be so. The angel was rejoiced when he gave me back the Urim and Thummim, and he told me that the Lord was pleased with my faithfulness and humility, and loved me for my penitence and diligence in prayer, in the which I had performed my duty so well as to receive the Urim and Thummim and was able to enter upon the work of translation again.'" [REH 175]
Lucy then adds that it was a few months later that Joseph received the revelation in D&C 10. This must be in error.
The dating of D&C 10 has caused difficulty since its first publication as section IX of the Book of Commandments in 1833. In that initial publication, the paragraph in question (verses 1-5 in the current edition) appeared as verse 1.
"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, and you also lost your gift at the same time, nevertheless it has been restored unto you again; therefore, see that you are faithful and go on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work as you have begun. Do not run faster than you have strength and means provided to translate, but be diligent unto the end, that you may come off conquerer; yea, that you may conquer satan, and those that do uphold his work." [BoC XI:1]
When this was reprinted as section XXXVI of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, there were a number of changes made for clarification, which brought it essentially into the form in which we have it today.
"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, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them; and you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened; 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: 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: 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." [1836 D&C XXXVI:1a]
There are elements of the above paragraph which require that it fit into the context of September 22, 1828, whether we examine the wording of the original publication or that of todays publication. Joseph Smith had delivered up the translated manuscript into the hands of Martin Harris. Because of this his mind had become darkened and he had lost the gift of translation for a time. "Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again." The plates and the Urim and Thummim were restored to Joseph on September 22, 1828, and he did continue with the translation with Emma as his scribe. He was instructed to "continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun," and that is exactly what he did. The remainder of D&C 10 (verses 6-70) does not fit into the September 1828 context, but does fit smoothly into a May 1829 context as will be demonstrated when we arrive at that point.
In preparing this detailed timeline of the translation of the Book of Mormon, I can come to no other logical conclusion than that D&C 10 is actually a combination of two separate revelations, the first (verses 1-5) received on September 22, 1828, and the second (verses 6-70) received in May of 1829.
I am not the first to suggest two separate dates for D&C 10, see APA 80-84.
Sunday, September 28, 1828
Sunday, October 05, 1828
Sunday, October 12, 1828
Sunday, October 19, 1828
|~Sunday, October 26, 1828, Harmony
(Translation to Mosiah 1:1, Harmony)
|BoM translation begins (~3 pages/week).
I have assumed a date late in October in order to give Joseph Smith as much time as possible to participate in the fall harvest in order to store provisions for the coming winter. Joseph was commanded to not proceed faster than means were provided to enable him to translate, and he records that he did not return to translating for a while.
"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." [PJS 1:288; see HC 1:28]
I have estimated that Joseph resumed his translating after approximately one month, and even then at a slow rate of only about 3 pages per week. Emma was his scribe when she had time to assist, but in her weakened condition and with a household to run there would not have been a great deal of time for translation. Despite what must have seemed slow progress to Joseph, Emma implies by her statements that there were more than just a few pages translated with her acting as scribe.
"In writing for J[oseph]. S[mith]. I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it and dictating hour after hour, with nothing between us." [EMD 1:539]
Emma's brother Reuben also assisted Joseph in his translation on various occasions. [See EMD 1:541]
Nov 1828 to Feb 1829: The visit of Joseph's parents to Harmony - timing problems.
If one were to take Lucy's account quite literally, one would be led to conclude that she and her husband, after not hearing from Joseph for two months, went to pay him a visit. Since Joseph left the Smith home in Manchester in mid July, this would place the time of Joseph's parents visit about mid September. Lucy, however, relates that when they arrived, Joseph had already received the plates again and had resumed translating them with Emma as his scribe. Since she also says that Joseph received the plates on September 22, 1828, there is something amiss with the timing of her account. Lucy's specific wording would also indicate that only she, and Joseph Smith Sr. made the trip.
"... being uneasy as to the consequences of his distress of mind, Mr. Smith and myself went down to Harmony to make him a visit. When we came within three-quarters of a mile of the house, Joseph started off to meet us, telling his wife that Father and Mother were coming, although he could not see us." [REH 173]
Joseph Knight records a visit from Joseph Smith Sr. and Samuel Smith, but places it in January. The Prophet records that it was in February that his father visited him, during which time he received D&C 4 for him, and Joseph's account makes no mention of Lucy being present. The accounts of Joseph Knight and Joseph Smith Jr. can be reconciled by placing the arrival of the Smiths at the Joseph Knight farm on the last day of January, as he accompanies them to the Joseph Smith Jr. farm on the next day, which would have them arrive in February as the prophet relates. Lucy's account precludes Samuel being present, as she records that upon their return to Palmyra they found both Sophronia and Samuel extremely sick.
Richard Bushman takes what I consider a reasonable approach in Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, by describing two different visits of Joseph Smith Sr. to Harmony during the winter of 1828-1829. He depicts the initial visit of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Smith as occurring in October of 1828 and lasting for nearly three months. He specifies that they arrived back in Manchester on January 22, 1829, and he then has Joseph Smith Sr., in company with Samuel Smith, returning to visit Joseph Knight and then on to see Joseph and Emma in February of 1829 (See JSBM 95).
I must reject the timing of Richard Bushman's scenario for several reasons. I have been unable to find any reference which would correlate with the Smiths arriving back in Manchester on January 22. In Lucy's account, she states that when they returned from visiting Joseph and Emma, they found Samuel (20 years old) and Sophronia (25 years old) very ill, "lying at the point of death" - hardly descriptive of someone who within a few days would be departing on a 250 mile round trip in mid winter. Joseph and Emma were so low on provisions as to have to ask friends for assistance (see ~Nov 16, 1828 below), and four people require approximately twice as many provisions for sustenance as do two persons. I cannot ascribe any extended stay to Joseph's parents, particularly one of three months duration, once they knew the meager circumstances their son was in. I can, however understand how Joseph Smith's father would want to return to Harmony with additional provisions as soon as he was able. I initially thought that Joseph's parents might have planned the timing of their visit in order to be with their son on his birthday (23 Dec), but the timing does not work.
|~Sunday, November 02, 1828, Palmyra
(Translation to Mosiah 2:7, Harmony)
|J Smith Sr. and Lucy leave Palmyra for Harmony.
I have selected a date which would have a few pages of the Book of Mosiah translated by the time of their arrival in order to properly fit Lucy's account. Lucy quotes Joseph as telling her during their visit:
"... on the twenty-second of September, I had the joy and satisfaction of again receiving the Urim and Thummim, with which I have again commenced translating, and Emma writes for me, ..." [REH 176]
Monday, November 03, 1828, [Traveling]
Tuesday, November 04, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, November 05, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Thursday, November 06, 1828, Harmony
||J. Smith Sr. and Lucy arrive at Harmony.
I have allowed for a normal journey of four days.
Sunday, November 09, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 2:38, Harmony)
|~Monday, November 10, 1828, Harmony
||J Smith Sr. and Lucy leave Harmony for home.
Lucy seems to indicate a stay of more than just a few days in her narrative.
"We spent our time very agreeably and returned home relieved of a burden which had seemed too heavy to be borne. The joy we had over the present prosperity of our son with regard to his spiritual concerns far outweighed anything of the kind which we had before experienced. We now had learned to appreciate the sweet from having drunk deeply of the bitter for a season." [REH 178]
The timing of this return visit is based upon Oliver Cowdery's term as school teacher, the dates of which seem quite solidly determined (see below).
Tuesday, November 11, 1828, [Traveling]
Wednesday, November 12, 1828, [Traveling]
Thursday, November 13, 1828, [Traveling]
|~Friday, November 14, 1828, Manchester
||J. Smith Sr. and Lucy arrive home in Manchester.
Joseph's parents arrived home after four days of travel to find Sophronia and Samuel extremely sick.
"When we arrived at home, we found Sophronia and Samuel lying at the point of death. Hyrum had shut up his own house and quitted business in order to take care of the children during our absence. Sophronia lay very sick for two months, in which time she was dreadfully salivated by the doctor who attended her." [REH 180]
By mentioning that Sophronia lay very sick for two months, Lucy informs us that Samuel's recovery was more rapid.
|~Sunday, November 16, 1828, Harmony
(Translation to Mosiah 3:23, Harmony)
|Joseph and Emma go to visit Joseph Knight.
The visit by Joseph's parents may have helped deplete Joseph's already limited supplies to the point that he was sufficiently concerned to go and ask an old friend for assistance. This date is a guess based upon "the first of the winter." A Sunday visit suggests itself as less likely to interfere with the normal labors of those being visited.
Joseph Knight records:
"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 live But work. His wifes father and family were all against him and would not h[e]lp him. He and his wife Came up 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 and my wife and familey all against me about helping him. But I let him have some little provisions and some few things out of the Store apair of shoes and three Dollars in money to help him a litle." [JKR 36]
|~Thursday, November 20, 1828, Manchester
||Lyman Cowdery visits Hyrum about teaching school.
It was "soon" after Lucy returned from visiting Joseph that Lyman Cowdery visited Hyrum (who was one of the principal trustees for the school) to apply for a position teaching school. [REH 180]
Sunday, November 23, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 4:25, Harmony)
|~Monday, November 24, 1828, Manchester
||L Cowdery contracts to teach school for 16 weeks.
I have allowed four days for a meeting of the trustees to be called and consideration of the matter to be given.
"A meeting of the trustees was called, and it was settled that Mr. Cowdery should be employed." [REH 180]
In his book on Oliver Cowdery, Stanly Gunn states:
"The school was to continue for sixteen weeks and was to be held in the log school house which was a mile east of the old Joseph Smith Sr. Home on the old "Plank Road" where the little cobble rock Armington school now stands." [OC 29]
But the school at which Oliver Cowdery was to teach was not the Armington School House (District 10), but rather the Stafford School House (District 11), approximately 1.5 miles south of the Joseph Smith Sr. farm.
"The district school site is located on the west side of Stafford Road approximately one mile south of the intersection of Stafford and Armington roads. The district school house was situated on the site presently occupied by the later cobblestone school house. The earlier frame school house (of Joseph's day) was moved and incorporated into the house directly south of the cobblestone school house." [OMP 113-114]
|~Tuesday, November 25, 1828, Manchester
||Oliver Cowdery to replace L Cowdery as teacher.
"But the next day, this Mr. Cowdery brought his brother Oliver to the trustees and requested them to receive him in his place, as business had arisen that would oblige him to disappoint them. But he would warrant the prosperity of the school in Oliver's hands, if the trustees would accept of his services." [REH 180]
Oliver applied to board at the Joseph Smith Sr. home as soon as his replacement for Lyman Cowdery was accepted. [REH 180]
Sunday, November 30, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 7:3, Harmony)
|~Monday, December 01, 1828, Manchester
||O Cowdery begins 16 weeks of teaching school.
I have assumed that the 16 week school term would begin on Monday, Dec 1, 1828, and with Christmas week off, would conclude on Friday, March 27, 1829. To conclude school one week later (April 3) would not give Oliver enough time to get to Joseph Smith's home in Harmony by April 5th.
Sunday, December 07, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 8:4, Harmony)
Sunday, December 14, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 10:1, Harmony
Sunday, December 21, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 11:18, Harmony)
|Monday, December 22, 1828, Manchester
||O Cowdery, no school Christmas week.
Sunday, December 28, 1828
(Translation to Mosiah 12:29, Harmony)
Sunday, January 04, 1829
(Translation to Mosiah 14:5, Harmony)
Sunday, January 11, 1829
(Translation to Mosiah 15:29, Harmony)
Sunday, January 18, 1829
(Translation to Mosiah 18:3, Harmony)
Sunday, January 25, 1829
(Translation to Mosiah 19:9, Harmony)
|~Tuesday, January 27, 1829, Palmyra
||J Smith Sr. and Samuel leave Palmyra for Pennsylvania.
This date was selected in order to have them arrive at Joseph Knight's residence on January 31, 1829.
Wednesday, January 28, 1829, [Traveling]
Thursday, January 29, 1829, [Traveling]
Friday, January 30, 1829, [Traveling]
|~Saturday, January 31, 1829, Pennsylvania
||J Smith Sr. and Samuel arrive at Joseph Knight's home.
Joseph Knight records:
"In January his [Joseph Smith's] father and Samuel [Smith] came from Manchester to my home when I was Buisey a Drawing Lumber. I told him they had travelled far enough. I would go with my sley and take them down to morrow." [JKR 36]
I would interpret from these comments that Joseph Smith Sr. and Samuel Smith, were on their way to see Joseph and Emma, and arrived late in the day at Joseph Knight's farm. The Knight's put them up for the night and escorted them to Joseph and Emma's home on the next day.
|~Sunday, Feb 01, 1829, Harmony
(Translation to Mosiah 21:1, Harmony)
|J Smith Sr. and Samuel arrive with Mr. Knight at Joseph's
Joseph Knight's account continues from above:
"I went Down and found them well and the[y] were glad to see us. We conversed about many things." [JKR 36]
|~Monday, February 02, 1829, Harmony
||Joseph Knight returns home.
Joseph Knight's account continues:
"In the morning I gave the old man a half a Dollar and Joseph a little money to Buoy paper to translate, I having But little with me. The old gentleman told me to Come and see him once in a while as I Could I went home followed teaming till the last of March the slaying [sleighing] Being good." [JKR 36]
I understand this to say that after a pleasant visit, Joseph and Emma put Joseph Knight up overnight, and before he left to return home on the next morning, he gave Joseph Smith Sr. a half dollar, and Joseph Smith Jr. a little money to buy paper with to help him continue with the translating.
|~Wednesday, February 04, 1829, Harmony
||D&C 4 received for Joseph Smith Sr.
I have selected a date which would be approximately half way through a typical one week stay.
|~Sunday, February 08, 1829, Harmony
(Translation to Mosiah 22:6, Harmony)
|J Smith Sr. and Samuel leave Harmony for home.
This allows for a one week stay, after arriving with provisions.
Monday, February 09, 1829, [Traveling]
Tuesday, February 10, 1829, [Traveling]
Wednesday, February 11, 1829, [Traveling]
|~Thursday, February 12, 1829, Manchester
||J Smith Sr. and Samuel arrive at home in Manchester.
Again assuming four days for the journey.
|~Sunday, March 8, 1829, Harmony
(Translation to Mosiah 27:33, Harmony)
|D&C 5 received.
This date has been selected to allow completion of the Book of Mosiah approximately two weeks before the arrival of Oliver Cowdery. D&C 5 specifies that Joseph is to "translate a few more pages" and then stop for a season. The "few more pages" implies that there is a logical stopping point which Joseph will reach after having translated these few more pages.
"... 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. 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. [D&C 5:30-31]
I have assumed that this logical stopping point is the end of the Book of Mosiah, having translated a total of 62 pages. (To make comparisons simpler, my definition of a "page" here is a printed page in the 1988 edition of the Book of Mormon.) The gift of translation had been restored to Joseph on 22 September 1828, and he said he had resumed translating with Emma as scribe. It seems to me that when the Lord told Joseph he would send him a scribe, it was because progress was slow, not because it had stopped. As can be seen by the timeline, this assumption is not extraordinary, and is reached by presuming a translation rate of only three pages per week. Since Joseph and Oliver later average well over 6 pages per day, this would compare with spending a total of one half day per week in the process of translating.
J. Christopher Conkling in A Joseph Smith Chronology takes a much more pessimistic view:
"Mar. 1829. Martin requests a revelation and Joseph receives D&C 5. By this time, with Emma as scribe, Joseph has translated only 16 pages." [JSC 9]
I find this statement to be untenable, and find no evidence to support it. To the contrary I interpret Emma's own statements about assisting in the translation to be indicative of a more extensive role in the translation of the Book of Mosiah than has often been assumed.
"In writing for J[oseph]. S[mith]. I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat with the stone in it and dictating hour after hour, with nothing between us." [EMD 1:539]
Add to this the fact that Emma's brother, Reuben Hale, also assisted Joseph in the translation during this period of time, and 62 pages over a period of five months (~12 pages per month) does not seem excessive.
"Q. Who were scribes for father when translating the Book of Mormon?"
"A. Myself, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and my brother, Reuben Hale."
Interview of Joseph Smith III with Emma Smith, 1879. [EMD 1:541 see also p 537]
Reuben Hale turned 19 years old in 1829 and the only opportunity for him to participate as scribe was while the Smiths lived adjacent to the Hale home in Harmony. It is unlikely that Reuben did any writing after the arrival of Oliver Cowdery.
|~Sunday, March 15, 1829, Harmony
||Translation of the Book of Mosiah is complete.
This date was determined by estimating a two week cessation of translation before the arrival of Oliver Cowdery. The translation rate of three pages per week was derived from the start date of October 26, 1828 and completion date of March 15, 1829.
|~Friday, March 27, 1829, Manchester
||O Cowdery completes 16 weeks of teaching school.
This date marks the end of 16 weeks (not counting Christmas week) beginning December 1, 1829. The date was calculated as the last Friday which would still give Oliver Cowdery time to get to Harmony by April 5, 1829. The beginning of the school term was calculated as 16 working weeks (ie 17 weeks) before that time.
|~Sunday, March 29, 1829, Harmony
||Joseph Knight Sr. and wife bring provisions.
Joseph Knight records,
"I went home followed teaming till the last of March the slaying [sleighing] being good. I told my wife I must go Dow[n] and see Joseph again. 'Why Do you go so soon, for,' said she;. Says I, 'Come go and see.' And she went with me. Next morning we went Down and found them well and ware glad to see us. Joseph talked with us about his translating and some revelations he had Received..." [JKR 36]
|~Tuesday, March 31, 1829, Manchester
||O Cowdery and Samuel Smith leave Manchester for Harmony.
I have allowed five days for travel as Samuel and Oliver probably walked. It may have taken only four days, as Lucy says that they started in April and Oliver was anxious to meet Joseph Smith, but as the weather was inclement I have presumed five days.
"In April, all Mr. Cowdery's affairs being arranged according to his mind, he and Samuel set out for Pennsylvania. The weather for sometime previous had been very wet and disagreeable - raining, freezing and thawing alternately, which had rendered the roads almost impassable, particularly in the middle of the day. Notwithstanding, Mr. Cowdery was not to be detained either by wind or weather, and they persevered until they arrived at Joseph's house, although Oliver froze one of his toes and he and Samuel suffered much on the road from fatigue." [REH 184]
Wednesday, April 01, 1829, [Traveling]
Thursday, April 02, 1829, [Traveling]
Friday, April 03, 1829, [Traveling]
Saturday, April 04, 1829, [Traveling]
|Sunday, April 05, 1829, Harmony
||O Cowdery and Samuel arrive (about sundown).
This date is not an estimate, but is recorded by Oliver Cowdery.
"Near the time of the setting of the sun, Sabbath evening, April 5, 1829 my natural eyes, for the first time beheld this brother. He then resided in Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania." [MA 1:14]
Oliver's account continues:
"On Monday, the 6th I assisted him arranging some business of a temporal nature, and on Tuesday the 7th, commenced to write the Book of Mormon." [MA 1:14]
April 06, 1829 to June 16, 1829 - Translation of the Book of Mormon
At this point we move to a daily analysis of the translation of the Book of Mormon. Again, it is the rate of translation, approximately 6.5 pages per day. which is tabulated.
|Monday, April 06, 1829
||Oliver assists Joseph w/business.
|Tuesday, April 07, 1829
|Wednesday, April 08, 1829
|Thursday, April 09, 1829
|Friday, April 10, 1829
|Saturday, April 11, 1829
|Sunday, April 12, 1829
|Monday, April 13, 1829
|Tuesday, April 14, 1829
|Wednesday, April 15, 1829
|Thursday, April 16, 1829
|Friday, April 17, 1829
|Saturday, April 18, 1829
|Sunday, April 19, 1829
|Monday, April 20, 1829
|Tuesday, April 21, 1829
||D&C 6 [from Alma 37?]
Alma 37 may have given rise to D&C 6.
In seeking a logical date to ascribe to D&C 6, the date on which Alma 37 was translated presents itself as being reasonable. I presume that Oliver cowedry was not allowed to translate the Book of Mormon, as that was Joseph's gift, but in Alma 37, Oliver would have been made poignantly aware that there were other ancient records which the Lord could grant him permission to translate. In Alma chapter 37, Alma entrusts to his son Helaman the Nephite records (v2), an abridgement of which Oliver is assisting Joseph to translate. Also entrusted to Helaman are the brass plates of Laban (v3) which are to be preserved, and handed down from generation to generation, eventually to "go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon." In D&C 6, Oliver is given a sacred gift from above, by which he will "know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries."
In Alma 37 we are told that the contents of the brass plates have been of great worth to the Nephite people, and "convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God ..." (v8) In D&C 6, Oliver is told that by exercising his gift, he will "bring many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, convince them of the error of their ways." (v11)
Helaman is also given possession in Alma 37 of the twenty-four plates which are being preserved by the Lord for "a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God;" (v12) "that he may show forth his power unto future generations." (v14) This statement is repeated in verse 18, and reiterated a third time in verse 19. In verse 23 the Lord says that he will prepare his servant Gazelem "a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, ..."
"And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying: I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land." [Alma 37:24-25]
Can there be any doubt that Oliver Cowdery considered himself to be of one of the "future generations" that "shall hereafter possess the land," of which Alma wrote? And did not Joseph Smith have the interpreters of which Alma wrote? And was not the purpose of the interpreters to bring forth or translate all these records which God promised he would reveal to the future inhabitants of the land?
I suggest that upon reaching this point in the translation of the Book of Mormon, Oliver desired to be able to translate from the brass plates of Laban, and from the twenty-four gold plates, and from other records which the Lord had preserved to come forth in our day. Based upon these assumptions, I have estimated the date of D&C 6 to be approximately April 22, 1829.
|Wednesday, April 22, 1829
|Thursday, April 23, 1829
|~Friday, April 24, 1829
||D&C 7 [from Alma 45:18-19 ?]
Alma 45:18-19 may have given rise to D&C 7.
According to the proposed schedule, Joseph and Oliver would have translated Alma 45:18-19 on this date:
"And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of."
"Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial."
Discussion of this passage might easily lead their minds to a difference of opinion as to whether John the Revelator was taken by the Lord "unto himself", as Joseph says they had.
"A difference of opinion arising between us about the account of John the Apostle, mentioned in the new testament, John, twenty first chapter and twenty second verse, whether he died, or whether he continued. We mutually agreed to settle it by the Urim and Thummim, and the following is the word which we received. ... [D&C 7]" [PJS 1:289; see HC 1:35-36
There are other verses in the Book of Mormon which could have triggered D&C 7, such as the story of the three diciples who were permitted to tarry at the end of 3 Nephi, but none which fit so readily into the current time-line.
|Saturday, April 25, 1829
|Sunday, April 26, 1829
|Monday, April 27, 1829
||D&C 8 ?
|Tuesday, April 28, 1829
|Wednesday, April 29, 1829
||D&C 9 ?
|Thursday, April 30, 1829
|Friday, May 01, 1829
|Saturday, May 02, 1829
|Sunday, May 03, 1829
|Monday, May 04, 1829
|Tuesday, May 05, 1829
|Wednesday, May 06, 1829
|Thursday, May 07, 1829
|Friday, May 08, 1829
||3 Nephi 01
|Saturday, May 09, 1829
||3 Nephi 04
|Sunday, May 10, 1829
||3 Nephi 07
|Monday, May 11, 1829
||3 Nephi 12
|Tuesday, May 12, 1829
||3 Nephi 16
|Wednesday, May 13, 1829
||3 Nephi 19
|Thursday, May 14, 1829
||3 Nephi 21
|Friday, May 15, 1829
||3 Nephi 27
||D&C 13 [from 3 Nephi 27:19-20]
3Ne 27 probably gave rise to Aaronic Priesthood Restoration, D&C 13.
3Ne 27 was not coincidentally translated on this date. May 15th was the date of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, and it appears to me that the commandment issued in these verses was the cause of the prayer to ask about baptism.
"And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
"Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. [3Ne 27:19-20]
There are other verses in the Book of Mormon which could have caused Joseph and Oliver to ask about baptism, but none of them meet the descriptions given by Joseph and Lucy Smith's so well as this one.
Lucy describes the event as follows:
"One morning however they sat down to their usual work when the first thing that presented itself to Joseph was a commandment from God that he and Oliver should repair to the water and each of them be baptized." [REH 185]
Joseph's account does not mention a "commandment" but does mention the remission of sins.
"We still continued the <work of> translation, when in the ensuing month [May, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine] we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates." [PJS 1:290; see HC 1:39]
Consequently, the rate of translation was specifically adjusted such that the translation of these verses coincided with this date.
Oliver Cowdery also uses the word "commandment" in describing the occurrence, but it almost certainly refers to the commandment of John the Baptist for them to baptize each other.
"...and we only waited for the commandment to be given 'Arise and be baptized.'" [JSH 1:71, note]
|Saturday, May 16, 1829
|Sunday, May 17, 1829
|Monday, May 18, 1829
|Tuesday, May 19, 1829
|Wednesday, May 20, 1829
|Thursday, May 21, 1829
|Friday, May 22, 1829
|Saturday, May 23, 1829
|Sunday, May 24, 1829
|Monday, May 25, 1829
||Samuel H. Smith baptized.
Apparently not all of the time available was spent in translating, as Joseph records that they spent some time converting Samuel, and others.
"About this time my brother Samuel H. Smith came came to visit us. We informed him of what the Lord was about to do for the children of men; and to reason with him out of the Bible; ... The result was that he obtained revelation for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth of our assertions to him and on the twenty fifth day of that same month in which we had been baptized and ordained; Oliver Cowdery baptized him, And he returned to his father's house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit." [PJS 1:292; see HC 1:44]
"We met with many from time to time, who were willing to hear us, and wishful to find out the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and apparently willing to obey the Gospel when once fairly convinced and satisfied in their own minds;" [PJS 1:294; see HC 1:51
This does not show in the time schedule, as the dates given constitute a rate of translation, not specific dates. If some days were missed, then more was translated on other days.
|Tuesday, May 26, 1829
|Wednesday, May 27, 1829
||D&C 10:6-70 received ?
Now the remainder of D&C 10 becomes significant. Joseph has completed the instructions he was given on September 22, "continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun." (v3) When he asks what he is to do now, the Lord tells him that he is not to retranslate the portion of the translation which was lost, because it had since been modified by wicked men. Instead, Joseph is to translate the account contained on the plates of Nephi, which is the more full account of that which was lost. It appears consistent to me that this portion of section 10 would not have been revealed until the translation of Alma through Moroni had been completed.
|Thursday, May 28, 1829
||D&C 11 recieved ?
I list D&C 11 as being received on this approximate date for Hyrum Smith, because the tentative schedule shows that they would have just translated Moroni 10, which contains several interesting comparisons with D&C 11:
1. D&C 11 speaks of the Book of Mormon in translation.
"Yea, cleave unto me with all our heart, that you may assist in bringing to light those things of which has been spoken - yea, the translation of my work; be patient until you shall accomplish it." (v19) "But now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto." (v22)
2. Gifts of the Spirit:
[Moroni 10:9-17] For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom; and to another that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; and to another ... faith, ... healing, ... miracles; ... prophesy; ... beholding of angels, ... tongues, ... interpretation, ... And all these gifts come by the Spirit of christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
[D&C 11:10] Behold, thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest heart, ...
3. Knowledge by the Spirit:
[Moroni 10:5] And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
[D&C 11:13-14] I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; and then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me;
4. Deny not the Spirit:
[Moroni 10:7,8] I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of god; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever, and again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many;
[D&C 11:25] Deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things.
|Friday, May 29, 1829
||D&C 12 received ?
"About the same time came an old Gentleman to visit us of whose name I wish to make honorable mention; Mr. Joseph Knight Senr. of Colesville, Broom County, New York [MS reads "Penn."]; who having heard of the manner in which we were occupying our time, very kindly and considerately brought us, a quantity of provisions, in order that we might not be interrupted in the work of translation, by the want of such necessaries of life: and I would just mention here (as in duty bound) that he several times brought us supplies (a distance of at least thirty miles) which enabled us to continue the work when otherwise we must have relinquished it for a season."
Being very anxious to know his duty as to this work, I enquired of the Lord for him, and obtained as follows. ... [D&C 12]" [PJS 1:292-293; see HC 1:47-48]
|Saturday, May 30, 1829, Harmony
||Begin move to Whitmer Farm.
Sunday, May 31, 1829, [Traveling]
Monday, June 01, 1829, [Traveling]
|Tuesday, June 02, 1829, Fayette
||Arrive at Whitmer Farm
June 03, 1829 to June 25, 1829, Translation of the small plates of Nephi
|~Wednesday, June 03, 1829
||1 Nephi 1:1
||Oliver Cowdery handwriting
|~Thursday, June 04, 1829
||1 Nephi 3:9
||O Cowdery & [J Whitmer ?]
In an initial evaluation of the handwriting on the Book of Mormon manuscripts, Dean Jessee suggested that the handwriting of the unknown scribe of those pages containing 1Ne 2:23 through 4:2-20 and 1Ne 12:8 through 16:14 was possibly that of John Whitmer [OBMM p 273].
|~Friday, June 05, 1829
||1 Nephi 4:20
|~Saturday, June 06, 1829
||1 Nephi 8:24
|~Sunday, June 07, 1829
||1 Nephi 12:18
||John Whitmer ? handwriting
|~Monday, June 08, 1829
||1 Nephi 14:1
||John Whitmer ? handwriting
The most recent find of portions of the original Book of Mormon manuscript pages has been in the recent acquisition (1973) by the University of Utah of a half-page which was part of the Frederick Kestler Collection. In his description of this manuscript, Everett Cooley, then curator of the University of Utah special collections wrote:
"Of all the items in the Kestler Collection, however, the prize has to be a manuscript page of the Book of Mormon (1Nephi 14) in the handwriting of David Whitmer." [FKC 224]
Upon inquiry, Dean Jesse informed me that because the manuscript of 1Nephi 14 was obtained by the University of Utah subsequent to his research on the manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon, he was not involved in any evaluation of the handwriting. I therefore obtained a photo copy of the page in question and Requested Dean Jessee to examine it. His evaluation is that the hand writing is definitely not that of David Whitmer. Dean Jessee is satisfied that the handwriting is that of the same individual (unknown scribe #1) whom he originally indicated could possibly be that of John Whitmer. There are a number of similarities between the handwriting in question and the known handwriting of John Whitmer. However, there are also a few distinct dissimilarities, which leaves the identification unlikely, unless more of the known handwriting of John Whitmer can be obtained for a more complete evaluation.
|~Tuesday, June 09, 1829
||1 Nephi 16
||Oliver Cowdery handwriting
|Wednesday, June 10, 1829
||1 Nephi 17
|Thursday, June 11, 1829
||1 Nephi 20
||BoM copyright registered, Palmyra
"Mean time our translation drawing to a close, we went to Palmyra, Wayne County, N.Y: Secured the Copyright; and agreed with Mr Egbert Grandin to print five thousand Copies for the sum of three thousand dollars." [PJS 1:300; see HC 1:71]
The copyright registration for the Book of Mormon is extant, and bears the date of June 11, 1829. The description of the Book of Mormon on the registration form is from the title page of the Book of Mormon, which Joseph says is a literal translation "taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates" (see PJS 1:300 and HC 1:71-72). Joseph Smith clarifies what he means by "very last leaf" by specifying that it was on the left hand side of the "book" of plates. This would mean that it would be the very last leaf as understood in semitic languages, in which books read from right to left. It would have been in that position which we would consider the first page in our language, as we read books. This is an indication that the translation of the Book of Moroni (and the title page which would have followed it) had been completed prior to this date, and that the small plates of Nephi were not attached to the back of Mormon's abridgement.
|~Friday, June 12, 1829
||2 Nephi 01
|~Saturday, June 13, 1829
||2 Nephi 02
||D&C 14, 15, 16 received ?
In looking for a plausible date for D&C 14 (for David Whitmer), 15 (for John Whitmer) and 16 (for Peter Whitmer), it seems reasonable that personal revelations to individuals (brothers) might have been sought after translating that portion of the Book of Mormon wherein Lehi's blessings to his sons was related, (i.e. 2Ne 1:28-3:25)
|~Sunday, June 14, 1829
||2 Nephi 05
|~Monday, June 15, 1829
||2 Nephi 09
|~Tuesday, June 16, 1829
||2 Nephi 10
|~Wednesday, June 17, 1829
||2 Nephi 15
|~Thursday, June 18, 1829
||2 Nephi 20
|~Friday, June 19, 1829
||2 Nephi 25
|~Saturday, June 20, 1829
||Three Witnesses Specified
"Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein."
"And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead." [2Ne 27:12-13]
|~Sunday, June 21, 1829
||2 Nephi 30
|~Monday, June 22, 1829
||D&C 17 received ?
"Almost immediately after we had made this discovery; it occurred to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and the aforementioned Martin Harris (who had came to enquire after our progress in the work) that they would have me enquire of the Lord, to know if they might not obtain of him to be these three special witnesses; and finally they became so very solicitous, and teased me so much, that at length I complied, and through the Urim and Thummim, I obtained of the Lord for them the following revelation. ... [D&C 17]" [PJS 1:295; see HC 1:52-53]
|~Tuesday, June 23, 1829
|~Wednesday, June 24, 1829
|~Thursday, June 25, 1829
||3 Witnesses see angel and plates
Lucy places the vision of the angel and the plates by the three witnesses as occurring after completion of the Book of Mormon translation, but Joseph's account indicates some additional translation after the appearance of Moroni to the three witnesses. Lucy states that in the morning, after breakfast and the subsequent daily morning services (reading, singing and prayer), they went to a grove a short distance from the house. It was between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon when they returned, so even leaving time for preparatory prayer and subsequent discussion, the vision must have lasted for more than four hours.
|~Friday, June 26, 1829, Fayette
||J Smith leaves Fayette for Manchester.
Saturday, June 27, 1829, [Traveling]
|~Sunday, June 28, 1829, Manchester
||Eight Witnesses view plates.
Lucy records that on the day following the experience of the three witnesses, they returned to their home in Manchester, and states that in a few days they were followed by Joseph, Oliver and the Whitmers, for a visit. Sunday seems like a particularly appropriate day for a visit, so I have selected the only Sunday remaining in June. It was during this visit, in Manchester, that the eight witnesses saw and handled the plates. After the witnesses returned to the house, the angel again appeared to Joseph, whereupon Joseph returned the plates to his care. [See REH 203]
Scriptural references are cited in the usual manner. I have used the following abbreviations in citing or referencing other works.
Max H. Parkin, "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10," The Seventh Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, The Doctrine and Covenants, Brigham Young University, 1979, pp 68-84.
Stanley B. Kimball, "The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems," Brigham Young University Studies, 10:3 pp 325-352.
David E. Sloan, "The Anthon Transcripts and the Translation of the Book of Mormon: Studying it Out in the Mind of Joseph Smith." Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 5:2, pp 57-81, 1996.
Book of Commandments of the Church of Christ.
Brigham H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 volumes, Deseret News Press.
Royal Skousen, "Critical Methodology and the Text of the Book of Mormon," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol 6, no 1, pp 121-144.
Lyndon W. Cook, David Whitmer Interviews, Grandin Book Company, 1991.
Dan Vogel editor, Early Mormon Documents, Signature Books, vol 1, 1996.
Everett Cooley, "The Frederick Keller Collection", Brigham Young University Studies, 13:2, (Winter 1973), pp223-224.
Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press, 7 volumes.
Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958.
Dean Jessee, "Joseph Knight's Recollection of Early Mormon History", Brigham Young University Studies, 17:1, autumn 1976, pp 29-39.
Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, University of Illinois Press, 1984.
J. Christopher Conkling, A Joseph Smith Chronology, Deseret Book, 1979.
Donna Hill, Joseph Smith The First Mormon, Doubleday, 1977.
Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Monthly Periodical, Kirtland, Ohio, 1834-1837.
Madge Harris Tuckett and Belle Harris Wilson, The Martin Harris Story, Vintage Books, 1983.
Stanly B. Kimball, "Missouri Mormon Manuscripts: Sources in Selected Societies," Brigham Young University Studies, 14:4, Summer 1974, pp458-487.
Dean C. Jessee, "The Original Book of Mormon Manuscript," Brigham Young University Studies, 10:3, Spring 1970, pp259-278.
Stanley R. Gunn, Oliver Cowdery, Second Elder and Scribe, Bookcraft, 1962.
Larry C. Porter, "Origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York and Pennsylvania", Ph.D Dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1971.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Old Mormon Palmyra and New England, Fieldbrook Productions Inc., 1991.
Dean C. Jessee editor, The Papers of Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Company; vol 1, 1989; vol 2, 1992.
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996.
John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, "The Translation of the Book of Mormon: Basic Historical Information," FARMS, 1986, 65p.
Joel Tiffany, "Mormonism," Tiffany's Monthly, New York, 1859.