Document Type



Religion (CGU)

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Other Religion | Religion


I want to raise an old question about Joseph Smith’s revelations, one that came up early in Church history when plans were first being made to publish the compilation of revelations called the Book of Commandments.1 The question is about the language of the revelations. Joseph noted in his history that at the November 1831 conference in Kirtland where publication was approved “some conversation was had concerning revelations and language.” This was the occasion when William E. McLellin, apparently the leading critic of the language, was challenged to make a revelation himself, and failed. Joseph said the Elders at the conference all watched while McLellin made “this vain attempt of a man to imitate the language of Jesus Christ,” noting that “it was an awful responsibility to write in the name of the Lord.”

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© 1993 Religious Studies Center Brigham Young University