Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet
 by Dan Vogel

Chapter 11
King Mosiah, Inspired Translator

On 7 April 1829, Joseph commenced dictating to Oliver Cowdery. The school teacher reflected with enthusiasm in 1834: “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated, with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites [would] have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history, or record, called ‘The book of Mormon.’”1 Through early April, Joseph dictated the remainder of the Book of Mosiah, an account of the reign of Mosiah II, the last of the Nephite kings. This Mosiah succeeded his father, King Benjamin, about 124 B.C. and reigned for thirty-­three years (Mosiah 29:46). Where Benjamin may have represented Joseph’s early years as a Methodist exhorter, Mosiah mirrored Joseph’s role as translator. Like Smith, Mosiah is a seer whose gift was to translate unknown languages—put to good use when Mosiah is presented with gold plates upon which the history of an even more ancient American nation is said to have been recorded.

In the third year of his reign, Mosiah sent an expedition of “sixteen of their strong men” headed by Ammon, a descendant of the Mulekite leader Zarahemla, into Lamanite lands to learn what had become of the group that previously left the city of Zarahemla for the land of Nephi. Apparently, all of this had been dealt with in more detail in the lost manuscript, whereas it is mentioned only in passing in the replacement text (cf. Omni 1:27-30). In any case, the expedition travels for forty days and finds the group living in the isolated city of Lehi-Nephi under the general subjugation of the Lamanites.2 Ammon is taken captive and brought before the Nephite King Limhi, who had succeeded his wicked father, Noah, and his grandfather, Zeniff, who left Zarahemla about 200 B.C. Limhi is happy to hear who Ammon is and expresses his desire to escape Lamanite domination and return his people to the land of Zarahemla.

Limhi calls his people to the temple to tell them his plan to escape bondage. In his speech, he complains about the Lamanite king, Laman, who exacted a 50 percent tax, and declares that “it is because of our iniquities and abominations that [God] has brought us into bondage” (7:20). Their most serious offense had been the slaying of the prophet Abinadi. Limhi admonishes his people to “turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind,” and that “if ye will do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage” (v. 33). At Limhi’s request, Ammon rehearses the history of Zarahemla from the time of Zeniff’s migration to his own departure from Zarahemla, including Benjamin’s last address to the people. Limhi dismisses the multitude to await further instructions concerning their exodus from the La­man­ite territory.

The story of Limhi’s people subtlety parallels Joseph Smith’s situation in Harmony. After their marriage, Joseph and Emma lived briefly in Manchester, but Emma longed to return to Harmony. When Joseph and Emma moved there, they settled on land owned by her father, Isaac, who was not sympathetic to Joseph. Isaac nevertheless offered to help them get established. Initially, Emma was happy in her homeland, and Joseph probably believed that living in Harmony was preferable to the conditions he had left behind in Manchester. Yet, there were unsettling aspects to living on land owned by an opponent, not the least of which was Hale’s threat to have Smith evicted.3 Cowdery arrived with means to remove the threat, but persecution would eventually drive Smith away. The lesson to Emma was that it was better living in freedom in a foreign land than in bondage in one’s homeland.

Limhi orders that a book of plates be brought to Ammon, who discovers that it contains a history of Limhi’s people called “the record of Zeniff.” Limhi asks Ammon if he can “interpret languages” (8:6). Ammon replies that he cannot. Disappointed, Limhi reveals that he possesses another record which he cannot read, explaining that it was found by his people in a far away “land among many waters,” perhaps a reference to the Great Lakes region (v. 8). Limhi says that he has long desired to return to Zarahemla and sent an expedition party of forty-three to search for the city. After wandering “many days,” they—like the American colonists—discovered “a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel” (v. 8). At last, the expedition returned, carrying with them artifacts of the nation that had mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth. As proof of the existence of this lost race, the explorers presented the king with “twenty-­four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold” (v. 9). The artifacts included large brass and copper breastplates—“perfectly sound”—and swords: “The hilts thereof have perished, and the blades thereof were cankered with rust” (vv. 10-11). This may have been meant to explain why copper implements had been recovered from North American Indian mounds while iron and steel had not been found.4

Limhi was anxious to solve the mystery of this lost race, informing Ammon: “There is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates. Therefore I said unto thee: Canst thou translate?” (8:11).

Upon hearing this story, Ammon tells the king: “I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer” (8:13). Who is this man? Limhi asks. Ammon informs him of King Mosiah, “the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God” (v. 14).

Mosiah’s “interpreters” will be described as “two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow” (Mosiah 28:13), which is how the “magic spectacles” Smith found with the plates were described. How Mosiah came into possession of them is not stated, although it is claimed that they “were preserved from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages” (28:14). When Benjamin entrusts Mosiah II with the sacred relics, including “the sword of Laban, and the ball or director” (1:16), there is no mention of “interpreters.” However, when Mosiah II passes the records and relics to Alma, the “interpreters” are noted (28:20). They likely constituted an unforeseen turn in the narrative. If they existed among the Nephites before Mosiah II for the purpose of reading “all records that are of ancient date,” one wonders why the Nephites continued to study Egyptian or what records needed to be otherwise deciphered (1:2-4).5

Contrasting his understanding of a prophet’s mantle with Ammon’s description of seership, Limhi declares that “a seer is greater than a prophet” (8:15), to which Ammon responds: “A seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God. But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings” (vv. 16-18).

Besides virtually paralleling Joseph’s own story of translating the gold plates and their history of a lost race, Ammon’s words to Limhi include subtle responses to Joseph’s immediate environment. Shortly after moving to Harmony, Emma’s uncle, Nathaniel Lewis—a lay Methodist minister who lived on a farm next to Isaac Hale, challenged Smith: “Joseph, can anybody else translate strange languages by the help of them spectacles?”

“O yes!” Joseph answered.

“Well now,” said Lewis, “I’ve got Clarke’s Commentary, and it contains a great many strange languages; now, if you will let me try the spectacles, and if by looking through them I can translate these strange tongues [from Clarke’s commentary] into English, then I’ll be one of your disciples.”6

Joseph offered no response to this challenge, simply walking away in disgust. If Ammon’s words to Limhi about the restrictions placed on the “interpreters” did not serve as an answer to the Reverend Lewis, they at least limited the curiosity of Martin Harris. Harris once said: “I never dared to look into them by placing them in the hat, because Moses said that ‘no man could see God and live,’ and we could see anything we wished by looking into them; and I could not keep the desire to see God out of my mind. And beside, we had a command to let no man look into them, except by the command of God, lest he should ‘look aught and perish.’”7

Ammon’s words also helped to define the relationship between Smith and Cowdery. Shortly after the new scribe arrived, it became apparent to Smith that Cowdery had come with his own competent gifts, one of which was working with a divining rod.8 Perhaps through Ammon’s exchange with Limhi, Joseph asserted the superiority of his gift over that of Cowdery’s, as if to say “a seer is greater than a rodworker.” It was not long before Cowdery began expressing a desire to try his hand at translating, and a series of three revelations to Cowdery in April document how Joseph handled the matter.

After translating “for some time,” Joseph said he received a revelation for Cow­dery, apparently at the latter’s request. It contained similar wording as the revelation to Joseph Sr. two months previous: “A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men. … Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God” (Book of Commandments 5:1, 2; hereafter BofC; cf. Doctrine and Covenants 6; hereafter D&C). Perhaps worried about Cowdery’s reliance on his rod and possible interest in treasure searching, the revelation exhorts him to “seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich” (v. 3).

Noting Cowdery’s gifts, the revelation states: “Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above; and if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways” (5:5).

The revelation attempts to discern Cowdery’s private thoughts as further witness of the superiority of the seeric gift. “As often as thou has inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. … Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God, that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart: I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee, that the words or the work which thou hast been writing is true. … Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?—What greater witness can you have than from God? And now behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness?” (vv. 6, 7, 11).

Smith’s 1839 history increases the impact of the disclosures to Cow­dery by emphasizing that the two men had never met before 5 April 1829. But in fact, Cowdery was living with Joseph’s parents prior to that time, and Joseph may very well have heard of Cowdery’s intense interest in the golden record during Joseph Sr.’s previous visit. Possibly, Joseph learned some things from his brother Samuel. If not, he would have certainly intuited much about Cowdery in the several days preceding the revelation. A phrase in the revelation hints at a possible deduction on Smith’s part: “If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time” (5:6). The very next month, Joseph and Oliver would overhear Samuel’s personal prayer, so privacy and confidentiality were hard to come by among those of such close associations.9

The revelation grants Cowdery permission to try his hand at translation: “And behold I grant unto you a gift if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph” (5:11). Cowdery is not allowed to translate Mormon’s record: “Verily, verily I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I command you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which had been hidden because of iniquity. And now behold I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established” (vv. 12-13). The other records referred to would include the plates of Nephi, the record of Zeniff, and the plates found by Limhi’s people. That these records were not physically available for translation was irrelevant since the gold plates were not physically present during their translation either. Of course, Cowdery would not succeed in this effort and would thereby learn how superior Smith’s gift was. Even so, the integrity of the Book of Mormon project was protected by otherwise giving Cowdery another assignment.

As in the previous revelation to Harris (BofC 4; cf. D&C 5), reference was made to death, but this time in the context of martyrdom. Speaking of those who might reject the message of the Book of Mormon, the revelation states: “They can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you, even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory” (5:14). Limhi made reference to the murder of a prophet (Mosiah 7:26), and shortly thereafter, Joseph would dictate to Cowdery an extended account of Abinadi’s martyrdom, who was slain for calling the wicked King Noah to repentance.10 The revelation closes: “Therefore fear not little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my Rock, they cannot prevail. … Be faithful; keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen” (BofC 5:16).

As promised, Cowdery wrote to his friend in Fayette, and as Whitmer recalled, mentioned how “Joseph had told [Oliver] his secret thoughts, and all he had meditated about going to see him, which no man on earth knew, as he supposed, but himself, and so he stopped to write for Joseph.”11 On a different occasion, Whitmer said Cowdery wrote that “he was convinced that Smith had the records and that he (Smith) had told him that it was the will of heaven that he (Cowdery) should be his scribe to assist in the translation of the plates.”12

Another revelation was dictated for Cowdery the same month to promise “a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my scripture of which have been spoken, by the manifestation of my Spirit” (BofC 7:1; cf. D&C 8). Consistent with the restrictions outlined by Ammon, Cowdery would not be allowed to translate with the spectacles or with Joseph’s stone but by a combination of two gifts: “Behold I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. … Remember this is your gift. Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God; and therefore whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, that you shall know. … Do not ask for that which you ought not. Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate all those ancient records, which have been hid up, which are sacred, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you” (vv. 1, 3, 4).13

The revelation’s warning that Cowdery should “not ask for that which you ought not” (BofC 7:4) reflected what Ammon said to King Limhi regarding the inter­preters: “And no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish” (Mosiah 8:13). The clarification that Cow­dery would translate by the same spirit of revelation “by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red sea on dry ground” (v. 2)—a statement not repeated in any of Smith’s other early revelations—recalls Ammon’s exhortation that the people should trust in God, “who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground”(7:19). This phrase does not appear again until Helaman 8:11, and then in a more elaborate form.14

As in the previous oracle, this revelation hints at a life-threatening force at work and promises Oliver that his gift “shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction” (BofC 7:2). This repeated theme reflects a high level of concern Smith and Cowdery had about their safety. The situation must have been much more serious than Michael Morse’s description of the mischievous pranks on the part of the Hale boys.15 The persecution must have escalated to include death threats. Prior to marrying Emma, Isaac Hale had threatened Joseph that he would shoot him if ever he returned.16 Later, Smith will refuse to buy wine from his enemies for fear that it might be poisoned (BofC 28; cf. D&C 27:1-4).17

Also in April, Smith received a third revelation for Cowdery. Without being able to use the translator’s stone, Cowdery was evidently at a loss about how to proceed, and it was not long before he simply resumed his role as Smith’s scribe. “Because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you begun to translate,” God declares, “I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner” (BofC 8:1-2; cf. D&C 9). The revelation instructs Cowdery to continue as scribe and promises that he will yet translate “other records.”

Cowdery is then told why he failed: “Behold you have not understood, you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you: therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me. Now if you had known this, you could have translated” (8:7-11). It should be kept in mind that this was not how Joseph went about translating with his seer stone, but how Oliver could have translated with the spirit and his divining rod, which dipped when answering affirmatively and remained motionless for the negative.18

The feeling of a burning in the bosom became for later adherents what Pentecostal Christians call being born again, Hindus call it samadhi, Sufis call it fana, and Zen Buddhists refer to it as satori. Physical sensation and emotional states have long been associated with a spiritual or mystic state—a feeling of serenity, oceanic calm, rapture, ecstasy, sacredness, oneness, divine presence—universal experiences that scientists believe may be “hard wired” in the human brain.19 This was probably what Smith experienced after studying his family’s dilemma and deciding how to proceed.

Not being allowed to use Joseph’s stone, the rod worker still thought the “translation” would proceed in the same flowing way as when Joseph dictated. In the previous revelation, God had promised: “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost” (BofC 7:1; cf. D&C 8). Now, Cowdery was told that he “must study it out in your mind”—that the translation would come from his own thoughts. It is doubtful that he would have found this useful; in fact, he never tried his hand again at translating.

Despite statements that appear to suggest that the translation proceeded mechanically in the sense that Joseph read the words as they appeared in the stone, this revelation hints that his private sense of revelation was much more liberal than many of Smith’s followers assumed. It was internal—the stone and the plates being props. Joseph encouraged the view that he was reading the literal, God-given translation from his stone, whereas he actually worked out the words in his mind, dictating what he felt good about, leaving out what was forgettable. To Smith, this was the definition of inspiration. He may have felt inspired as he dictated and justified telling stories about plates and seer stones in order to promote faith among his followers.

The revelation closes by exhorting Cowdery to “stand fast in the work wherein I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day” (v. 5).20 In other words, Cowdery should be content with his calling as scribe, for which he will be rewarded and protected from harm.

In the context of these revelations dealing with Cowdery’s attempt to translate, Ammon’s words to Limhi seem applicable. Indeed, following his failure, Cowdery would now be able to declare with Ammon: I cannot translate, but I know of “a man that can translate … for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God” (Mosiah 8:13). With envy, Cow­dery might well have echoed Ammon’s appraisal that “a gift which is greater can no man have” (v. 16). Among other things, Cowdery had learned his proper place.


1. Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, [Letter I], Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1 (Oct. 1834): 14 (cf. Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996-2003], 2:419, emphasis in original; hereafter EMD).

2. For some reason, the “land of Nephi” and “city of Nephi” mentioned in the small plates (Omni 1:12, 27; WofM 1:13) are briefly and inconsistently referred to as the “land of Lehi-Nephi” and “city of Lehi-Nephi” (see Mosiah 7:1, 2, 4, 21; 9:6, 8; cf. 7:6, 7; 9:1, 14, 15). One might conjecture that the city had been referred to as “Lehi-Nephi” in the lost manuscript because Lehi died there rather than prior to the migration, as in the second version.

3. Joseph Smith, History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook, 1:6, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City (EMD 1:29).

4. See Dan Vogel, Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon: Religious Solutions from Columbus to Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986), 28-29, 33.

5. Later, in the Book of Ether, Smith ascribes a different origin to this instrument (Ether 3:21-28). See chapter 22 in this volume.

6. George Peck, Early Methodism within the Bounds of the Old Genesee Conference from 1788 to 1828 (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1860), 332-33 (EMD 4:333). The same story is told by Peck in the Methodist Quarterly Review 3 (Jan. 1843): 113 (EMD 4:329). Lewis evidently owned one of the many editions of Adam Clarke’s The Holy Bible … with a Commentary and Critical Notes, 6 vols. (New York: Ezra Sargent, 1811-17), which contains samples of Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek writing in some of its notes.

7. “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly 5 (Aug. 1859): 166 (EMD 2:305).

8. Cowdery may have learned how to use a divining rod from his father, William, as reviewed in D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, 2nd rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 35-39. While there is no doubt regarding Oliver’s use of a rod, there is some question about how he acquired the gift (EMD 1:599-600, 604, n. 11; Larry E. Morris, “Oliver Cowdery’s Vermont Years and the Origins of Mormonism,” BYU Studies 39 [2000]: 113-18).

9. See chapter 20.

10. The revelation to Cowdery and Abinadi’s preaching both include reference to Isaiah 52:8: “For they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion” (cf. BofC 5:3 and Mosiah 15:29; cf. 12:22). Reference to Isaiah 52:8 does not appear again in the Book of Mormon until 3 Nephi 16:18, which was probably dictated in May 1829. The phrase appears in three subsequent revelations: to Hyrum Smith in May 1829 (BofC 10; D&C 11); to Joseph Knight in May 1829 (BofC 11; D&C 12); and to David Whitmer in June 1829 (BofC 12; D&C 14). In these instances, the phrase is used because of the prior revelation to Cowdery. In connection with the death of Abinadi, Limhi noted that the Lord promised: “If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction” (Mosiah 7:31). The revelation to Cowdery promises: “Whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap.” The sowing/reaping metaphor is found nowhere else in the Book of Mormon and is otherwise absent from Smith’s revelations. Cf. Alma’s injunction to his priests to “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord” (Mosiah 18:20) with the Cowdery revelation (BofC 5:4).

11. “Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith,” Deseret News, 16 Nov. 1878 (EMD 5:51).

12. “Mormonism. Authentic Account of the Origin of This Sect from One of the Patriarchs. …,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881 (EMD 5:75).

13. This revelation was edited the second time it was published (1835 Doctrine and Covenants) to obscure Cowdery’s divining rod and in keeping with Smith’s shift away from his folk-­magic origins.

14. Cowdery is also told: “Trifle not with these things” (BofC 7:4), a statement that appears in the previous revelation to him (BofC 5:5). This advice appears only one other time in Smith’s revelations (D&C 32:5) and only once in the Book of Mormon in King Benjamin’s warning not to trifle with his words (Mosiah 2:9).

15. William W. Blair, Journal, 8 May 1879, 56, Community of Christ (formerly RLDS Church) Archives, Independence, Missouri (EMD 4:342).

16. This is according to the testimonies of Harmony residents Sally McKune, Elizabeth Winters Squires, and Jacob I. Skinner (see [Frederick G. Mather], “The Early Mormons: Joe Smith Operates at Susquehanna,” Binghamton Republican, 29 July 1880 [EMD 4:358, 359]; and Frederick G. Mather, “The Early Days of Mormonism,” Lippincott’s Magazine [Philadelphia] 26 [Aug. 1880]: 200 [EMD 4:363]).

17. See chapter 30.

18. I believe that the “working it out in your mind” of D&C 9 has been misinterpreted beginning with B. H. Roberts who understood it to refer to conceptual revelation. To Roberts, this explained the anachronistic use of the Bible (B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907], 1:278, 307).

19. On the physiological basis for human spirituality, see Matthew Alper, The “God” Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God (Brooklyn: Rogue Press, 2001); Andrew Newberg, Eugene d’Aquili, and Vince Rause, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001); Eugene G. d’Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg, The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999); and James B. Ashbrook and Carol Rausch Albright, The Humanizing Brain: Where Religion and Neuroscience Meet (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1997).

20. Amulek, speaking of the resurrection, said: “Even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost” (Alma 11:44), a phrase Alma later repeats (40:23). Thereafter, the phrase is never again used in the Book of Mormon. A similar passage does not appear in Joseph’s revelations until September 1830 (D&C 29:25), more than a year after the Book of Mormon’s dictation. “Stand fast” is a phrase used only once in Smith’s New York-Pennsylvania revelations, and in the Book of Mormon it appears only in Mosiah and Alma (Mosiah 23:13; Alma 45:17; 46:27; 58:40; 61:9, 21). The phrase “lifted up at the last day” appears in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 23:22 and elsewhere in the Book of Alma (13:29; 37:37; 38:5), but not again until 3 Nephi 27:22 (Morm. 2:19). It was a phrase used in the revelation to Harris the previous month (D&C 5:35) but not again until June 1829 in Fayette (D&C 17:8).