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Dear Gramps,

I have a further question, this time concerning Joseph Smith. In the earlier versions of the Doctrine and Covenants Joseph Smith is referred to by the name “Barak Ale”. What is the significance of this name? Is it in any way related to his pre-mortal identity? We know a little bit about the pre-mortal identity and role of other prominent figures such as Gabriel, do you have any ideas concerning the pre-mortal identity and role of Joseph Smith? Thanks





Dear John,

Perhaps we shouldn’t try to read too much into the possible significance of the code names that were used to identify certain individuals in earlier editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. Those code names were used to hide the identity of the individuals that they refered to because of the threat of violent opposition to many of the leaders of the Church in the early days of the restoration. They were replaced by the names of the persons to whom they applied after all potential threats against the individuals had disappeared. The word barak is a Hebrew term meaning lightning. The word ale, to my knowledge, has no direct equivalent in Hebrew.






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