Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hello Gramps,
I am working with my son, preparing him for a mission, we were discussing the pages of the manuscript that was lost to us because of Martin Harris. I remember learning about how the Lord did not have Joseph Smith re-translate it. I cannot remember the reason. I just remember being satisfied with my answer at the time. The only thing I do remember is that one of the reasons was that the Lord did not want the working of the evil one to change the manuscript. Please
refresh my memory?
Cynthia, from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada


Dear Cynthia,
The reason that the Lord did not have the Prophet Joseph Smith retranslate his translation of the Large Plates of Nephi that he had completed up to the reign of king Benjamin was because when Martin Harris let them get out of his hands they were stolen by wicked men who intended to change the wording in the manuscript that they had acquired. Their intent was to wait until Joseph had re-translated the lost portion, then produce the changed original in an attempt to destroy the prophet’s work. For this reason Joseph was cautioned by the Lord not to re-translate the record, but rather to translate the same period of history from the Small Plates of Nephi, that was an account of the more spiritual aspects of their history, as is recorded in Doctrine & Covenants 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.

Section 10 of the Doctrine & Covenants is dedicated entirely to the subject of your question. Perhaps you and your son could study it carefully together.

Copyright © 2024 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or

Pin It on Pinterest