Question: Why was the name "Michael" deleted from Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom?

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Question: Why was the name "Michael" deleted from Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom?

Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom mentions both Adam and Michael, even though Adam is Michael

Joseph's diary entry for January 21, 1836 mentions both Adam and Michael, even though Adam is Michael:

heads, and attend to all duties that pertain to that office. I then took the seat, and father annoint[ed] my head, and sealed upon me the blessings, of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as moses led him in days of old, also the blessings of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. all of the presidency laid their hands upon me and pronounced upon my head many prophesies, and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time, but as Paul said, so say I, let us come to vissions and revelations, The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the celestial Kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell, I saw the transcendant beauty of the gate that enters, through which the heirs of that Kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire, also the blasing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son, I saw the beautiful streets of that Kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my father and mother, my brother Alvin that has long since slept, and marvled how it was that he had obtained this an inheritance in that Kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life, before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time and had not been baptised for the remission of sins Thus said came the voice of the Lord unto me saying all who have

The name "Michael" was deleted from the original text of Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom in which both Adam and Michael were mentioned

The name "Michael" was deleted from Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom. Critics of the Church claim that this was done because Adam is Michael, and it would not be possible to have both Adam and Michael in the same vision. It is claimed that the Church was trying to hide a "slip up" by Joseph Smith, who had identified Adam as Michael on multiple occasions in the past.

And Michael and my father in vision of the celestial kingdom.jpg

Warren Parrish, Joseph's scribe, appears to have recorded a dittography based upon what he heard Joseph say

Joseph tended to dictate his writings and even personal letters. Despite being in his "journal," the text is not something he produced himself, but something that a new scribe and member recorded. Wikipedia notes that "Dittography is the accidental, erroneous act of repeating a letter, word, phrase or combination of letters by a scribe or copyist."[1]

Matthew Brown noted that the original text of this revelation may help explain what happened:

“[Warren] Parrish’s transcription of [Joseph Smith’s] vision [in Joseph Smith’s journal dated 21 January 1836] seems to differentiate Adam and the archangel Michael as two separate individuals. Yet [Joseph Smith] identified Michael as Adam at least a year earlier and made the same identification four years later (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, [Liberty, MO], 1 January 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 15; Revelation, ca. August 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 50:2, 1835 ed. [D&C 27:11]; Richards, “Pocket Companion,” 74–75; Robert B. Thompson, sermon notes, 5 October 1840, [Joseph Smith] Collection, [Church History Library])” (Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 [Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008], 167–68, n. 319). The text recorded by Warren Parrish may provide a clue about its incorrect content. It reads: “I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my father and mother, my brother Alvin” (ibid., 167–68). The “Mi” of “Michael” and the word “my” that follows almost immediately after it have the exact same sound. The structures within the sentence are also identical (“and Mi . . . and my”). It seems, therefore, that Warren Parrish (a relatively recent convert [20 May 1833] and newly-assigned scribe for the Prophet [29 October 1835]) may have recorded a modified dittography based upon what he heard Joseph Smith say.

The dittography in this case would be the repeated vocal phrase "and my...and my"

When spoken to a scribe, the phrase "and my...and my" may have resulted in the first instance being interpreted by the scribe as "and Michael".

Notes

  1. "Dittography," Wikipedia (accessed 11/2/2014).