Question: Was the removal of the name "Michael" from the original vision of the Celestial Kingdom and attempt to hide a "slip up" by Joseph Smith?

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Question: Was the removal of the name "Michael" from the original vision of the Celestial Kingdom and attempt to hide a "slip up" by Joseph Smith?

The name "Michael" was deleted from the original text of Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom because Adam is Michael

The name "Michael" was deleted from the original text of Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom because Adam is Michael. Joseph Smith had identified Adam as Michael on multiple occasions in the past. Why, then, did the names of "Adam" and "Michael" both appear in the original text of the vision of the Celestial Kingdom?

The insertion of the name "Michael" in the original text appears to have been a scribal error referred to as a "dittography"

Joseph tended to dictate his writings and even personal letters. Such was the case with the vision of the Celestial Kingdom as recorded in his journal. Despite being in his "journal," the text is not something he produced himself, but something that a new scribe and member recorded. Matthew Brown describes what appears to have happened as the scribe, Warren Parrish, recorded Joseph's words:

“[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. [1] 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.” [2] 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. [3]


Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 1: 1832-1839, 167–68.
  3. Matthew Brown, "Brigham Young’s Teachings On Adam," Proceedings of the 2009 FAIR Conference.