Source:Echoes:Ch1:5:No revising or reviewing

Joseph did not revise or review his dictation

Joseph did not revise or review his dictation

Neal A. Maxwell:

A second marvel of the Book of Mormon translation process is that from what we know, rarely would Joseph go back, review, or revise what had already been done. There was a steady flow in the translation. The Prophet's dictating resulted—just as the compositor, John H. Gilbert, remembered—in no paragraphing.

Emma Smith said of the inspired process: "After meals, or after interruptions, [Joseph] would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him."[1] One who has dictated and been interrupted must usually resume by inquiring, "Now, where were we?" Not so with the Prophet!

If one were manufacturing a text, he would constantly need to cross-check himself, to edit, and to revise for consistency. Had the Prophet dictated and revised extensively, there would be more evidence of it. But there was no need to revise divinely supplied text. Whatever the details of the translation process, we are discussing a process that was truly astonishing![2]


  1. Joseph Smith III, "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," The Saints' Herald, 1 October 1879, 290.
  2. Neal A. Maxwell, "By The Gift and Power of God," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 1, references silently removed—consult original for citations.