Sample of Pure Language, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832
- Source Note
The Book of Mormon contains an account of a people called the Jaredites who, at the time of the confounding of language at the Tower of Babel, petitioned God to keep their language pure. God complied, allowing the Jaredites to maintain their original language. Not long after the publication of the Book of Mormon, JS reviewed the book of Genesis as part of his revision of the Bible. He added a passage about Adam passing down a “book of rememberance” to his children so that they could be taught in a language “which was pure & undefiled.” By the end of March 1832, JS reviewed Revelation 3:12, which states, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God . . . and I will write upon him the name of my God” and “my new name.” This may have provoked JS’s interest in discovering the name of God in the pure language of Adam. The document below, termed a “sample” by , who copied it into Revelation Book 1 sometime after April 1832, contains information “given by Joseph the Seer” about the names of God, the Son of God, , and man in what is called a “pure language.” It also deals briefly with man’s relationship to God. Although details of its creation are scant, the document may have been related to JS’s explanation of symbolism in the book of Revelation because it is written in the same question-and-answer style as that document and immediately follows it in Revelation Book 1. Whitmer likely copied both documents into Revelation Book 1 in the same sitting.The original manuscript is no longer extant, and ’s copy in Revelation Book 1 bears no date. That this document immediately follows the circa March 1832 explanation of the book of Revelation and immediately precedes a revelation dated 1 March 1832 suggests that the document was probably prepared sometime in March 1832. The sample itself notes that it was “copied by Br Johnson,” which likely refers to , at whose home JS was staying in March 1832. The document was apparently not well known. stated in an 1855 sermon in Salt Lake City, Utah, that the sample had “never been published” and that “this people are not generally acquainted” with it. At least some individuals, however, clearly were aware of it. , for example, included notes on the “pure language” (including some of the terms used in the sample) in an 1835 letter to his wife, . The term “Son Ah man,” meanwhile, was used in a 1 June 1833 revelation to refer to Jesus Christ, which indicates that church members were at least exposed to some of the terminology from this document.
Brown, Samuel. “Joseph (Smith) in Egypt: Babel, Hieroglyphs, and the Pure Language of Eden.” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 78, no. 1 (Mar. 2009): 26–65.
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. MS 2049. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.
Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855–1886.
Phelps, William W. Papers, 1835–1865. BYU.
|Question||What is the name of God in pure Language|
|Q||The meaning of the pure word A[w]men|
|A||It is the being which made all things in all its parts.|
|Q||What is the name of the Son of God.|
|A||The Son Awmen.|
|Q||What is the Son Awmen.|
|A||It is the greatest of all the parts of Awmen which is the Godhead the first born.|
|Q||What is is man.|
|A||This signifies Sons Awmen. the human family the children of men the greatest parts of Awmen Sons the Son Awmen|
|Q||What are Angels called in pure language.|
|Q||What are the meaning of these words.|
|A||Awmen’s Ser◊◊◊ts Ministerring servants Sanctified who are sent forth from heaven to minister for or to Sons Awmen the greatest part of Awmen Son. Sons Awmen Son Awmen Awmen|