6. Translation Scholar

In December of 1827, Joseph Smith and Emma moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Joseph was able to translate without persecution. Until February 1828, Joseph copied many of the characters and translated a few using the Urim and Thummim. Martin Harris, a wealthy farmer who had helped Joseph and Emma financially, came to visit. Martin was given a copy of some of the characters and asked to show them to noted linguists.This was done in accordance with a prophecy given in Isaiah and also quoted by Nephi in the Book of Mormon, “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”1It is known that Martin Harris visited at least three men who were noted linguists; Luther Bradish, Dr. Samuel Mitchill, and Professor Charles Anthon. Luther Bradish was a diplomat, world traveler, and knew many languages. Samuel Mitchill was the vice president of Rutgers Medical College, and Charles Anthon was a professor at Columbia College in New York City. He was the leading classical scholar of the time and was a professor of Greek and Latin. He also knew French, and German, and was extremely familiar with the latest discoveries in the Egyptian language.Martin recorded that Anthon examined the characters and gave him a certificate saying that the characters and their translation were authentic. Martin took the certificate and was about to leave when Anthon asked him how the plates were found. Martin informed him that it was through revelation from God.Joseph Smith MormonAnthon asked for the certificate and Martin recorded, “He took it and tore it to pieces, saying, that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.” This experience directly fulfilled the prophecy found in Isaiah, and also helped confirm Martin Harris’ testimony of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s mission. After this experience Martin was ready to help Joseph in any way possible to bring forth the Book of Mormon.

See the next article in the timeline series.

Other Links:

1 Isaiah 29:10-12. King James Version of the Bible.

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