Book of Mormon/Translation/Method/1900-2000

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Statements on the Book of Mormon Translation method: 1900-2000

This page is a chronology of statements from primary and secondary sources. Sources may be viewed by following the citation links.

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Samuel W. Richards (non-eyewitness)

He [Oliver Cowdery] represents Joseph as sitting by a table with the plates before him. and he reading the record with the Urim & Thummim. Oliver, his scribe, sits close beside to hear and write every word as translated. This is done by holding the translators over the words of the written record and the translation appears distinctly in the instrument, which had been touched by the finger of God and dedicated and consecated for the express purpose of translating languages. This instrument now used fully performed its Mission. Every word was made distinctly visible even to every letter, and if Oliver did not in writing spell the word correctly it remained in the translator until it was written correctly. This was the Mystery to Oliver, how Joseph being compar[a]tively ignorant could correct him in spelling, without seeing the word written, and he would not be satisfied until he should be permitted or have the gift to translate as well as Joseph.[1]

  • Scribe: Oliver Cowdery
  • Curtain: Not mentioned
  • Instrument: Nephite interpreters ("translators")


  1. Samuel W. Richards Statement, May 21, 1907, holograph, 2-3, Church Archives.