Joseph Smith’s Diary Statements Regarding Translation of His Egyptian Papyri and the Book of Abraham
Sunday, July 5, 1835 – "… with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the scrolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt – more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth." (History of the Church, 2:236)
Late July, 1835 – "The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet of the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients." (History of the Church, 2:238)
October 1, 1835 – "This afternoon I labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with Brothers Oliver Cowdery and W. W. Phelps, and during the research, the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients unfolded to our understanding, the particulars of which will appear hereafter." (History of the Church, 2:286).
Saturday, October 3, 1835 – "In the afternoon I waited on most of the Twelve [apostles], at my house, and exhibited to them the ancient records, and gave explanations. This day passed off with the blessing of the Lord." (History of the Church, 2:87)
Wednesday, October 7, 1835 – "This afternoon I re-commenced translating from the ancient records." (History of the Church, 2:289)
Saturday, October 24, 1835 – "Mr. Goodrich and his lady called to see the ancient records. They also called at Dr. Frederick G. Williams to see the mummies." (An American Prophet's Record, p.40)
Thursday, October 29, 1835 –"Brother Warren Parrish commenced writing for me, at fifteen dollars per month. I paid him sixteen dollars in advance out of the committee’s store." (History of the Church, 2:293).
Saturday, November 14, 1835 – "Thus came the word of the Lord unto me saying: ‘Verily thus saith the Lord unto my servant Joseph concerning my servant Warren Parrish …. Behold it shall come to pass in his day that he shall see great things show forth themselves unto my people. He shall see much of my ancient records and shall know of hidden things and shall be endowed with a knowledge of hidden languages. And if he desires and shall seek it at my hand, he shall be privileged with writing much of my word as a scribe unto me for the benefit of my people.’" (An American Prophet’s Record, p.58).
Thursday, November 19, 1835: "Went in company with Doc[tor Frederick] Williams and my scribe [Warren Parrish?] to see how the workmen prospered in finishing the House [Kirtland Temple]. The masons on the inside had commenced put[t]ing on the finishing coat of plastureing [sic] …. I returned home and spent the day in translating the Egyptian records. This has been a pleasant day." (An American Prophet’s Record, p.66)
Friday, November 20, 1835: "In morning at home. The weather is warm but rainy. We [Joseph and Warren Parrish] spent the day in translating and made rapid progress."
Monday, November 23, 1835 – "Several brethren called to converse with me and see the [Egyptian] records …. I spent the day in conversing and in studying the Hebrew language." (An American Prophet’s Record, 67)
Tuesday, November 24, 1835 – "At home. Spent the forenoon instructing those that called to inquire concerning the things of God in the last days. In the afternoon we translated some of the Egyptian records." (History of the Church, 2:320)."
Wednesday, November 25, 1835 – "Spent the day translating." (History of the Church, 2:320)
Thursday, November 26, 1835 – "At home. We spent the day in transcribing Egyptian characters from the papyrus. I am severely afflicted with a cold." (An American Prophet’s Record, 68; cf. History of the Church, 2:320-21)
Saturday, November 28, 1835 – "I am considerably recovered from my cold. I think I shall be able in a few days to translate again with the blessing of God."
Monday, November 30, 1835 – "This afternoon Henry Capron called to see me. He is an old acquaintance of mine from Manchester, New York. I showed him the Egyptian records." (An American Prophet’s Record, p. 69)
Wednesday, December 2, 1835 – "A fine morning. I made preparation to ride to Painesville with my wife and family, also my Scribe [Warren Parrish?]. We had our sleigh and horses prepared and set out. When we were passing through Mentor Street we overtook a team with two men on the sleigh. I politely asked them to let me pass. They granted my request and as we passed them they bawled out, ‘Do you get any revelation lately,’ with an addition of blackguard that I did not understand." (An American Prophet’s Record, p. 69)
Saturday, December 12, 1835 – "At home. Spent the forenoon in reading. At about 12 o’clock a number of young persons called to see the Egyptian records. I requested my Scribe [Warren Parrish] to exhibit them. He did so. One of the young ladies who had been examining them was asked if they had the appearance of Antiquity. She observed with an air of contempt that they did not. On hearing this I was surprised at the ignorance she displayed and I observed to her that she was an anomaly in creation for all the wise and learned that had ever examined them without hesitation pronounced them ancient. I further remarked that it was downright wickedness, ignorance, bigotry, and superstition that caused her to make the remark and that I would put it on record. I have done so because it is a fair sample of the prevailing spirit of the times showing that the victims of priestcraft and superstition would not believe though one should rise from the dead." (An American Prophet’s Record, p. 75)
Monday, December 14, 1835 – "This morning a number of brethren from New York called to visit me and see the Egyptian records." (An American Prophet’s Record, 77)
Tuesday, December 15, 1835 – "Spent the day at home and as usual was blessed with much company, some of which called to see the records."
Wednesday, December 23, 1835 – "In the forenoon at home studying the Greek language. Also waited upon the brethren who came in and exhibiting to them the papyrus." (An American Prophet’s Record, p. 91)
Thursday, December 31, 1835 – "In the after noon I attended at the Chapel [Kirtland Temple] to give directions concerning the upper rooms and more especially the west room which I intend occupying for a translating room which will be prepared this week." (An American Prophet’s Record, p. 94)
Tuesday, January 12, 1836 – "This after noon a young man called to see the Egyptian manuscripts and I exhibited them to him. He expressed great satisfaction and appeared very anxious to obtain a knowledge of the translation."
Thursday morning, February 11, 1836 – "Spent the afternoon in reading and exhibiting the Egyptian records to those who called to see me. Heaven’s blessings have attended me."