Section 9: Oliver Cowdery Fails at Dictating, but Should Continue as Scribe



Date Given: April 1829

Location Given: Harmony, Pennsylvania – Hale Farm

Date Canonized: August 17, 1835

Background: Earlier in April 1829 Oliver Cowdery was told that he had the ability to dictate part of The Book of Mormon if he asked God in faith to help him with an honest heart and believe that he had the ability. He was able to dictate a small part of it, but was unable to do much at all.

This revelation addresses that failure to dictate. It talks about what he did wrong and says that he will be given another chance at some point in the future. It also reaffirms that he should continue as Joseph Smith Jr.’s scribe during the dictation process.


A. Oliver, my dear son, although you were unable to translate the Golden Plates as you desire, I urge you to persist in your role as Joseph Smith Jr.’s scribe throughout the entirety of the translation process.

B. Once the translation of the Golden Plates is complete, I will grant you the power to assist in translating other sacred documents.


A. Exercise patience, my son, for there is profound wisdom behind my request for you to refrain from translating at this time.

B. Your current assignment is to faithfully serve as Joseph Smith Jr.’s transcriber.

C. I withdrew your ability to translate the Golden Plates because you did not persist in the task after initially attempting it.

D. Do not lament or complain, my son, for it was prudent for me to guide you in this manner.


A. You have not grasped the nature of this endeavor, because you assumed that I would bestow knowledge upon you merely by requesting it.

B. You must engage your mind in thoughtful contemplation and diligent study.

C. Then, seek confirmation from me regarding the validity of your conclusions. If they are accurate, you will feel a warmth in your heart.

D. Conversely, if your conclusions are inaccurate, you will be overshadowed by a sense of confusion.

E. Thus, you may only record sacred truths when I have granted them to you.


A. If you had understood this principle earlier you could have continued to translate the Golden Plates. However, due to your hesitation, that time has passed and the opportune moment has ceased.

B. Can you not perceive that I have endowed Joseph Smith Jr. with ample strength to compensate for this delay? I impart no condemnation upon either of you.


A. I implore you to remain faithful, to resist temptation, and to fulfill the tasks I have assigned to you. By doing so, you will triumph.

B. If you maintain committed to the work I have given you, you will be honored and glorified.