The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are the standard by which we can delve into Smith’s inspired mind and determine what is meant by “translate” and how it’s applied through direct revelation given to the head of the Church through the founding prophet, SEER, revelator, and translator
. The act of translating scripture and ancient records is a gift in which Smith claimed that God gave him. Other accounts or teaching given by successors of Joseph Smith are completely irrelevant. We only need examine Joseph Smith and the standard he set through his direct revelations. Therefore, I provide the following list to serve as authoritative reference to Smith’s definition and purpose of how translating was part of his prophetic calling. For Joseph Smith, translating ancient records
a spiritual experience and without the Spirit to assist him the gift could not manifest and the mind would darken. *That* is the standard by which Smith always
translated! There are no exceptions to this rule. None!
Mosiah 8 wrote:9 . . . twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold . . .
11 . . . there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates.
12 . . . I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language . . .
13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.
14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.
15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.
16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.
17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.
18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
Ether 5 wrote:1 And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me, according to my memory; and I have told you the things which I have sealed up; therefore touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.
D&C 1 wrote:29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.
D&C 5 wrote:4 And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.
D&C 6 wrote:25 And, behold, I grant unto you [Oliver Cowdery] a gift, if you desire of me, to translate, even as my servant Joseph.
26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people;
27 And now I command you, that if you have good desires—a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven—then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.
28 And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
D&C 8 wrote:10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.
11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
D&C 9 wrote:2 And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you [Oliver Cowdery] power that you may assist to translate.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
D&C 10 wrote:4 Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.
D&C 41 wrote:7 And again, it is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.
D&C 45 wrote:60 And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;
61 Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
D&C 73 wrote:3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again;
D&C 91 wrote:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;
2 There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.
3 Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.
4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.
D&C 93 wrote:53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.