“Lesson 10: Joseph Smith Travels between Ohio and Missouri, Continues Translating the Bible, and Moves to Kirtland,” Latter-day Saint History: 1815–1846 Teacher Material (2018)
“Lesson 10,” Latter-day Saint History: 1815–1846 Teacher Material
In obedience to the Lord’s command, on April 1, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith and others left for Missouri to conduct Church business (see D&C 78:9). When Joseph Smith returned from Missouri in June 1832, he again resided in Hiram, Ohio, and worked on the translation of the Bible. In September 1832, Joseph Smith and his family moved into rooms above the Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio. The upper rooms of the store served as Church headquarters until February 1834. During this time, the Prophet Joseph Smith continued his translation of the Bible and received additional revelations that guided the Church in its development.
- April–June, 1832
The Prophet Joseph Smith traveled to and from Missouri.
- July 1832
Joseph Smith completed his initial translation of the New Testament and resumed his translation of the Old Testament.
- September 12, 1832
Joseph Smith established his residence and Church headquarters in the Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio.
- February 2, 1833
Joseph Smith completed his translation and review of the New Testament.
- July 2, 1833
Joseph Smith finished his translation of the Old Testament.
Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days, Volume 1, The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846 (2018), chapter 15
Display the accompanying picture, and explain that it depicts Emma Smith holding her adopted daughter, Julia, the night Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered.
Based on your reading of Saints: Volume 1, what happened to Julia’s twin brother, Joseph? (The baby, who had been sick, died not long after the night Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered. Exposure to the cold air during the attack likely contributed to the baby’s death.)
Remind students that on April 1, 1832, three days after his son’s death and seven days after he was tarred and feathered, Joseph Smith obeyed the Lord’s commandment to travel 800 miles from Ohio to Missouri to “sit in council with the saints” in Jackson County (D&C 78:9).
Invite a student to read aloud the following paragraph about the Prophet’s journey back to Ohio:
On May 6, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Bishop Newel K. Whitney began their journey back to Ohio by stagecoach. When they were near Greenville, Indiana, the horses became frightened. Fearing for their lives, some of the passengers jumped out of the stagecoach. Joseph jumped successfully, but as Newel jumped, his foot got caught in the wheel, and his leg and foot were broken in several places. Sidney continued the journey back to Kirtland with the news of the accident while Joseph stayed in Greenville with Newel, whose injury was so severe that he was unable to get out of bed for several weeks. (See Manuscript History of the Church, vol. A-1, p. 215–16, josephsmithpapers.org.)
Divide the class into three or more groups. Give each of the groups one of the accompanying handouts about what happened while the Prophet was in Greenville. Ask the groups to read their handout together and discuss their responses to the questions on their handout.
After sufficient time, ask a student from each group to summarize the event they read about in their handout for the class.
What did you learn about Joseph Smith’s character from these accounts?
What principles or truths can we learn from these accounts? (Students may identify several principles or truths, including the following: We can strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father by taking time to pray and meditate. Through faith in the Lord and the power of the priesthood, we can be healed. The words of the Lord’s prophets will be fulfilled.)
Explain that after Joseph Smith returned to Hiram, Ohio, in June 1832, he continued his translation of the New Testament. Joseph Smith “was commanded by God to make the translation and regarded it as part of his calling as a prophet” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Joseph Smith Translation (JST),” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also D&C 35:17–20; Manuscript History, vol. A-1, p. 175).
Write the following truth on the board: The Lord commanded Joseph Smith to make an inspired translation of the Bible.
To help students understand one of the purposes of the Joseph Smith Translation, invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:28–29, 34 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Nephi saw in his vision about the Bible and how it relates to Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible.
How does Nephi’s vision help us understand one of the purposes of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible? (One purpose of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is to restore “plain and precious parts of the gospel” [1 Nephi 13:34]. See also Moses 1:23, 40–41.)
Invite a student to read the following paragraph aloud:
The Prophet Joseph Smith did not “translate” the Bible in the traditional sense of the word. He did not study ancient languages in order to translate original texts into English. Rather, the Joseph Smith Translation is “a revision or translation of the King James Version of the Bible in English” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Joseph Smith Translation (JST),” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). The revisions may represent several different types of changes, including “restoration of original text, harmonization of contradictions within the Bible itself, and inspired commentary” by the Prophet Joseph Smith (“Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham,” Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also Robert J. Matthews, “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary , 253).
Display the accompanying timeline, and explain that Joseph Smith began translating the Bible in June 1830. From June 1830 to March 1831, the Prophet translated Genesis 1–24. The book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price is an excerpt of that translation. Assign each student one or more chapters from the book of Moses. Ask them to review the chapter headings, looking for truths that were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
What truths did the Prophet restore that are found in the book of Moses? (The Prophet restored important truths concerning God’s relationship with humankind, including His work and glory to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life, the premortal existence, the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He also restored truths concerning Enoch and his people, Noah and the Flood, and the last days and end of the world.)
According to the timeline, when did the Lord command the Prophet to begin translating the New Testament?
Explain that as the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the New Testament, he received additional revelations, such as Doctrine and Covenants 76, 77, and 91. The Prophet completed his initial translation of the New Testament in July 1832 and then resumed his translation of the Old Testament. He completed his translation of the Old Testament in July 1833, although he made some additional corrections and refinements later. He finished refining his translation of the New Testament in February 1833.
Testify that Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible is an important part of the Restoration because it restored many truths necessary for our salvation (see D&C 35:20).
Display the accompanying map, “The New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Area of the United States.” Explain that in September 1832, the Prophet and his family moved from Hiram, Ohio, back to Kirtland and lived in the Whitney Store.
Show a picture of the Whitney Store, and explain that the Smith family lived here and that Joseph Smith used some of the upper rooms in the store as Church headquarters for the next 17 months. In the fall of 1832, several new converts, including Brigham Young, came to Kirtland to meet the Prophet.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Brigham Young (1801–77):
“We went to [Joseph’s] father’s house and learned that [Joseph] was in the woods, chopping. We immediately repaired to the woods, where we found the Prophet, and two or three of his brothers, chopping and hauling wood. Here my joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and received the sure testimony, by the Spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true Prophet. He was happy to see us, and bid us welcome. We soon returned to his house, he accompanying us.
“In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift brother Brigham had, but he said, ‘No, it is of God, and the time will come when brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church.’ The latter part of this conversation was in my absence” (“History of Brigham Young,” Millennial Star, July 1863, 439).
What stands out to you in this account?
What do you think it means that Brigham Young received a sure testimony “by the Spirit of prophecy” that Joseph Smith was a prophet? (If necessary, help students understand that “the Spirit of prophecy” is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost [see Alma 5:47].)
Write the following principle on the board: We can come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
Explain that although we do not have the opportunity to meet Joseph Smith in this life as Brigham Young did, we can still receive a testimony that he was a prophet. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith can come differently to each of us. It may come as you kneel in prayer, asking God to confirm that he was a true prophet. It may come as you read the Prophet’s account of the First Vision. A testimony may distill upon your soul as you read the Book of Mormon again and again. It may come as you bear your own testimony of the Prophet or as you stand in the temple and realize that through Joseph Smith the holy sealing power was restored to the earth. With faith and real intent, your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will strengthen” (Neil L. Andersen, “Joseph Smith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 30).
What has helped you come to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?
Share your testimony about how you have come to know Joseph Smith was a prophet. Invite students to do what is needed to receive or strengthen their testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
Display the accompanying image of one of the upper rooms in the Whitney Store, where the School of the Prophets was held from January to April 1833.
Based on your reading of chapter 15 of Saints: Volume 1, what were some of the revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith received while he lived at the Whitney Store? (The Prophet received a revelation on the priesthood [see D&C 84]; a prophecy of war, including the United States Civil War [see D&C 87]; the commandment to build a temple in Ohio and establish the School of the Prophets [see D&C 88]; and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom [see D&C 89].)
Conclude the lesson by testifying of the truths you have discussed. Enourage students to follow any promptings they may have received to act on these truths.
Invite students to prepare for the next class by reading chapters 16–17 of Saints: Volume 1.