Liz Lemon Swindle, 1953-: Go with Me to Cumorah, 1997

An Old Testament KnoWhy for Gospel Doctrine Lesson 5: “If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted” (Moses 5-7) (JBOTL05A). See the link to video supplements for this lesson at the end of this article under “Further Reading.”

Question: For a while, the Lord prohibited Joseph Smith from sharing his Bible translation publicly. Also, Moses 1:42 explicitly says that the account of Moses’ vision should not be shown “unto any except them that believe.” Any guesses as to the reasons behind these restrictions?

Summary: I believe that these initial restrictions were due, at least in part, to the sacred content of many of the changes and additions in Joseph Smith’s Bible translation. This makes sense if we regard the knowledge that Joseph Smith received as he translated the Bible as part of a divine tutorial on priesthood and temple doctrines, authority, and ordinances. In fact, some parts of Genesis seem to contain echoes of what temple studies scholars would call a “temple text.” My study of the book of Moses and others of the initial revelations and teachings of Joseph Smith have convinced me that he knew early on much more about these matters than he taught publicly, contradicting the view of those who consider the fundamental doctrines, covenants, and teachings of the Nauvoo temple ordinances a late invention

The full article may be found at the Interpreter Foundation website: KnoWhy OTL05A — Why Was Joseph Smith Initially Prohibited from Publishing His Bible Translation?

For more discussion of evidence that Joseph Smith knew much about temple matters early on in his ministry, see the first video supplement to this lesson: “What Did Joseph Smith Know about Temple Ordinances by 1836?” (

For a playlist of one-minute video clips discussing various aspects of Mormonism and Masonry in Nauvoo, see the second video supplement to this lesson at the FairMormon YouTube Channel (

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