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The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and William Phelps

Samuel M. Brown

University of Utah School of Medicine

Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 26 - 62, Winter 2008

A collection of Mormon political documents published in 1845 as the Voice of Truth contains several strange multilingual asides. Ostensibly authored by prophet Joseph Smith, these documents were in fact ghostwritten by William Wines Phelps, a newspaperman, poet, and recreational linguist. Phelps's authorship illuminates several aspects of the early history of Joseph Smith, including his sensibilities about language scholarship, his desire for scholarly legitimacy, and Phelps's significant contributions to the so-called Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Mormon, American religion, Joseph Smith, William Phelps

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Date posted: March 17, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Brown, Samuel M., The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and William Phelps. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1107013

Contact Information

Samuel M. Brown (Contact Author)
University of Utah School of Medicine ( email )
1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States
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