The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and William Phelps
Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 26 - 62, Winter 2008
37 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 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.
Keywords: Mormon, American religion, Joseph Smith, William Phelps
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