Joseph Smith

Recently added

  • 1841 — The Standard of Truth — Part of the preface to the Articles of Faith, found in the ‘Wentworth Letter’ (DHC Vol. 4, page 540)
  • 1844 — Introduction and outline of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse according to the Davidic Pattern. (Click here for the entire speech in one file — outlined via the Davidic pattern. Note: The above links below provide a more detailed outline of each individual macro element.)

King Follett Discourse Macro Outline

A — God Himself was Once as We are Now
 B — You have got to Learn how to Be Gods Yourselves

  C — You must Begin at the Bottom 
   D — The Head God called together the Gods in Grand Council

    E — Element, no Beginning, no End
     F — Man, Self-Existent
    E’ — Spirits, no Beginning, no End

   D’ — The Greatest Responsibility in this world . . . is to Seek after our Dead
  C’ — A Man is his own Tormenter and his own Condemner 

 B’ — Your Expectations and Hopes are Far Above what Man can Conceive
A’ — God dwells in Everlasting Burnings

To be added

By Joseph Smith, Written 

  • 1830 — Sacramental Prayers*
  • 1831 — “A transcript from the records of the eternal world” — Coda to D&C 76, 1831 – The Vision – DHC 1:252
  • 1831 — “Called out of my Bed in the Night”  Letter from Joseph to Hyrum
  • 1832 — “Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee”,** History, (Written by his own hand, from The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith)
  • 1833 — “Little narrow prison of pen and ink”* Coda to D&C 85 – to W.W. Phelps
  • 1833 — “Called to give up even more than this… What more dost thou require?”** Letter from Joseph to W.W. Phelps… , Prayer at the beginning of Letter (Written by his own hand, on occasion of the first persecutions in Jackson County, from The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith)
  • 1834 — “A Just Comparison”,* excerpt of Letter Written to the Brethren Abroad (Teachings, pg. 56)
  • 1834 — “The Clearer Are His Views”,* excerpt of Letter Written to the Brethren Abroad (Teachings, pg. 47)
  • 1834 — “Violence to the Supreme Intelligence of Heaven?”* excerpt of Letter Written to the Brethren Abroad (Teachings, pg. 53)
  • 1838 — “Careful and Ponderous and Solemn Thoughts”,* excerpt of Letter from Liberty Jail (Teachings, pg. 137)
  • 1838 — “I Do Not Know Where It Will All End”** Letter to Emma during 1838 difficulties
  • 1838 — “I wanted You to have the First Reading of it.” Letter from Joseph to Emma – from Liberty Jail
  • 1838 — One Token of Friendship* — Part of a letter from the Liberty Jail
  • 1838 — That They May Pattern After Thy Works (Hyrum’s works)* — Part of a letter from the Liberty Jail
  • 1838 — Undaunted, Firm, & Unwavering- Unchangeable, Affectionate Emma!* — Part of a letter from the Liberty Jail
  • 1839 — Confidence in Approaching Our Father in Heaven** — during his return from Washington, DC
  • 1842 — The Principles and Order of the Priesthood… The Ancient Order of Things*
  • ____ — The Davidic Plea:** Inter-Chiastic Analysis (on certain prayers found in Joseph Smith’s personal diary entries, from The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith)

By Joseph Smith, Spoken

  • 1841 — “The Keystone of our Religion”* 1841 DHC4:461
  • 1831 — “The veil might as well be rent”**
  • 1834 — “The destinies of the church and kingdom … you don’t comprehend it”*
  • 1836 — “I will not listen to or credit any derogatory report against you…”*
  • 1838 — “Silence ye fiends…”* Joseph Smith to Missouri jailers
  • 1839 — “When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you”*
  • 1843 — “Come and Get More”** — conclusion of speech
  • 1843 — “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes”*
  • 1843 — “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down a mountain”*
  • 1843 — “I will lift them up, and in their own way, too, if I cannot persuade them…”*
  • 1843 — “Visions that roll like an overflowing surge upon my mind”**, Words of Joseph Smith, pg. 196
  • 1843 — To Stephen Douglas, “You will aspire to the presidency”*
  • 1844 — The Prophet’s dream of his Kirtland farm,** the last night of his life, DHC Vol. 6, page 609
  • ____ — “The right of the Patriarchal Priesthood”* Blessing to Hyrum
  • 1844 — The Sealing Power* “… like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle…”
  • ____ — John Taylor reports Joseph Smith’s words, “He felt himself shut up in a nutshell… so much more comprehensive, enlightened and dignified”*

5 comments to Joseph Smith

October 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Dear Scott,

I am studying the likelihood that various chiastic patterns could have appeared by chance, and am interested in obtaining copies of the chiasms found in Joseph Smith’s writings that appear under the words, “To be added” at the web site

To complete the analysis, I will need both the chiasms that have been identified and the complete texts of the works from which the chiasms are taken. Would it be possible for you to send me these documents? If so, and if I decide to publish my analysis, I would be happy to acknowledge your help and to reference your site.

I have analyzed one such letter, Joseph’s 1838 “I Do Not Know Where It Will All End�? letter to Emma, so I don’t need that one.

If you’re interested in my work on the subject, please feel free to take a look:

1. “Does Joseph’s letter to Emma of 4 November 1838 show that he knew about chiasmus?,�? B. F. Edwards and W. F. Edwards, Dialogue Paperless,, E-paper #4 (2006).

2. “Response to Earl Wunderli’s critique of Alma 36 as an extended chiasm,�? B. F. Edwards and W. F. Edwards, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 39, no. 3, 164 (2006); full account at Dialogue Paperless,, E-paper #1 (2006).

3. “Does chiasmus appear in the Book of Mormon by chance?,�? B. F. Edwards and W. F. Edwards, BYU Studies 43, no. 2, 103 (2004);

Thanks for any help, and very best wishes. I’m sorry to read that Jared has passed away, and appreciate his contributions.

Cheers and best wishes!


Boyd F. Edwards
Russell and Ruth Bolton WVU Professor

  • A white circle on a gray background

Description automatically generatedRichard C. Shipp

September 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I did a Master’s Thesis at BYU back in 1972-5, which included my thesis on Chiasmus in Modern Revelation. The thesis is entitled, “Conceptual Patterns of Repetition in the Doctrine and Covenants ad Their Implications.”

The Thesis analyzed many D&C revelations, as well as giving many examples of the three types of repetition found in the Scriptures: Parallel, Reverse (Chiasmus), and Combination patterns (that incorporate both parallel and chiastic together).

You can find the thesis online in a digital collection by BYU Library:

Conceptual Patterns of Repetition
in the Doctrine and Covenants
and Their Implications

– – –

Here is their brief explanation of this Thesis collection:

BYU Master’s Theses on Mormonism (Digital Collection)

How are the Theses Selected?

The goal for this collection is inclusiveness. Master’s theses contain important research and writing in many disciplines which are often overlooked and are much less readily available than doctoral dissertations. It is basically an author selected collection, because every author, or their descendents, is routinely contacted to gain copyright permission for inclusion in this digital collection.

A few authors have denied copyright permission because of their own desire to publish their work or because of their concern over the “datedness�? of their scholarship. New scholarship builds upon existing scholarship and the fact that the earliest theses in this digital collection were written in the 1930s, indicates that there may be much revisionist research and writing that has occurred since a specific thesis was written. The decision was made, however, to include the master’s theses as written at the time the degree was granted even though the author was aware of subsequent relevant research. It should be recognized that many master’s thesis may still be the major scholarly work on a specific subject.

Printing/Viewing Files

Files in this viewer are displayed and printed as individual pages. If you wish to print the entire document, a printing version is included at the bottom of each table of contents. These printing versions are Adobe Acrobat files, are searchable, and are usually large in size. Because of their large size, they may be difficult for you to download if you are on a dial up connection.

I think you will enjoy learning more about chiasmus in modern revelation, as one of the proofs of the divine Prophetship of Joseph Smith.

(The thesis also presents D&C 136, which shows the chiastic structure of this revelation as received by President Brigham Young.)

– – –

I think you will find a qualitative and quantitative difference in the structures of the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, compared with his every-day writings. The revelations are highly structured as you will see in my thesis. His everyday writings do not appear to be nearly as highly structured and patterned. (This would agree with his statement that a Prophet is a prophet when he is acting as such—which obviously would not include much of his day to day activities/writings.) My analysis of the revelations included the whole text, not just “surface patterns” that can be skimmed off the top of nearly any text document.

You will also find that the D&C Revelations I analyzed agreed with the “Laws of Chiasmus” that Nils Lund formulated as he did his Master’s and PhD research on Chiasmus in the Bible (his published work entitled, “Chiasmus in the New Testament”). Take for instance D&C 3 as presented in my thesis, which has 7 major patterns starting at the beginning of the revelation and ending with “Amen.” They span the whole revelation, one after another. Nils Lund found in his Bible research that when you have 7 patterns in a row, you would often find something very distinctly related between the first, third, fifth, and seventh patterns, OR the second, fourth (central), and sixth patterns.

The truth is, a week or so after I have finished my D&C 3 analysis, I got a prompting that I should go back and look at the revelation to see if the first pattern matched the seventh, the second matched the sixth, the third matched the fifth, and if the fourth had a central message as the main message of the revelation. I found that it was so. In matching up the patterns in this “macro-pattern,” I discovered that the centers of the second, fourth, and sixth patterns were the SAME. That was a confirmation to me that I had done the pattern analysis correctly. Again, this revelation is a perfect example of one of the the “Laws of Chiasmus” as formulated by Lund, (as cited above). It is an astonishing revelation.

I have no doubt personally, that Joseph Smith did not know that the revelations he was receiving were so highly structured. Again, these highly structured revelations in modern times are an evidence that the God of the Hebrews was speaking through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Best Wishes,


  • A person in a suit

Description automatically generatedScott Vanatter

November 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Thank you for posting this. I am sorry it took so long to get to it. I plan on reading your work over the holidays. Do you have any further research, or any published writings on this? Any website? Thanks again!

  • A white circle on a gray background

Description automatically generatedBoyd Edwards

December 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

In our 2004 BYU Studies article (Vol. 43, No. 2, p. 103), we analyzed chiasms identified in the Doctrine and Covenants by Shipp, Ostler, King, and Gorton. None of these chiasms is statistically significant, meaning that it is not possible to rule out the possibility that these appeared by random chance (that is, that they are artifacts of later analysis rather than the products of a deliberate application of the chiastic form on the part of their authors). Our analysis rules out this possibility for chiasms in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, leaving only one possible conclusion: that chiasms in the Book of Mormon and the Bible were designed deliberately by their authors to fit the chiastic form. Our study does not and cannot say whether the chiasms in the Doctrine and Covenants are random or deliberate, but does say that chiasms in the Bible and the Book of Mormon are deliberate, placing these chiasms on stronger footing statistically than chiasms in the Doctrine and Covenants.

We have also analyzed chiasms in Joseph Smith’s correspondence, including his 1838 “I do not know where it will all end” letter. None of these chiasms is statistically significant.

We summarize all of our findings to date in our most recent work on the subject, (BYU Studies, Vol. 49, No. 4, p. 131, 2010), available along with our 2004 publication at

Cheers and best,

Boyd Edwards

  • A person in a suit

Description automatically generatedScott Vanatter

February 4, 2012 at 2:08 am

Hi Boyd,

Thanks for checking back in. I am sorry I didn’t see your post till a over a month later. And, thanks for your analysis of chiasmus. I have read with interest your findings. Given your assumptions, I understand your conclusions. In a conference on chiasmus over a year ago (in Utah, see the home page of this very site for a book from the various presenters), I cautioned those of us writers on — and consumers of what has been written about — chiasmus.

The question as to whether any particular writer or speaker consciously knew they were writing or speaking chiastically is not one (IMO) that can truly be known by us, no matter how we devise the test. And no matter whether we conclude they DID know, or DIDN’T know. Of course, one cannot prove a negative.

Until we locate affirmative, overt confirmation that this or that writer states that they knew they were using chiasmus, we will be left wondering. My good friend, now deceased, Jared Demke, was convinced Joseph knew he was writing or speaking chiastically. I am not so sure.

Also, as Jared and I posit a thematic, rather than a straight word-for-word matching, our pattern allows for a much more interesting (and difficult to test*) hypothesis.

*BTW, I believe one COULD devise a test to evaluate whether our semi-finite list of certain related terms or phrases ARE found in a usual order or not.

Again, thanks for checking back in. Perhaps we can check in again on another testable hypothesis.

Best regards,