Isaiah in the Doctrine and Covenants

By Terry B. Ball and Spencer S. Snyder

Terry B. Ball and Spencer S. Snyder, “Isaiah in the Doctrine and Covenants,” in You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants, ed. Scott C. Esplin, Richard O. Cowan, and Rachel Cope (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 108–33.

Isaiah in the Doctrine and​ Covenants

Terry B. Ball and Spencer S. Snyder

Terry B. Ball was dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, and Spencer S. Snyder was an exercise science major at Brigham Young University when this article was published.

 

Isaiah is the most quoted Old Testament prophet in the Book of Mormon and arguably the most quoted Old Testament prophet in the Doctrine and Covenants as well. Our survey of the D&C found that nearly two-thirds of the sections, 86 out of 138, share some characteristic language, phrases, or terms with the words of Isaiah. In this study, we evaluate how and why Isaianic language is used in the revelations and other writings that compose the D&C.

How Isaianic Language Is Used in the D&C

Through computer-assisted analysis, we identified 312 occurrences of Isaianic language in the D&C (tables 1, 2). [1] Our list includes wording that clearly originates in Isaiah (72 percent of our total count), [2] as well as wording that in our opinion likely originates with Isaiah but may be found in other scriptures as well (28 percent of our total count). [3] When we refer to Isaianic language in this study, we draw upon all 312 occurrences. We calculated that the D&C averages nearly three usages of Isaianic language for every thousand words of text.

While some of the shared language in the D&C occurs in the form of extended passages taken from Isaiah’s writings, the preponderance of the common language found in the two texts is in the form of short phrases such as “blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1; D&C 49:24), “see eye to eye” (Isaiah 52:8; D&C 84:98) and “prepare ye the way” (Isaiah 62:10; D&C 33:10; 65:1, 3; 133:17). Only D&C 113:1–10, which comments on the identities of individuals and the meaning of phrases found in Isaiah 11 and 53, and D&C 138:42, which speaks of the Redeemer’s work as described in Isaiah 61:1, openly identify Isaiah as the source of the language. In every other instance, the D&C incorporates the Isaianic language without referring to the book of Isaiah itself. [4]

In our analysis, we found that the D&C draws not only regularly but also broadly from the words of Isaiah. We found 171 different Isaianic terms or phrases used in the D&C. While some of the terms and phrases such as “stakes,” “an ensign,” and “everlasting covenant” occur in the D&C text fifteen or more times each, surprisingly, 86 percent of the shared Isaianic language or phrases (147 out of 171) are used three times or less. This suggests that the frequent appearance of Isaiah’s words in the D&C is not merely a function of a few favorite phrases being used repetitively but is rather the wording of one who is widely familiar and deeply acquainted with the entire text of the King James Version of Isaiah.

We observed that the revelations recorded in the D&C draw language and phrases from 82 percent of the chapters of Isaiah (fifty-four of sixty-six). We calculated an index of usage for each chapter of Isaiah to determine if there were particular chapters that more frequently share language with the D&C. This was done by dividing the total number of times language from a given chapter occurs in the entire D&C by the total number of words in that chapter. The twenty Isaiah chapters with the highest indices of usage are reported in table 3. We found that thirteen of the twenty chapters with the highest indices of usage (Isaiah 40, 42, 45, 47, 51–55, 58, 61–63), including the top three (Isaiah 61, 54, 55), come from the closing portion of Isaiah. Students of Isaiah typically recognize that the first thirty-five chapters of the book (Isaiah 1–35) focus primarily on themes of warning, chastisement, and judgment, followed by four historical chapters that chronicle events that transpired during King Hezekiah’s reign (Isaiah 36–39). The last twenty-seven chapters (Isaiah 40–66), which share more language with the D&C, tend to focus on God’s ability and plans to restore and redeem his people. In fact, overall we found that 55 percent of the occurrences of Isaianic language found in the D&C come from the last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah rather than the first thirty-nine.

To further consider if Isaiah’s restoration and redemption language is more common in the D&C than his judgment and rebuke language, we categorized each of the 171 different Isaianic phrases found in the D&C into one of three types: (1) rebukes or warnings for apostasy and sin, (2) counsel or advice, and (3) prophecies of future events such as the gathering, restoration, and redemption of Israel and the coming of the Messiah. We then calculated the percentage of the total each type represented (see table 4). We found that, although warning and rebuke language is abundant in the book, the D&C does not draw significantly upon Isaiah for the wording, with only 10 percent of the total shared Isaianic phrases being of this type. When it occurs, Isaianic rebuke language is typically used to describe the apostate world into which the gospel was and will be restored (for example, compare D&C 1:15–16; 112:23 with Isaiah 24:5; 60:2).

The second type, Isaiah’s language of counsel and advice, appears slightly more frequently in the D&C, with 21 percent of the total Isaianic phrases in the text being in this category. For example, individuals and groups are variously counseled and admonished to “be ... clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” (compare D&C 38:42; 133:5 with Isaiah 52:11), to seek the Lord “early” and “call upon” him while he is “near” (compare D&C 88:62, 83 with Isaiah 26:9; 55:6), and to “bind up” and “seal” the law and their testimonies as they proclaim the word of God (compare D&C 88:84; 109:38 with Isaiah 8:16).

Representing 69 percent of the total, Isaiah’s language prophesying of the Messiah and the future gathering, restoration, and redemption of his people is by far the most abundant. Often prophetic phrases from Isaiah are used in the D&C to describe the latter-day Restoration that has occurred and is still occurring. For example, the “marvelous work” of the Restoration has begun causing the “wisdom of the wise” to “perish” (compare D&C 4:1; 6:1; 11:1; 12:1; 14:1; 18:44; 76:9 with Isaiah 29:14). The latter-day “voice in the wilderness” has cried out, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (compare D&C 65:1; 133:17 with Isaiah 40:3), as the “light” of the gospel is sought out by the “Gentiles” (compare D&C 45:9, 28; 86:11 with Isaiah 42:6; 60:3). Truth is being revealed “line upon line, precept upon precept” (compare D&C 98:12; 128:21 with Isaiah 28:10, 13) as God performs his “strange act” (compare D&C 101:95 with Isaiah 28:21). The desert has begun to “blossom as the rose” (compare D&C 49:24 with Isaiah 35:1) as Zion prepares to “arise and put on her beautiful garments” (compare D&C 82:14 with Isaiah 52:1). Isaiah’s prophetic language foretelling the coming of Christ is also common in the Doctrine and Covenants. For example, at the advent of the Millennial Messiah, the “nations” will “tremble” at his presence (compare D&C 34:8 with Isaiah 64:2), “the scorner shall be consumed,” and those who “watched for iniquity” will be destroyed (compare D&C 45:50 with Isaiah 29:20). When he appears, the “valleys” will “be exalted,” “the mountains” will “be made low” (compare D&C 49:23; 109:74 with Isaiah 40:4), and an “overflowing scourge” shall cover the land (compare D&C 45:31 with Isaiah 28:15). Jesus will appear, proclaiming that he has “trodden the wine-press alone” (compare D&C 76:107; 88:106 with Isaiah 63:3). “All flesh shall see” him “together” (compare D&C 101:23 with Isaiah 40:5), and “every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that he is the Christ (compare D&C 88:10 with Isaiah 45:23) as he becomes their “lawgiver” (compare D&C 38:22 with Isaiah 33:22). Eventually, the righteous shall dwell in Zion, having “songs of everlasting joy upon their heads” (compare D&C 66:11; 101:18; 133:33 with Isaiah 35:10).

To further analyze how Isaianic language is incorporated into the D&C, we calculated the rate of occurrences of Isaianic wording per thousand words of text for each of the D&C sections. We found a wide distribution for the rate of occurrences of Isaianic language among the 138 sections. The twenty sections with the most occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words are reported in table 5. We observed that of these twenty sections, sixteen included significant prophecy concerning the Restoration of the gospel, the last days, and the Second Coming of Christ. [5] The other four sections (D&C 30, 71, 115, and 125) are primarily counsel on contemporary Church administration.

This observation led us to categorize each of the 138 sections as either contemporary or prophetic and then calculate the number of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words of text for each category (table 6). We classified as contemporary those sections that primarily contain doctrine and instructions for Church organization and administration, as well as personal instruction for individuals or groups contemporary with the Prophet Joseph Smith. We classified as prophetic any sections that significantly touch upon events that are to occur in the future for the Church or the world, such as the Second Coming and the Millennium. We found that contemporary sections contain about two Isaianic phrases per thousand words of text, while prophetic sections contain nearly four and a half occurrences per thousand words.

In our study, we observed that in 109 sections of the D&C, the voice of the Lord is recorded in the first person. In the remaining 29 sections, others are the voice and refer to the Lord in the third person. Curious to know if the “voice” of the prophecy influences the amount of Isaianic language usage in the D&C, we calculated the rate of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words of text for both voices (table 7). We found that in sections where the Lord speaks in the first person, there are about 2.9 occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words, and when others are the voice, there are 2.36 occurrences, a difference we are not confident is significant.

In summary, our study of how Isaianic language is used in the D&C indicates that the shared language is drawn broadly and abundantly from throughout the 66 chapters of Isaiah’s writings and is incorporated broadly and abundantly throughout the 138 sections of the D&C. While the voice of the prophecy does not seem to influence the rate of Isaianic wording in the D&C, the type of prophecy does. It appears that, typically, when a D&C revelation begins to speak of the future, the words of Isaiah echo from the past.

Why Is Isaianic Language Often Used in the D&C?

The broad and prevalent occurrence of Isaianic language in the D&C suggests either that the Prophet Joseph Smith was extraordinarily familiar with Isaiah’s writings and accordingly borrowed terminology from them extensively as he communicated the revelations he received from God, or that the shared language finds its way into the D&C because the Lord chose to use King James Translation Isaianic language to communicate, inspire, and reveal truths to the Prophet. The question that arises is intriguing. Does the choice of words in the revelations recorded in the D&C belong to Joseph Smith or to God—or to both? The answer to that question has the potential to tell us much about how Joseph Smith received and communicated revelation. [6] We felt that some insights to addressing the question could be gained by looking for explanations regarding why Isaianic language is so prevalent in the D&C.

We began by looking for any particular time in Joseph’s Smith’s life wherein the revelations he received contained more Isaianic language than others. We reasoned that if there were, then perhaps we could make inferences about events or experiences he had at those particular times of his life that may have influenced the amount of Isaianic language in the D&C. We first calculated the number of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words of text for the D&C sections received during each year. We found that from 1828 to 1835 the amount of revelation the Prophet received, as well as the rate of Isaianic language usage in the text, rose and then fell, peaking in 1831, but after 1836 the values show no predictable pattern (see table 8). [7] These results suggest that for the first portion of Joseph’s prophetic career, the amount of Isaianic language used in the D&C is in part a function of the amount of revelation the Prophet was receiving. Generally, the greater the volume of revelation received during a year, the greater the use of Isaianic language per thousand words of text. We could not, however, identify any other significant pattern that pointed to an experience or event to explain the rate of usage of Isaianic wording in the D&C.

We next looked for evidence that Joseph Smith had ever intensely studied the writings of Isaiah during his life, reasoning that if so then perhaps such study may have been a contributing factor to the ubiquitous occurrence of Isaianic language in the D&C. As we considered the life of Joseph Smith, we identified translating the Book of Mormon and working on the Inspired Version (JST) as two experiences in his life that could have given him an exceptional expertise in and affinity for the writings of Isaiah.

If translating the Book of Mormon, with its frequent and long quotations from Isaiah, gave the Prophet a special familiarity with Isaiah’s wording and moved him to incorporate Isaianic language in the D&C revelations, then, we reasoned, the passages of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon should be the source of more of the shared language in the D&C than those chapters of Isaiah not represented in the Book of Mormon. Accordingly, we calculated an index of usage for the Isaiah passages quoted in the Book of Mormon [8] and compared it to the same index of usage for passages not quoted there. The indices of usage were once again derived by dividing the number of times wording from the Isaiah passages occur in the D&C text by the total number of words in the passages. We found that with values of 0.86 compared to 0.83 respectively, the Isaiah passages quoted in the Book of Mormon did not have a significantly higher index of usage in the D&C than the nonquoted passages (see table 9). [9] The data appear to argue against any expertise Joseph Smith obtained from translating the Book of Mormon being a prime reason for the abundant Isaianic wording in the D&C.

We observed further that Isaianic language does not appear to be used in the Book of Mormon in the same way it is used in the D&C. As noted above, the D&C does not contain much in the way of long quotations from Isaiah, but rather regularly incorporates short phrases and terms from the King James Version of the Old Testament prophet’s writings without identifying their source. In contrast, the Book of Mormon contains many lengthy quotations from Isaiah and usually identifies them as such. We found that if we remove the lengthy Isaiah quotations from the Book of Mormon and then evaluate the remaining text for Isaianic language, not much is found. While the D&C uses nearly three Isaianic phrases for every thousand words, the Book of Mormon text that is not directly quoting Isaiah averages only two for every ten thousand words of text. [10] Obviously, in terms of the use of Isaianic language, Joseph Smith’s prophetic experience in translating the Book of Mormon was very different from that of receiving the D&C revelations.

If Joseph Smith’s work on the JST, particularly the JST of Isaiah, influenced the amount of Isaianic language in the D&C text, then we would expect a significant increase in the occurrence of Isaiah’s words in the revelations received during and, for a reasonable period, following the time he worked on the Isaiah portion of the JST. To consider whether the expertise the Prophet may have gained while working on the JST of Isaiah influenced how much Isaianic terminology appears in the D&C, we considered the timing of the work. We believe that the Prophet likely worked on the JST of Isaiah during the summer of 1833 and most certainly between July 1832 and July 1833. [11] Accordingly, we compared the number of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words for D&C revelations received during 1832 and 1833 to those received during other years. We found that revelations received during the years the Prophet would have been working on the JST of Isaiah do not show a significant increase in the occurrences of Isaianic language. In fact, the 1832 and 1833 revelations, with 2.7 occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words, are actually significantly less rich in Isaianic language than the 1831 revelations, with 3.4 occurrences, and not significantly different than the 1830 revelations, with a value of 2.5 (see table 8). Thus, while Joseph Smith likely learned much while working on the JST of Isaiah, that learning did not appear to influence how much Isaianic language made its way into the D&C.

We considered the possibility that Joseph Smith habitually incorporated Isaianic language into his writings and sermons, reasoning that if so, then the abundant Isaianic language in the D&C is no special phenomenon but rather simply a product of his regular way of communicating. Accordingly, we calculated the rate of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words for approximately 15,000 words of Joseph Smith’s personal letters and correspondence and for approximately 160,000 words of his sermons and teachings. We then compared our results with the rate of occurrences in the D&C.

For the text of the personal letters, we consulted Dean C. Jessee’s The Personal Letters of Joseph Smith. We purposely selected letters and correspondence from the corpus in which Joseph Smith appears to be speaking as a prophet. [12] Finding texts of Joseph Smith’s sermons and other teachings that we were confident he personally recorded, dictated, or edited proved problematic. We finally determined to consult Ehat and Cook’s The Words of Joseph Smith and the corpus of teachings gathered by Joseph Fielding Smith in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. These were better than most options, but far from ideal. For the most part, The Words of Joseph Smith contains the journal and diary entries of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries wherein they recorded what they heard the Prophet say in sermons he delivered from1839 to 1844. We chose those texts from this collection wherein the entries report the Prophet speaking in the first person, in hopes that they closely reflected his actual words. [13] Likewise, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith contains much that was recorded by others as they recalled what the Prophet taught or as it was dictated to them, but we hoped the collection somewhat represented Joseph’s own words. We analyzed this entire collection for Isaianic language. [14]

We found that while the D&C contains 2.9 occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words, the personal letters and correspondence that we considered in this study contained only 1.4 occurrences, and the other teachings of the Prophet we analyzed contained only 0.4 occurrences per thousand words (see table 10). We suspect that had we considered all of Joseph Smith’s letters rather than selecting only those in which he assumed a prophetic voice, the rate of Isaianic language usage would likely have dropped considerably from the 1.4 per thousand words that we calculated. Moreover, if we had the full and accurate text of all of Joseph Smith’s public sermons rather than secondhand reports, the rate of Isaianic language usage would perhaps increase from 0.4. In spite of these limitations, the data suggest that the Prophet did not habitually use Isaiah’s wording in his personal correspondence or regular teachings at a rate comparable to the D&C usage. It appears that prophetic wording of his D&C revelations is something beyond his typical pattern of communication.

We wondered if other early Church leaders with whom Joseph Smith associated or contemporary preachers and prophets of other faiths regularly used Isaiah’s language in their communications, sermons, and prophetic teachings. If so, we reasoned, perhaps the abundant usage of Isaianic language in the D&C simply reflects the influence of Joseph’s colleagues in his prophetic wording or a common style of religious leaders of his day.

To consider the question, we calculated the number of occurrences of Isaianic language per thousand words in recorded sermons and writings of three groups of individuals. First, we analyzed the writings and sermons of some of Joseph Smith’s contemporary Church leaders with whom he associated. In this group we included Sidney Rigdon, [15] Parley P. Pratt, [16] Brigham Young, [17] Orson Hyde, [18] and Orson Pratt. [19] Next, we analyzed sermons and writings from preachers contemporary with Joseph Smith as well as some that came before him whose works he may have known. In this group we included Alexander Campbell, [20] Benjamin T. Onderdonk, [21] Jonathan Edwards, [22] Charles Finney, [23] Charles Hodge, [24] John Wesley, [25] Asahel Nettleton, [26] and William Miller. [27] Finally, we analyzed the prophecies of individuals of other faiths who were roughly contemporary with Joseph Smith and who reported visions or spoke in the name of God. In this group we included Ellen White, [28] Philemon Stewart, [29] and Paulina Bates. [30]

We found that none of the early Church leaders who were contemporary with Joseph Smith incorporated Isaianic wording in the sermons and writings we analyzed at a rate comparable to the D&C revelations (see table 11). Even though Sidney Rigdon was specifically commissioned to “call upon the holy prophets to prove [Joseph Smith’s] words” (D&C 35:23), like the other early leaders of the Restoration we evaluated, he used Isaianic language at about only one-third the rate of the D&C revelations (0.9 compared to 2.9). Moreover, in most cases where Isaianic language is used in these early Church leader’s teachings and writings, it typically occurs in the form of long passages quoted from the text of Isaiah in distinct blocks, in contrast to the abundant short Isaianic phrases and terms scattered throughout the D&C.

We likewise found that none of the writings and sermons of religious leaders and teachers of other faiths we analyzed, whether preacher or prophet, incorporated Isaiah’s words in their works at a rate comparable to the D&C revelations, the highest being Bates, at a rate of 1.6, and the lowest Hodge, at 0.1 (see tables 12, 13). Interestingly, we observed that in the writings of those we classified as “preachers” (see table 12), Isaianic language once again typically occurs in the form of long passages quoted from the text of Isaiah in distinct blocks, while in the writings of those we classified as “prophets” (see table 13) the Isaianic language more commonly occurs in short phrases and terms, similar to the D&C pattern, but at only one-third to one-half the rate.

Thus our analysis indicates that it would be difficult to make the case that the abundant shared language between Isaiah and the D&C is simply a product of Joseph Smith copying the practice and language of his associates or contemporaries. The phenomenon appears to be more profound in the D&C than in any comparable text.

Summary

This study has produced some insight into how the revelations of the D&C use Isaianic language. We observed that the D&C incorporates the words of the ancient prophet frequently and broadly. We noted that the majority of the D&C sections contain distinctive Isaianic language and that the language is drawn from the majority of the chapters of Isaiah. We identified 171 different Isaianic terms and phrases in a total of 312 instances in the D&C. Most of those 171 different phrases occur three times or less in the D&C text. We observed that the rate of Isaianic language usage increases significantly when the D&C speaks of latter-day events such as the Restoration of the gospel, the building of Zion, and the Second Coming of Christ. Clearly, the language of the revelations recorded in the D&C was influenced by someone who was extraordinarily familiar with Isaiah’s writings.

We feel our findings in this study provide no definitive answers to the question of why Isaianic wording is so common in the D&C, but perhaps they help us eliminate some possible explanations. While the revelations Joseph Smith received in some years used more of Isaiah’s words than those he received in other years, we could not identify any particular time, experience, or event that could account for the phenomenon. Overall, the rate of Isaianic language usage seems to flow and ebb throughout his prophetic life with no clear patterns. Our findings suggest that any special familiarity or expertise with the writings of Isaiah that the Prophet may have gained while translating the Book of Mormon or working on the JST did not significantly impact the content or rate of Isaianic language usage. Furthermore, we could not comfortably conclude that the use of Isaianic language in the D&C simply reflects Joseph Smith’s typical patterns of communication, for he apparently did not use Isaianic language nearly as often in his regular teachings and sermons or in his personal correspondence. Likewise, we could not find evidence that the use of Isaianic wording in the D&C was simply a reflection of the style of preaching and prophesying of his day or that it was fostered by his association with other Church leaders in the Restoration with whom he worked. The abundance of Isaianic language in the D&C is truly remarkable and unique.

Accordingly, the question remains, does the choice of words in the revelations recorded in the D&C belong to Joseph Smith or to God—or to both? Is the language of the revelations internal or external to the Prophet? We conclude that if the language is internal to Joseph Smith, then he must have had an extraordinary mastery of Isaiah—one that far exceeds our expectations. If the language is external, then Joseph Smith must have received the revelations with remarkable clarity and detail. We are comfortable with either being the case.

Table 1: Verses​ with Shared Wording between Isaiah and the D&C

Bo​ok

Verses with Share​d Wording

D&C

1:1, 13–16, 22, 36; 4:1; 6:1–3; 11:1, 3; 12:1–3; 14:1, 3, 9; 18:44; 19:15, 36; 21:1; 22:1; 24:2, 15; 25:12, 14; 27:18; 29:12, 21, 23–24, 29, 42, 64; 30:4, 11; 33:1, 9, 10; 34:1–2, 8; 35:6, 8, 25; 36:1; 38:17, 22, 33, 42; 39:8; 41:1; 42:2, 6, 39, 45, 53; 43:11, 25; 45:1, 9, 10, 25, 28, 31, 36, 45–48, 50, 71; 49:9, 23–24, 27; 50:10; 52:43; 56:1, 16; 57:10; 58:5, 7–8, 64; 59:8–9; 60:7, 15; 61:20; 63:6; 64:9, 34–35, 42; 65:1, 3; 66:2, 11; 67:6; 68:25–26; 70:2; 71:8–9; 76:1, 9–10, 26–27, 44, 101, 107–8, 110; 78:3, 11; 81:5; 82:13–14; 84:24, 69–70, 98–100, 108; 85:3, 7; 86:11; 87:6; 88:7–8, 45, 66, 73–74, 84, 87, 94, 104, 106, 119, 131, 133; 89:20; 90:10; 93:51; 94:1; 95:4; 96:1; 97:23–24, 26; 98:12; 100:13; 101:12, 18, 21, 23, 30–31, 39, 53–54, 58, 75, 89, 95, 101; 103:11, 25; 104:4, 7, 14, 40, 48; 105:15, 30, 39; 106:3; 107:4, 36–37, 74; 109:8, 13, 16, 25, 38–39, 45–46, 50–51, 59, 74, 80; 111:14; 112:5, 23; 113:1–10; 115:5–6, 18; 117:7, 9; 119:7; 121:1, 4, 7, 12; 122:4, 6; 123:6; 124:2, 7–8, 10–11, 18, 21, 23, 26, 36, 60–61, 128, 131, 134, 142; 125:4; 128:19, 21–22; 131:2; 132:4, 6, 19, 26–27, 41–42, 49; 133:3, 5, 7–9, 16–17, 20–21, 24, 27, 29, 33, 40–44, 46–53, 57–58, 68–70, 72; 135:4; 136:10, 18; 137:2, 6; 138:18, 31, 42, 48

Isaiah

1:8, 16, 18–19, 24, 26, 27; 3:4, 16–17; 4:6; 5:5, 17, 24–26; 7:14; 8:8, 16; 9:2; 10:2–3, 22, 32; 11:4, 10–12, 16; 12:1; 13:5, 10; 14:6–7, 12; 15:4; 16:1; 18:2–3; 21:6, 9; 23:7, 9; 24:5, 14, 16, 20; 25:4, 6; 26:2; 28:2, 5, 10, 13–17, 19, 21, 23; 29:6, 14, 20; 30:2, 17, 19, 26–27, 29–30; 31:9; 32:2, 13; 33:1, 8, 14, 20, 22; 34:2, 5, 8, 16; 35:1, 3, 5–7, 10; 37:22, 26; 40:1, 3–8, 24, 31; 41:19, 21; 42:1, 5–6, 11, 23; 43:9, 11, 25; 44:3, 22–23; 45:8, 17–18, 22–23; 47:2, 7, 11, 14; 48:13, 20; 49:6, 13, 19, 13, 26; 50:2–3, 11; 51:2–3, 7, 9; 52:1–2, 7–12; 53:1, 7–8; 54:1–2, 7, 17; 55:2–3; 56:7; 58:1, 5, 8, 12; 59:1, 8, 17, 21; 60:1–2, 12–13, 19, 22; 61:1–2, 8, 10; 62:2–4, 6, 10–12; 63:1–9, 15, 18; 64:1–5; 65:5, 17, 20–22; 66:1–3, 15, 22, 24

 

Table 2: Sample of Distinctive ​Quotes, Phrases, and Language from the King James Version of Isaiah Found in the Doctrine and Covenants

Quotes, ​Phrases, and Language

D​&C

Isai​ah

Islands of the sea

1:1

11:11

Broken mine everlasting covenant

1:15

24:5

Babylon the great, which shall fall

1:16

21:9

Marvelous work is about to come forth

4:1; 6:1; 11:1; 12:1; 14:1; 18:44

29:14

Rod of mouth

19:15

11:4

Helmet of salvation

27:18

59:17

New heaven, new earth

29:23, 24

65:17

Prepare ye the way of the Lord

33:10

40:3

All nations shall tremble

34:8

64:2

Mine arm is not shortened

35:8

50:2; 59:1

For I am your lawgiver

38:22

33:22

Go ye out.... Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

38:42; 133:5

52:11

Laid the foundation of the earth

45:1

48:13

To be a light to the world ... Gentiles

45:9; 86:11

42:6

Overflowing scourge

45:31

28:15

Earth shall reel to and fro

45:48; 49:23; 88:87

24:20

Scorner shall be consumed

45:50

29:20

Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward

49:27

52:12

And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason

50:10

1:18

Day of visitation

56:1, 16; 124:8

10:3

Uttermost part of the earth

58:64

24:16

All flesh shall know

63:6

49:26

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight

65:1; 133:17

40:3

And push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads

66:11; 101:18; 109:39; 133:33

35:10

No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper

71:9; 109:25

54:17

For the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior

76:1

43:11

Wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught

76:9

29:14

Put on her beautiful garments

82:14

52:1

The voice of one crying in the wilderness

88:66

40:3

Bind up the law and seal up the testimony

88:84; 109:46; 133:72

8:16

Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess/swear

88:104

45:23

House of prayer

88:119; 109:8, 16

56:7

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint

89:20

40:31

Line upon line, precept upon precept

98:12; 128:21

28:10

All flesh shall see me together

101:23

40:5

In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree

101:30

65:22

Watchmen upon walls

101:53; 124:61

62:6

Avenge me of mine enemies

103:25

1:24

Clothed with salvation

109:80

61:10

Solitary places to bud

117:7

35:1

Bear him up as on eagles’ wings

124:18, 99

40:31

O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence

133:40

64:1

I am going like a lamb to the slaughter

135:4

53:7

Zion shall be redeemed

136:18

1:27

Liberty to the captives

138:18, 42

61:1

 

Table 3: Twenty Highest Ind​ices of Usage in the D&C for the Chapters of Isaiah [31]

Isaiah Chapter

Number of Words in the Chapter

Number of Time​s Words from the Chapter Occur in the D&C

Index of​ Usage

(Number of Occurrences/Nu​mber of Words)

61

380

26

6.84

54

493

31

6.29

55

399

22

5.51

33

585

29

4.96

24

592

25

4.22

52

405

17

4.20

35

277

11

4.00

11

519

20

3.85

62

362

13

3.59

28

814

22

2.70

58

521

13

2.50

40

796

16

2.01

45

774

15

1.94

63

538

9

1.68

42

676

11

1.63

1

758

12

1.60

18

255

4

1.57

51

771

12

1.56

53

387

6

1.55

47

471

7

1.49

 

Table 4: Percent of Isaianic Language Categories in the D&C

Ty​pe

Number of Isaianic Phrases in D&C

Percent ​of Total

Rebuke

31

10%

Counsel

65

21%

Prophecy

216

69%

 

Table 5: D&C Sections with the Highest Rate of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words (Only Sections with 100 Words or More are Included)

Sect​ion

Numb​er of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Ra​te

113

334

11

32.9

34

269

4

14.9

133

2,012

28

13.9

14

302

3

9.9

122

432

4

9.3

12

232

2

8.6

22

117

1

8.5

65

240

2

8.3

71

259

2

7.7

115

519

4

7.7

45

2,177

16

7.3

4

145

1

6.9

1

1,070

7

6.5

131

154

1

6.5

101

2,717

17

6.3

109

2,574

16

6.2

49

827

5

6.0

33

505

3

5.9

125

176

1

5.7

30

370

2

5.4

 

T​able 6: Rate o​f Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for Two Types of D&C Sections

D&C Section Type

Sections

Total Number of Words in the Sections

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

Contemporary

3–9, 11–28, 30–32, 36–37, 39–42, 44, 46–47, 50–57, 59–62, 66–75, 77–81, 83, 85–86, 89–96, 98–100, 102, 104, 106–12, 114–20, 123–32, 134–38

74,225

147

1.98

Prophetic

1–2, 10, 29, 33–35, 38, 43, 45, 48–49, 58, 63–65, 76, 82, 84, 87–88, 97, 101, 103, 105, 113, 121–22, 133

37,323

165

4.42

 

Table 7: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for the Lord’s Voice and Others’

Voice

Sections

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

Lord’s

1, 5–6, 8–11, 13–18, 20–46, 48–72, 74–76, 78–84, 86–101, 103–5, 107–8, 111, 113–15, 117–19, 123–26, 132

90,781

263

2.90

Others’

2–4, 7, 12, 19, 47, 73, 77, 85, 102, 106, 109–10, 112, 116, 120–22, 127–31, 134–38

20,767

49

2.36

 

Table 8: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for the D&C Revelations Received during Each Year

Year

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

1823

69

0

0

1828

2,546

1

0.4

1829

6,532

12

1.8

1830

10,956

27

2.5

1831

29,483

100

3.4

1832

15,579

42

2.7

1833

10,024

27

2.7

1834

6,482

11

1.7

1835

4,012

4

1.0

1836

3,305

19

5.7

1837

1,073

2

1.9

1838

1,978

18

9.1

1839

2,421

9

3.7

1841

5,698

20

3.5

1842

3,205

4

1.2

1843

4,280

9

2.1

1844

899

1

1.1

1847

1,108

2

1.8

1918

1,861

4

2.1

 

Table 9: Indices of Usage in the D&C for Passages of Isaiah Quoted and Not Quoted in the Book of Mormon

Passages

Number of Words in the Passages

Number of Times Words from the Passages Occur in the D&C

Index of Usage

(Number of Occurrences/Number of Words)

Quoted in the Book of Mormon

12,183

105

0.86

Not Quoted in the Book of Mormon

24,095

200

0.83

 

Table 10: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for Joseph Smith’s Personal Correspondence and Sermon Reports Compared to the D&C

Text

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

D&C

107,366

312

2.9

Personal Correspondence

15,059

21

1.4

Sermons and Teachings

160,000

69

0.4

 

Table 11: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for Sermons and Teachings of Selected Colleagues of Joseph Smith Compared to the D&C

Colleague

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

D&C

107,366

312

2.9

Sidney Rigdon

51,507

47

0.9

Parley P. Pratt

49,689

39

0.8

Brigham Young

50,537

47

0.9

Orson Hyde

52,734

38

0.7

Orson Pratt

51,447

52

1.0

 

Table 12: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for Sermons of Joseph Smith’s Contemporary Preachers of Other Faiths Compared to the D&C

Preacher

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

D&C

107,366

312

2.9

Alexander Campbell

50,828

34

0.7

Benjamin T. Onderdonk

50,243

28

0.6

Jonathan Edwards

49,981

36

0.7

Charles Finney

48,928

13

0.3

Charles Hodge

53,122

6

0.1

John Wesley

55,150

52

0.9

Asael Nettleton

20,385

21

1.0

William Miller

5,495

8

1.5

 

Table 13: Rate of Occurrences of Isaianic Language per 1,000 Words of Text for Prophecies of Joseph Smith’s Contemporary Prophets of Other Faiths Compared to the D&C

Prophet

Number of Words

Occurrences of Isaianic Language

Rate

D&C

107,366

312

2.9

Ellen White

50,194

34

0.7

Philemon Stewart

50,877

37

0.7

Paulina Bates

51,731

86

1.6

 

Notes

[1] For our analyses we used QDA Miner v4 by Provalis Research (2997 Cedar Ave, Montreal, QC. H3Y 1Y8, Canada). This program includes a feature that enables researchers to search for shared language up to seven words in length between two texts. Two earlier studies, Ellis T. Rasmussen, “Textual Parallels to the Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Commandments as Found in the Bible” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1951) and Lois Jean Smutz, “Textual Parallels to the Doctrine and Covenants (Sections 65 to 133) as Found in the Bible” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971) likewise identified much Isaianic language in the D&C, but without the use of computer-assisted analysis, their findings were not as extensive. Although our study employed the enhanced search features of computer technology, we feel our list of shared language should be considered illustrative rather than exhaustive.

[2] Seventeen percent of these phrases are not found quoted in any other book of scripture, while 55 percent occur not only in the D&C but also in other standard works, where they are clearly quoted from Isaiah.

[3] We categorize this 28 percent as Isaianic because it occurs first in the book of Isaiah or is used more frequently there than in other books.

[4] Elder Bruce R. McConkie perhaps explained this phenomenon when he observed, “Our understanding of the prophetic word will be greatly expanded if we know how one prophet quotes another, usually without acknowledging his source.” “The Doctrinal Restoration,” in The Joseph Smith Translation: The Restoration of Plain and Precious Truths, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Robert L. Millet (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1985), 17.

[5] In a 1973 address to priesthood holders, President Harold B. Lee admonished the brethren to avoid being swept up in popular speculation about “calamities which are about to overtake us.” Instead, he counseled those wanting a sense of what the future held to look to the scriptures and then listed particular passages they should read. Interestingly, his list from the D&C consisted of sections 38, 45, 101, 133, all of which are on our list of those with the most Isaianic language usage per thousand words. See “Admonitions for the Priesthood of God,” Ensign, January 1973.

[6] In the Lord’s Preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord declares, “Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to an understanding” (D&C 1:24). While this passage helps us understand that the Lord spoke to Joseph in language he would understand, it does not, in our view, indicate whether the choice of words used to communicate the revelations in the D&C originates with God or the prophet. Hence the discussion that follows.

[7] We observed that the value for 1838 is skewed by section 113, which is devoted entirely to a discussion of Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 53.

[8] Isaiah passages quoted in the Book of Mormon are Isaiah 2–14 (2 Nephi 12–24), Isaiah 29 (2 Nephi 26; 27), Isaiah 48–49 (1 Nephi 20–21), Isaiah 50 (2 Nephi 7), Isaiah 51, 52:1–2; 55:1–2 (2 Nephi 8; 9:50–51), Isaiah 52 (3 Nephi 20), Isaiah 53 (Mosiah 14), Isaiah 54 (3 Nephi 22).

[9] We note that for the first fourteen Isaiah chapters quoted in the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 2–14, 29), the index of usage is 0.63 (52/8268) but for the last eight chapters quoted in the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 48–52:2), the index jumps up to 1.33 (52/3915), more than twice as much. This again indicates that the D&C more heavily quotes from the restoration chapters of Isaiah (40–66) than the judgment chapters (1–35).

[10] The Isaiah quotes in the Book of Mormon text removed from this analysis are found in 1 Nephi 20–21; 2 Nephi 6:6–7, 16–18; 7–8; 9:50; 12–24; 26:18; 27:2–5, 25–35; 30:9, 11–15; Mosiah 12:21–24; 14; 15:6, 29–31; 3 Nephi 16:18–20; 20:34–45; 21:8; 22 (as identified by John W. Welch in Charting the Book of Mormon, accessible at: http://byustudies.byu.edu/januarybomcharts/index.html). After removing these quotes, we found sixty occurrences of Isaianic language in the remaining 261,469 words for a rate of usage of 0.2 per 1,000 words compared to 2.8 per 1,000 words in the D&C. We also evaluated just the D&C revelations received while Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon from April to June of 1829 (D&C 6–9, 11–18) to see if the rate of usage in those revelations varied significantly from that of the Book of Mormon non-Isaiah-quoting text. We found that the D&C revelations received while Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon had an Isaianic language use rate of 1.5 per 1,000 words (10 usages in 6,802 words), still much higher than the Book of Mormon’s 0.2 rate. We are not confident this represents a significant difference, however, due to the small sample size and the fact that the D&C rate of usage is perhaps inflated by the redundancy of the “marvelous work” phrase in sections 6, 11, 12, and 14.

[11] In the Old Testament Manuscript 2 of the JST which contains the book of Isaiah, Isaiah starts on page 97 and ends on page 111. Malachi starts on page 119 with the finishing date of July 2, 1833 written after it on that page. Thus of the 446 pages that ended on July 2, 1833, Isaiah finishes eight pages from the end. Accordingly, it appears the Prophet likely worked on the Isaiah portion of the JST in the summer of 1833 (personal correspondence with Kent P. Jackson). For a review of the history of the JST work, see Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, ed. Kent P. Jackson, Robert J. Matthews and Scott H. Faulring (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 3–8.

[12] Texts included in our study were entries from the Joseph Smith Diary for November 19 and December 18, 1833; November 2–3 and December 10, 1835; November 29, 1844; letters written to Harvey Whitlock, November 16, 1835; William W. Phelps, July 31, 1832; William Phelps, John Whitmer, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, and Sidney Rigdon, August 10, 1833; William Phelps, John Whitmer, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, and Sidney Rigdon, August 18, 1833; the Church, December 16, 1838; and the Twelve, December 15, 1840. For the full text, see The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984).

[13] The following is a list of dates and the names of those reporting sermons or the places in which the report is found for the sermons given by Joseph Smith that we included in this study: March 21, 1841, reported in the Howard and Martha Coray Notebook; December 19, 1841, March 10, 1842, April 9, 1842, April 10, 1842, January 22, 1843, June 30, 1843, July 4, 1843, January 21, 1844, March 24, 1844, April 7, 1844, reported in the Wilford Woodruff Diary; August 29, 1842, reported in the Manuscript History of the Church; August 31, 1842, reported in the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes; January 29, 1843, April 6, 1843, April 13, 1843, April 16, 1843, October 15, 1843, reported in the Joseph Smith Diary by Willard Richards; April 8, 1843, reported by William Clayton; May 12, 1844, June 16, 1844, reported by Thomas Bullock; May 26, 1844, reported in History of the Church, 6:408–12; October 5, 1840, reported in an original manuscript in the hand of Robert B. Thompson. Ehat and Cook note that this last sermon is apparently the only one for which the Prophet prepared a text. For the full text of all the sermon reports listed here, see The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980).

[14] Some of the text in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith is also found in The Words of Joseph Smith, but whereas this is a rate of usage, we were not concerned about duplicates skewing the results. In our analysis we tried to avoid including text from Joseph Smith’s personal writings, teachings, or sermons that are also found in the D&C.

[15] We reviewed about fifty thousand words of Sidney Rigdon text, taken primarily from early Church newspapers. Sidney Rigdon (February 19, 1793–July 14, 1876) was a popular preacher in Alexander Campbell’s Disciples of Christ movement. The text we analyzed in this study consisted of his July 4, 1838, oration printed in the Journal Office at Far West, Missouri, a treatise on the Millennium he published in serial form in the Evening and the Morning Star 2, no. 15–17, 19–23n and the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1, no. 2–6, 8, and those portions of a treatise on the gospel he published in serial form in the Evening and the Morning Star 1, no. 11; 2, no. 24; and the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1, nos. 2–4.

[16] We analyzed about 50,000 words of text from Parley P. Pratt’s A Voice of Warning. An early convert to the Church, also from Alexander Campbell’s Disciples of Christ movement, Parley P. Pratt (April 12, 1807–May 13, 1857) became a prominent leader, missionary, and preacher, as well as becoming the editor of the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. He was a close associate of Joseph Smith, in a position to exercise significant influence on the thinking and language of the Prophet. In this study we analyzed the first five chapters of Pratt’s book A Voice of Warning and Instruction to All People; or an Introduction to the Faith and Doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For a review of the significance of this work and the text thereof, see Kent P. Jackson’s introduction in the Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading Edition: Parley P. Pratt, A Voice of Warning (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2008).

[17] Brigham Young (June 1, 1801–August 29, 1877) was baptized into the Church in 1832 and was a faithful associate of Joseph Smith from then on. He served as the second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877. The approximately fifty thousand words of Brigham Young’s writings we analyzed were taken from the Journal of Discourses, 1:1–6, 37–42, 195–203, 233–45, 277–79, 376; 2:1–10, 29–33, 90–96, 121–45. These were chosen for their prophetic or doctrinal themes.

[18] Orson Hyde (January 8, 1805–November 28, 1878) was an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the President of the Quorum from 1847 to 1875. The approximately fifty thousand words of Orson Hyde’s writings we analyzed were taken from the Journal of Discourses, 1:71–73, 121–30; 2:61–70, 75–87, 112–20, 202–21; 4:257–63; 5:14–23, 67–72, 279–84. These too were chosen for their prophetic or doctrinal themes.

[19] Like Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt (September 19, 1811–October 3, 1881) was an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was the younger brother of Parley P. Pratt, who introduced him to the Church and baptized him in 1830. The approximately fifty thousand words of Orson Pratt’s writings we analyzed were taken from the Journal of Discourses, 1:53–66, 280–94; 2:54–61, 96–104, 235–48, 259–66, 284–98. These too were chosen for their prophetic or doctrinal themes.

[20] Alexander Campbell (September 12, 1788–March 4, 1866) was an early leader in the Second Great Awakening and was the driving force behind the Disciples of Christ movement. He emphasized New Testament Christianity. Many of the early Saints were converts from his movement, and several American churches trace their history to his leadership. He authored the polemical work Mormonism Exposed. In this study we analyzed text from three works: (1) chapters 1, 4–5, 8, and 22 of The Christian System in Reference to the Union of Christians, and a Restoration of Primitive Christianity, As Plead in the Current Reformation (Pittsburg, PA: Forrester & Campbell,1839), (2) Sermon on the Law (1846), The Millennial Harbinger, series 3, vol. 3, no. 9, Bethany, VA, September 1846; and (3) Life and Death (Cincinnati, OH: H. S. Bosworth, 1861). All of these texts are available at http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/acampbell.html.

[21] Benjamin T. Onderdonk (July 15, 1791–April 30, 1861) was the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York from 1830–61 and is remembered as one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Diocese. In this study we analyzed the following sermons and writings: “A Sermon on the Excellence, the Benefits, and the Obligations of the Divine Law,” “The Change at the Resurrection,” “The Seventeenth Article of Religion Considered,” “A Funeral Sermon on Occasion of the Death of the Rev. Lewis P. Bayard, D. D.,” “A Sermon Preached on Occasion of Administering the Holy Rite of Confirmation in St. George’s Church, New-York,” “Sermon on Isaiah 1:13,” “Address Delivered to the Recipients of Confirmation, Immediately After Its Administration,” “The Edifying of the Church,” “The Christian Ministry,” and “A Sermon Preached in Trinity Church, New-York, at the Funeral of the Right Reverend John Henry Hobart, D. D.” The text of all of these sermons is available at http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/btonderdonk/.

[22] Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703–March 22, 1758) was a preacher and missionary to Native Americans. Though not a contemporary of Joseph Smith, he played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and the Prophet likely would have been exposed to his theology and writings. In this study we analyzed the following sermon and writings: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” “The Manner in Which the Salvation of the Soul Is to Be Sought, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” and “Pressing into the Kingdom of God.” All of these texts are available at http://www.jonathan-edwards.org/.

[23] Charles G. Finney (August 29, 1792–August 16, 1875) was a leader in the Second Great Awakening. He has been called the “Father of Modern Revivalism.” He is known as an innovative revivalist, an advocate of Christian perfectionism, and a pioneer in social reforms. He was a president at Oberlin College. In this study we analyzed the following sermon and writings: “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts,” “How to Change Your Heart,” “Traditions of the Elders,” “Total Depravity,” and “Doctrine of Election.” All of these texts are available at http://www.charlesgfinney.com/1836SOIS/indexsois.htm.

[24] Charles Hodge (December 27, 1797–June 19, 1878) was the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary from 1851 to 1878. He was a Presbyterian theologian and a leading exponent of historical Calvinism in America during the nineteenth century. He argued that the authority of the Bible as the word of God had to be understood literally. In this study we analyzed the following sermon and writings: “The Protestant Rule of Faith,” “Office of the Church as a Teacher,” “For Whom Did Christ Die?,” and “The Plan of Salvation” in Systematic Theology, vols. 1 and 2 (New York, NY: Charles Scribner, 1873). All of these texts are available at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge?show=worksBy.

[25] John Wesley (June 28, 1703–March 2, 1791) served in the clergy for the Church of England and, along with his brother Charles Wesley, was largely credited with the founding of the Methodist movement. The Prophet Joseph Smith mentioned that he felt “somewhat partial to the Methodist sect” (Joseph Smith—History 1:8), suggesting he may have had some exposure to John Wesley’s writings. In this study we chose to analyze Wesley texts and sermons that started with a quote from Isaiah or had Biblical or last-days themes. The texts we chose included the following sermons and writings: Sermon 107, “On God’s Vineyard”; Sermon 134, “True Christianity Defended”; Sermon 66, “The Signs of the Times”; Sermon 129, “The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes”; Sermon 116, “Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity”; Sermon 63, “The General Spread of the Gospel”; Sermon 65, “The Duty of Reproving Our Neighbor”; Sermon 56, “God’s Approbation of His Work”; Sermon 20, “The Lord Our Righteousness”; Sermon 130, “National Sins and Miseries”; Sermon 102, “Of Former Times”; Sermon 111, “On the Omnipresence of God”; and Sermon 131, “The Late Work of God in North America.” All of these texts are available at http://gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/.

[26] Asahel Nettleton (April 21, 1783–May 16, 1844) was a theologian and pastor from Connecticut who was highly influential during the Second Great Awakening. The number of people converted to Christianity as a result of his ministry is estimated at 30,000. In this study we analyzed about 20,000 Nettleton words from the following sermon and writings: “The Final Warning,” “The Destruction of Hardened Sinners,” “Rejoice Young Man,” “Regeneration,” and “Professing Christians, Awake!” All of these texts are available at http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/nettleton/neindex.htm.

[27] William Miller (February 15, 1782–December 20, 1849) was a Baptist preacher credited with founding North American Adventism. Today’s Seventh-Day Adventists and Advent Christians are influenced by Miller’s teachings. His own followers were called Millerites. Written sermons by Miller are rare. In this study we only analyzed a single 5,000-word sermon entitled “The Kingdom of God,” which was delivered by Miller on November 14, 1842. It is available at http://www.adventistheritage.org/article.php?id=38.

[28] Ellen G. White (November 26, 1827–July 16, 1915) along with others formed what is now known as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. She reported her visionary experiences to her fellow believers and viewed these experiences as the biblical gift of prophecy. During her lifetime she wrote more than five thousand periodical articles and forty books. In this study we analyzed the visions and writings found in her volume Early Writings, 14–190, available at http://www.gilead.net/egw/books2/earlywritings/ewindex.html.

[29] Philemon Stewart was a prominent member of the Shakers and was considered a visionary man in that movement. His revelation A Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book was published in 1842. The revelation is reported to have been received over a fourteen-day period from February 2 to February 16, 1842. God speaks in the first person throughout this revelation. In this study we analyzed chapters 1–3, 9, 11, 14, 16, 21, 23–27, 29–31, and 33 of this revelation, as well as visions entitled “A Word of Warning and Invitation by the Patriarch Noah” with Elmira Allard as the “inspired writer,” “The Solemn Warning of A Holy Angel of God” with Paulina Bates as the “inspired writer,” and “Words of the Holy Prophet Isaiah” with Roselinda Allard as the “inspired writer,” all contained in A Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book. The text is available at http://www.iinet.com/~passtheword/Shaker-Manuscripts/Sacred-Roll/rollndex.htm.

[30] Like Philemon Stewart, Paulina Bates was a prominent member of the Shakers. She claimed to receive visionary messages and was called “a prophetess unto the Most High.” Her 1849 publication, The Divine Book of Holy and Eternal Wisdom, is her most famous visionary work. As in other Shaker revelation, God speaks in the first person throughout this text. In this study we analyzed the following chapters from the volume: part 1, chapters 1–3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 21, 23–27, 29–31, 33; part 2, chapters 3, 6–9, 11–12, 14, 17, 19–21. The text is available at http://www.iinet.com/~passtheword/Shaker-Manuscripts/Holy-Wisdom/wsdmndex.htm.

[31] The index of usage equals the number of times words from the chapter occur in the D&C divided by total words in the chapter.