What Manner of Translation?
In a valuable and brief survey, Stephen Ricks reports what Joseph Smith and his companions say about how the Book of Mormon was translated. Much remains unclear, especially since the Prophet Joseph spoke very little about the process—one which he considered sacred. In 1831 he said, "It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars." From the available evidence, Ricks concludes that while supernatural instruments were used to aid in the translation process, the English words were not just mechanically read off by the Prophet, but were formulated by him as a translator.