Are the Notes on Joseph Smith’s 1833 City of Zion Plat Written in Early Modern English?

by Robert John Stevens, February 28, 2017

I noticed today that Mormon entrepreneur David Hall’s PowerPoint slides on the City of Zion says the “Language of the plot is Tyndale’s 16th century English.”

March 1, 2017: I called David Hall and asked how he determined the notes on the City of Zion Plan were Tyndale’s English. He said Stan Carmack helped him identify that with the help of Royal Skousen. So if the notes are in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, then how were they Early Modern English?

Read the notes on the Plat of the City of Zion, circa Early June–25 June 1833 and also Page 2 of the Plat of the City of Zion. These documents say the handwriting is that of Frederick G. Williams (1787 – 1842).

It is very unlikely that Frederick G. Williams wrote in Early Modern English—a language 300 years before his time.

I love Joseph Smith so please don’t shoot me as the messenger for asking this question:

If the Book of Mormon was not a 16th-century manuscript that came into the possession of Joseph Smith, then why would the City of Zion plat notes be written in Early Modern English?

Joseph Smith said the City of Zion plat was given to him by revelation, so if the notes are Early Modern English then in 1833 did Jesus Christ speak in Early Modern English? Or was this revelation given via an angelic being who did?

Did Frederick G. Williams copy the notes directly from a 16th-century plat?

Click this link on NewVistas Foundation Website and then click the link Joseph Smith’s City Plot to see that PowerPoint slide.

Notice the notes were removed from the Revised Plat of the City of Zion, circa Early August 1833.

March 1, 2017: I called my Barry Prettyman of Cole’s Engineering in Spanish Fork, Utah. Barry is a surveyor and engineer. I asked if he ever heard of the word “perches” which was used in the notes of the City of Zion Plan and must be a unit of measurement. He hadn’t heard of the word. Is it an Early Modern English word?

See Also

Building Zion: The Latter-day Saint Legacy of Urban Planning

by Robert John Stevens, February 28, 2017

Utah has won just one National Planning Landmark Award: Joseph Smith’s The Plat of the City of Zion (1833). At the time, Joseph Smith was 27 years old.

Craig Galli’s article, Building Zion: The Latter-day Saint Legacy of Urban Planning” is fascinating and well worth your time to read.

Utah Mormons have deviated far from the original Zion plan and implementation, and from enjoying its benefits, and seem to have forgotten that outlying farmland is preserved not for the expansion of cities, but to sustain cities. When the population increases, the City of Zion plan was to be replicated.

In other words, Benjamin, Utah wasn’t supposed to be preserved for the expansion of Spanish Fork but to be its own city, designed after the City of Zion plan, with outlying farmland to sustain its own people.

Also, farmers were supposed to live in the cities where their families can be enlightened. I called Craig Galli the author and asked, “Where were farmers supposed to keep their equipment?” He said it was a great question and he didn’t know the answer.

David Hall’s slides on the City of Zion says the “Language of the plot is Tyndale’s 16th century English.” Was David influenced by Royal Skousen’s research or did David decide on his own that like the Book of Mormon, it was Tyndale-era English?

City of Zion Documents

Improving the City of Zion Design for the 21st Century

by Robert John Stevens, September 1, 2015

This afternoon I met with Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee. He’s very smart, pleasant, insightful and has a solid foundation in liberty.

Among many other things, we discussed for Utah County my proposed 21st-century improvements over Joseph Smith’s City of Zion design:
City of Zion by Joseph Smith

Joseph’s city blocks have high home density because he planned for large farms to be at the outskirts of the cities.

I’d retain Joseph’s idea of common areas in the middle of the city, and his brilliant idea of facing the homes different ways for adjacent blocks, but I’d reserve land in the middle of each block for pleasant views, neighborhood parks and defensible coop farming which would be essential for self-sufficient communities after major disasters such as EMPs.

Joseph’s design and my alternative design could exist together and run parallel to each other along roads.

I’ll draw my proposed improvements and post them soon.