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?

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