In 1874, Brigham Young assigned Daniel Webster Jones, Mormon convert and noted rescuer of the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company of 1856, to lead a group of missionaries into Mexico–the first expedition to that country by the Latter-day Saints. At the time of this call, Young explained to Jones “that he would like to have some extracts from the Book of Mormon translated to send to the people of Mexico,” and asked Jones and Henry Brizzee to begin the translation. Jones recalled that the Mormon Prophet “advised us to get our private affairs arranged, also to study up our Spanish and prepare ourselves for translating and report to him.”
Daniel W. Jones had taught himself the Spanish language during his years growing up as an orphan in Texas and New Mexico, but lacked any formal training or study in the language. He explained that “to translate for publication required a more thorough scholarship than either of us possessed. I often thought how good it would be to have a native Spaniard to help us.”
He got his wish when Meliton G. Trejo, “a Spanish gentleman from the Philippine Islands” who, following a series of miraculous dreams and visions had joined the LDS church and immigrated to the Mormon Zion, joined Brizzee and Jones in assisting in the translation process. Trejo was a well-educated Spaniard who had received training at Spain’s military academies and earned a doctorate from the University of Bordeaux. Jones and Trejo completed the translation of roughly 100 pages of selections from the Book of Mormon, and published them as Trozos selectos del Libro de Mormon: que es una narracion escrita por la mano de Mormon, sobre placas de Nephi in 1875.
While Joseph Smith’s unique mode of translating the Book of Mormon from what he termed “Reformed Egyptian” into English has received much attention, the method utilized by Daniel Jones in his translation of the book from English to Spanish has received considerably less attention, though it is equally unique (and fits nicely within the charismatic and revelatory heritage of Mormonism).
When the translation commenced, Jones remembered Brigham Young firmly telling him “the he would hold me responsible for its correctness. This weighed heavily on my mind. So much so that I asked the Lord to in some way manifest to me when there were mistakes.” In his autobiography, Forty Years Among the Indians, Jones recounted the translation process, and just how the Lord manifested mistakes in Brother Trejo’s translation:
The manuscript as written by Brother Trejo, was at times rather after the modern notion of good style. When I called his attention to errors he invariably agreed with me. He often remarked that I was a close critic and understood Spanish better than he did. I did not like to tell him how I discerned the mistakes.
I felt a sensation in the center of my forehead as though there was a fine fiber being drawn smoothly out. When a mistake occurred, the smoothness would be interrupted as though a small knot was passing out through the forehead. Whether I saw the mistake or not I was so sure it existed that I would direct my companion’s attention to it and call on him to correct it. When this was done we continued on until the same occurred again.
 See F. Lamond Tullis, “Early Mormon Exploration and Missionary Activities in Mexico,” BYU Studies 22:3 (1982), 289-310. Jared T. and I are currently working on an article examining the intersections of race, religion, and ethnic identity during this first Mormon mission to Mexico. Daniel Webster Jones should not be confused with the governor of Arkansas of the same name or the Mormon missionary and friend of Joseph Smith, Dan Jones.
 Daniel W. Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians: A True yet Thrilling Narrative of the Author’s Experiences Among the Natives (Salt Lake City, Utah: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1890), 219-20.
 See Eduardo Balderas, “How the Scriptures Came to be Translated into Spanish,” Ensign (September 1972), 26-29. For more on Meliton Trejo, see Tressie M. Post, “Meliton Gonzalez Trejo: The First Spanish Translator of the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era (March 1926), 429-30; and K.E. Duke, “Meliton Gonzalez Trejo: Translator of the Book of Mormon Into Spanish,” Improvement Era (October 1956), 714-15, 753.
 Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians, 232.
 Jones, Forty Years Among the Indians, 232. Even with my mediocre reading abilities in the Spanish language, I can detect some rather obvious translation errors in reading Jones and Trejo’s translation (though that is rather typical of most writings of the era).