Book of Mormon Chronology

The first part of this chronology offers details on the origins of the Book of Mormon, the various English editions, and important scholarly research related to the text of the Book of Mormon. The second part lists the dates of translations into other languages. As the time line shows, the Book of Mormon has a truly amazing history.

 

English Translation and Critical Text

21/22 September 1823 First visit by Moroni.
21/22 September 1827 Joseph Smith receives the plates.
circa December 1827 Joseph and Emma travel from Palmyra, New York, to Harmony, Pennsylvania; Joseph begins translating, with Emma and possibly Reuben Hale as scribes.
February 1828 Martin Harris takes a transcript of characters copied from the plates to Charles Anthon and other eastern scholars.
April—June 1828 Martin serves as scribe.
July 1828 Martin loses the 116 pages; Joseph is temporarily denied the ability to translate.
circa February—March 1829 A few pages are translated; Emma and Samuel Smith possibly serve as scribes.
5 April 1829 Oliver Cowdery arrives in Harmony and begins serving as scribe two days later.
circa 4 June 1829 Joseph, Oliver, and David Whitmer arrive at the Whitmer farm in Fayette, New York, where the translation is completed.
11 June 1829 Joseph obtains the copyright.
latter part of June 1829 In Fayette, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris are shown the plates and other artifacts by Moroni; a few days later, the Eight Witnesses see and handle the plates in Manchester.
26 June 1829 In the first newspaper article mentioning the Book of Mormon, the Wayne Sentinel comments on the book’s origins and publishes the title page.
1 July 1829 The translation is completed by this date.
July—August 1829 Thurlow Weed, owner-editor of the Rochester Telegraph, twice declines to print the book; Oliver Cowdery begins copying the printer’s manuscript, completing this task by February 1830.
August 1829 Martin Harris mortgages his farm; E. B. Grandin (who had previously declined) agrees to publish the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, New York; Hyrum Smith delivers the first manuscript installment of 24 pages; typesetting begins.
Fall 1829 Joseph returns to Harmony; Hyrum, Martin, and Oliver continue to deliver manuscript installments to printer and check proofs. Solomon Chamberlain becomes convinced of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, obtains proof sheets of four sixteen-page signatures, and goes on a mission to Upper Canada.
January 1830 Abner Cole, editor of The Reflector (Palmyra, NY), illegally prints excerpts from 1 Nephi and Alma, finally desisting after he is confronted by Joseph.
circa January 1830 Joseph Smith apparently sends Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page—and possibly Joseph Knight and Josiah Stowell—to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, to try to sell the Book of Mormon copyright.
March 1830 First printing (5,000 copies) begins; the book is offered for sale on 26 March.
6 April 1830 The Church of Christ is organized.
July 1830 Samuel Smith leaves a copy of the Book of Mormon with Rhoda Young Greene, sister of Brigham Young.
September 1830 Parley P. Pratt is baptized after reading a borrowed copy of the Book of Mormon.
April 1831 Martin Harris sells his farm to cover the Book of Mormon debt.
1837 Second edition (either 3,000 or 5,000 copies) published at Kirtland, Ohio.
1840 Third edition and first stereotyped edition (2,000 copies) published in Nauvoo, Illinois (and printed in Cincinnati), under the direction of Ebenezer Robinson.
1841 First British edition (4,050 copies) published in Liverpool, England, under the direction of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Parley P. Pratt.
1841 Original manuscript deposited in the cornerstone of Nauvoo House.
1842 New impression printed in Nauvoo, using the same stereotype plates as the third edition. (The title page was reset, however, with the “Jr.” being dropped from Joseph Smith’s name because his father had died.)
1849 Second British edition published in England under the direction of Orson Pratt.
1852 Third British edition, which included the first use of numbered paragraphs, published in England under the direction of Franklin D. Richards.
1858 Private edition published in New York City by James O. Wright.
1869 Deseret Alphabet edition published in New York City.
1874 First RLDS edition published in Plano, Illinois.
1879 Major edition published in Salt Lake City under the direction of a committee probably headed by James E. Talmage, with introductory material and chapter summaries; this was the first LDS edition in double columns.
1888 First large-print LDS edition published in Salt Lake City by the Juvenile Instructor.
1892 RLDS large-print LDS edition (second RLDS edition) published in Lamoni, Iowa; this was the first double-column edition.
1902 Missionary edition published in Kansas City, Missouri.
1907 Vest-pocket edition published in Salt Lake City by the Deseret Sunday School Union.
1908 Third RLDS edition published in Lamoni, Iowa, with numerous corrections based on the printer’s manuscript.
circa 1911 Large-print edition published in Chicago.
1920 Major edition published in Salt Lake City under the direction of a committee probably headed by James E. Talmage, with introductory material and chapter summaries; this was the first LDS edition in double columns.
1936 English-Braille translation (seven volumes) published in Louisville, Kentucky (updated in 1994).
1953 Current RLDS (now Community of Christ) edition published in Independence, Missouri.
1981 Major edition published in Salt Lake City under the direction of a committee headed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve, with corrections, new introductory material, new chapter summaries, and new footnotes.
1982 Subtitle “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” added to cover and half-title page (but not to the title page itself).
1984—86 FARMS produces the first critical text under direction of Robert Smith.
1988 Supported by FARMS, Royal Skousen begins work on a comprehensive critical text project.
2000 One hundred millionth copy of the Book of Mormon is printed.
2001 FARMS publishes the first two volumes in Royal Skousen’s critical text project, a one-part typographical facsimile of the extant text of the original manuscript and a two-part typographical facsimile of the printer’s manuscript.
2003 University of Illinois Press publishes reader’s edition, edited by Grant Hardy, which reformats the 1920 text in the manner of modern translations of the Bible.
2004 By arrangement with the Church, Doubleday publishes the first official trade edition, which duplicates the 1982 version.
2004 FARMS publishes Part One (title page, witness statements, 1 Nephi — 2 Nephi 10) of the fourth volume of Skousen’s critical text project, Analysis of Textual Variants in the Book of Mormon.
2005 FARMS publishes Part Two (2 Nephi 11 — Mosiah 16) of the fourth volume of Skousen’s critical text project.
2006 FARMS publishes Part Three (Mosiah 17 — Alma 20) of the fourth volume of Skousen’s critical text project.
2007 FARMS publishes Part Four (Alma 21 — Alma 55) of the fourth volume of Skousen’s critical text project.

Thanks to David J. Whittaker, Royal Skousen, and Larry Draper for their research and for their help with this part of the chronology.

 

Other Translations

1851 Danish translation published in Copenhagen.
1852 German, French, Italian, and Welsh translations published in Hamburg, Paris,London, and Georgetown, respectively.
1855 Hawaiian translation published in Honolulu (and printed in San Francisco).
1875 Spanish selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1886, updated in 1952,1980, 1992).
1878 Swedish translation published in Copenhagen (retranslated 1985).
1889 Maori translation published in Auckland, New Zealand (reprinted in Salt Lake City in 1989).
1890 Dutch translation published in Amsterdam.
1903 Samoan translation published in Salt Lake City.
1904 Tahitian translation published in Salt Lake City.
1905 Missionary edition published in Chicago.
1906 Large-print edition published in Salt Lake City by Deseret News.
1906 Turkish selections (Armenian script) published in Boston (Roman alphabet selections updated in 1983; full book in 2001).
1909 Japanese translation published in Tokyo (updated in 1957 and 1995).
1933 Czech selections published in Prague (updated in 1980; full book in 1986).
1937 Armenian-Western translation published in Los Angeles (selections updated in 1993).
1939 Portuguese translation published in Sao Paulo, Brazil (updated in 1995).
1946 Tongan translation published in Salt Lake City.
1950 Norwegian translation published in Oslo (updated in 2002).
1954 Finnish translation published in Helsinki (updated in 2002).
1965 Rarotongan translation published in Salt Lake City.
1965 Chinese translation published in Hong Kong.
1967 Korean translation published in Seoul.
1972 Afrikaans translation published in Johannesburg, South Africa.
1976 Thai translation published in Bangkok.
1977 Indonesian translation published in Jakarta.
1977 Aymara selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1986).
1978 Cakchiquel selections published in Salt Lake City.
1979 Croatian translation published in Salt Lake City.
1979 Quechua-Peru selections published in Salt Lake City.
1979 Greek (Katharevusa) selections published in Salt Lake City.
1979 Hungarian selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1991).
1979 Kekchi selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1983).
1979 Quiche selections published in Salt Lake City.
1980 Bulgarian selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1999).
1980 Quechua-Ecuador selections published in Salt Lake City.
1980 Arabic selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1986).
1980 Vietnamese selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1982, revised in 2003).
1980 Fijian translation published in Salt Lake City.
1981 Russian and Catalan translations published in Salt Lake City and Barcelona, Spain,respectively.
1981 Icelandic translation published in Reykjavik (updated in 2002).
1981 Niuean, Quechua-Bolivia, and Kuna selections published in Salt Lake City.
1981 Polish translation published in Salt Lake City.
1981 Romanian selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1998).
1982 Hindi translation published in Hong Kong.
1982 Tamil selections published in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
1982 Telugu (full book in 2000), Cambodian (full book in 2001), Laotian, Swahili (full book in 2000), and Guarani selections published in Salt Lake City.
1983 Maya, Mam, Efik, Kisii, Hmong (full book in 2000), Persian (Farsi), and HaitianCreole (full book in 1999) selections published in Salt Lake City.
1983 Sinhala selections published in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
1983 Chinese (simplified characters) selections published in Hong Kong (full book in 2001).
1983 Greek (Demotike) selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1987).
1984 Marshallese selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 2003).
1985 Bengali and Bislama selections published in New Delhi, India, and Salt Lake City,respectively.
1986 Malagasy selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 2000).
1987 Fante (full book in 1999), Zulu (full book in 2003), Pohnpeian, Papiamento, Trukese,and Tagalog (full book in 1998) selections published in Salt Lake City.
1988 Fante (full book in 1999), Zulu (full book in 2003), Pohnpeian, Papiamento, Trukese,and Tagalog (full book in 1998) selections published in Salt Lake City.
1989 Chamorro selections published in Salt Lake City.
1991 Ilokano selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1995).
1992 Cebuano selections published in Salt Lake City (full book in 1998).
1994 Tzotzil, Hiligaynon, and Pampango selections published in Salt Lake City.
1995 American Sign Language version made available on video tape.
1995 Spanish-Braille translation published in Salt Lake City.
1996 Waray selections published in Salt Lake City.
1997 Ukrainian translation published in Frankfurt, Germany.
1998 Bikolano selections published in Salt Lake City.
1998 Pangasinan translation published in Salt Lake City.
1999 Albanian translation published in Frankfurt, Germany.
2000 Estonian translation published in Frankfurt, Germany.
2000 Igbo, Latvian, Armenian-East, Lithuanian, Amharic, and Xhosa translationspublished in Salt Lake City.
2001 Mongolian translation published in Salt Lake City.
2002 Neomelanesian and Slovenian translations published in Salt Lake City and Frankfurt,Germany, respectively.
2003 Tswana translation published in Salt Lake City.
2004 Yapese translation published in Salt Lake City.
2005 Twi translation published in Salt Lake City.

(Source: Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, 2004, 2007.)