"That Most Important of All Books":
A Printing History of The Book of Mormon

The year 2000 marked an important event in the publishing history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Organized in 1830, the Church had recently issued (February 2000) the one hundred millionth copy of the Book of Mormon, the volume that has been central to its religious claims since it was first published in March 1830. Today, with Church membership over twelve million, fifteen thousand copies are printed per working day to meet the needs of both its members and its active missionary efforts. The volume has never been out of print, and it is now (2005) available in full-text translations in seventy-six languages and in partial-text translations in another thirty-nine. For its first one hundred years, various individuals, mostly using their own resources but usually with Church permission and encouragement, translated the work; today, the Church maintains a translation department that oversees the process of translation and strives to assure that a “standard” translation of the text is produced.

Many of the large-print runs of the Book of Mormon have come in the second half of the twentieth century, many of them coinciding with the expansive growth of the Church throughout the world. A Braille version in English was issued in 1936 and in Spanish in 1995; and, from 1995 to 2001, the first American Sign Language edition appeared. To date, six major English language editions have been published, the latest in 1981.

In this article, I will survey the printing history of the Book of Mormon in the English language, focusing on the first edition of 1830 as well as on the other editions that were published before Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. However, I will make mention of the 1879 edition by Orson Pratt, the 1920 edition by James E. Talmage and his committee, and the most recent 1981 edition. Each edition was kind of a watershed, and each has been an attempt to give to the world the most accurate edition, fully reflecting the intent of the translation of the first edition. Each edition also was designed to be more user-friendly, using the latest technological advances and incorporating various formats and reader notes. From the beginning, most of the printing has been under the control of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I will conclude with some comments on the critical text project currently underway by Royal Skousen at Brigham Young University, a project that will likely create the need for yet another edition.

An Introduction to the Book of Mormon

Because we cannot possibly separate the Joseph Smith story from the Book of Mormon, we must begin with his early life. Only a brief summary is possible here.1 In the spring of 1820, during his fourteenth year, Joseph Smith found himself, like many other Americans of his time, seeking for a true church. His mother, Lucy Mack Smith, was drawn toward the piety of the revivals of the Second Great Awakening. His father, Joseph Smith Sr., was more of a rationalist, drawn like his father toward Universalism and deism. It appears that the young Joseph was pulled between these polarities. He surely read the Bible and probably Thomas Paine like his father;2 he attended various revivals at the insistence of his mother. No doubt there were other influences on him. But his own accounts stress several themes, especially his strong need to know which church he should associate himself with and his personal desire to feel accepted by God, both reflective of the Protestant biblical culture of his youth.

Thus it was that he sought divine guidance in the privacy of a grove of trees not far from his parents’ house near Palmyra, New York, in the spring of 1820.3 He wrote later that during his prayer in the “Silent Grove,” divine beings appeared to him in a vision. They identified themselves as God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Included in the information communicated to him at that time was that no church on the earth at that time was approved by God, that their creeds were wrong, that Joseph was to join none of them, and that he would receive more information and direction regarding these matters in the future. It was not until over three years later that this promised further direction came in the form of another heavenly manifestation, occurring in September 1823. It is with this event that our story begins.

The heavenly messenger who appeared to Joseph Smith in a series of visions that lasted through the night of 21—22 September and who continued Joseph Smith’s spiritual education identified himself as Moroni, the last prophet-historian of a people whose religious history would be told in abbreviated form in the Book of Mormon. In addition to citing various biblical passages,4 Moroni instructed Joseph Smith regarding Joseph’s future role as a translator of a sacred record that lay buried in the side of a hill not far from the Smith family farm. As instructed, on the next day, the young man walked several miles south to the hill later called Cumorah. At a certain spot to which the angel had directed him, and after removing a large, domed stone, he found in a stone box the metal plates “having the appearance of gold” and other items.5 However, he was forbidden from taking possession of the plates at that time. Returning each year to the same place, he was further instructed until, on the evening of 21 September 1827, he was allowed to take the plates into his possession. He had married Emma Hale on 18 January 1827, and she accompanied him to the hill.

Joseph moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, in December 1827 to be closer to Emma’s family. By February 1828, he had translated some material, but the work moved more quickly after the arrival of Martin Harris, a prosperous Palmyra, New York, farmer who would eventually mortgage his farm to help pay for the printing costs of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. By June 1828, at least 116 pages of the translation were in handwritten manuscript form. To satisfy the growing skepticism of a nagging wife, Harris convinced Joseph to let him take the 116 pages to show his wife the sacredness of their work. But the manuscript was stolen; tradition has it that Lucy Harris burned it.6

This was a devastating loss for Joseph Smith, and it came at the same time that Emma and Joseph lost their firstborn child. The loss of the earliest translation was a hard lesson, but at least two things came from it. First, Joseph Smith would be much less trusting of just whom these sacred things would be shared with, and second, he would insist that the original manuscript remain in his possession. Thus, when the time came to set the type for the translation, Joseph Smith commissioned the creation of a second, or printer’s, manuscript by Oliver Cowdery.

Between June 1828 and April 1829, very little translating was done. Joseph Smith worked on his small farm in Harmony until a school teacher named Oliver Cowdery heard of his work and journeyed to Pennsylvania to meet Joseph personally. They became close friends, and two days after their first meeting, Cowdery began as the scribe for the translation. When he later claimed that he was the scribe for the whole project, he was essentially correct.7 During the process of translation, they also received support, material and otherwise, from their growing community of friends.8

They worked on translating the plates until the process was finished by the first of July 1829.9 Their work together, with Joseph translating and Oliver acting as the scribe, created the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. The process also had major influences on the religious lives of both men. As they recorded the material in the book of 3 Nephi where an account is given of the personal appearance of the resurrected Jesus in the New World, they wondered about the necessity of giving authority to Jesus’s disciples to perform saving ordinances. Their own prayers regarding this matter resulted in the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist, who appeared to them on 15 May 1829. The administrative details regarding the establishing of the Church during Jesus’s personal ministry also led to the early draft of section 20 in the Doctrine and Covenants—a pivotal document that would provide the charter for the Church they would organize on 6 April 1830. Space does not permit a more detailed discussion of these matters, but it is increasingly clear that the Book of Mormon text was central to the early Mormon movement in ways beyond just functioning as a missionary tract.10

The copyright for the Book of Mormon was secured on 11 June 1829 at the office of Richard R. Lansing, the clerk of the Federal Northern District of the state of New York. The title page, translated from the plates, was used as part of the application for copyright. From June to August 1829, two sets of witnesses to the plates had their experiences. The Three Witnesses—Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery—signed a statement that they saw an angel who showed them the plates and testified to the divine nature of the volume. A few days later, the Eight Witnesses were shown the plates by Joseph Smith. The written statements of both sets of witnesses have been printed in every copy of the volume. In the early editions, the statements came at the end of the volume; today, they are found in the front of the book.11

The First Edition

The first published text from the Book of Mormon was the title page, which was printed in the Wayne Sentinel of 26 June 1829, an item probably obtained from the copyright application. This item appeared as Joseph Smith was trying to find a publisher for his volume. The first person approached was Egbert B. Grandin, a Palmyra, New York, printer. He told Martin Harris that such a large printing project (it would comprise over five hundred printed pages) was too risky for his small operation. Grandin was sure the growing criticism of Joseph Smith and his claims would lead to a boycott of the volume.12 Next, Thurlow Weed, a publisher in Rochester, New York, was approached, but he declined twice. Another printer in Rochester, Elihu F. Marshall, finally agreed to print the volume, but before signing the contract, Joseph and Martin Harris again approached Egbert Grandin. Seeing that the volume was going to be printed, Grandin finally agreed to be the publisher. The contract was signed 25 August 1829. It called for five thousand copies to be printed at a cost of $3,000. To satisfy Grandin’s financial worries, Martin Harris mortgaged his farm, agreeing to pay Grandin $3,000 within eighteen months.

In July 1829, Oliver Cowdery began to make a copy of the original manuscript, anticipating it would be the one delivered to the printer. In the fall, the actual typesetting began. Grandin’s principal typesetter was John H. Gilbert, and the proofs were printed by J. H. Bortles until December, after which Grandin hired Thomas McAuley, a journeyman pressman. Thus, McAuley and Bortles did the balance of the press work until the work was finished in March 1830. Gilbert remembered that the volume was “printed [in signatures of] 16 pages at a time, so that one sheet of paper made two copies of 16 pages each, requiring 2,500 sheets of paper for each form of 16 pages. There were 37 forms of 16 pages each.”13 The binding of the volume was done under the direction of Luther Howard. The binding of such a large number of volumes took many months, and entries in E. B. Grandin’s journal no doubt reflect the reality that the binding of the volume continued well into 1831.14

In January 1830, Abner Cole (alias Obadiah Dogberry) began to print extracts from the Book of Mormon in his Palmyra Reflector (2, 13, 22 January) from sheets he found in Grandin’s printing office where his own newspaper was also printed. Thus, the first printed extracts were pirated. This piracy forced Joseph Smith to return to Palmyra from Harmony to exert his copyright and to stop Cole’s illegal endeavors.15

The Wayne Sentinel advertised the Book of Mormon for sale in its 26 March 1830 issue. The selling price in Grandin’s bookstore ranged from $1.25 to $1.75 per volume. The lower price was no doubt the more realistic price. Pomeroy Tucker later remembered that “The book . . . fell dead before the public. . . . It found no buyers, or but very few.”16 Two weeks later, on 6 April 1830, the Church was officially organized. Missionaries were then sent out to preach the message of the Restoration. These early Mormon missionaries were able to obtain copies of the volume for $1.25, and they seem to have then tried to sell them for $2.50.17 This was a high price for the average American to pay for a book, and because it was a significant amount of the average wage of the period, it is clear that it was difficult to recoup the costs for printing it. It also helps us understand why we have so many stories from the earliest years of one copy being passed around among various families and friends. The need to pay the printer, of course, weighed heavily on Joseph Smith and his associates. But the economic realities required Harris to eventually sell his farm to settle the contract with Grandin.18

This initial work thus produced (1) the original manuscript, (2) the printer’s manuscript, and (3) loose sheets that had been printed and were given to a number of visitors to Grandin’s printing office. Individuals such as Thomas B. Marsh, Solomon Chamberlain, and Warren A. Cowdery were among those who were given proof sheets to read and teach from. These circulated proof sheets were also the source for excerpts that appeared in various newspapers of the time.19

The original manuscript remained in Joseph Smith’s possession once the volume was printed. In 1841, it was deposited in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, a public hotel then under construction in Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Mormons had settled. Unfortunately, the cornerstone was not fully sealed against the damp climate of the Mississippi River Valley; and forty years later when the box was opened, it was found that much of the manuscript had been damaged or had disintegrated. Today, only about 30 percent of the original manuscript is extant.20 The original manuscript contained no punctuation; it appeared as if it were one long narrative.21

The printer’s manuscript was not an exact copy of the original manuscript. According to one scholar, there were, on average, three changes per original manuscript page, many attributable to scribal errors, but there is little or no evidence of conscious editing. Because these errors were, on the whole, minor, many have remained in the printed editions of the Book of Mormon. About twenty of them were corrected in the 1981 edition.22 The compositor for the 1830 edition, John Gilbert, added punctuation, paragraphing, and other printing marks to about one-third of the printer’s manuscript. Because these same marks appear on pages of the original manuscript, it has been suggested that, although the intention of Joseph Smith was for Cowdery to keep possession of the original manuscript, it seems that the process of making a copy for the printer as the typesetting progressed just could not be maintained. Thus, the original manuscript was used to set some of the type.

Two additional comments must be made about the first edition. As recently pointed out by Paul Gutjahr, the physical appearance of the first edition seems to have been specifically designed to match the Bible editions issued by the American Bible Society as part of their first General Supply (1828—31). Specifically, Gutjahr argues:

Smith’s Book of Mormon was bound in such a way that it looked strikingly similar to these two American Bible Society editions. Roughly the same size, all three volumes were bound in brown leather with twin gold bars impressed on the spine at regular intervals. The volumes also shared a black label imprinted with gold letters on the spine bearing the volume’s name. In every respect, Smith made his book look strikingly like a Bible.23

Surely such physical similarities between the two volumes helped attract Americans to Mormonism and encouraged early members to think of themselves as a people of two books. Its King James-style English also helped connect it to its Protestant readers, many of whom were already familiar with the Bible. Their similarity in binding surely encouraged readers to compare these religious histories of the Old and the New World. Such comparisons brought the two sacred volumes into one comprehensive, covenant worldview. No doubt these were important aspects in the early attraction of the Book of Mormon.24 This emphasis continued when the volume was typeset into chapters and verses, with footnotes and other study helps in later editions to appear as scripture like the Bible.

Also to be noted are the textual variants between extant copies of the first edition. Although no two copies are exactly alike, no pattern has emerged to explain the differences; the best explanation is that as errors were caught on the printed sheets, they were corrected, but the valuable paper sheets that were already printed were not discarded.25

Other Editions during Joseph Smith’s Lifetime

The Church was barely three years old when a second edition of the Book of Mormon was being discussed. In a letter to the Church printer in Missouri, William W. Phelps, leaders wrote on 25 June 1833, “As soon as we can get time, we will review the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, after which they will be forwarded to you.”26 It appears the plans at that point were to issue under one cover the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s revisions or “new translation” of the New Testament.27 However, the July 1833 destruction of their Independence, Missouri, printing shop and the subsequent forced expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County required the transfer of the printing operations to Kirtland, Ohio, where other projects were underway.28 Thus, the printing of a second edition was delayed for several years.

Finally issued by Parley P. Pratt with the financial assistance of John Goodson in 1837, the preface to this edition tells of their obtaining the rights to publish an edition of five thousand copies, although a Kirtland typesetter recalled the edition being only three thousand copies.29 The preface also says that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery carefully compared the 1830 edition with the original manuscripts in preparation for this edition. At least two thousand changes were written into the printer’s manuscript of the 1830 Book of Mormon and incorporated into the 1837 edition plus over a thousand more not indicated on the printer’s manuscript. Most of the changes reflect modifications in grammar and style; very few are significant textual changes.30 Joseph Smith’s grammatical changes focused mainly on “converting his original upstate New York dialect to more standard English.”31

A third edition, to be supervised by the First Presidency of the Church, was authorized in December 1839 by the Nauvoo high council.32 Funding was always an issue, and this edition was mostly the result of the creative work of Ebenezer Robinson, who finally saw the volume through the press. In May 1840, Robinson made the first of his two proposals to Joseph Smith to get his authorization to print the Book of Mormon—if he and Don Carlos Smith (Joseph Smith’s brother) could raise $200 (and if Joseph Smith could contribute $200), they would stereotype the volume and then give the stereotyped plates to Joseph Smith.33 For this they were given the rights to publish two thousand copies. But when Joseph Smith was unable to raise his portion of the money, Robinson made his second proposal—namely, that he and Don Carlos Smith would underwrite all the costs of stereotyping and printing in exchange for the rights to publish four thousand copies. Joseph Smith gave his consent.34

With this agreement, Robinson went to Cincinnati in June 1840. In this printing center of the Ohio River Valley, he engaged the firm of Shepard and Stearns to do the stereotyping.35 Robinson put $100 down toward the $550 note the job was to cost, and he also arranged to work for the company on an hourly basis with his wages applied toward the contract. He also arranged for the binding. All the work was for an edition of two thousand copies. Other individuals were sent on special fund-raising missions.36 The Times and Seasons had earlier advertised for loans and subscriptions to publish the volume. An editorial in the July issue reported on the work on this edition and anticipated copies by early September.37 By October 1840, Robinson had his two thousand copies of the third edition, which was printed in Cincinnati, but its title page gave Nauvoo as the place of publication.38 It appears that Robinson used the stereotyped plates to print at least two more impressions, probably justifying these additional copies by his original agreement with Joseph Smith that allowed him a total of four thousand copies for his efforts.39

There are at least forty-seven places where the 1837 and the 1840 edition differ. Robinson said that he and Joseph Smith, prior to Robinson’s leaving for Cincinnati, compared a copy of the first (1830) and the second (1837) editions and that Shepard and Stearns used the 1837 edition in their work.40 Most of the corrections are grammatical, although there are several major textual changes.41

One final impression, the fourth, appeared in America before Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. Issued in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, it was really just a reprint of the third impression, printed from the same stereotype plates, with only the title page reset. By this time, Church leaders had purchased Ebenezer Robinson’s printing establishment in Nauvoo, and it was now under the direction of Joseph Smith, although Apostles John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff were actually running the Times and Seasons printing shop.42 Although there is evidence that Joseph Smith spent time making corrections to the 1840 edition, none appeared in the 1842 printing.43 The book was available to the public by 20 August 1842.44 The fourth impression does have two items of bibliographical note: (1) it is the only edition in which Joseph Smith’s name is printed on the title page without the more common “Jun.” or “Jr.” (his father and namesake had died in 1840), and (2) this would be the last printing of the volume by Mormons in America until 1871.45 The third edition set the pattern for using stereotyping plates for printing the volume.

European Editions

The first European edition, published in Liverpool, England, in 1841 had its origin in 1839 also. Parley P. Pratt wrote to Joseph Smith from New York City in November 1839 seeking permission to publish the Book of Mormon in the eastern United States and in Europe, where he and fellow apostles were proceeding to serve missions. Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother, responded in a letter dated 22 December 1839 that the volume was not to be printed in New York but that it was all right to publish it in Europe.46

Once the apostles were in England, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Parley P. Pratt were designated as the publishing committee.47 After publishing a new hymnal, they turned their attention to the Book of Mormon. Copies of the 1837 edition had been brought to England by the first missionaries, but with the dramatic increase of converts, a new printing was clearly needed by 1840. Brigham Young was determined to make the volume available to the British Saints. The project was approved by the same conference of April 1840 that had approved the hymnal. Borrowing money from several new converts, particularly John and Jane Benbow and Thomas Kington, they proceeded with the task. They decided to print an edition of three thousand copies with an index. They first sought bids in Manchester and Liverpool, finally deciding on the low bid from John Tompkins and Co. of Liverpool on 7 June 1840, which allowed them to print five thousand copies for £210. The contracts were signed on 17 June, and Brigham Young expected the printing of the Book of Mormon to be finished in about twelve weeks. Brigham agreed to supply the paper for the project as well as make separate arrangements for the binding.48

The work progressed slowly. By 23 July, three forms (signatures) were available for proofing, but the work had not moved much further a month later. Part of the problem was that Tompkins changed the width and length of the pages, even though he was simply reprinting the 1837 Kirtland edition. After getting proper approval, the typesetting continued, but the slowness of the process was reflected in Brigham Young’s mind in October when he told his fellow apostles that the volume would not be ready for another two months. The lengthy job of proofreading was underway by the middle of October, but it was not until January 1841 that a complete set of galleys was available to Brigham Young and Willard Richards from which they could compile their index to the volume.49 Wilford Woodruff reported five hundred copies out of the press and in the bindery on 8 January 1841. The Millennial Star finally announced to its February 1841 readers that the volume was ready for sale.50

Although the contract with Tompkins had called for five thousand copies, he was able to deliver only 4,050. To make up the difference, he promised to print another edition of 950 at his own expense; but his company failed, and the additional volumes were never produced. The volume itself was a faithful reprint of the 1837 Kirtland edition, and even though two more editions were to appear in Nauvoo, it was from this Liverpool edition that subsequent Latter-day Saint editions to 1981 descend.51

Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff were assigned to secure the English copyright, in Joseph Smith’s name, which they did at Stationer’s Hall, London, on 8 February 1841.52 At about the same time, Brigham Young had J. Tompkins print 300 placards advertising the Book of Mormon.53 Most of March 1841 was spent in packaging and sending off copies of the first European edition of the Book of Mormon to pay those who had subscribed or loaned them money for the printing project. In spite of the need for this British edition, it did not sell very well. The Millennial Star editorialized in December of 1841 that the “Lord is not well pleased that his word published among the inhabitants of England should be so little sought after” by their failing to purchase the volume.54 In June 1844, the counsel was more specific: “We have a very considerable stock on hand, the proceeds resulting from the sale of which will be applied in assisting the poor friends to emigrate, whilst another portion of the same has been made over to the Temple at Nauvoo, and we feel very anxious to dispose of them that the receipts may be applied towards the completion of that great and important work.”55

Between November 1843 and June 1847, the price for the volume was reduced first to 5s, then to 4s, and finally to 3s.56 The edition was finally exhausted in December 1848, when another edition was promised.57

Two additional British editions are worth noting. In 1849, Apostle Orson Pratt issued the second European edition. In addition to moving the index to the front of the volume and more accurately relabeling it “Contents,” he introduced several format changes that were retained for the next thirty years.58 Five thousand copies were printed, and they were offered for sale on 15 May 1849.59 It was this edition that George Q. Cannon used for his translation and publication of the Hawaiian edition in 1855.60

In Liverpool, England, in 1852, Apostle Franklin D. Richards issued the third European edition. Although this printing followed Pratt’s 1849 edition, it did make two important innovations—the numbering of the paragraphs and the addition of chapter numbers to the headlines.61 This was a second stereotyped edition, clearly reflective of the increasingly larger printings needed for a growing church, although Richards had suggested in February 1851 that his intention was to print twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand copies.62 It was issued in April 1852, but the exact size of the printing is not known. It would seem to be large and, with their own bookbinding department, more economical.63 There were at least nine impressions from the 1852 stereotyped edition, four in Salt Lake City following the transfer of the plates from Liverpool in about 1870.64

1879 Edition

No doubt Orson Pratt drew on his work with earlier printings as he prepared the 1879 edition of the Book of Mormon. The Historical Department of the LDS Church has Pratt’s annotated copy of the 1854 British edition (fourth European impression), which Pratt oversaw and which edition was produced for and shipped to America for use in Utah.65 Unfortunately, this “working copy” for the preparation of the 1879 edition was seriously damaged when its margins, which contained Pratt’s notes for the new edition, were carelessly guillotined when it was rebound years later.

The 1879 edition, printed in both Liverpool and Salt Lake City from electrotyped plates, saw major changes in the format of the text.66 The Millennial Star noted in February 1879 that Orson Pratt had “completed arrangements with printing and electrotyping establishments in London, for procuring plates of the proposed new edition of the Book of Mormon, with references.”67 In April, the Star noted that Pratt had “finished the important labor of getting our electro plates for a new edition of the Book of Mormon, with footnote references, prepared by himself,” and had arrived back in Liverpool on 18 April.68 Finally, in June, the Star announced:

We are pleased to be able to inform our reader that the publication of the new edition of the Book of Mormon is now completed. It was printed at this office, from the electroplates procured in London by Elder Orson Pratt, assisted by Elder Joseph Bull. The references, which were prepared with great care by Brother Pratt, will be found a most valuable acquisition. It is by far the most complete edition of the Book of Mormon ever published, as, besides having references it is divided into verses. The Press-work of the book, which is well-executed, was done by Elder Walter J. Lewis, who has been laboring in the printing department of this office for some time.69

Pratt divided the volume into longer chapters, arranged it into a true versification system that has been followed in all subsequent editions, and added footnotes, mostly scriptural references, making this a major printing milestone. Pratt also added historical dates that gave readers a clearer sense of chronology, as well as geographical references to the textual notes. Thus, it was the first printing to tentatively connect locations both in Middle America and throughout the Western Hemisphere with specific lands and cities mentioned in the text.70

1920 Edition

The next major edition came in 1920. It was the product of a committee probably headed by Apostle James E. Talmage who, as Orson Pratt did earlier, drew somewhat on the printed missionary versions of 1905 and 1911 that had been prepared by German Ellsworth, Southern States mission president, with the approval of President Joseph F. Smith. On Christmas Day 1920, an “Official Announcement” from the First Presidency of the Church appeared in the Deseret News announcing eleven major improvements in this edition.71 Two days later, a more detailed statement appeared in the same newspaper under the title “Book of Mormon in New Dress.”72 This statement fully describes the new edition:

The new issue of the Book of Mormon . . . will be good news to every one acquainted with the sacred volume. . . . But in its new dress, which is at once attractive and durable, it will be especially welcomed by the Latter-day Saints and by earnest readers and investigators generally.

The editions most commonly current since the first issue, having the present divisions as to chapters and verses, and with footnote references, have been printed in small type; and while this tended to reduce the size of the volume, it detracted from ease of reading. Of course there has been published an excellent edition, in large types, and of large folio, intended primarily for pulpit use; and another somewhat small; but neither of these has had the large distribution of the small-type duodecimo. In the new issue the text appears in an attractive eight-point type, and yet, with only slight increase in the size of the page, the pages occupied by the text number only 522 as compared with 623 in the later preceding editions. The helps preceding and following the text bring the total number of pages to 576.

This decrease in pages, by which the addition of the helps has been possible without increasing the thickness of the book, has been effected by the use of double-column pages, after the general style of Bible arrangement, minimizing the waste in the long blank lines at the end of paragraphs. The double-column style possesses another

advantage—that of increased facility in reading; for, as observant readers know, the eye-strain incurred by following a long line across an ordinary paper, particularly of small, close-set type, is fatiguing.

The “Brief Analysis” in the forepart of the book will be a boon to one who enters upon the reading of the Book of Mormon for the first time, and scarcely less to experienced students. The importance of “The Words of Mormon” is emphasized in the “Analysis” as showing the relation of the preceding part of the book to that following, being in the nature of a summary of the one and a preface to the other.

Under the heading, “Origin of the Book of Mormon,” appears a three-page account of the bringing forth of the plates and their translation through the gift and power of God; this being appropriately presented in the recorded language of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The chapter headings present in terse yet comprehensive form the principal contents of the respective chapters, and show at a glance whose words follow. These headings, in somewhat expanded form, are compiled in the after-part of the volume as a “Synopsis of Chapters.”

Another helpful feature is the insertion, at the bottom of the page, of the time at which the events chronicled occurred. Where the exact year of a particular occurrence is deducible from the record itself, the year is specified with a reference mark connecting it with the statement in the text; if only an approximate date is determinable, that fact is made plain by the use of the word “About” before the number of the year.

The use of Roman numerals has been dispensed with throughout; and the substitution of ordinary figures will doubtless be regarded as an improvement.

A vocabulary of words that are distinctively of Book of Mormon origin, with the pronunciation indicated by simple diacritical marks, is a valuable addition. This will help to bring about a closer approach to uniformity in the pronunciation of Book of Mormon terms, both proper names and common nouns.

But the greatest help of all is afforded by the comprehensive index, which fills 34 pages. Subjects are indexed and cross-indexed; while striking passages, telling epigrams, and choice gems of thought, are indicated in a way that readily leads to their source. An unusual feature of the index is the combination of page and verse references.

Thus, each item is followed by the designation of the page on which the subject is treated, and of the verse in which the treatment of the subject begins.

The issue already out is printed on one of the better grades of book paper, has wide margins, and is bound in several styles ranging from full cloth of superior quality to full leather with rounded corners and gilt edges.73

In summary, the 1920 edition made further changes in format, added introductory material, double columns, chapter summaries, and new footnotes that kept the dating notes added by Orson Pratt in 1879, but removed the geographical references. All editions/printings until 1981 descended from the more reader-friendly 1920 edition. Talmage’s own marked copy of the “Committee Copy” of the 1911 large-type Chicago edition of the Book of Mormon is in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.74

1981 Edition

The emergence of increased historical professionalism within Mormonism in the 1960s, combined with new archival sources and especially texts relating to Mormon scriptures, increasingly demanded new examinations of the Book of Mormon.75 The increasing use of and emphasis on the Book of Mormon in missionary lessons combined with a much stronger official emphasis on its use were also important.76 Church membership reached one million by 1947, and by 2005 the members numbered over twelve million. Obviously, there is a correlation between the printing of the Book of Mormon, its increased use in missionary work, and the tremendous growth of new converts. Following are figures tracing the printing of copies of the Book of Mormon:77



year copies printed 1830-1981 est. 27,249,193 1982 1,150,724 1983 974,439 1984 1,212,053 1985 2,017,527 1986 3,178,727 1987 3,319,556 1988 3,966,380 1989 5,325,096 1990 6,558,383 1991 4,701,080 1992 4,953,719 1993 4,511,430 1994 3,791,580 1995 4,958,182 1996 5,289,927 1997-Feb. 2000 16,842,004 1830-2004 115,500,000

These figures show that from 1982 to 1996, some 55,908,803 copies were printed, over double the number printed during the first 150 years of the Church’s history. The total number printed from 1830 to 2004 is 115,500,000. It is currently estimated that 5,270,000 copies are distributed each year.78 Using newer developments in computer technology as well as developments in the printing industry, the Church made such large printings possible. There is little doubt that the numbers will only increase in years to come. Also significant are the increasing numbers printed in Spanish, an index to the tremendous success Mormon missionaries have enjoyed in Central and South America.79

It is also apparent that the only edition the majority of Church members today have had experience with is the 1981 edition. An important change was made with the addition of a subtitle in 1982: “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”80 Although this addition more clearly reflects the central message of the volume, it was also a reflection of the Mormon response to the Evangelical branch of modern Protestant Christianity that has grown more vocal in its claims that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christian.

The 1981 edition was overseen by a committee headed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They and their staff reworked the text of the 1920 edition, making major changes. The 1981 edition added new introductory material, new chapter summaries, and footnotes. About twenty significant textual errors that had entered the printer’s manuscript in 1829 were corrected as a result of comparisons with the original manuscript. Other corrections were made when the printer’s manuscript and the 1840 Nauvoo edition were carefully compared.81 This new edition of the Book of Mormon appeared as part of the publication of new editions of all LDS scriptures. This is the edition that appears (minus the footnotes and other reader helps) in volume five of the 1992 edition of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.82 This is also the text used in the first commercially printed edition supported and approved by the Church.83

Critical Text Project

Not long after the appearance of the 1981 edition, it became clear that another edition would be necessary. As the scholarly work of textual criticism continued, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) issued a preliminary and therefore incomplete three-volume critical text edition from 1984—87.84 Robert F. Smith was the primary preparer of this “Book of Mormon Critical Text.”

Royal Skousen, in reviewing the FARMS edition and suggesting the need for even more work, is spelling out what promises to become the best source on the Book of Mormon—his own.85 A professor of linguistics and English at Brigham Young University, he has authored several works that have established his reputation in language studies.86

Although his textual work nears completion, only parts of it have found their way into print.87 Skousen’s own work began in May 1988. His main purposes include the following: “(1) to establish the original English language text of the Book of Mormon, to the extent that it can be discovered; and (2) to determine the history of the text, in particular, the changes that the text has undergone, both editorial and accidental.”88 He has also pointed out the need for a trustworthy critical text to more accurately pursue statistical work in order to establish authorship among the various authors and compilers within the volume itself. For example, wordprint studies to date are flawed because of the lack of a text that accurately represents the original manuscripts.89 Royal Skousen has published two volumes and has begun a third of a planned five-volume series that will present all his textual studies on the Book of Mormon.90 The series will appear under the following titles:

1. Transcription of Original Text91

2. Transcription of Printer’s Manuscript92

3. The History of the Text of the Book of Mormon

4. Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon93

5. A Complete Electronic Collation of the Book of Mormon

Skousen has suggested that, when all things textual are considered, there remain about three errors per page in the most recent 1981 edition. These are grammatical, mostly involving phraseology, tense changes, spelling, and some punctuation, although he does suggest about a hundred newly discovered changes that involve change in meaning to the text and are thus more serious textual problems for the student of the Book of Mormon.94


There have been changes of two kinds in the printed editions of the Book of Mormon: those of format (essentially nontextual) and changes to the text itself. Scholars who have examined the text have noted variations in the published editions, most attributable to scribal error, translator emendations, and just accidental causes. The most recent textual studies have urged a new edition because a closer look at the original and printer’s manuscripts and at the editions printed during Joseph Smith’s lifetime seem to demand it. Such a new critical text will surely do more to eliminate inconsistencies, clarify meanings, correct various errors, restore lost words, and in other ways seek to restore the text as closely as humanly possible to the original intent of the translator. Of course the slippery nature of language and the larger challenges of faith and the scholarly study of texts considered sacred will always be issues facing the textual criticism of religious documents.95 But the textual study of “that most important of all books”96 is, at last, coming of age.

From its earliest years, the printed volume was foundational for Joseph Smith’s religious claims that the heavens were again open. The Book of Mormon has remained the central piece in Smith’s claims to restore or, in this case, translate under divine guidance, ancient texts. Joseph Smith himself told a gathering in Nauvoo in 1841,”I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and that a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”97 Throughout its printing history by the Church, its leaders have sought to make the volume available in both an accurate and useful format but with the key concern being its role in the bettering of the lives of those who read it. In our own time, another Church leader has echoed this central concern: “It is not sufficient that the Book of Mormon be found in our homes; its principles must be captured in our minds and hearts. Through consistent reading, prayerful pondering, and conscientious application, its teachings will become an essential part of the fabric of our lives.”98 For the faithful, no amount of textual study will substitute for the volume’s own concluding challenge that has been answered in the lives of the many millions of people who have joined the Church since 1830.99


The best study on the early years of Joseph Smith is Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984), and the fullest biography is Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005). For the initial scholarly edition of Smith’s papers, see Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989, 1992). Useful guides to the scholarly literature on Joseph Smith are Dean C. Jessee, “Sources for the Study of Joseph Smith,” and David J. Whittaker, “Joseph Smith in Recent Research: A Selected Bibliography,” in Mormon Americana, A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whittaker (Provo, UT: BYU Studies Monographs, 1995), 7—28, 29—44. For a comprehensive guide to material, historical and otherwise, on the Book of Mormon, see Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, and Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Bookof Mormon Bibliography (Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996). For an extensive study of the role of the Book of Mormon in Latter-day Saint history and culture, see Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

2. See the comments in Lucy Mack Smith, Preliminary Manuscript of Biographical Sketches, bound photocopy of holograph, page 27. Copy in possession of the author. Original in LDS Church Archives, Family and Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives).

3. A useful study of Joseph Smith’s first vision is Milton V. Backman Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980). See also James B. Allen, “The Significance of Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Mormon Thought,” Dialogue 1/3 (1966): 28—45; and Allen, “Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision—What Do We Learn from Them?” Improvement Era, April 1970, 4—13.

4. A good overview of the scriptural passages cited is Kent P. Jackson, “Moroni’s Message to Joseph Smith,” Ensign, August 1990, 13—16. For Latter-day Saints, Moroni symbolizes the whole process of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in which Joseph Smith was the key instrument—hence the Moroni statues atop LDS temples. See, briefly, J. Michael Hunter, “I Saw Another Angel Fly,” Ensign, January 2000, 30—35.


For Joseph Smith’s 1832 account, see Dean C. Jessee, ed. and comp., The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 9—14. A fuller and more polished account, dictated in 1838 and first published in 1842, is in Joseph Smith—History 1:29—75.

6. A recent study of Martin Harris’s wife is Rhett Stephens James, “Lucy Harris: Toward a Compassionate Reinterpretation,” Nauvoo Journal 9/1 (1997): 49—58. Her 29 November 1833 statement, mostly focusing on her husband, was published in E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, OH: Howe, 1834), 254—57.

7. The Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate [Kirtland, Ohio] 1 (October 1834): 14. On the translation process itself, the following studies are helpful: Richard Lloyd Anderson, ” ‘By the Gift and Power of God,’ ” Ensign, September 1977, 79—85; Royal Skousen, “Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript,” in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origin, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1997), 61—93; revised as “How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 23—31; Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker, “Joseph Smith: ‘The Gift of Seeing,’ ” Dialogue 15/2 (1982): 49—68; and Richard L. Bushman, “Joseph Smith as Translator,” in The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretive Essays on Joseph Smith, ed. Bryan Waterman (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999), 69—85. A useful study of many aspects of the history of the Book of Mormon is Paul R. Cheesman, The Keystone of Mormonism: Little Known Truths about the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973). For a comprehensive guide to the scholarly literature on the Book of Mormon, see the various index entries relating to the topic in James B. Allen, Ronald W. Walker, and David J. Whittaker, Studies in Mormon History, 1830—1997: An Indexed Bibliography (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). A very useful edition of documents is John W. Welch with Erick B. Carlson, eds., Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820—1844 (Provo and Salt Lake City: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book, 2005), 77—213.

8. See Larry C. Porter, “The Colesville Branch and the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 10/3 (1970): 265—85.

9. In a 1 June 1881 interview of David Whitmer, an early associate of Joseph Smith and one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, Whitmer said that the translation was completed on 1 July 1829. See Kansas City Journal, 5 June 1881, as cited in David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness, ed. Lyndon W. Cook (Orem, UT: Grandin Book, 1991), 58—73, date given on page 62.

10. Articles in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), provide useful detail and summaries of the history and contents of the Book of Mormon, including overviews of each book within the volume. Most recently, these entries have been gathered into one volume entitled, To All the World: The Book of Mormon Articles from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, selected by Daniel H. Ludlow, S. Kent Brown, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000). More recently, see Dennis H. Largey, ed., Book of Mormon Reference Companion (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003). No comprehensive study has been done on the early book reviews and notices of the volume, the newspaper articles discussing or reprinting material from its contents, the pamphlets and books defending and analyzing it, or even the growing practice among Mormons of drawing from the volume names for their newborn children. See also Scott H. Faulring, “The Book of Mormon: A Blueprint for Organizing the Church,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 60—69, 71; and Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, chapters 2—4.

11. The best researched study of the Book of Mormon witnesses is Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981).

12. Egbert Bratt Grandin (1806—45) grew up near Palmyra, learning the printing trade at a Palmyra newspaper office of the weekly Wayne Sentinel. In 1827, he purchased the Sentinel and associated bookstore. He sold these in 1833. The LDS Church acquired the building and dedicated the restored portion on 26 March 1998. See also Gayle Goble Ord, “The Book of Mormon Goes to Press,” Ensign, December 1972, 66—70; “Historic Discoveries at the Grandin Building,” Ensign, July 1980, 48—50; and Larry C. Porter, “Grandin, Egbert Bratt,” in Largey, Book of Mormon Reference Companion, 306—10.

13. John H. Gilbert (1802—95) left several detailed accounts of this early work. They are most usefully found in Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 5 vols. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996—2003), 2:515—52. For an analysis of Gilbert’s accuracy of memory, see Royal Skousen, “John Gilbert’s 1892 Account of the 1830 Printing of the Book of Mormon,” in The Disciple as Witness, Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, ed. Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 383—99. See also Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church: Volume One, 1830—1847 (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1999), 28—32, and 379 n. 9. A useful summary of the detailsof the printing and those involved is Larry C. Porter, “The Book of Mormon: Historical Setting for Its Translation and Publication,”

in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993), 49—64. According to Gilbert, the Book of Mormon was printed on a “Smith” press, single pull, and old fashioned “Balls” were used for applying the ink to the typeface. A useful visual illustration of the hand-printing process that produced the 1830 edition is Larry W. Draper, “Book of Mormon Editions,” in Uncovering the Original Text of the Book of Mormon: History and Findings of the Critical Text Project, ed. M. Gerald Bradford and Alison V. P. Coutts (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 40—41. The LDS Church Historical Department owns Gilbert’s own complete 1830 Book of Mormon in uncut, unbound half-sheets. These appear to be flawed sheets that were discovered during the printing process and were thus unusable. These were also not used as proof sheets, nor were they final, unbound printed pages.

14. See entries in Egbert Bratt Grandin journal, 1 January 1831—2 February 1841, LDS Church Archives. Under the date of 14 July 1831, Grandin is moving “gold bibles” from Howard’s bindery. Under the date of 14 December 1831, another reference is made to moving copies of the Book of Mormon from Howard’s bindery, which by then Grandin had acquired (September 1831); he was dealing with a lawsuit regarding another matter relating to the bindery, but the entry suggests that the cost to Grandin for binding the copies of the Book of Mormon had been $298. Such entries are clear references to this ongoing process. In a letter dated 10 February 1879, John H. Gilbert told James T. Cobb that “the printing was completed in March, 1830. It was some weeks later after this before the binder was able to deliver any copies.” See Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, 2:523.

15. See Russell R. Rich, “The Dogberry Papers and the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 10/3 (1970): 315—20. See also Joseph W. Barnes, “Obediah Dogberry: Rochester Freethinker,” Rochester History 36 (July 1974): 1—23; and, most completely, Andrew H. Hedges, “The Refractory Abner Cole,” in Revelation, Reason, and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman G. Madsen, ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 447—75.

16. Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism (New York: Appleton, 1867), 60—61.

17. For the earliest missionary uses of the volume, see Larry C. Porter, ” ‘The Field Is White Already to Harvest’: Earliest Missionary Labors and the Book of Mormon,” in The Prophet Joseph, Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, ed. Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 73—89. See also Grant Underwood, “Book of Mormon Usage in Early LDS Theology,” Dialogue 17/3 (1984): 35—74; and Susan Easton Black, ed., Stories from the Early Saints: Converted by the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992).

18. Martin Harris mortgaged 151 acres of his farm to E. B. Grandin on 29 August 1829, for $3,000. It was due to be paid by 25 February 1831. On 16 January 1830, in Manchester, New York, Joseph Smith Sr. and Martin Harris signed an agreement that gave Martin Harris and Joseph Sr. both an equal privilege to sell copies of the Book of Mormon “now printing” until “enough of them shall be sold to pay for the printing of the same or until such times as the said Grandin shall be paid for the printing the aforesaid books or copies.” Harris tried to sell copies of the volume when it became available but could find no buyers. Harris did not want to sell his land—hence the directions to him in Doctrine and Covenants 19:26 (March 1830) instructing him to “impart your property freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon.” Harris’s reluctance was most likely the reason behind the unsuccessful attempt to sell the copyright for the Book of Mormon in Canada. See David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, MO: Whitmer, 1887), 31. In April 1831, Martin Harris sold about 151 acres of his farm to Thomas Lakey for $3,000, thus avoiding foreclosure, and settled his account with Grandin. The next month he left Palmyra for Ohio.

19. In an article by C. C. Blatchly in the New York Telescope [W. Beach, editor] 6/38 (20 February 1830): 150, the author indicated he had obtained 16 pages (one signature) of the Book of Mormon (specifically pages 353—68 of the first edition [material from the book of Ether]), which were used to poke fun at what the author saw as a product of Joseph Smith, and he warned his readers not to waste their money on a volume described as a “hoax—or a money-making speculation—or an enthusiastic delusion.” A photocopy of the whole issue is in L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University (hereafter cited as Perry Collections). In spite of the anti-Mormon position of the author, such a reference indicates approximately where the typesetting for the Book of Mormon was at that time.

20. See Dean C. Jessee, “The Original Book of Mormon Manuscript,” BYU Studies 10/3 (1970): 259—78; Stan Larson, “‘A Most Sacred Possession’: The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, September 1977, 86—91; Royal Skousen, “Piecing Together the Original Manuscript,” BYU Today, May 1992, 18—24; Skousen, “Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript,” 61—93; Skousen, “How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 22—31; and Shirley R. Heater, “Gold Plates, Foolscap, and Printer’s Ink [Part I: Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon],” Zarahemla Record, nos. 35 and 36 (1987): 3—15 (published in Independence, MO, by the Zarahemla Research Foundation). See also B. H. Roberts, “Translation of the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, April 1906, 425—36.

21. According to Royal Skousen, the language of the original (English) manuscript “appears to be a mixture of early modern English (the Biblical style), upstate New York dialect, and occasional Hebrew-like phraseology.” See Royal Skousen, “Book of Mormon Manuscripts and Editions,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 121; Skousen, “The Original Language of the Book of Mormon: Upstate New York Dialect, King James English, or Hebrew?” Mormon Letters Annual 1995 (1995): 24—31; and Skousen, “The Archaic Vocabulary of the Book of Mormon,” Insights 25/5 (2005): 2—6.

22. See the short summary in Royal Skousen, “Book of Mormon Manuscripts,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:185—86.

23. See Paul C. Gutjahr, “The Golden Bible in the Bible’s Golden Age: The Book of Mormon and Antebellum Print Culture,” ATQ 12/4 (December 1998): 275—93. (The article has been reprinted in this issue of Occasional Papers.) See also Gutjahr, An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777—1880 (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1999), 151—58, and Peter J. Wosh, Spreading the Word: The Bible Business in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994). Just who made the decisions regarding the binding is not known. Joseph Smith left most of the details of the printing to E. B. Grandin and Oliver Cowdery (who actually helped typeset a few pages), and it seems that Cowdery would have also been involved in the binding decision. The actual binding was done in Luther Howard’s bindery, located on the second floor of the Grandin building. Grandin acquired the bindery in 1831. The print shop was on the third floor; the bookstore was on the first. John H. Gilbert, the typesetter, recalled in 1892 that “Joseph Smith Jr. had nothing to do whatever with the printing or furnishing copy for the printers, being but once in the office during the printing of the Bible [that is, the Book of Mormon], and then not over 15, or 20 minutes.”

24. Additional insights on the “Appeals of Mormonism” are in Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience, A History of the Latter-day Saints (New York: Knopf, 1979), 20—43.

25. Janet Jenson, “Variations between Copies of the First Edition of the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 13/2 (1973): 214—22. Of the seventy copies she examined, sixty were found to have variants. See also Heater, “Gold Plates, Foolscap, and Printer’s Ink,” 2—15.

26. Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 1:363 (hereafter cited as History of the Church).

27. History of the Church, 1:341, 365; The Evening and the Morning Star (Independence, MO) 2 (July 1833): 109; D&C 94:10. In a note “To the Reader” at the end of the 1837 Book of Mormon edition, we are informed that this plan had been changed to one that would see the printing of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants under one cover. But this was also abandoned because its size would be too large for a “pocket” edition.

28. Ronald E. Romig and John H. Siebert, “First Impressions: The Independence, Missouri, Printing Operation, 1832—33,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 10 (1990): 51—66. See also Lyndon W. Cook, “The Literary Firm,” in Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration (Provo, UT: Grandin Book, 1985), 45—55.

29. Ebenezer Robinson, as cited in Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 67.

30. See Richard P. Howard, Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development, 2nd ed. (Independence, MO: Herald House, 1995), 4—36; Jeffrey R. Holland, “An Analysis of Selected Changes in Major Editions of the Book of Mormon, 1830—1920” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966); Stan Larson, “A Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book of Mormon Comparing the Original and the Printer’s Manuscripts and the 1830, the 1837, and the 1840 Editions” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); Larson, “Changes in Early Texts of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, September 1976, 77—82; Larson, “Textual Variants in Book of Mormon Manuscripts,” Dialogue 10/4 (1977): 8—30; Larson, “Early Book of Mormon Texts—Textual Changes to the Book of Mormon in 1837 and 1840,” Sunstone, Fall 1976, 44—55; Larson, “Conjectural Emendation and the Text of the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 18/4 (1978): 563—69; and Hugh G. Stock, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879: A Publishing History” (MA thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1979).

31. Skousen, “Book of Mormon Manuscripts and Editions,” 121.

32. History of the Church, 4:49.

33. Stereotyping was the making of “a printing plate by taking an impression from the set-up type or another plate in a mould of plaster of Paris, papier mache or flong. Stereotype metal (an alloy of tin, antimony and lead) is then poured into the matrix, as the impression bearing mould is known, the surface of the resulting stereo being made more durable by nickelling.” Geffrey A. Glaister, Encyclopedia of the Book, 2nd ed. (London: The British Library, 1996), 460. Thus, stereotyping required the original typeset form from which an “impression” was made; hence, it was referred to as an “impression” rather than an “edition.”

Such a process was especially useful for small printings, and it freed up the movable type for other projects. Its limitation was the difficulty in making corrections because each stereotyped plate was a whole unit of type. Changes could be made and were made, but they were costly and time-consuming.

34. The details are in Ebenezer Robinson, “Personal Items of History of the Editor,” The Return [Davis City, IA] 2 (May 1880): 258—62. See also Albert L. Zobell Jr., “Romance of the Third Edition of the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, September 1946, 548—49, 694; and, more completely, Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 129—32.

35. The same firm had earlier printed Sidney Rigdon’s An Appeal to the American People (1840). The key role of Cincinnati in the Ohio River Valley printing is discussed in Walter Sutton, The Western Book Trade: Cincinnati as a Nineteenth Century Publishing and Book Center (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1961).

36. See History of the Church, 4:161, 164.

37. Times and Seasons [Nauvoo, IL] 1 (July 1840): 139—40, 144.

38. Times and Seasons 2 (1 November 1840): 208, which advertised these volumes for $1.00 per volume, $1.25 retail.

39. The details are in Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 131—32. A copy of a document signed by Joseph Smith, 24 February 1842, agreeing to an additional fifteen hundred copies being printed by Robinson, is in Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Larry Draper outlines the four “impressions”

or printings: (1) October 1840 in Cincinnati, 2,000 copies (although the title page has Nauvoo, Illinois, as the place of publication); (2) spring 1841, a second impression of several hundred copies; (3) early 1842, a third impression per advertisements in Times and Seasons in January and February 1842; and (4) a fourth impression in August 1842, the first to change the date on the title page from 1840 to 1842 and to drop the “Jr.” from Joseph Smith’s name. See Draper, “Book of Mormon Editions,” 43. The fourth impression, it should be noted, occurred after the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles took over printing in Nauvoo. See notes 42 and 44 below.

40. Robinson, “Personal Items of History of the Editor,” 2:259.

41. The details are in Larson, “A Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book of Mormon.”

42. See Terence A. Tanner, “The Mormon Press in Nauvoo, 1839—1846,” Western Illinois Regional Studies 11/2 (1988): 5—29. A revelation had actually commanded the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to take control of the Nauvoo press. According to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, the revelation was received by Joseph Smith on 4 January 1842 per entry of 8 February 1842. Robinson sold his interests to the Church for $6,600. See the discussion in David J. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering” (PhD dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1982), 63—64. For Robinson’s later account, see his ongoing series in Return 2/9 (September 1890): 321—25. Robinson’s farewell to readers of the Times and Seasons was published as “Valedictory” in Times and Seasons 3 (15 February 1842): 695—96.

43. See History of the Church, 4:468 (5 December 1841); 494, 495, 500, 502, 510, 514 (15, 18, 19, 21, 26 January 1842; 1, 6 February 1842). Increasingly, Joseph Smith’s time was devoted to preparing the Book of Abraham for press.

44. A notice appearing in the Times and Seasons on 15 June 1842 indicated that “A new edition of the Book of Mormon has just come out of press, and will be bound in a few days, and ready for sale.” Times and Seasons 3 (15 June 1842): 822. However, a note appearing in the Times and Seasons on 15 August 1842 (but dated 20 August) shows that the issue was actually off the press late. See “Books of Mormon, &C.” Times and Seasons 3 (15 August 1842): 894. See also John Taylor’s Accounts for Printing, in Newell K. Whitney Collection, Perry Collections.

45. Following Joseph Smith’s murder in 1844, the majority of his followers participated in the exodus to the Great Basin in what would soon be the western part of the United States. These pioneering efforts required great financial and physical sacrifices, and they came at a time when the British Mission was proving very successful (sixty thousand converts by the 1880s). These realities, combined with the lower costs for printing and binding that were available in England, help to explain why Liverpool became the Book Supply Depot for LDS publications for much of the nineteenth century. The basic story is told in David J. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering,” Journal of Mormon History 4 (1977): 35—49. Editions issued by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), organized in 1860 and composed of early members who chose not to follow Brigham Young west, include the 1858 edition issued by James O. Wright (New York: Jas. O. Wright) based on the 1840 Nauvoo edition and reissued in 1860 by Zadoc Brook; the 1874 edition, the first edition issued by the RLDS Church, but based on the Wright edition (Plano, IL); the 1892 second RLDS edition (Lamoni, IO); the 1908 third edition (major revised edition, using the printer’s manuscript the RLDS had recently acquired, and the first edition authorized by the RLDS general conference); and the 1953 edition, a minor revision of the 1908 edition. For more details, see Hugh G. Stocks, “RLDS Publishing and the Book of Mormon, 1860—1910,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 9 (1989): 59—73; and the forthcoming volume on the textual history of the Book of Mormon by Royal Skousen.

46. Parley P. Pratt to Joseph Smith, 22 November 1839; Hyrum Smith to Parley P. Pratt, 22 December 1839, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Archives. On 1 May 1840, Apostles Orson Hyde and John E. Page wrote to Joseph Smith asking if the Quorum of the Twelve was at liberty to publish any volume they felt necessary. On

14 May, Joseph Smith responded, giving his approval. See also letter of Brigham Young to Joseph Smith, 7 May 1840, and letter of Joseph Smith to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 December 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Archives. See also History of the Church, 4:226—61.

47. For the full story of their mission, with details on their publishing activities, see James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker, Men with a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837—1841 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992). Briefly, the money from the Benbows (£250) and the Kingtons (£100) was secured by notes signed by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards on 20 May 1840. The Benbow note is in the Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives. Wilford Woodruff’s journal for 19 May 1840 mentions receiving £100 from Elder Kington and notes that on 20 May, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, and Woodruff held a council on the Herfordshire Beacon on the Malvern Hills (near Ledbury) and after prayer felt that Brigham Young ought to take the money and journey directly to Manchester and proceed with the publishing business. In a 10 June 1840 letter to Willard Richards, Brigham Young suggested the possibility of borrowing more money from the Benbows. The Benbows were to be paid back through the sales of both the hymnal and Book of Mormon, and existing records reveal Young’s concerns to fulfill these obligations. For example, see Young to Richards, 17 June 1840, LDS Church Archives. In September 1840, the Benbows forgave the debt, asking only that enough money be returned to assist them and several friends to immigrate to America. See the note dated 7 September 1840; letter of Woodruff to Young, 15 August 1840, both in Brigham Young Collection; and Wilford Woodruff journal, 26 July 1840; all in the LDS Church Archives. When non-Mormons heard of these matters, they were quick to accuse the Mormons of stealing money from their converts, but Parley P. Pratt made it plain that they just borrowed money to publish and would repay the money through the sale of the works produced. See Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star 1 (November 1840): 189 (hereafter cited as Millennial Star).

48. The details, including bids, the contract with Tompkins, and receipts, are in the Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives. Receipts for the printing indicate that the money was paid in installments beginning 24 July 1840 and ending 12 February 1841. The paper was obtained 7 July 1840 for £107. See Wilford Woodruff journal, 7 July 1840.

49. The index, really an extended table of contents, was compiled between 18—21 January 1841. It was the first index to be issued as part of a published edition until the 1920 edition. In about 1835, someone had produced and printed a separate four-page guide to the contents entitled References to the Book of Mormon, which was placed into some copies of the 1830 and 1837 editions. It is clear the index made in England was patterned after this earlier one. See Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 60. See also Grant Underwood, “The Earliest Reference Guides to the Book of Mormon: Windows into the Past,” Journal of Mormon History 12 (1985): 69—89.

50. Wilford Woodruff journal, 8 February 1841; Millennial Star 1 (February 1841): 263. As part the Church’s 1987 sesquicentennial celebration of the beginnings of the British Mission, a limited edition of the first British edition was reprinted by the Church.

51. Brigham Young learned of the first Nauvoo edition in a letter from Ebenezer Robinson dated 27 December 1840, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives. The information on the offer of J. Tompkins to print the additional copies is presented in Hugh G. Stocks, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879: A Publishing History” (MLS, University of California, Los Angeles, 1979), 73—74.

52. Years later, when E. H. Davis tried to find the recording of the original copyright in the Stationer’s Office in London, it could not be found. Wilford Woodruff attached Davis’s 15 October 1845 note on this matter to the inside cover of his 1841 journal. Woodruff wrote: “It seems the clerk is guilty of a breach of trust.” A copy of the English copyright is reproduced in Millennial Star 25 (26 December 1863): 819.

53. Although no copy of the placard is extant, the £1 receipt, dated 11 February 1841, for the printing is in Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives.

54. Millennial Star 2 (9 December 1841): 124.

55. Millennial Star 5 (June 1844): 2.

56. See Millennial Star 4 (November 1843): 112; 5 (July 1844): 32; and 9 (1 January 1847): 16.

57. Millennial Star 10 (15 December 1848): 390.

58. For details, see Stocks, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879,” 76—78.

59. Millennial Star 11 (15 February 1849): 57; and 11 (15 May 1849): 160.

60. The details are in David J. Whittaker, “Placing the Keystone: George Q. Cannon’s Mission of Translating and Printing the Book of Mormon in the Hawaiian Language,” in Revelation, Reason, and Faith, 499—541. The earliest translations were into Danish (1851), German (1852), French (1852), Italian (1852), Hawaiian (1855), Welsh (1869), Swedish (1878), Spanish (1886), Maori (1889), Dutch (1890), Samoan (1903), and Tahitian (1904). For a convenient listing of published foreign language editions, see 2005 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 2004), 636—38. On the first European language editions, see Richard D. McClellan, “Traduit de L’Anglais: The First French Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11 (2002): 29—34; Gilbert W. Scharffs, “Das Buch Mormon: The German Translation of the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11 (2002): 35—39; Michael W. Homer, “Il Libro di Mormon: Anticipating Growth Beyond Italy’s Waldensian Valleys,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11 (2002): 40—44; and Ronald D. Dennis, “Llyfr Mormon: The Translation of the Book of Mormon into Welsh,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11 (2002): 45—49. The most challenging problems of translating the Book of Mormon into Far Eastern languages such as Japanese are discussed in Jiro Numano, “The Japanese Translation of the Book of Mormon: A Study in the Theory and Practice of Translation” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1976); and, with more historical perspective, in Van C. Gessell, “‘Strange Characters and Expressions’: Three Japanese Translations of the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/1 (2005): 32—47, 127—28.

61. See Stocks, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879,” 85.

62. Letter of Franklin D. Richards to First Presidency, 18 February 1851, in Brigham Young Papers, Incoming Correspondence, LDS Church Archives.


See Millennial Star 14 (15 April 1852): 128; and 14 (24 April 1852): 144. A useful bibliographical listing of the various editions and printings of the Book of Mormon is Chad J. Flake and Larry W. Draper, eds., A Mormon Bibliography, 1830—1930, Books, Pamphlets, Periodicals, and Broadsides Relating to the First Century of Mormonism, 2nd ed. rev. and enl., 2 vols. (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2004).

64. There were two in 1852, two in 1854, and the sixth impression in 1866, and at least four impressions in Salt Lake City: 1871, 1874, 1876, and 1877. See Stocks, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879,” 97—105.

65. The print run for the 1854 edition was five thousand copies. Unfortunately, most of the crated volumes shipped from England were held at New Orleans because the Church’s agent there was unable to obtain the necessary wagons to haul the heavy load (about five tons of books). See the letter of Orson Pratt to Brigham Young, 29 June 1854, original in Brigham Young Papers, LDS Church Archives. Orson Pratt’s work on the 1879 edition can be traced through notices in the Millennial Star 41 (3 February 1879): 77; 41 (21 April 1879): 252—53; 41 (9 June 1879): 364. The Deseret News announced the edition would be available in Salt Lake City by the October general conference of the Church. Deseret News, 22 September 1879, 537. Additional details are in Stocks, “The Book of Mormon, 1830—1879,” 88—90. See also Hugh G. Stocks, “The Book of Mormon in English, 1870—1920: A Publishing History and Analytical Bibliography” (PhD dissertation, UCLA, 1986). It was this edition (1879) that was used by George Reynolds in the preparation (begun in 1880) of his massive A Complete Concordance of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Reynolds, 1900).

66. “Electrotype is a duplicate relief printing plate made by depositing a shell of copper on a mould of an original forme. Prior to 1945 beeswax, resin and turpentine were standard matrix material. Mould and forme were dusted with graphite and pressed together in a cold press. Electrodeposition of copper followed.” Glaister, Encyclopedia of the Book, 156. Obviously, battery power and later, generated electricity, were technological requirements for this process. A more durable electrotype appeared in 1839.

67. Millennial Star 41 (3 February 1879): 77.

68. Millennial Star 41 (21 April 1879): 252—53.

69. Millennial Star 41 (9 June 1879): 364. The same issue indicated the office was ready to fill orders for the new edition and indicated the selling prices for the various bindings.

70. Countering more recent anti-Mormon claims that these arguments are new, one should note earlier such references that influenced the first extensive Book of Mormon commentary by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, as well as the actual destinations of an expedition sponsored by Brigham Young Academy (later Brigham Young University) to Central America in 1900. See Bruce A. Van Orden, “George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl on Book of Mormon Geography,” Thetean [BYU History Department student journal] (April 1982): 60—79; and, on the Benjamin Cluff expedition, see the historical overview in Brigham Young University, The First One Hundred Years, ed. Ernest L. Wilkinson et al., 4 vols. (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 1:289—329. A useful introduction to these matters is John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1985). See further, Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book, rev. ed. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1992); and Sorenson, Mormon’s Map (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000).

71. Deseret News, 25 December 1920; also Improvement Era, February 1921, 352—54.

72. Deseret News, 27 December 1920. The texts of both the 25 and 27 December statements are found in Holland, “An Analysis of Selected Changes in Major Editions of the Book of Mormon, 1830—1920,” 40—44.

73. Deseret News, 27 December 1920.

74. The Perry Collections holds the papers of James E. Talmage, which include a copy of the 1911 printing. On the flyleaf, inside the front cover of the 1911 edition, Talmage has written: “Committee copy—containing all changes adopted by the Book of Mormon Committee, April 1920.” A brief summary of his work in presented in John R. Talmage, The Talmage Story: Life of James E. Talmage—Educator, Scientist, Apostle (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1972), 192—93. It is not entirely clear if Talmage served as the chair of this committee, and we do not know just how the committee of four or five apostles worked, but it appears that they deferred to Talmage during the process of the revision.

75. The story is told through the experiences of Leonard J. Arrington, the first professionally trained scholar to be called to serve as LDS Church historian, in Adventures of a Church Historian (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998). See also chapters 1—3 on Mormon historiography in Ronald W. Walker, David J. Whittaker, and James B. Allen, Mormon History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001). Products of this openness can be seen in the emergence of graduate studies dealing with the textual history of Mormon scriptures, some of which are cited herein. By the 1970s, a number of studies had suggested the changes in the Book of Mormon text. Although many were highly polemical, they did serve to remind their readers of the textual history of the printed volume. The earliest seems to have been Lamoni Call, 2000 Changes in the Book of Mormon (Bountiful, UT, 1898). Later compilations include James Wardle, Selected Changes in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm, [1963]); and Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon: A Photo Reprint of the Original 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon with All the Changes Marked (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm, [1965]). An important study of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is told in Robert J. Matthews, “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975).

76. See Noel B. Reynolds, “The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon in the Twentieth Century,” BYU Studies 38/2 (1999): 7—47. For examples of the recent emphasis by Church leaders, see Ezra Taft Benson, “Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, November 1988, 4—6; and Benson, A Witness and A Warning: A Modern Day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988).

77. “Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, March 1998, 75. It should be noted that the earliest numbers are approximations, as exact figures for some of the early printings or impressions are not known. In “New Printing Press Helps Keep Scriptures Accessible,” the Ensign, July 2001, 30, notes that the new press in the Church’s Printing Center prints five to five and a half million copies per year.

78. See Matthew J. Kennedy, “Pearls of Great Price,” LDS Living Magazine (March/April 2004): 34—44.

79. By 1998, considering sheer numbers, over 50 percent of the membership consisted of individuals whose native language was not English. For an overview of the history of the Church south of the United States’ border, see the sources listed in David J. Whittaker, “Mormon Missiology: An Introduction and Guide to the Sources,” in Disciple as Witness, 504—7.

80. The public announcement of this change was made by Elder Boyd K. Packer on 3 October 1982 at the general conference of the Church. “Scriptures,” Ensign, November 1982, 51—53. He further commented on this in “The Library of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1990, 36—38.

81. See the summary in Royal Skousen, “Book of Mormon Editions, 1830—1981,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:175—76.

82. See Robert J. Matthews, “The New Publications of the Standard Works—1979, 1981,” BYU Studies 22/4 (1982): 387—424; and Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5:1—283. See also George A. Horton Jr., “Understanding Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, December 1983, 24—28.

83. New York: Doubleday, 2004. This edition has eliminated the footnotes and other reader helps prepared for the 1981 edition. It does provide short chapter heading notes and places in these headings dating or chronological notations. It also includes a Pronunciation Guide (pp. 575—79) and a short Reference Guide (pp. 580—86) to the volume under four headings—Jesus Christ, People, Doctrines, and Events and Places—with its references being to book, chapter, and verse rather than page number. This volume follows several other such printing projects. See, for example, Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1992); Lynn Matthews Anderson, Easy-to-Read Book of Mormon, A Learning Companion (Apple Valley, MN: Estes Book, 1995); and Grant Hardy, ed., The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003). In 1993 the First Presidency warned of the dangers of modern editions: “Modern Language Editions of the Book of Mormon Discouraged,” Ensign, April 1993, 74. See also David Klinghoffer, “A Feast of Good Books: New Editions of Sacred Texts Wrestle with the Age-Old Problems of Publishing Holy Writ,” Publisher’s Weekly, 11 October 2004, 28, 30, 32, 34.

84. Book of Mormon Critical Text: A Tool for Scholarly Reference, 3 vols. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1984—1987). The volumes include 1 Nephi—Words of Mormon (1984); Mosiah—Alma (1986); and Helaman—Moroni (1987). The volumes were mostly the work of Robert F. Smith. From 1986—87, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies issued a second corrected edition of the three-volume work. See also A Comparison of the Book of Mormon Manuscripts and Editions (Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 2000).

85. See Royal Skousen, “Towards a Critical Edition of the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 31/1 (1990): 41—69. He had earlier suggested his philosophy in “Through a Glass Darkly: Trying to Understand the Scriptures,” BYU Studies 26/4 (1986): 3—20; and he had publicly proposed a second critical text in March 1988 at the annual meeting of the Deseret Language and Linguistic Society.

86. See Royal Skousen, Analogical Modeling of Language (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989); and Skousen, Analogy and Structure (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992).

87. The most important works by Royal Skousen on the critical text project include “The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project,” in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993), 65—75; “Jacob 4—6: Substantive Textual Variants between Manuscripts and Editions,” in The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, The Bible, and Jacob 5, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994), 105—39; “Critical Methodology and the Text of the Book of Mormon,”

review essay of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, ed. Brent L. Metcalfe, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/1 (1994): 121—44; “The Original Language of the Book of Mormon: New York Dialect, King James English, or Hebrew?” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3/1 (1994): 28—38; and “Textual Variants in the Isaiah Quotations in the Book of Mormon,” in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald W. Parry and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 369—90. See also a study written under Skousen’s direction by Renee Bangerter, “Since Joseph Smith’s Time: Lexical Semantic Shifts in the Book of Mormon” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1998).

88. Skousen, “The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project,” 65. See also Skousen, “History of the Critical Text Project of the Book of Mormon,” in Bradford and Coutts, Uncovering the Original Text of the Book of Mormon, 5—21.

89. Skousen, “Towards a Critical Edition,” 42. He was referring to Wayne A. Larsen and Alvin C. Rencher, “Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? An Analysis of Wordprints,” in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited, 157—88. Skousen also argues for a new critical text before the questions of Hebrew idioms in the Book of Mormon can be fully addressed. Early studies included Sidney B. Sperry, “Hebrew Idioms in the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, October 1954, 703, 728—29; John A. Tvedtnes, “Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 11/1 (1970): 50—60; Melvin D. Pack, “Possible Lexical Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1973); John W. Welch, “Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies 10/4 (1969): 69—84; and Lyle L. Fletcher, “Pronouns of Address in the Book of Mormon” (MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1988).

90. Based on notes of personal interview with Royal Skousen, Brigham Young University, 4 February 1999.

91. The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon: Typographical Facsimile of the Extant Text (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2001), 568 pp.

92. The Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon: Typographical Facsimile of the Entire Text in Two Parts, 2 vols. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2001), 1,008 pp. Part 1: Copyright; 1830 Preface, 1 Nephi 1—Alma 17:26 (pp. 1—476); Part 2: Alma 17:26—Moroni 10:34; Testimony of Three Witnesses; Testimony of Eight Witnesses (pp. 476—979).

93. Three of six parts of volume 4 have appeared as Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part One, Title Page, Witness Statements, 1 Nephi 1—2 Nephi 10 (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 649 pp.; Part Two, 2 Nephi 11—Mosiah 16 (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 704 pp.; and Part Three, Mosiah 17—Alma 20 (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2006), 673 pp.

94. Some of these are presented in Bradford and Coutts, Uncovering the Original Text of the Book of Mormon.

95. Consider the study by Sandra M. Schneiders, The Revelatory Text, Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999).

96. Sixth General Epistle of First Presidency [Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards], 22 September 1851, Millennial Star 14 (15 January 1854): 17—25, quotation is on page 22; also in James R. Clark, comp., The Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965—75), 2:85. In an epistle “To the Saints Scattered Abroad” issued under the directions of the First Presidency in Nauvoo in September 1840, Church leaders noted that “connected with the building up of the Kingdom, is the printing and circulation of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the New translation of the Scriptures. It is unnecessary to say any thing respecting these works; those who have read them, and who have drank of the stream of knowledge which they convey, know how to appreciate them.” Times and Seasons 1 (October 1840): 177—79, quotation from page 179.

97. Joseph taught this at a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the home of Brigham Young, 28 November 1841. See Wilford Woodruff journal for that date; also History of the Church, 4:461.

98. Richard G. Scott, “The Power of the Book of Mormon in My Life,” Ensign, October 1984, 7.

99. “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).