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Race, Religion & Social Justice

New Documents Released on Translation of the Book of Mormon

Andrea Smardon
LDS Church Historian Steven Snow holds a copy of "Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer's Manuscript of the Book of Mormon"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released new documents related to the translation of the Book of Mormon Tuesday. It’s the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project, an effort to make original documents produced by the Church’s founder available to the public.

Credit Andrea Smardon / KUER
Pictures of sacred instruments believed to be used by Joseph Smith for the translation of the Book of Mormon

This new volume includes pictures of a smooth, brown, oval rock known as a seer stone. Church historians believe it was one of the instruments used by Smith to translate The Book of Mormon. Assistant Church historian Richard Turley says most members of the church may have heard about the stone, but for the first time, they can see it for themselves.

“People connect to the past better when they can stand on the ground where things happen, and when they can see objects that visually connect them to the past,” Turley says.

Also included in this publication, is the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which church historians say provides the most complete view of that early text. The manuscript had been archived by the Community of Christ, a group based in Independence Missouri which split from the LDS Church after Joseph Smith was killed. Once rivals, LDS Church historian Steven Snow says they are now cooperating in this historic endeavor.

“I think this is one of the best and most recent examples of cooperation between the two churches in helping us preserve and present our common restoration past,” Snow says.

The publication is now on sale in a 2-book set including color photos and the entire printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Church officials say it will also be made available online.

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