RLDS 1908 Book of Mormon

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Translation of the Book of Mormon

On the night of September 21, 1823, an angel appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr., in vision and gave him information about a sacred record inscribed on metal plates telling the history of ancient inhabitants of the American continent. Joseph obtained the plates on September 22, 1827, along with a device he referred to as the "Urim and Thummim" that was to aid in the translation of the record.

Joseph Smith described the records as "engraved on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving."

The translation of the record into English was given by means of revelation, "by the gift and power of God." The main period of translation occurred between April and June of 1829, with Oliver Cowdery and others acting as scribes to write the original manuscript. A second handwritten copy was made and became known as the printer's manuscript. E. B. Grandin's printing establishment in Palmyra, New York, printed the first edition of the Book of Mormon.

Printed Editions

The first printing of five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon was completed by April of 1830. Joseph Smith carefully reviewed the first edition and made editorial corrections for the 1837 and 1840 printings. During the latter half of the 1800's, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) continued to publish the Book of Mormon, using the original chapter numbers but dividing the text into numbered verses.

In 1906, the RLDS General Conference authorized a committee to compare the Book of Mormon with the original and printer's manuscripts and the 1837 edition in order to make corrections, "that the work may be completed as corrected by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery." The work of the committee was endorsed by the 1908 General Conference as the authorized edition of the Book of Mormon for the RLDS Church.

About This Edition

Between 2012 and 2015, a committee of believers in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ prepared the scriptures for printing under the auspices of Cumorah Books, Inc. The committee carefully considered textual differences between various printings of the 1908 edition. Comparisons were also made with the original and printer's manuscripts.

The manuscripts and most printed copies of the Book of Mormon include headings for only a small number of chapters. The original headings have been retained in this edition and supplemented so that every chapter includes a descriptive heading. This edition also includes improved punctuation, minor editorial corrections, a new concordance, and other supplementary materials. The committee has labored to provide a clear, correct, and useful edition of the 1908 Book of Mormon. It is our fervent prayer that God's Holy Spirit will richly bless all readers in their study of His holy word.

Because there are a few differences between printed editions, the committee evaluated alternative word choices. In a few cases, a different word was chosen to correct an error in grammar or usage.

Examples This Edition Explanation
1 N. 5:133 "straitened" Agrees with O and P manuscripts* and means "restricted or confined"; used instead of "straightened."
1 N. 6:50 "strait" Agrees with O and P manuscripts* and Isa. 49:20; used instead of "straight."
2 N. 2:46 "rise" Corrected verb usage instead of "raise" (also 2 N. 7:18, Eth. 4:51, 59).
2 N. 8:45 "healer" Agrees with older 1908 editions and Isa. 3:7; used instead of "ruler."
2 N. 9:2, 6 "seraphim" Used instead of "seraphims" and is the correct plural form.
2 N. 10:42 "renowned" Agrees with older 1908 editions and Isa. 14:20; used instead of "removed."
Mos. 11:193 "racked" Used instead of "wrecked" (compare to Al. 17:10-15).
Al. 1:16 "pled" Corrected past tense of "plead" (also Al. 13:58; Al. 21:95; Eth. 3:75).
Al. 9:35 "cherubim" Used instead of "cherubims" and is the correct plural form.
Al. 11:7 "whither" Agrees with P manuscript*; used instead of "whether."
Al. 17:7, 9 "wilt not be destroyed" Corrected in 1953 printing; older editions omitted "not."
Al. 21:144 "nineteenth year" Agrees with O manuscript*; spelling correction of "yea" (also He. 2:3).
3 N. 1:14 "Son-of" Added dash for clarity.
3 N. 2:24 "as also" Used instead of "and also." Lachoneus was the chief judge, not Gigiddoni (3 N. 1:1).
3 N. 8:30 "brake" Corrected past tense of "break" (also 3 N. 9:40).
3 N. 8:71 "disciples bare" Corrected past tense of "bear."
Eth. 1:7 "sware" Corrected past tense of "swear" (also Eth. 3:87).
(All cases) "show" Used instead of "shew" to match Inspired Version and to avoid mispronunciation.

*"O and P manuscripts" refer to original and printer's manuscripts.