Salt Lake City – The Church History Library and the Church Historian’s Press will host a lecture titled “The Book of Mormon Manuscripts: Insights from the Editors of The Joseph Smith Papers” on Thursday, August 20, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. Presenters include Royal Skousen, professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University and editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project; and Robin Scott Jensen, associate managing historian and project archivist for the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This event is free and open to the public.
The early manuscripts of the Book of Mormon tell an important part of the story of the Restoration. As Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from the original plates, his scribes took dictation and created what is now known as the original manuscript. In order to keep the translation safe, but also allow the book to be published, a second copy was made. This copy, known as the printer’s manuscript, was used by the compositors and printers at E. B. Grandin’s Palmyra, New York, print shop to set type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon.
Years after the Book of Mormon’s publication, the printer’s manuscript was obtained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (now known as Community of Christ). “It has survived thanks to careful custodians,” said Robin Jensen, “and gives scholars and members alike a unique look at the translation and printing of this text held sacred by millions worldwide.”
The manuscript is only missing three lines of text. The scope of the document makes it extremely valuable and important. “It represents 72 percent of the earliest extant text of the Book of Mormon,” Royal Skousen explained. “[The printer’s manuscript] is not just another copy.”
The Church History Department and the archivists at the Community of Christ have collaborated in a historic effort to make the full text of the printer’s manuscript available in the latest Joseph Smith Papers publication: Revelations and Translations, Volume 3, Parts 1 and 2: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. The volume features, for the first time ever, full-color photographs and transcriptions. This free lecture will cover the creation of the two manuscripts and reveal highlights from this recent publication.
This event is sponsored by the Church Historian’s Press and the Church History Library. It will be held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, 50 North West Temple Street. Limited free parking is provided at the Conference Center for those attending this event. Parking may fill quickly and is not guaranteed. As an alternative to parking downtown, please use the UTA transit system. For more information, please go to history.lds.org or call 1-801-240-2272.