Today, the Joseph Smith Papers Project announced the release of Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon, the eleventh published volume of The Joseph Smith Papers.
This volume features the most complete early text of the Book of Mormon—the printer’s manuscript. After Joseph Smith dictated the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon and hired a printer, he had a second copy of the text made, now known as the printer’s manuscript. The creation of the printer’s manuscript allowed the original manuscript to be kept safe while the second copy was taken to the Palmyra, New York, print shop of E. B. Grandin, where it was used to set type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830).
The publication of Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon builds on decades of earlier work by volume editor Royal Skousen and represents a major milestone in the longstanding collaboration between historians from the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). For more than 100 years, the Community of Christ has preserved the priceless printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon, and the manuscript appears in this volume with their generous permission.
This volume is published in two parts, each a full-color, oversized book intended to showcase this historic manuscript. For the first time ever, each page of the manuscript is presented as a high-resolution photograph and accompanied by a color-coded transcript that shows which scribe made each change to the manuscript. In addition to the photographs and transcripts of the manuscript, this volume also includes
- a list of scribes and printers involved in the creation of the manuscript and the printing of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon;
- an extensive chart tracking the use of the manuscript to publish various early editions;
- explanatory introductions that track the provenance of the manuscript and give the history of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon; and
- never-before-seen photographs of a seer stone Joseph Smith likely used in the translation of the Book of Mormon.
An accompanying article on the history of the Book of Mormon translation, written by Joseph Smith Papers scholars, will appear in the October 2015 issue of the Ensign, an official periodical of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article is available online now.
For more information or to purchase the volume, see the Purchase page. A set of photographs of the printer’s manuscript, taken in 1923, were consulted by the volume editors for the transcripts found in Revelations and Translations, Volume 3. The photographs may be viewed on the Joseph Smith Papers website.