Preface to Book of Mormon, circa August 1829

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To the Reader——
As many fals reports have been sirculated respecting this <the following> work & also many unla wful measures taken by evil desineing persons to destroy me also the work I would  inform you that I translated

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened into...

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by the gift & power of God & caused to be written one  hundred & sixteen pages the which I took from the Book of Lehi which was an acc ount abridged from the plates of Lehi by the hand of Mormon which said account  some person or persons have stolen & kept from me

1 Jul. 1828

JS traveled to parents’ home in Manchester Township, New York, and learned Martin Harris had lost early manuscript pages of Book of Mormon.

notwithstanding my utmost exer sion to recover it again & being commanded

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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of the Lord that I should not translate  the same over again

1 Jul. 1828

Plates temporarily taken from JS; first recorded revelation reprimanded JS but affirmed his status as translator, Harmony Township, Pennsylvania.

for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God  by altering the records that they did read conterary from that which I translated &  caused to be written & if I should bring forth the same words again or in other words if I  should translate the same over again they would publish that which they had stolen &  Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation that they might not receive this work  but behold the Lord said unto me I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish  his evil design in this thing therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi  untill you ye come to that which ye have translated which ye have retained &  behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi & thus I will confound those who  have altered my words I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work yea  [I] will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater then the cunning of the Devil  wherefore to be obediant unto the commandments of God I have through his grace  & mercy accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing
I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken was <were> found in  the township of Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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Ontario County New York

22 Sep. 1827

JS obtained gold plates, Manchester Township, New York.

The Author
JS drafted the Book of Mormon’s preface in response to Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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’s loss in 1828 of 116 pages of the initial draft of the Book of Mormon, a portion known as the Book of Lehi. JS feared it had fallen into the hands of critics who plotted to discredit him by calling attention to discrepancies between the published volume and the lost manuscript. In the preface, JS expressed this concern and explained why the first portion of the published Book of Mormon varied from the missing Book of Lehi.
JS prepared this preface in the summer of 1829, after he finished translating the Book of Mormon. The original is no longer extant. Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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made this copy, and it was included with the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon.