Thursday, March 26, 2020

March 26, 1830 and 2020

This is a great day to think about the Book of Mormon. It's an anniversary, of sorts.

On March 26, 1830, the Wayne Sentinel (a newspaper in Palmyra, NY), published an announcement.

It was the full text of the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, followed by this:

BY JOSEPH SMITH JUNIOR, Author and Proprietor.

(Joseph had to label himself as author for copyright reasons.)

The announcement continued with this:

The above work, containing about 600 pages, large Duodecimo, is now for sale, wholesale and retail, at the Palmyra Bookstore, by
                           HOWARD & GRANDIN.
     PALMYRA, March 26, 1830.

You can see a copy of the original newspaper on the BYU Library web page here:


I've always liked the 1830 edition because it is easy to read. Years ago when I taught in the MTC (then the LTM) I used to give each missionary a copy of their favorite Book of Mormon verse from the 1830 edition. Most of them had never seen what the 1830 edition looked like.

If you don't have a physical copy of the 1830 edition (replica or original), you can read it on several web pages, including the Joseph Smith Papers. Here is a link for 4 early editions.

If you're using Wordcruncher, as I strongly recommend, you can purchase the 1830 edition edited by Royal Skousen, which I also strongly recommend. Here's the link:

The other scripture study tool I recommend is Scripture Notes.


If you don't have a physical copy of the 1830 edition, the replica I like best is here:

In 1879, the Church published an edition of the Book of Mormon with the chapters and verses we're familiar with today. Orson Pratt divided the text this way. For example, he divided the Isaiah chapters so they would exactly resemble the KJV chapters.

The RLDS Church also divided the text into verses, but they retained the original chapters. These chapters were pretty long in some cases, so the RLDS editions have many verses. Some chapters have over 200 verses.

For example, the LDS edition starts the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi with Chapter 12 (equivalent to Isaiah 2). Chapter 13 corresponds to Isaiah 3, and so on.

In the 1830 edition (and the current RLDS/CoC editions), the Isaiah material begins after Jacob's introduction in 2 Nephi Chapter VIII. Chapter VIII continues all the way through the LDS chapter 16.

Here is a table to convert 1830/RLDS chapter to 1879 and later LDS editions:

There are lots of ways to study the Book of Mormon. 

The main point, of course, is to use the Book of Mormon to bring you closer to Jesus Christ. Never lose sight of that.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Oliver Cowdery biography

For those interested in biographical information about Oliver Cowdery, here are two helpful resources.

A biographical overview:

A book of essays about Oliver's life and work: