This new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers is the “closest experience that most people will have of being able to hold [the original Book of Mormon manuscript] in their hands”
For the first time ever, the world has a complete photographic record of what remains of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
The latest volume in The Joseph Smith Papers Project from The Church Historian’s Press is called The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 5: Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. This new book includes color photographs and color-coded transcriptions of the Book of Mormon’s first manuscript.
According to Newsroom, in a meeting announcing the new Joseph Smith Papers volume President Russell M. Nelson said that the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon is one of the most significant and sacred artifacts that the Church possesses.
“Church historians have taken great care—over more than a century—to gather even the most minuscule fragments of manuscript and preserved them from further damage,” he told the group. “With this new volume now available, anyone can see what remains of that manuscript and how each little piece fits into the whole. To me, it is inspiring to know that these pages with images of the original Book of Mormon text are now available to all. It is a deeply moving experience to look at these pages and see God’s hand moving His work forward.”
One of the book’s coeditors, Royal Skousen, said that this volume might just be the most important and pivotal piece of the Joseph Smith Papers.
“[This new book] provides the best possible view we have, however indirect, of Joseph Smith the seer translating the Book of Mormon,” Skousen shared. “This manuscript provides important support for what the witnesses of the translation claimed: that Joseph dictated, word for word, an English language text that appeared in his translation instrument. And that when necessary, he could spell out the names. This was indeed a marvelous work and a wonder.”
Church History Department Director of Publications Matthew McBride told Newsroom that this new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers is the “closest experience that most people will have of being able to hold in their hands this really sacred artifact. It’s meaningful to me and to other Latter-day Saints as people of faith because this is the text of the book upon which we base our faith and our testimony of Jesus Christ.”