Question: Gordon L. Weight's booklet ''Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street" claims that the rate at which the first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed could only have occurred miraculously. Is this true?

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Question: Gordon L. Weight's booklet "Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street" claims that the rate at which the first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed could only have occurred miraculously. Is this true?

Unfortunately, despite Weight's sincere desire to build faith in the Book of Mormon, his claims cannot be sustained by the evidence

Note that although the rate at which the Book of Mormon was translated could be considered miraculous, the rate at which it was printed was perfectly normal.

This claim was advanced by a small booklet published and circulated in the Intermountain West by LDS member Gordon L. Weight.[1]

Unfortunately, despite Weight's sincere desire to build faith in the Book of Mormon, his claims cannot be sustained by the evidence. A full review of these claims was published in 2009.[2] A few of the problematic claims include:

  • there is no evidence that Joseph Smith regarded it as necessary that the Book of Mormon print run be completed by the date of the Church's organization;
  • the claim that 5,000 volumes could not be printed in 7 months—but, in fact, it could and was. Indeed, E.B. Grandin, the printer, estimated that the job would take about five and a half months—the extra month and a half were added because of the delay in obtaining type;
  • the author presumes that type-setting and printing would have to be done consecutively, while it is more likely that both jobs were done at once, i.e., concurrently;
  • despite the author's claims, the type was not acquired via a "miracle," but via normal means from New York (there were eight type foundries in New York and two more in near-by Albany);
  • references to "folk-lore" that are not footnoted, not documented, and not known in any other source(s).

Poor arguments for the Book of Mormon's divine origins are ill-advised, since those who build their testimony on faulty reasoning may suffer spiritual damage when the errors which underlie such claims are revealed.


Notes

  1. Gordon L. Weight, Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street: An “Old-Time” Printer’s Perspective on Printing the Original Copies of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Gordon L. Weight, 2003).
  2. Donald L. Enders and Jennifer L. Lund, "Myths on Palmyra's Main Street (A review of "Miracle on Palmyra's Main Street: An Old-Time Printer's Perspective on Printing the Original Copies of the Book of Mormon" by: Gordon L. Weight)," FARMS Review 21/1 (2009): 63–77. off-site wiki


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims