I’ve been reading and collecting the Book of Mormon my entire life in one form or another, from the illustrated “Book of Mormon for Beginning Readers” (or whatever it was called in the 1970s) to the official blue copy I handed out as a missionary, to Royal Skousen’s “Earliest Text.” I’ve also collected books written about the Book of Mormon, including much of Skousen’s Critical Text Project. I’ve appreciated being able to learn about the book and read it in these various formats particularly because I don’t usually like reading the same book more than once. This book edited by Grant Hardy gives a fresh new way to read it again, taking the official 2013 text and reformatting it to make for easier reading as well as to more easily identify various aspects, and also adding footnotes and other markers to point out changes gleaned from Skousen’s work, internal consistencies, and other interesting tidbits.
The book begins with the introduction from the 1981 edition “with minor modifications in 2013 (and the substitution of people for men in the third and next-to-last paragraphs),” (page vii) and then has the usual testimonies of three and eight witnesses, but then it also has the testimony of Emma Smith, taken from an interview by Joseph Smith III in 1879. In this, she mentions that Joseph did not have any manuscripts or books, what the plates felt like, that he did it “sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the [seer] stone in it,” (page ix) and that she did not believe her husband capable of composing it by himself.
This is followed by the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon, as you would find in a regular edition, although the Brief Explanation has an explanatory phrase inserted about the Plates of Ether. Then there is a Brief History of the Text, which is used as the editor’s introduction. In this, Hardy recounts the translation, printing, and subsequent editing and printing of the second edition. [Read more…] about Book Review: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Maxwell Institute Study Edition