Source:Reexploring the Book of Mormon:Ch:5:1:Textual consistency: issues with dictation

Textual Consistency: Difficulties of dictation

Textual Consistency: Difficulties of dictation

The general mode of translation used by Joseph Smith in bringing forth the Book of Mormon is well known. He dictated the text to a scribe as he translated the record, going through the text only a single time. People do not often stop to think, however, about the implications and challenges of this unusual and formidable manner of writing.

For one thing, dictating a final copy of a letter, let alone a book, the first time through is extremely difficult. Yet the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon is remarkably clean. There are few strikeovers, and only minor changes were made as the book went to publication. The vast majority of those changes involved spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.[1]


  1. John W. Welch, "Textual Consistency," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), Chapter 5.