Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Quote

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CONTENTS

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p. ix

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. xi-xii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xiii-xviii

A NOTE ON USAGE

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p. xix

PART I: Germination

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Prologue

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pp. 3-10

In 1828, the directors of the twelve-year-old American Bible Society (ABS) set forth the audacious plan to provide every American household with a Bible. In a nation where only twenty years earlier publishers had been hard-pressed to produce two thousand copies of...

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CHAPTER 1 Joseph’s Gold Bible

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pp. 11-37

The story of the Book of Mormon cannot be separated from its self-proclaimed “author and proprietor,” Joseph Smith Jr.1 The fifth child born into the farming family of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Jr. entered the world two days before Christmas, 1805, in the small town of Sharon, Vermont. In an era when children provided critical...

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CHAPTER 2 Holy Writ or Humbug?

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pp. 38-58

More than sixty years after he set the type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon, John Gilbert granted an interview to the New York Herald concerning his views on the book and the man who had translated it. Gilbert was not a religious man and never believed that...

PART II: Budding

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CHAPTER 3 Multiplying Prophets

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pp. 61-85

While controversy surrounded the Book of Mormon from its inception, the fact remained that perhaps the book’s greatest attraction was how it provided the ever-growing number of Mormon converts a tangible testimony...

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CHAPTER 4 Great Basin Saints and the Book

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pp. 86-110

While Mormonism splintered in the wake of Joseph’s death, Brigham Young worked heroically to not only keep the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints (LDS) together, but give it a vision for its future. Most immediately, that future involved moving the Saints westward so that they might be able to practice their religion...

PART III: Flowering

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CHAPTER 5 Missionary Work and the Book

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pp. 113-136

While the Book of has occupied different rungs of importance over the years on the ladder of the LDS Church’s religious educational programming, there is one area of practice where, setting aside a brief period of de-emphasis in the early twentieth century, it has long retained preeminence: missions work. The three witnesses...

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CHAPTER 6 Scholars and the Book

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pp. 137-152

Mormon missionaries are not the only people who desire readers of the Book of Mormon to take Moroni’s words seriously by asking “God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ,” whether the contents of the book are true.1 Mormon children are encouraged at a young...

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CHAPTER 7 Illustrating the Book

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pp. 153-177

Ezra Taft Benson’s clarion call to place the Book of Mormon front and center in Mormon life bespoke, among other things, his desire to see more emphasis placed on vivifying the great themes and characters of the book in art, film, drama, literature, and music.1 To be sure,...

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CHAPTER 8 The Book on Screen and Stage

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pp. 178-195

Artistic renderings of the Book of Mormon have not been confined to the pages of books and artists’ oil paintings. Various dramatic representations of the book have been produced over the years, on both the screen and the stage. As early as 1915, the Church embraced the...

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Epilogue

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pp. 196-200

Sacred texts are also sacred trusts. In this spirit, Mormons have a long tradition of treating their founding religious text with tremendous care. The leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) feels a weighty responsibility to reproduce accurately and distribute..

APPENDIX 1 Notable Book of Mormon Editions in English

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pp. 201-204

APPENDIX 2 Book of Mormon Translations

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pp. 205-208

NOTES

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pp. 209-240

FURTHER READING

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pp. 241-246

INDEX

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pp. 247-255