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Why was one sixth of the 1830 Book of Mormon set from the original manuscript?
TitleWhy was one sixth of the 1830 Book of Mormon set from the original manuscript?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSkousen, Royal
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Volume2
Pagination93-103
KeywordsEarly Church History; Original Manuscript; Translation
Abstract

Evidence from the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon (as well as internal evidence within the Book of Mormon itself) shows that for one sixth of the text, from Helaman 13:17 to the end of Mormon, the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon was set from the original (dictated) manuscript rather than from the printer’s manuscript. For five-sixths of the text, the 1830 edition was set from the printer’s manuscript, the copy prepared specifically for the 1830 typesetter to use as his copytext. In 1990, when the use of the original manuscript as copytext was first discovered, it was assumed that the scribes for the printer’s manuscript had fallen behind in their copywork, which had then forced them to take in the original manuscript to the 1830 typesetter. Historical evidence now argues, to the contrary, that the reason for the switch was the need to take the printer’s manuscript to Canada in February 1830 in order to secure the copyright of the Book of Mormon within the British realm. During the month or so that Oliver Cowdery and others were on their trip to nearby Canada with the printer’s manuscript, the 1830 typesetter used the original manuscript to set the type, although he himself was unaware that there had been a temporary switch in the manuscripts.

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