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THE BOOK OF MORMON. Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun. Reprinted from the Third American Edition. Plano, Ill.: Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1874.
16 cm. (binding 16˝ cm. = 6˝ inches tall). xii, 545 pages. Collated complete.
Original reddish-black blind-stamped roan leather. Spine gilt; dark red leather label on spine. Spine expertly laid back down. Minor wear, but a handsome, strong volume. Internally, the book is nearly fine, except that some early reader has taken it upon himself religiously to cross out "it came to pass" with pencil in a small section of pages near the front, and similarly in a section near the end of the book. Perhaps this duty was performed by "Rev. Edw. R. Prendergast" whose old faint lavender stamp graces the title page and the first page of the text.
This is the First Edition of the Book of Mormon published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Flake 611, explaining that this "is not a reprint from the third American edition as the title indicates, but follows the Liverpool stereotyped edition of 1852." A later RLDS edition published in Lamoni, Iowa (Flake 612) also bears the date of 1874, but was in fact printed in 1881.
JOSEPH SMITH'S SON preserved a wonderful story which mentions the version offered here . . .
At the conference [RLDS, 1884] it was decided that it would be advisable to secure the privilege of examining the [printer's] manuscript of the Book of Mormon, then in possession of David Whitmer, of Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, for the purpose of comparing it with the editions put out by the church, in order to correct errors of any description which may have crept into them through transcription and publication. . . .
. . . . .
We reached that city on July 8, and secured quarters at Dale's boardinghouse, where we stayed and visited during that evening. We found, next day, that Elder Whitmer had arranged for one or two others also to be present during the examination of the manuscript, as he felt himself unable to undertake alone the responsibility of the important supervision. Accordingly, Philander Page, a relative of Elder Whitmer by marriage, and John C. Whitmer were assigned the duty, Mr. Page spending the greater part of the time with us.
After lunch, we began the solemn task. Repairing to the house of Elder Whitmer, in his presence we all knelt down and implored divine sanction and the aid of the Holy Spirit to direct and confirm us in the duty we were striving to perform.
It was agreed that one of us should hold and read the manuscript, while others, holding respectively copies of the Palmyra edition, the Nauvoo edition, and the edition published by the Reorganization, carefully compared what was read with what they held; also we were to "take turns" in reading aloud, as might be found desirable.
The committee continued at work daily, from seven in the morning until six at night, with an intermission for lunch. On Friday a recess was called, and during that week end we visited Independence. We returned on Monday to continue our task which was finally finished on the seventeenth.
. . . . .
Upon a few occasions during the sessions, Elder Whitmer was visited by citizens or strangers, calling upon one business or another. Once Colonel Giles, a resident of Richmond, brought a stranger by the name of Captain Fall, and their interview with Elder Whitmer resulted in their being brought into the room where we were at work, where they were introduced to us and permitted to see the manuscript.
The Colonel, in an affable and friendly manner, discussed with Elder Whitmer the testimony the latter had borne as a special witness to the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Rather suggestively he asked if it might not have been possible that he, Mr. Whitmer, had been mistaken and had simply been moved upon by some mental disturbance, or hallucination, which had deceived him into thinking he saw the Personage, the Angel, the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the sword of Laban.
How well and distinctly I remember the manner in which Elder Whitmer arose and drew himself up to his full height—a little over six feet—and said, in solemn and impressive tones:
"No, sir! I was not under any hallucination, nor was I deceived! I saw with these eyes and I heard with these ears! I know whereof of I speak!"
Everyone present, including the colonel and his friend, stood under the spell of the impressive silence which followed this emphatic declaration. It was as if we were in the presence of the Angel himself!
I went out of the room with the visitors, and the Colonel remarked:
"It is somewhat difficult, Elder Smith, for us everyday men to believe the statement made by Mr. Whitmer, but one thing is certain—no man could hear him make his affirmation, as he has to us in there, and doubt for one moment the honest and sincerity of the man himself. He fully believes he saw and heard, just as he has stated he did." [Joseph Smith III and the Restoration . . . (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1952), pp. 309-12]
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