Book of Mormon/Translation

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    Articles related to the translation of the Book of Mormon

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.


Translation of the Book of Mormon

What do we know about the method used to translate the Book of Mormon? Were the plates sometimes not in the room while Joseph was translating them? It is claimed that each sentence and word in the 1830 Book of Mormon "had supposedly come directly from God." (Click here for full article)

  • Joseph claimed that the Book of Mormon translation was performed by the "gift and power of God"
    Brief Summary: What was the precise method by which the Book of Mormon was translated? What roles do the Nephite interpreters, the spectacles, the seer stone, and the hat play in the process? Why did Joseph claim that the translation was performed by the "gift and power of God?" (Click here for full article)
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  • The lost 116 pages
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith did not retranslate the 116 lost pages of the Book of Lehi because he knew that he could not reproduce the exact same text. They claim that alterations in a different handwriting to the stolen manuscript would have been readily apparent. Some suggest that the writing of the 116 pages served as an “apprenticeship” to allow Joseph to improve his writing skills. (Click here for full article)
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  • Anthon transcript
    Brief Summary: What do we know about the Anthon transcript and the translation of the Book of Mormon? What is the current scholarly thought on the transcript? Didn't Charles Anthon deny having "validating" the characters? (Click here for full article)
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  • Description of the plates
    Brief Summary: A variety of persons who handled and/or saw the plates left descriptions. We list these descriptions in this sub-article. (Click here for full articleStatements by witnesses)
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  • Chronology of events
    Brief Summary: A chronology of events related to the Book of Mormon translation and publication. (Click here for full article)
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  • Chronology of translation methods
    Brief Summary: We have a number of accounts of the translation process from the perspective of various contemporary second-hand witnesses who viewed the Prophet as he dictated to his scribes. The only person other than Joseph who attempted to directly translate was Oliver Cowdery. Oliver, however, did not record any details regarding the exact physical process that he employed during his attempt—we only have the spiritual aspect of the process. (Click here for full article)
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  • Mainly italics altered in the portions dependent on the KJV?
    Brief Summary: Some have claimed that the differences between the KJV and the Book of Mormon text (in, for example, the Isaiah passages in 2 Nephi) differ mainly in the italics of the KJV version. (Click here for full article)
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  • Tight versus loose translation
    Brief Summary: Was the Prophet provided with the exact wording of every sentence in the Book of Mormon or was he simply given impressions which he then dictated within the context of his own understanding? (Click here for full article)
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  • Artistic depictions of the Book of Mormon translation
    Brief Summary: People are sometimes troubled when they see artists' depictions of the Prophet and Oliver sitting at a table while Joseph views the plates as they sit in plain sight. Obviously, the plates never sat exposed in plain view, and these artistic interpretations originate purely in the mind of the artist. Some accounts indicate that the plates sat on a table covered with a cloth "in plain view," with Emma indicating that she actually moved them around in order to perform her household chores.[1] (Click here for full article)
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  • Location of the plates during translation
    Brief Summary: Some witness accounts suggest that Joseph was able to translate while the plates were covered, or when they were not even in the same room with him.[2] Therefore, if the plates themselves were not being used during the translation process, why was it necessary to have plates at all? (Click here for full article)
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  • Hiding the facts in plain sight using Church publications
    Brief Summary: Quite a few items that are claimed to have been hidden by the Church were actually published in Church magazines such as the New Era, the Ensign and the Friend. (Click here for full article)
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  • Critical website MormonThink's "Translation of the Book of Mormon" page source quotes without critical commentary
    Brief Summary: The critical website "MormonThink" also has numerous source quotes related to the translation method. We provide here the "no spin" version: All of the complete primary and secondary source quotes while removing all of the anti-Mormon commentary. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith used the Nephite Interpreters as well as his own seer stone (both of which were later referred to as "Urim and Thummim") to translate the Book of Mormon. (Click here for full article)

A collection of articles responding to criticisms related to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. (Click here for full article)


  1. Interview of Emma Smith by her son Joseph Smith III, "Interview with Joseph Smith III, 1879," Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:541–542.
  2. Interview of Emma Smith by her son Joseph Smith III, "Interview with Joseph Smith III, 1879," in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:539.

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