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More scripture releases

Today I’m releasing version 2.0 of Words of the Prophets: Selected Sermons from the Book of Mormon and the plates edition of the Book of Mormon, both now using the licensed text. (And the plates edition is also available in Kindle format for the first time.)

I’m also releasing the Book of Mormon study edition in 14 new languages: Afrikaans, Cebuano, Danish, Dutch, Hmong, Hungarian, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Book of Mormon study edition 2.0

I’m pleased to announce version 2.0 of my Book of Mormon study edition.

study-edition-eng-bofm-00.jpg

This version now uses the licensed text of the scriptures from the Church, which means I’m finally able to make editions in other languages. To start out, we’ve got French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and of course Spanish.

study-edition-spa-bofm-02.png

To make it easier to create versions of the study edition in other languages, I started over from scratch, using a set of Python scripts to pull the text from the files the Church sent me, then generate a LaTeX document that gets turned into the PDF. It’s a really nice workflow.

study-edition-eng-bofm-01.png

Over the next month or so I’ll be revising several of my other scriptures projects (reader’s edition, Words of the Prophets, etc.) to use the licensed text, with a similar Python-based workflow to make updates easier.

Also, if you’re interested in a study edition in a new language, let me know.

Old and New Testaments in JSON

Scriptures in JSON

The JSON versions of the Old and New Testaments are now available.

Also, I’ve compared all five standard works against the text on LDS.org and have fixed dozens of typos, a list of which you can see in the README changelog. (I had mistakenly assumed that my source text had been corrected, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.) None of the typos were doctrinal in nature — they’re all minor typographical fixes — but I recommend updating nonetheless.

Book of Mormon in JSON

Scriptures in JSON

I’ve released a JSON version of the Book of Mormon. Also available on GitHub.

Note: there’s an existing JSON version at the Mormon Documentation Project, but it has some unnecessary content (database IDs, duplicate info, etc.) and isn’t structured hierarchically. I did however use the MDP SQLite file to extract the text for this, then added additional content (title page, the book/chapter headings that were in the original text, testimonies) and made the changes from the 2013 edition.

Anyway, enjoy. I plan to do the same thing with the other volumes in the standard works. I’m also planning an expanded version of the Book of Mormon with extra metadata (people and places mentioned in each verse, author of the verse, etc.).

Scriptures in Word

At someone’s request, I recently put together Microsoft Word editions of the LDS standard works, for use as study aids. (The person who requested it is using Word to highlight, annotate, and add footnotes/endnotes.) Verse numbers are included.

Process (for the curious)

I downloaded an SQLite version of the scriptures and wrote a Python script to extract the text in the right order, with markers for the headings. I then copied and pasted the whole thing into Word.

In Word, I did some wildcard-based find-and-replacing to remove the heading markers and apply the appropriate styles, and then I added a hanging indent so the verse numbers are less obtrusive.

Book of Mormon reader’s edition WIP

I’m currently retypesetting the print edition of my Book of Mormon reader’s edition. The 2006 edition was one of the first books I ever typeset, and my skills then were, well, limited. (Because now they are unlimited. I jest.)

Here’s a glimpse at 3 Nephi 5 (which is normally 3 Nephi 11, but in this edition I use the chapter breaks from the first edition of the Book of Mormon):

bom-retypeset.png

I’m using Arno 11/14 for the body text, and the paperback will be available at cost via CreateSpace. The good news with the move to CreateSpace is that the book will only cost around $9 instead of the $18 it is at Lulu. (And I should add that I make no profit on these, nor do I want to.)

I will also be typesetting a matching, combined reader’s edition of the D&C and Pearl of Great Price. And after that, I’ll be doing a study edition of the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, as a companion piece to the Book of Mormon study edition.

On mental frames and faith

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about mental frames, ever since reading Greg Hamblin’s post about John Dehlin. The more I study about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, the more clearly I see that there’s persuasive evidence on both sides, each convincing enough that evidential analysis alone results in a draw. It thus becomes a matter of faith: I must make a decision, entering a mental frame of either belief or doubt.

If I choose doubt, I decide that the positive evidences must be wrong or misinterpreted; if I choose belief, I decide that the negative evidences must be likewise wrong or misinterpreted.

I hope it’s obvious that I’ve chosen belief. There are many things I don’t understand about church history or the gospel, but I’ve chosen to believe, and so the positive evidences — the goodness I see in the doctrines of the Church and the lives of its members, the brilliant testimony of Christ in the Book of Mormon, the way I feel when I try to follow the Mormon path to discipleship — now outweigh and overwhelm the negative evidences. When I occasionally come across those negative evidences, I remind myself that I’ve made the choice to believe, and the confusing darkness then fades away and I can see clearly again.

I know that it’s not this way for everyone, and that choosing belief often comes hard. Life is messy. But while there are many grey areas and complicating factors, some things do in fact have simple yes/no answers. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, or he was not. He may or may not have acted the way we expect a prophet of God to act, but that doesn’t change the truth that it has to be one or the other. Joseph cannot be a prophet of God while not being a prophet of God at the same time.

Same with the Book of Mormon — either it’s of God and is what it says it is, or it’s not. Historical/literary/anthropological/etc. evidence on either side can’t change that.

And so I continue to believe, partly because I’ve felt the Spirit tell me in my bones that this is real and good and true, partly because I can easily see the good fruits of the gospel, and partly because belief is the path I’ve chosen to commit to.