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Book of Mormon study edition: Lulu

Just a quick note: I’ve finished retypesetting the study edition of the Book of Mormon, and you can now get it on Lulu for $20.45 plus shipping (at cost with one penny profit to make it trackable). The PDF—which is 448 pages now, down from the original 538—is also available for free download.

Disclaimer: I haven’t ordered one myself, so it’s possible that something may be wonky. (Explanation of disclaimer: I don’t quite trust Lulu’s system for uploading and printing covers. It’s possible that the text on the cover might not be quite centered. But the body of the book should be just fine.)

Book of Mormon study edition

Book of Mormon: Study Edition

It’s taken me two years to stop procrastinating this project, but I’m pleased to (finally) announce that my study edition of the Book of Mormon is done and available for free download as PDF.

The goal with this edition was to make something you can print out and write on, with large outside margins and somewhat generous line spacing so there’s plenty of room for notes. I’ve also pulled the verse numbers out to the side and faded them out a little so they’re less distracting.

I originally planned to release a Lulu edition as well, but it’s a bit of a hassle, so I’m just releasing the PDF. If someone wants to put this up on Lulu, though, they’re welcome to. (By “Lulu edition,” I mean a print-on-demand, bound copy you can order online, rather than printing the PDF out yourself or at a copy shop.)

Update: I’ve decided to do a Lulu edition after all. It’s going to take some retypesetting to get the book to fit within Lulu’s coil-binding page limit, but I’ll post again when it’s ready.

Also, I’ve decided I don’t care about (typographic) widows or orphans. Maybe I should, but they don’t bother me when reading, and the aesthetic benefit gained by removing them is minimal at best (to my eye). So yes, this PDF is a orphanage. And I’m okay with that.

Book of Mormon word frequency charts

Because I’m a language nerd who loves the Book of Mormon, I’ve put together a few charts showing the top 400 words by frequency in the Book of Mormon in Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

(There are two pages, which is why you only see 150 words here.)

Methodology

For each language I downloaded the text from scriptures.lds.org and removed the HTML tags, then ran a modified version of my friend Chad’s text cleaner script to get a sorted list of the words by frequency (lowercased so I wouldn’t get duplicate words). I then recapitalized the words (proper names for all four languages, and with German I also capitalized the nouns as they’re used in the text) and put it all into InDesign.

My rule of thumb was that I want this to show the words as they appear in the text, so I haven’t consolidated variant forms, and in French I’ve kept the elided articles separate. Basically, if you want to read the Book of Mormon in any of these languages, these lists will show you what words appear and the forms they appear in.

I’m passingly familiar with these languages but I’m nowhere near fluent, so if any of you happen to spot errors, let me know.

Book of Mormon study edition preview

Update: I’ve finished and released this. Sorry it took so long.

This isn’t done yet, but it’s coming along nicely:

It’s a study edition of the Book of Mormon, with extra large outside margins and more line spacing so there’s plenty of room for taking notes. I’ve also moved the verse numbers out of the way so the text stands on its own.

When I finish it, I’ll release a free PDF on here as usual and make a paperback perfect bound hard copy available on Lulu at cost. (It’ll probably be around $20 plus shipping. I asked my local copy shop how much it’d cost to print and bind this — around 580 pages — and they said $60 for the printing costs alone, so it looks like Lulu is going to be much, much cheaper.)

Humble and faithful

Recently I was reading Daniel C. Peterson’s article A Response: What the Manuscripts and the Eyewitnesses Tell Us about the Translation of the Book of Mormon and came across this interesting tidbit:

David Whitmer repeatedly insisted that the translation process occurred in full view of Joseph Smith’s family and associates. (The common image of a curtain hanging between the Prophet and his scribes, sometimes seen in illustrations of the story of the Book of Mormon, is based on a misunderstanding. There was indeed a curtain, at least in the latter stages of the translation process. However, that curtain was suspended not between the translator and his scribe but near the front door of the Peter Whitmer home, in order to prevent idle passersby and gawkers from interfering with the work.)

This was the first I’d heard that the curtain wasn’t between Joseph and scribe. Makes me realize just how little I know about Church history. (Which is one of the reasons we’re doing the Mormon Texts Project.)

Beyond that, the article has two other anecdotes I found fascinating. First, from David Whitmer:

He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed the right feelings towards every one. To illustrate, so you can see. One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went up stairs, and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation, but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went down stairs, out into the orchard and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour—came back to the house, asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came up stairs where we were and the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful.

I can relate — if I get put out about anything, bam, the Spirit’s gone. (Also, now that I’m twenty-eight, it’s dawning on me just how young Joseph was when he was translating the Book of Mormon. Wow.)

The second is from Martin Harris via Edward Stevenson:

By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, “Written,” and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used. Martin said, after continued translation they would become weary, and would go down to the river and exercise by throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion, Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labor of translation, Martin put in place the stone that he had found. He said that the Prophet remained silent, unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no traces of the usual sentences appearing. Much surprised, Joseph exclaimed, “Martin! What is the matter? All is as dark as Egypt!” Martin’s countenance betrayed him, and the Prophet asked Martin why he had done so. Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them, etc.

Book of Mormon: Plates Edition

A week or two ago I was reading the Book of Mormon with my wife and noticed the part at the beginning where it talks about which books were part of the small plates of Nephi and which were part of the large plates. I don’t normally think of the Book of Mormon broken up that way — usually, I just think of it as a flat list of books — but the idea intrigued me.

The result: The Book of Mormon: Plates Edition, an experimental edition now available in ePub.

What’s different? Just the divisions between books and chapters. Beyond the main small/large plates grouping, I’ve made new books to indicate where the record changes (for example, the Book of Omni actually has several different authors, and I’ve broken it up so they each have their own record; I’ve also pulled the record of Zeniff out of Mosiah into its own book) and made the authors’ lineages more clear in the table of contents. The words themselves haven’t changed, nor has the order of the text.

So yes, it’s different and even a little weird. Keep in mind that this isn’t by any means meant to supplant the standard edition — it’s just another way of looking at the Book of Mormon. Enjoy.