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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.

General Conference scripture references

At the request of one of my Twitter friends, I’ve thrown together a quick script to go through the conference transcripts (available as of today) and make a list of all the scriptures cited.

If a talk shows up more than once for a given passage, that’s because the talk cites that passage more than once.

Yes, scriptures.byu.edu does this, but it takes some time for new transcripts to get added to their index. This is a stopgap solution for the interim.

The code (a Python script) is available on GitHub as usual.

New 2013 edition of LDS scriptures

As many of you already know, yesterday morning the Church announced a new 2013 edition of the LDS scriptures. Nothing exceedingly groundbreaking — no new or changed doctrine, for example — but still exciting, at least to scripture nerds like me (especially since it’s been over thirty years since the last major edition came out).

First, some links:

Here’s a quick overview of the changes I found interesting (keep in mind that I’m a typesetting/editing geek and so most of what I find interesting is dreadfully dull to ordinary folk):

  • Standardized formatting on title pages across the standard works.
  • In the Book of Mormon, they’re now using roman text for anything that was on the original plates and italics for the extracanonical additions (like the chapter headings). It’s a small change, but it’s nice, since some people don’t realize that most of the book headings are part of the original and not a later addition.
  • Standardization of things like “house of Israel” and “firstborn” in the Book of Mormon.
  • “Rereward” in the Bible is now “rearward” (so hurray, it now no longer looks like “re-reward”).
  • The introduction of the Book of Mormon now says “a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas” (not “the ancient inhabitants”), to provide clarity and greater accuracy. Also, “they are the principal ancestors” is now “they are among the ancestors,” again for clarity and greater accuracy. Which is great.
  • There are a few new paragraphs in the D&C introduction adding interesting historical information.
  • The D&C 13 heading no longer mentions the banks of the Susquehanna River as being the site of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. That section heading explanations page has the details.
  • The first three verses of D&C 89 (the Word of Wisdom) are no longer attributed to Joseph Smith but are part of the revelation itself.
  • D&C 135 is no longer attributed to John Taylor.
  • The Harmony of the Gospels (in the study guide section) now uses a portrait layout instead of a landscape layout. Finally.
  • Larger typeface on the JST section at the back.
  • New JST entries and footnotes. I haven’t checked them out yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

The 2013 edition is already available at scriptures.lds.org and in Gospel Library, and the print edition will come out in August. And yes, of course I’ll be getting the print edition.

I’ve gotten some questions as to whether I’ll be updating my reader’s editions with these changes. You know, I haven’t decided — mostly because I’m not sure whether the changes are covered by copyright or not. The study guides are, of course, as are the chapter headings, but I don’t include those in my editions (mine are based on pre-1923 editions so that I’m positive it’s public domain). We’ll see.

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.)

Fractal scriptures

The more I read the scriptures, the more they reveal themselves to me. It’s almost like a fractal. From far out, it seems like there’s not that much detail, but the more you zoom into the fractal, the more you find. And there’s no limit to how far you can zoom in. Infinite beauty.

I’ve noticed, too, that when I’m not as diligent in reading and studying the scriptures, they seem to lose their color, becoming flat and boring and dry (at least in my mind). But as soon as I get back into them, they burst into vibrant color and three-dimensionality, vivid and electrifying enough to remind me that this earth is not my true home and that there’s a world even more real than this one waiting for me.

Put another way, the further I get from the scriptures, the darker and hazier things get, spiritually, but when I return to the word of God that I love so much, it’s like the world fills with light so piercing and clear that there’s no way I can deny that there is a God and that he’s full of love and joy and truth.

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.