Which Book of Mormon?

The flurry of posts at T&S and elsewhere around the Bloggernacle is a reminder that 2012 is Book of Mormon year in Gospel Doctrine class. Which Book of Mormon are you going to read?

I was re-reading the 12 Questions responses by Grant Hardy on his recent book Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide [which followed his earlier The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition] and came across this comment:

I was pleased by Rosalynde Welch’s observation that the Reader’s Edition is the more important of the two books. I agree. The particular arguments in Understanding will always be subject to debate and revision, but the Reader’s Edition could be a starting point for a new generation of Book of Mormon scholarship.

Responding to a later question, Hardy was even more emphatic: “If you read through the Reader’s Edition, from beginning to end, I guarantee that you too will see things that you have never noticed before.” Since I’ve got a copy of the Reader’s Edition on my shelf, I guess I’ll take the challenge and see whether paragraphing, headings, and helpful footnotes really make a difference.

But there are plenty of other options. There is Signature’s Reader’s Book of Mormon, 7 pocket-size volumes with short introductory essays, very handy to haul around in a backpack or glove compartment. If you’re feeling textual and scholarly, there’s Skousen’s imposing The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. If, like me, you feel a little squeamish about putting highlights and notes in your leather-bound Sunday scriptures, you can get a simple blue-cover LDS edition and mark it up to your heart’s content. Then there are online editions. I’ve got Gospel Library (the LDS app) on my iPad and of course there are the LDS scriptures at LDS.org and the terribly useful word search tool.

So which Book of Mormon are you going to read this year? What other references, tools, or apps have you found helpful when reading?

18 comments for “Which Book of Mormon?

  1. I’m reading it in Spanish, since my wife and I purchased all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone for Christmas. We figure it’s important to know.

  2. I’ve finally cracked open Grant Hardy’s Readers Edition. That’ll be my at-home study version. At church, I’ll probably just read off of an iApple device.

  3. I know this sounds snarky, and it kind of is, but I’ll be going through the hassle of using the Revised Authorized Version of the Book of Mormon. There’s a few helpful aspects to the RAV: though the chapters and verses are completely different (making it difficult to find specific passages by reference) this helps keep things feeling “new” and while there’s tons more verses, the chapters themselves represent the original chapter breaks of the old versions of Joseph Smith’s day, there are quotation marks that attempt to help you identify when someone is speaking aloud, and some of the KJVisms are modernized in a fashion similar to that of the NKJV Bible.

    Plus it helps to illustrate that there *are* other traditions out there that respect and use the Book of Mormon besides the LDS Church. Sometimes a bit of ecumenicism among the cousins of the Latter Day Saint movement is nice.

  4. I read Hardy’s Reader’s Edition (along with his Reader’s Guide) last year and was very impressed with both. Changing the format and identifying the large structures in the narrative (along with Hardy’s analysis of Nephi’s, Mormon’s, and Moroni’s editorial skills) was really enlightening. This year, I’ll be using Skousen’s The Earliest Text, which in a lot of ways is designed to have the opposite effect on the reader than Hardy’s work, since it’s format encourages close attention to individual words and sentence structure.

    For anyone interested, Hardy reviewed the Signature 7-volume BoM (based on the 1830 edition) and Maffly-Kipp’s Penguin version (based on the 1840 edition) for FARMS. Fascinating read. http://maxwellinstitute.com/publications/review/?vol=21&num=2&id=775

  5. Thanks for the link, David G. I found Hardy’s review while researching this post, but I was short on time. It is interesting how unofficial publications of the Book of Mormon, lacking access to the copyrighted 1981 text, have to decide which of the earlier texts to use — 1830, 1840, 1921, etc. But I did read the first volume of the Signature set and enjoyed both the essay and the 1830 text.

  6. I like to print out the reading each Sunday so I can write my notes directly on the paper (I teach GD). I tried today to print chapters 1-7 from lds.org, and only the first page of each chapter would print; the whole thing wouldn’t print, which was really annoying. So I printed out the whole of 1 Nephi from a file at Project Gutenberg, and I’ll be using that as my teaching platform. I’m also referring to Julie’s notes and Brant Gardner’s Second Witness commentary.

    When I’m just reading the BoM, I use Grant’s Reader’s Edition.

  7. Kevin,

    An alternative source for printing scripture excerpts–particularly helpful when teaching Gospel Doctrine class–is to use the .pdf versions of the LDS Edition of the Triple Combination that is still available from the “classic” version of lds.org at the following link:


    By setting “Page Scaling” to “None,” and printing selected pages on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, the printed version will have approximately two inch margins all around the pages that most class members will have in front of them (including page numbers, footnotes, etc.)–leaving plenty of room to write notes.

    (The LDS Edition of the KJV, including study aids, etc., and selected other materials are also available in .pdf format, indexed at: http://lds.org/gospellibrary/pdfindex/0,7777,579-1,00.html )

  8. I am going through Hardy’s Readers Edition and am really enjoying it thus far. As I go through the various authors, I plan on revisiting Hardy’s narrative analysis that he offer in the Understanding book in order to help me flesh out he various concerns of each author.

  9. I’m excited about studying the Book of Mormon this year. Yesterday, I purchased a hardbound $7 copy (includes D&C, PGP). This versions inside margins are a little wider than the others.

    I also read about Michael D. Jensen’s, LDS Scriptures at LDS Media Talk. I downloaded it and have been trying it out. So far, it looks like a winner.

    I’m studying with a specific topic in mind this year, communicating with God.

  10. I am reading Royal Skousen’s The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. I love the sense lines and really enjoy the fact that it is the closest book as it fell from the Prophets mouth… and from God. Here is an example of how it reads:

    31 And after the angel had departed,
    Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying:
    How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands?
    Behold, he is a mighty man and he can command fifty.
    Yea, even he can slay fifty, then why not us?
    1 Nephi 4 | 1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying:
    Let us go up again unto Jerusalem,
    and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord.
    For behold, he is mightier than all the earth.
    Then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty?
    Yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
    2 Therefore let us go up.

  11. I’m noticing an interesting level of distinction among LDS that I didn’t know existed until I read this post. Which Book of Mormon are you?

    I was not even aware that there were varying “Books of Mormon” I could use for my gospel study. I hadn’t ever taken time to think which Book of Mormon I was going to read [except maybe the controversy over using the current LDS published version vs. the original 1830 edition] — I’d always just read and studied the Book of Mormon.


    2012 is Book of Mormon year in Gospel Doctrine class. Which Book of Mormon are you going to read? … What other references, tools, or apps have you found helpful when reading?

    I don’t attend Gospel Doctrine class — but is that what most people do? Read these commentaries about the Book of Mormon — figure out which “Book of Mormon” they are going to study — etc. and then discuss those things in class?

    I’ve never heard of Grant Hardy before — who is he and why do LDS talk about him in regards to their Sunday school study of the Book of Mormon? Is he a prophet or a revelator?

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