Here are six stories about the translation of the Book of Mormon you may not be familiar with.
1. Emma Went With Joseph to Obtain the Plates
Joseph Smith was told by Moroni that he could not obtain the plates until he “brought the right person” with him to the Hill Cumorah. Just after Midnight on September 22, 1827, Lucy Smith was still awake finishing up the day’s chores when her son, Joseph Smith Jr., surprised her by coming from his bedroom. He went outside and hitched a horse to a wagon and prepared to leave the home. Lucy knew where Joseph was going, but to her surprise, Emma soon left the house and departed with Joseph. Whether Emma stayed in the wagon or ascended the hill with Joseph we don’t know. But what we do know is that Emma was the right person whom Joseph was required to bring with him. Together, as husband and wife, they returned home with the plates. They were now both ready to move forward with the work of the Restoration.
2. Mrs. Martin Harris Helped Fund the Book of Mormon
Yes! That Mrs. Martin Harris! According to Lucy Smith, one evening Mrs. Harris challenged Joseph and his story of the plates. Mrs. Harris concluded the conversation by saying, “Joseph, I will tell you that if I can get a witness that you speak the truth, I will believe all you say on the matter and I shall want to do something about the translation—I mean to help you in any way.” The next morning she related a dream in which Moroni appeared to her during the previous night and rebuked her for challenging Joseph’s story of the plates. He then showed her the plates saying, “Behold, here are the plates, look upon them and believe.” She described to Joseph what the plates looked like, confirming the truth of her vision. True to her word, Mrs. Martin Harris provided Joseph her inheritance of $28 to help with the work of translation.
3. Egbert Grandin Was Heaven Sent
Egbert Grandin, the printer who made 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon for Joseph Smith was the right printer, at the right time, in the right place. Joseph knew that a print job of 5,000 books was a huge task for that day. Not only did he need a printer who knew how to do it, but also one that had the equipment to perform such a task. A large printer was need for such a job. Joseph inquired of two printers in Rochester, NY but they both refused the job because they did not believe the story of the angel and Joseph’s discovery of the plates. Grandin had set up his shop in Palmyra which was located near the bank of the Erie Canal. It was on this canal that Grandin shipped a large printing press to his shop. Now a large enough printing press, with a knowledgeable printer was just a mere 1 mile from Joseph’s home.
4. Charles Anthon Tells What the Characters Really Were
In fulfillment of prophecy, Charles Anthon viewed a copy of some characters from the Book of Mormon plates and the translation of those characters. We know from Martin Harris that Charles Anthon authenticated the translation. But in a letter dated April 3, 1841, Professor Anthon stated, “The characters were arranged in columns, like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley that I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew and all sorts of letters, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac”. This would be consistent with Nephi’s statement in which said that his writing would consist of the “learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians”.
5. The Record Was Translated Fast…Really Fast
From the time the record was obtained in September 1827 until it was published to the world in March 1830, Joseph and Emma endured harassments from mobs, moved twice, attempted to farm, lost the first 116 pages of the translation, and buried a child. When Joseph and Oliver were able to focus solely on the translation work, it took about 80 days to translate the Book of Mormon. Joseph averaged an incredible six and a half pages a day! The King James Version of the Bible was translated into the English language by a committee of 47 translators who took 8 years to finish, which is about one half a page per day.
6. Emma Was So Honest
Emma loved Joseph. But years after his death, when being interviewed about the authentic y of the Book of Mormon, Emma could say noting but what she knew to be true. She said, “Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, he would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he could at once begin where he had left off. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.”