The Book of Mormon
SMITH, JOSEPH. The Book of Mormon. An account written by the Hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the Plates of Nephi…by Joseph Smith Junior, Author and Proprietor
Palmyra, New York: Printed by E. B. Grandin, for the Author, 1830
Original calf, black leather label, edges sprinkled blue. Head of spine worn, some rubbing. Minor spotting and staining. An excellent, tight, and unrestored copy.
First edition of The Book of Mormon, the most important original book in the history of American religion. This book was published just two weeks before the formal founding of the Church of Latter-Day Saints on April 6, 1830.
The Book of Mormon is said to be Joseph Smith’s translation of the golden tablets revealed to him by the angel Moroni in the hill of “cumorah” near Manchester, New York. Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery, who served as his scribe, and the manuscript was “delivered a few pages at a time to the typesetter, who supplied all the punctuation and paragraphing” (Crawley and Flake). At first E. B. Grandin declined to publish the work, but he undertook the project when Smith’s early follower Martin Harris mortgaged his farm to provide the required $3000 security. Negative publicity caused Grandin to suspend the printing project until Smith received a revelation for Harris, that he should “not covet” his property “but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon which contains the truth and the word of God. … Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer.” Harris himself tried to sell copies but complained that “no Body wants them.” His farm was sold and the proceeds were paid to the printer.
Only in this first edition is Joseph Smith identified on the title-page as the author; in later editions he is described as the translator. The Church catalogue notes that this edition is unique in forbidding freemasonry and polygamy to Mormons; later editions omitted these prohibitions.
The Book of Mormon has become one of the most influential American books every published. It serves as the fundamental text for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the fastest growing religion in America, with more than 11 million members worldwide.
The Book of Mormon is very scarce in this excellent original condition, complete with the leaf of testimonies of the eleven witnesses to the golden tablets, and with only a small degree of the foxing which plagues almost all copies of the first edition.
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” – Joseph Smith.
Grolier 100 American Books 37. Crawley & Flake 1.