LDS Church buys printer's manuscript of Book of Mormon for record $35 million

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  • rdean92 Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 25, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    @portlander - Arlington, WA

    Oh you mean like when the Lord of Hosts warned the leaders about Mark Hofmann? Did he not worry about those optics (which still seems to sting now many years later).?

    I am afraid it doesn't work that way.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    Sept. 23, 2017 8:32 a.m.

    The Savior made a great point about costly oil the apostles felt a woman had wasted on his feet.

    We don't always have the Savior with us. To serve His purpose, it's fine to put more effort, work, and what we have into it. But we have the poor with us always.

    The fact is, this money was used well. We still serve those in need when the time comes, so is it money wasted? No. It's money well used. This will bring hope, instill a sense of history, and do much more for people. It will do good. It will only do good.

    If you aren't sure it will, then rather than speak a doubtful or insensitive word to those who do believe, try focusing on what good you believe you personally can do for the world. If we're all focused on what good we can do, then no one would ever be in need. If we're focused on the problem's we think we see on other people's doorsteps, then we're actually creating more problems than solving them.

    This is wonderful news for so many people!

  • kvn Greenwood, MO
    Sept. 22, 2017 10:24 a.m.

    As a former member of C of C, I saw first hand the dilution of restoration beliefs of that Church. It was a sad thing to go through for all concerned on all sides of the doctrinal spectrum through the decades of the 60's 70's and 80's. Happy the LDS church has the ability to give the manuscript and other sacred sites the respect and preservation they deserve. Sad to see family and friends of the C of C lose these sacred items and I know some still hold them dear as memories to their faith. Remember seeing the printer's manuscript for the first time as a teenager at the Auditorium in Independence, and realizing, at that moment at least for me, the Book of Mormon was a real honest to goodness thing to be revered. It made all the stories of it's publication be true. I could look at it and see the hand-writing on its pages. Deity had moved among us and reached down once again and seemingly said "you are not in this alone. I am here". C of C needs to raise capital rather quickly and is looking at ways to do that, and wish them well in that endeavor. But C of C also knows there is no better place than the LDS Church for these sacred items, sites to go, for the honor they deserve.

  • Dan Smith , AZ
    Sept. 22, 2017 8:30 a.m.


    "So you don't think God cares about the accuracy or correct interpretation of the scriptures?"

    I have NO idea where this came from. I didn't say anything about this. Owning a manuscript from ages past for the price that was paid for a book already translated and in print means nothing to God.

    As far as the accuracy or correct interpretation of the scriptures, that's is up to God, not us puny man. The Book of Mormon already addresses the weaknesses of men in writing it. "If there are faults, they are the faults of men." If you want the accuracy of the book and the correct interpretation, Nephi gives a great example of how to do that. Go and ask God about it. We ought not to be like Laman and Lemual who declared "God makes no such things known unto us."

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Sept. 21, 2017 11:19 p.m.

    On Saturday, May 5, 2012, my beloved wife (SillyGoose), when she was reading a story in "the Deseret News" (1850 - ) about how our Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1830 - )) was purchasing a number of historical sites (incluiding the village of Haun's Mill (Caldwell, Missouri)) from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Community of Christ) (1860 - ), made a prediction about the future. She had made an inspired prediction a number of years ago when she said of the Kirtland Temple (in the city of Kirtland (Lake, Ohio) that was purchased by the prophet Joseph Smith III (1832 - 1914) on behalf of the RLDS (CoC) Church in 1862) that "that Temple will be the last thing that they sell to us".
    My beloved wife who is much more in tuned with the Holy Spirit (the Holy Ghost) than I could ever be, will end up being very much correct on this prediction.

    Luke 2: 1 - 52 (22 - 38, 36 - 38)
    Acts 21: 1 - 40 (1 - 16, 8 - 14, 9)

    JST Luke 2: 1 - 52 (22 - 38, 36 - 38)
    JST Acts 21: 1 - 40 (1 - 16, 8 - 14, 9)

    My our Heavenly Father even Jehovah God (Yahweh Elohim) always truly bless those women, including my beloved wife, who make bold predictions.

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:44 p.m.

    @Dan Smith

    "I don't think God cares about the printers manuscript at all. Hefty price for something God doesn't care about."

    So you don't think God cares about the accuracy or correct interpretation of the scriptures?

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:53 p.m.


    Oops. You're right. A reproduction of the printer's manuscript was indeed part of the Joseph Smith Papers. In fact, I spent a few hours browsing through it.

  • jalapenochomper albuquerque, NM
    Sept. 21, 2017 8:22 p.m.

    Perhaps someone faster on their spreadsheet formulas than myself can calculate the compounded rate of return on $2500 over 114 years. I am going to guess it a solid profit but hardly record-breaking.
    Some have rolled their eyes that there were other buyers interested at this high price. I do not find that too hard to believe. The document was owned by private collectors until 1903 and I see the wisdom of ensuring proper preservation and availability for scholars and historians. Allowing it to go back to private hands risks loss of use for all - someone up on a mountain bank would hang it in their library as a trophy.

    Thank you to the donors for very selfless sacrifices. They are apparently willing to be unknown for their gift and have parted, likely without earthly gain, with an amount that is a large sum of money for anyone.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Sept. 21, 2017 5:22 p.m.

    Steve C. Warren said "However, I don't really understand why donor funds were used."

    That is Exactly why donor funds were used--
    --so that LDS detractors could not hammer on the Church for using their money-- or using tithing money-- for such a large expenditure.

    Now that point isn't even a consideration.

    Wealthy people use their money how they want --and if they want to use their money to donate for this purchase instead of other things, people will have to take it up with them-- not scold the Church.

  • Mom of ten SANBORNTON, NH
    Sept. 21, 2017 4:39 p.m.

    After reading all of these comments, I have come to the conclusion that some people would complain if the church used tithing to buy this manuscript; others if money was spent given by private donors. Some say it should not have been purchased at all. My question is, why do people think they have the right to judge. It was not their money...( the donors seemed to think it was ok) and who is to say what charity they do donate to besides this. I live in a modest home, but I could have lived in a shack and given money to people poorer than me. I believe this fits most of us. The LDS Church gives millions to relieve suffering. I give I0% of my income in this endivor, do you who criticized the LDS church? Most people choose to go out to eat instead of donating that amount to soup kitchens, add on or buy nice houses instead of giving the money to the homeless. The LDS has a right to use their funds at their digression without asking anyone. Some people are just hypocritical.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Sept. 21, 2017 2:58 p.m.

    Oh the good that could be done if money like this, money used to buy temples and chapels, and the literally millions of man hours spent knocking on doors and sitting through repetitious meetings could instead be used for the material needs of so many million in dire need throughout the world.

  • HappyDad Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 1:42 p.m.

    @KellyWSmith, thanks for sharing your thoughts and convictions. You gave me a much-needed boost today.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Sept. 21, 2017 1:08 p.m.

    They didn't mention the price, the CoC did. The LDS church announcement makes no mention of the price. Can't really fault them for what the CoC does.

    As was mentioned in the article, the LDS chruch made a digital copy of this manuscript available in 2015. The news is that the LDS Church now owns it, not that it has access to it

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    Sept. 21, 2017 1:04 p.m.

    So many commenters need to go back and reread the the article. The C of C made the original release of the story, including the price that was paid. Not the LDS Church. The funds came from generous donations (meaning private) of members and maybe others for philanthropic reasons. The manuscript has already been published, as is, by the "church", with help and blessings from the C of C. So there is zero chance of any surprises in the text.

    I also find it interesting that mere mortals are more worried over so-called "optics" that the Lord of Hosts would not have already considered or foreseen.

  • justmesal MOUNTAIN VIEW, WY
    Sept. 21, 2017 12:37 p.m.

    I have enjoyed your comments but wanted to clarify something you said. In Independence there were originally 60+ acres the Church bought for the Temple and New Jerusalem. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently owns about 20 acres. Community of Christ does have a Temple but it is not on THE Temple Lot. Their Temple is on part of the 60+ acres, as is their auditorium on another part of the land, just as we have the Missouri Independence Mission office, a Stake Center, and the Independence Visitor Center on part of the Original 60+ acres. THE TEMPLE LOT that Joseph Smith placed corner stones on and dedicated for the Temple of the New Jerusalem is on a lot across the street from the Community Christ Temple and kitty corner from the LDS Independence Visitor Center. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) (Also known as the "Hedrickites") own the Temple Lot property and there is a small church building in the corner of the lot. They have the original stones in a museum in the church building and have cement plaques on the lot marking the S.E. corner and others. There is also a large plaque explaining the Temple lot and markers. It is a beautiful lot.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 11:47 a.m.


    "Is this why the donation slip has a disclaimer saying you'r funds will be distributed as the church sees fit?"


  • ThinksIThink Seattle, WA
    Sept. 21, 2017 11:34 a.m.

    What if when they publish this manuscript, it turned out that it didn’t match up with the current book of Mormon? Yikes!

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:59 a.m.

    One of the messages of the Book of Mormon is that history is important, a people who loose their history don't know who they are. Good news that the Church is buying items and properties that are relevant to our history. The Community of Christ is becoming less Mormon so they are willing to sell things that tie them to their Mormon past. I would certainly be willing to contribute to a fund that would be used to buy property in the Kirtland and Nauvoo areas.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    I think this was a huge waste of money.

    But at least it isnt my money.

    I believe there is a proverb which fits this well. A something and his money will soon something...I cant remember.

  • ResidentUtah Draper, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:47 a.m.

    I don't understand this. My feeling is they shouldn't have published the amount paid, especially in the wake of all the disasters happening! It makes the church look worldly, interested in paper documents, that they would drop a record breaking amount, while people are dead, starving, and homeless from the disasters. This should have been handled by announcing they had "acquired" the manuscripts via an undisclosed agreement, and how they're looking forward to publishing this sacred record for the benefit of the world to view a keystone part of the church's history.
    I know the church generously funds relief efforts, and this purchase was strictly from private donors, but the announcement alone, appears to be an extremely exorbitant, unnecessarily publicized, decision.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:27 a.m.

    @Steven Warren: The printer's manuscript has already been published by the LDS Church. It was published in 2015 in rhe Joseph Smith Papers series.

    BTW the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple was also made possible by generous donations, according to Pres. Hinckley.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    "Donors provided all of the money for the purchase made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    Is this why the donation slip has a disclaimer saying you'r funds will be distributed as the church sees fit?

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:04 a.m.

    We live in an age when people look at that number and will be shocked. They will wonder why it wasn't spent on the poor or needy.

    They may wonder if this is the result of possibly out of touch old men running the church.

    For perspective on the figure, you could buy 99 of these with the money spent on City Creek Mall.

    I have no stake in this, so this isn't a negative comment, but the optics may not be the best. I wonder if this was considered.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 10:01 a.m.


    I'm glad that people donated to buy this. All I'm saying is that if they hadn't, I'd have been perfectly happy for the Church to buy it with other funds--including tithing funds or from revenues generated from church properties and businesses. Tithing funds go to education; I see this purchase as falling into that category.

    I'd have been disappointed if the Church had lost out on the chance to purchase this because donor funds hadn't been forthcoming. That would have constituted another mistake--the first one being the failure to purchase the printer's manuscript for $2,500 in 1903 when it was offered to us.

  • Dan Smith , AZ
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:29 a.m.

    Curious purchase considering Doctrine & Covenants Section 117 verses 1 through 9:

    vs 4: "Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me, saith the Lord; for what is property unto me? saith the Lord."

    I don't think God cares about the printers manuscript at all. Hefty price for something God doesn't care about.

  • Mar4k Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:26 a.m.

    The price tag isn't surprising at all, it's in line with other early Books of Mormon.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    The LDS Church needs someone like James Donovan to negotiate. For $35 million, we could have had the Kirkland Temple and CofC Nauvoo properties to boot.

    *Donovan is the Bridge of Spies lawyer who always got far more out of a deal than what was offered

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:23 a.m.

    I'm sure they've considered selling the Kirtland Temple, but at least that produces some revenue to offset maintenance costs...this manuscript didn't add to the bottom line at all. Watch for future purchases, it's clear the LDS Church has the resources and additional donors to buy everything they'll sell...

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    Continued from previous comment:
    One more quote about the Book of Mormon from the Community of Christ website:

    "With other Christians, we affirm the Bible as the foundational scripture for the church. In addition, Community of Christ uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture."

    And this is about all I can find on their website on the B of M.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Sept. 21, 2017 9:01 a.m.

    I believe the C of C said belief in the B of M by their members was "optional." Their website has little about the First Vision or Book of Mormon. (To be fair, the B o M is prominently discussed on mormon dot org and the First Vision is detailed there too, but hard to find.)
    From the C of C website:
    "His story began as a teenage boy kneeling in the woods in upstate New York, praying for answers to religious questions that had divided his family and neighbors. The guidance he received in the grove began a life-long journey with God that brought both exhilarating joy and heartache to Joseph and his family.
    Joseph’s personal experience with God did not end when he left the grove that spring day. He continued to have significant spiritual experiences, one of which led to the Book of Mormon. This new book of scripture shared a story of Christ’s ministry with people of the Americas.

    In the early nineteenth century, many Methodists, Shakers, and others reported God’s prophetic voice speaking through them. Our unique contribution was to write down our revelations and canonize them as scripture. "


  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Sept. 21, 2017 8:44 a.m.

    I have to admit, it bothered me that I had to pay an entrance fee to see the Kirtland Temple. But I know that it takes money to maintain and the CoC is doing what they can. I sincerely hope that some day it can be owned or operated by the LDS church.

    I'm unsure if the tour guides at Kirtland were CoC members or if they were just employees but while they seemed to respect the historical aspects of the Temple it just seemed like... I guess like I was touring a a historical landmark rather than a religious one. Everything seemed very well cared for though and the staff seemed knowledgeable.

  • Glen Danielsen Yorba Linda, CA
    Sept. 21, 2017 8:41 a.m.

    The Community of Christ Church made a stunning killing on the deal. Maybe they will donate some of that lucre to disaster relief?

  • taatmk West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 8:14 a.m.

    Hoping that the Kirtland Temple is the next purchase.....

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Sept. 21, 2017 7:40 a.m.

    @Steven C. Warren.
    It matters to someone that the manuscript was bought with donor funds and not tithing funds. One could easily make the argument that using $35 million in tithing funds to purchase the original printer's manuscript may not be the best use of those sacred funds.

    But, I imagine that there are a number of donors willing to fund purchases like this for the Church if there is the opportunity to do so. In essence, the manuscript was purchased by private individuals and then gifted to the Church. And it is appropriate for the Church to gratefully accept a gift of such historic significance.

  • Max Upstate, NY
    Sept. 21, 2017 6:34 a.m.

    I keep hoping for the day that they will sell the Kirtland Temple and properties in Nauvoo. The RLDS church has become more and more like one of many protestant religions as they have distanced themselves from the Book of Mormon and changed their name to the Community of Christ. Surely they would rather have the money the LDS church would pay for these properties. I think this will eventually happen as I don't think this heritage means all that much to them anymore. It means everything to the LDS.

  • ute alumni Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2017 6:15 a.m.

    Thanks to the generous donors

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Sept. 21, 2017 6:12 a.m.

    @Henry Drummond
    It's steep but I'm not surprised. My understanding was that the LDS church essentially said, "we want to buy this, how much do you want?" I think there are several other historical artifacts with essentially the same standing offer.

    I've found the same, many YW and YM groups do trips to Kirtland during the summer here (only about a 3 hour drive) and hold events/services in the Kirtland Temple. I also found the tour guides at CoC owned properties add in extra details if there are LDS people on the tour relevant to our interests.

  • LJohnson Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 21, 2017 12:01 a.m.

    35 Million $$. That's a lot of money!! .. there were 'many potential buyers'? How many actual buyers was the lds church bidding against?? Seems not too many can afford a price tag that big. Who else cares enough to buy the manuscript for such a ginormous amount?? Cricket cricket. Anyone?? Anyone?

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 11:35 p.m.

    I'm happy that the Church owns this now and look forward to its publication.

    However, I don't really understand why donor funds were used. Sure, it's nice that certain people donated for this (nobody asked me), but if people have an extra $35 million they want to donate to something, why not just donate to fast offering, education, humanitarian, etc., funds and let the Church buy the thing outright? In other words, if no one had donated a cent, I still would have wanted the Church to buy this.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Sept. 20, 2017 10:06 p.m.

    This is really exciting as it will be better protected and preserved. I've read the Book of Mormon every day for over 31 years missing only 55 days and love that wonderful book.

    This book was written for You. It was written for the world to prepare them for the 2nd coming. It was written for the millennium and is the most important book on earth.

    It's important to preserve every part of it, the translation and manuscripts as someday when the rest of the sealed portion comes forth revealing the entire history of the earth, from creation to celestialization, will show God's hand in all things!

    This is worth every dollar paid for it!

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 20, 2017 10:04 p.m.

    Ok, here's a partial list of what's left-the Kirtland Temple, the Joseph Smith properties in Nauvoo, part of the temple lot in Independence (that may take a while since they have a temple there), a couple of other properties in Kirtland...

    I suspect that Community of Christ is fine with putting some distance between their current church and the Book of Mormon.

    In numerous visits to Nauvoo and Kirtland, our LDS groups have been treated very well. I wish them the best.

  • Boyd in Provo , 00
    Sept. 20, 2017 9:58 p.m.

    I am happy to see the transfer of ownership of this sacred manuscript to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. With the facilities the church has in place to preserve documents like these and then to make them available to everyone who has an interest of our churches history will be a benefit to many. I'm glad those with financial means stepped forward and made this possible by their donations. I am grateful for all the efforts to get this done.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 20, 2017 9:43 p.m.

    This will really help the Comunity of Christ who have had financial difficulties. I am surprised at the price tag though.

  • Johnny Moser Thayne, WY
    Sept. 20, 2017 9:34 p.m.

    I would love to hear the story of how the LDS missed buying it in 1903. Can't imagine the LDS wouldn't have paid as much for it as the former ReOrgs did. Maybe a follow-up story for how they ended up with it in the first place is in order.