At a General Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in April, 1906, the following preamble and resolution were adopted:
“Whereas, There are several editions of the Book of Mormon extant, differing in divisions of chapters and paragraphs, thereby rendering it impossible to prepare concordance and works of reference, therefore,
“Resolved, That we recommend . . . the appointment of a committee . . . to investigate and prepare a uniform plan for the divisions of chapters and verses, and, if thought advisable, to prepare or adopt a system of references.”
Frederick M. Smith, Heman C. Smith, Richard S. Salyards, Francis M. Sheehy, Columbus Scott, Edmund L. Kelley, and Frederick B. Blair were appointed.
The committee appointed Frederick M. Smith, Heman C. Smith, and Richard S. Salyards as a sub-committee to do the work of reversification, etc., with instructions to use the large-type, Lamoni edition as a basis, to leave the chapters as in the original Palmyra edition.
The sub-committee completed the work of reversification, and in so doing made “all verses from the Book of Isaiah to correspond in their divisions” to the versification of the Inspired Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and indicated such matter by reference notes.
The general committee indorsed the work of the sub-committee. It concluded to broaden the scope of its work by making provision for comparison of the Lamoni edition with the Original Manuscript and the Kirtland edition. It adopted the following as instruction to the sub-committee for the completion of the work:
“Resolved, That it be the sense of this committee that in the publication of the new work we follow the corrections of the Book of Mormon so as to make the new work in accordance with the Original Manuscript and the Kirtland edition of the Book of Mormon, published by Pratt & Goodson, of 1837, that the work may be completed as corrected by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.”
The sub-committee were authorized to “examine proofs and corrections” according to the foregoing resolution; to proofread the matter as published; and to prepare a suitable index. They were also instructed to indicate by paragraph signs the divisions into paragraphs according to the Palmyra edition, and to hand over the work for publication.
The sub-committee carefully compared the Original Manuscript with the Kirtland and the large-type editions. One member of the committee read from the Manuscript, one followed the Kirtland edition, the other recorded all corrections in the large-type edition. The Manuscript is legible; there was little difficulty in reading it. They also referred to the Palmyra edition in the examination of the text. There is very little difference in the paragraphs in the Palmyra and the Kirtland editions.
The Preface to the Kirtland edition contains the following paragraph:
“Individuals acquainted with book printing, are aware of the numerous typographical errors which always occur in manuscript editions. It is only necessary to say, that the whole has been carefully re-examined and compared with the original manuscripts, by Elder Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the Book of Mormon, assisted by the present printer, Brother O. Cowdery, who formerly wrote the greatest portion of the same, as dictated by Brother Smith.”
The committee found errors, including omissions, in the Lamoni edition; also some matter in the Original Manuscript omitted in the Palmyra or the Kirtland edition, or in both those editions; such omissions evidently being overlooked in proofreading.
Where differences occurred between the Manuscript and the Kirtland edition, the committee were governed by the subject-matter of the context. There were no material differences in the sense of the text of the Manuscript and of the Kirtland edition.
Numerous minor changes were made, many of which have improved the subject-matter. Among the more important corrections we note the following:
Concerning the prohibition of polygamy; Book of Jacob, chapter 2: 6, 7: “I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts”; must, instead of might. 2: 45: “Behold ye have done greater iniquity than the Lamanites, our brethren.” Iniquity, singular form, specific; instead of iniquities in other editions. Ether 1:16: The Palmyra and Kirtland editions both read, “thy families,” referring to the Brother of Jared and the commandment to migrate. The manuscript reads, “thy family”; the singular instead of the plural form of the word. The text was made to read according to the Manuscript.
Samples of matter omitted in one or all early editions, included in this correct edition:
Book of Alma 4: 8: “there having been a city built which was called the city of Gideon.” 12: 5: “even as with the power and authority.” 15: 55: “yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable.” 16: 157: “And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith, for ye will say, I know that this is a good seed, for behold, it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.” 25: 59: “yea, they would not partake of wine.”
Book of Nephi 2: 32. “and the land which was between the land of Zarahemla.”
Samples of corrections:
1 Nephi 3: 219: The Palmyra and Kirtland editions read, “whose foundation is the devil”, the Manuscript reads “founder”; the text was made to conform to the Manuscript.
2 Nephi 12: 84: “White and a delightsome,” instead of “pure and a delightsome.”
Mosiah 11: 190: wading, instead of wandering.
Alma 3: 89: inherit, instead of “enter the kingdom.” 15: 27: “where they had pitched their tents,” instead of whence. 21: 108: “armies” should march, instead of servants.
III Nephi 1: 9: “build cities,” instead of “fill cities.”
Ammoron, for Ammaron, wherever given. (This does not refer to Amaron, Book of Omni.) Jeneum, instead of Joneam, Mormon 3: 15. Cumenihah, instead of Camenihah, wherever given.
Mosiah 9: 170: The Manuscript reads, “King Benjamin had a gift from God”; the Kirtland edition reads, “King Mosiah.” The text was made to read, “King Mosiah.”
The name Mosiah was inserted in brackets after the words King Benjamin in Book of Ether 1: 95, in harmony with the reading of the Book of Mosiah 9: 170.
The committee concluded that instead of providing marginal references, a concordance to the Book of Mormon should be provided.
FREDERICK M. SMITH, Chairman.
RICHARD S. SALYARDS, Secretary.
LAMONI, IOWA, July 17, 1908.