While on assignment from the LDS prophet Joseph Smith to visit Jerusalem in 1840, Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested opening a mission in Germany and translating the Book of Mormon into German. By April 1852, the new prophet, Brigham Young, had sent Daniel Carn to Germany to be the mission president and to help with the translation, and by May of the same year, Das Buch Mormon had been published. However, when East Germany was created and placed behind the “Iron Curtain,” matters grew worse for the Latter-day Saints. Because they were unable to print anything themselves, they relied on missionaries and members of the church in West Germany to smuggle copies of Das Buch Mormon into East Germany so they could have the scripture that was so central to their beliefs. Members still had to burn all manuals and church material that had been published after 1920 to avoid arrest, but since Das Buch Mormon had been published in 1852, the Saints were able to keep their copies of that scripture.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Scharffs, Gilbert W.
"Das Buch Mormon: The German Translation of the Book of Mormon,"
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 11
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol11/iss1/7