Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Royal Skousen


Book of Mormon, vocabulary, manuscript, language


In my work as editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project (which began in 1988), I was initially interested in discovering the original English-language text of the book. But I soon came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to fully recover the original text by scholarly means, in large part because only 28 percent of the original manuscript is extant. In addition, there are obvious errors in the original manuscript itself that require conjectural emendation. As I have worked on the text of the Book of Mormon, I have come to some surprising conclusions regarding the nature of the original text itself, conclusions that I had not at all expected when I started my work transcribing the original and printer’s manuscripts of the Book of Mormon.