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



Book of Mormon, manuscripts, descendants, dissenters


At the beginning of Alma 43:14, the original manuscript reads desenters, which Oliver Cowdery miscopied into the printer’s manuscript as desendants; in other words, he ended up replacing dissenters with descendants. This mistake (a visual error) was facilitated by the similar spelling Oliver used for both these words. Notice that earlier in this verse Oliver wrote dissented as desented in P (but which the 1830 typesetter respelled in P as dissented). Moreover, at the end of verse 13, Oliver spelled descendants as desendants in both manuscripts. The proximity of this last instance prompted the error at the beginning of verse 14.