Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


This article discusses possible explanations regarding the procedures Joseph Smith and his associates used in mounting the Joseph Smith Papyri fragments and their reasons for doing so. The backing materials, some of which contain drawings of a temple plan and plat sketches of northeastern Ohio townships, provide a valuable historical artifact that helps historians answer questions associated with the papyri. The dimensions, gluing techniques, and cutting patterns of the backing paper and papyri also help explain the mounting process, as does an examination of the handwriting on the backing paper. Careful analysis suggests that a portion of the backing material came from several sheets of paper glued together to make a large sheet on which plans for a temple were drawn. Historical evidence suggests that in late 1837 or early 1838, pieces of papyri were glued to this and other papers and cut into smaller pieces, some of which were put under glass to preserve the papyrus fragments from further deterioration.