Home » News
Home » News

'Lost' Book of Mormon pages helped scholar find faith

Published August 31, 2012 3:08 pm

Dignissim • Ipsum ut ullamcorper sed diam wisi euismod.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Don Bradley is writing a master's thesis on a portion of the Book of Mormon that was stolen from LDS Church founder Joseph Smith's sometime scribe, Martin Harris, in 1828 and never recovered.

Though these "lost 116 pages," as they have come to be known, are Mormonism's earliest scripture, Bradley says, their contents have long been a mystery.

"As I've collected the sources about the lost manuscript and put them together like puzzle pieces, pictures of several missing Book of Mormon stories have begun to emerge," he says, "offering a glimpse into earliest Mormonism."

Bradley found clues to the lost pages' contents in early Smith published "revelations"; an account of an 1830 interview given by the prophet's father, Joseph Smith Sr., who related some of the missing narratives; and reminiscences by witnesses who heard Joseph Smith Jr. and Harris detail some of the manuscript's contents. 

"These witnesses include two early LDS apostles," Bradley says, "and Emer Harris, who was both a brother to Martin Harris and a direct ancestor to present-day LDS apostle Dallin Harris Oaks."

Such reminiscences are found in 19th-century newspapers, published sermons by LDS leaders, and, in the case of the Emer Harris account, official LDS stake conference minutes now housed in the Church History Library.

"Surprisingly, I found that these stories from the missing manuscript anticipate temple theology that historians usually believe Joseph Smith didn't develop until the 1840s," Bradley says, "a discovery that helped spark my return to faith."

The thesis is slated to be published next year by Greg Kofford Books as The Lost 116 Pages: Rediscovering the Book of Lehi.






Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus