Book of Mormon Original Manuscript (1829)

This page from the original Book of Mormon manuscript contains the story of Nephi trying to obtain the brass plates from Laban, found today in 1 Nephi 4:2–24.

When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English through divine inspiration, he dictated to scribes, who recorded the words on common paper of the time period, making this the closest record to the golden plates buried in Hill Cumorah. After this original manuscript was completed, a second copy was made for the printer’s use. Five of the scribes—Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, John Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, and Samuel Smith—also gave their testimonies as witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

In October 1841, Joseph placed the original manuscript in the southeast cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, a place appointed by revelation for lodging visitors. More than 40 years later, the manuscript was uncovered, but only 28 percent had not decayed as water had seeped into the building’s stonework. The surviving sheets have been reinforced with very thin paper and encapsulated in clear polyester film that has been sealed around the edges. The handwriting on the page on display is unidentified.