Did you know that Oliver Cowdery met Joseph Smith just two days before they began the translation of the Book of Mormon together? In fact, it was on this day, on April 5, 1829, that Oliver first met Joseph. What’s more, by June 30, 1829, just 85 days later, Joseph and Oliver had completed the translation of the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith faced an important year in 1829. At the end of 1828, after the loss of the 116 manuscript pages, the angel Moroni returned the ancient plates of scripture and the Urim and Thummim and promised a new scribe to assist in the translation.
In the spring of 1829, the Prophet Joseph Smith felt a sense of urgency about the translation of the Book of Mormon, but he found his time to translate severely limited because of the need to work to support his family. And although Joseph’s wife Emma and his brother Samuel had helped by acting as scribes at times, they could not do this full time. Joseph prayed that the Lord would send someone who could assist him in the work of translation.
In response to Joseph’s prayer, the Lord fulfilled His promise (D&C 5:34). On Sunday, April 5, 1829 (“Near the time of the setting of the Sun“) Oliver Cowdery arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania and met Joseph Smith.
Upon meeting Oliver, Joseph recognized him as the assistance the Lord had promised, and they discussed Joseph’s experiences until late that evening. The next day (April 6th) they attended to some business, and on Tuesday, 7 April, they began the work of translating the Book of Mormon–just 2 days after first meeting each other!
Joseph and Oliver finished the translation of the Book of Mormon by June 30, 1829–just 85 days after beginning the translation! And that is the basis of the Book of Mormon Translation Challenge; you and I will try to read the entire Book of Mormon from April 7-June 30.
Remember, you don’t have to start at the beginning of the Book of Mormon to take advantage of this challenge. You can simply continue where you are currently reading and cycle through the entire Book of Mormon until you finish on (or before) June 30.
However, if you would like to study along with this blog, the Book of Mormon Translation Challenge (#BOMTC) does something different. When Joseph resumed the translation process following the loss of the 116 manuscript pages, it appears that he and Oliver did not begin at 1 Nephi, where most of us begin reading; instead they began in Mosiah, where Joseph and Martin had paused in the translation process. So, the #BOMTC follows a schedule that begins with Mosiah 1 and ends with Words of Mormon. Don’t worry though, if you like the traditional style of beginning in 1 Nephi and ending with Moroni we still have a schedule for you too. Just check out the schedule links above to choose your preference.
Please JOIN and SHARE this challenge with others by joining our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BookOfMormonTranslationChallenge/
For a great article explaining why many painting depict church history events differently, like the translation process, please see Dr. Anthony Sweat’s insightful article, “BY THE GIFT AND POWER OF ART“.
For greater details of the events mentioned in this blog post, please see CHURCH HISTORY IN THE FULNESS OF TIMES STUDENT MANUAL: CHAPTER FIVE: COMING FORTH OF THE BOOK OF MORMON AND RESTORATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
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