On a summer day in 1828, Book of Mormon scribe and witness Martin Harris was emptying drawers, upending furniture, and ripping apart mattresses as he desperately looked for a stack of papers he had sworn to God to protect. Those pages containing the only copy of the first three months of Joseph Smith’s translation of the golden plates were forever lost, and the detailed stories they held forgotten over the ensuing years—until now.
Don Bradley presents over a decade of historical and scriptural research to not only tell the story of the lost pages but to reconstruct many of the detailed stories written on them.
Questions explored and answered in this book include:
- Was the lost manuscript actually 116 pages?
- How did Mormon’s abridgment of this period differ from the accounts in Nephi’s small plates?
- Where did the brass plates and Laban’s sword come from?
- How did Lehi’s family and their descendants live the Law of Moses without the temple and Aaronic priesthood?
- How did the Liahona operate?
Despite the likely demise of those pages to the sands of time, the answers to these questions and many more are now available for the first time in nearly two centuries in The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Book of Mormon’s Missing Stories.
Don Bradley is an author and independent historian specializing in the beginnings of the Latter-day Saint Restoration. He completed a Bachelor’s in History at BYU and a Master’s in History at Utah State University, where he wrote his thesis on “American Proto-Zionism and the ‘Book of Lehi’: Recontextualizing the Rise of Mormonism.” Don has performed an internship with the Joseph Smith Papers Project working with the earliest Joseph Smith sources. He was the primary researcher for Brian C. Hales’s Joseph Smith’s Polygamy series. He has published on the translation of the Book of Mormon, plural marriage before Nauvoo, Joseph Smith’s “grand fundamental principles of Mormonism,” and the Kinderhook plates, and has forthcoming works on the Kinderhook plates and the First Vision. He lives in Springville, Utah.
In this episode, Richie Steadman interviews Don Bradley.
In this episode, Brian Hales interviews Don Bradley about his decades-long research into missing parts of Book of Mormon narrative.
Ever since he was a youngster, Don’s wondered about the content of the 116 pages of the Book of Lehi transcript that Martin Harris lost in 1828. Most Primary children know the story of how the Lord said “no” three times, but then relented and someone subsequently stole the pages from Martin.
God told Joseph not to retranslate that portion of the golden plates so the stories and teachings scribed onto those pages remain lost forever . . . or are they?