Improved Book of Mormon App Makes Sharing the Book Easier (Church Newsroom)

VIDEO: Bring the Book of Mormon to All the World: Their Own Tongue



In 2019, there was a district conference in a small city in southern Mexico called Okosingo. This district conference didn’t seem different from any other, but a miracle was about to happen. As the saints gathered into the chaplain took their seats, they could hardly have expected what they were about to see and hear. These Saints are Setal indigenous people, a distinct cultural race that lives in the highlands of Choppas and descends directly from the ancient Maya people. They number almost 600,000 and live in the mountains where their ancestors were driven by compistadors centuries before. The Setao people have been joining the church in March numbers through the efforts of missionaries for the past few years, despite enormous challenges presented by a language barrier. Some of the people can speak Spanish, which is the language the conference was being held in. But many present at the conference couldn’t understand at all. Many were also illiterate. Their simple faith, when they felt the Spirit led them to accept the Gospel despite not having any church materials in their language. As the conference began, the mission president took the pulpit and announced in Spanish that there was a special presentation.

A video began to play. President Nelson appeared on the screen from his latest general conference address and began to speak. The whole room immediately became silent. Children stopped playing. Side conversation ceased. Every individual looked up in astonishment. The words of the prophet were being spoken in satal. The Spirit descended powerfully on the congregation, and for the first time in their lives, many heard the gospel in their own tongue. What happened that day was simple. The mission president had asked a local Sethal speaking member to translate President Nelson’s words, which were then dubbed over his talk. But the impact of that small act felt like the fulfillment of prophecy. For it shall come to pass in that day that every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel in his own tongue and in his own language. This event was the catalyst for the beginning of a project called Their Own Tongue, a joint partnership between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and the independent advocate organization Scripture Central. Here’s how it works the Church has granted their rights to Scripture Central to dub the official Book of Mormon videos in a number of high impact indigenous languages.

Languages may have a partial text translation of the Book of Mormon, but some, such as Seth Paul, have no translation at all. There are currently less than 120 text translations of the Book of Mormon. Of the world’s over 7000 languages, it is estimated that over 3000 are unwritten. Especially prioritized in this project are languages that have high illiteracy rates a major challenge in many indigenous communities. Once a language is identified, we find a local member of the church in the area where the target language is spoken. We reach out to mission presidents, missionaries and other liaisons to help us locate a local manager for the project. This individual is hired by Scripture Central to manage the project locally. The project unfolds in four phases. First is translation. The local manager finds and contracts with language speakers to translate provided video scripts into the target language. Next is the process of revision. Each translated script is meticulously revised to ensure not only accuracy doctrinally, but scripturally, and to ensure that regional dialects are accounted for. After revision is completed, individuals are located and trained as voice actors. Their performances are recorded using simple equipment that is provided by Scripture Central.

Along with training, we put the tools necessary in the local members hands to realize the project. Lastly, the audio files are sent to Scripture Central, where an audio video professional completes the dubbing process and submits the completed videos to the Church for approval. The results are as impactful as the original videos.

These are the faces of Set Thal, members of the Church in Oshuk Chiapez, hearing the words of the Book of Mormon in their own tongue for the first time. Scripture Central is currently completing dubbing in several new languages in countries such as Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. We need your help, however, to continue to bring the Book of Mormon to all the world. President Nelson has spoken about this work of gathering on many occasions.

For centuries, prophets have foretold this gathering, and it is happening right now as an essential prelude to the second coming of the Lord. It is the most important work in the world.

I think it’s going to be huge. That’s one of the main reasons why I felt the spirit so strongly when I first watched the videos, because I started thinking and past investigators that haven’t accepted the Church because they don’t understand the Book of Mormon, members that have gone inactive because they don’t really understand the Book of Mormon. These videos are going to change many lives.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints or Latterday Covenant Israel, we have been charged to assist the Lord with his pivotal work. Every donation to Scripture Centrals their own tongue project goes directly to putting tools in the hands of indigenous communities to translate the Book of Mormon videos for their people. Our hope is simply this to help bring the Book of Mormon to all the world, to those who may someday have the text as well as to those who may never read at all. That all may know the prophecies concerning the houses of Israel and believe the writings of ancient prophets from the Americas that Jesus is the Christ.


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