A rare 1841 copy of the Book of Mormon that likely belonged to Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is now owned by the Church, the gift of a Church member who wishes to remain anonymous.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, Church Historian and Recorder, displayed the book during a recent Church News interview in his office.
At the same time, he displayed a portrait of the Prophet's mother by Sutcliffe Maudsley, a Nauvoo, Ill., artist, likely done in 1842 ,in which she is holding a Book of Mormon copy virtually identical to the recent acquisition by the Church.
"The provenance indicates that it's Lucy's book," Elder Jensen said, "and it's likely this is the very Book of Mormon that she was holding in this painting."
It was the fourth edition of the Book of Mormon, the previous ones being the original, published in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1830, the 1837 edition published in Kirtland, Ohio, and the 1840 edition published in Nauvoo.
Of such historical artifacts, Elder Jensen said, "They help promote faith, and they preserve a record. There is something spiritually beneficial about having that memory. There's no church for which history is more important than ours, because we rise or fall with it. And with that history comes the development of our doctrine, comes our authority and the authenticity of it."
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