Reader's Red-Letter Edition of
The Book of Mormon
Welcome! I first conceived of this special edition of the Book of Mormon back in 1980. It takes the exact wording of the Book of Mormon and displays it in a reader's format ... with paragraphs, poetic formats, dialogue, etc. I hope you enjoy finding some of the hidden treasures that I have discovered by reading it in this format.
The original hand-written transcript of the Book of Mormon was sent to the printer with no punctuation in the document. It was basically just one long sentence.. The printer asked Joseph if he could add the appropriate punctuation to assist the readers. The book was then originally type-set in a simple paragraph format. Later, the format was changed again to the more usual two-column style of chapters and verses.
In 1980 I often found myself frustrated when reading the Book of Mormon by not easily knowing who was speaking and who they were speaking to in a particular scripture. It was vary laborious trying to track it down. I also found myself circling the verses where the Savior was speaking so that I could see them easily. Using old manual typewriter I began typing the Book of Mormon in a format which I felt it would be easier to read. I decided to see if I could reformat the scriptures so that I could visually understand them better.
Since 1980 I have typed and retyped the entire Book of Mormon at least two dozen times. Each time finding better ways to present it while increasing my understanding of the scriptures. I began with an old manual type writer and was excited to finally get an electric one. As the years progressed with the invention of the PC, I retyped everything into an early word processor. My early results on a dot-matrix printer were not much better than the type writer. As PCs became better so did the software which required retyping and reformatting the entire book. I struggled for years with various word processors not being able to give me the ability for the three columns ... finally Word Perfect allowed it.
I also rejoiced when the laser printers came out ... and then came the color printers ... I could now finally accomplish most of my dream (of course my next dream is for a color laser printer ... so please excuse the current poor print quality .... it takes about 2 hours to print out just 1 Nephi. - I am saving up for a color laser).
This lastest edition of the Book of Mormon displays the exact text of the Book of Mormon in what I call a "Reader’s Format". I have also attempted to add illustrations taken from the "Book of Mormon Stories (beginning reader)" to the First Book of Nephi. Over 80% of the world are "visual" learners (I being one). My goal was to see how through the use of color, pictures, and other visual tools I could help others better understand and appreciate the Book of Mormon while gaining a stronger testimony.
I hope to help people ...
(1) Gain a better understanding of the doctrines, teachings, and prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon by seeing the information in a different format,
(2) Gain a better appreciation for the beauty of the written word in the Book of Mormon by emphasizing and highlighting the various writing styles such as the songs, prayers, letters, dialogues, sermons, and most importantly the exact quotes from the Lord and His angelic messengers.
(3) Understand better and retain longer what is being read by having some visual images to associate the reading to. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Most people are visual learners ... the pictures will help old and young better understand what is going on.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie once said that not all scripture is of equal worth. I feel that the words of the Savior are probably those of "greatest" worth and importance so when the color printer came out I redid the project making it now a "RED-Letter" edition (words of the Savior placed in Red). It was amazing to see the difference. I was ecstatic to see how much easier it was to locate and concentrate on the Savior’s words.
One of the biggest surprises that became apparent was when in Jacob 5, the parable of the Olive tree (which constitutes 5 ½ pages) is actually Jacob quoting the prophet Zenos, who then is simply quoting the Savior.
Has anyone had problems with the Isaiah writings in 1st and 2nd Nephi? I have. However, when they are transformed into a poetic format and put into paragraphs, it was as if the heavens were opened to this sealed portion of the scriptures.
The following editorial devices were used to accomplish the above objectives.
(1) Literary style: the Book of Mormon text has been formatted in a literary style with paragraphs rather than the more traditional two column verse delineated style.
(2) Verse markings: a unique method of verse marking was developed. The verse markings have been placed in the left hand column so to be out of the way and not distract from the beauty of the work and cohesiveness of the text. If a verse begins in the middle of a line then a special square character ▪ is placed at the beginning of the verse. There is no special character if the verse starts at the beginning of the line. If there are more than two verses on a particular line both verse numbers are listed but are separated by a comma.
(3) Chapters summaries: chapter summaries which have been historically placed at the beginning of each chapter, have now been placed over the section in the chapter in which they relate. A few additional sectional summaries have been included in order to assist the reader in understanding the section they are about to read.
(4) Paragraphs: several of the original one-to-two page long paragraphs have been broken down into smaller paragraphs which makes it easier for one to understand the passage and more pleasing to the eye.
(5) Direct quotes: all direct quotes and conversations have been italicized and quote marks added. All direct quotes attributed to the Savior are in RED bold print (see 1 Nephi 2:1). Quotes attributed to Heavenly Father are placed in BLUE bold print and quotes from angelic messengers are in BLACK bold print.
(6) Indentations: these have been used to help the reader understand better who is speaking. Several times a passage is quoting a prophet who is quoting another prophet who is quoting another prophet. These indentations assist in keeping track of who is speaking. For example, in 2 Nephi 3:7-13, Nephi is quoting his father Lehi, who is quoting Joseph of Egypt, who is quoting the Lord.
(7) Songs, psalms, poems and many of the Lord’s direct quotes: these passages were formatted in a more poetic format to accentuate their beauty and better assist one in understanding their meaning. Also, the text in some sections lent themselves to be displayed in an outline fashion. They follow a pattern such as "IF you do this ...... THEN you will receive this ..... ELSE you will receive this." The IFs, THENs, and ELSEs would be placed on separate lines. An example is 3 Nephi 30:2.
(8) Date Indicators: in the right hand column, the approximate dates of the events has been added which reflects the year to which that line refers to.
(9) Commentaries by Mormon and Moroni: several times in the Book of Mormon, Moroni and Mormon interrupt their abridgements with comments which are directed to those in the latter days. These have been offset with appropriate section headings. Examples include Ether 2:9-12, Ether 4:3-19 & 5:1-6, Mormon 3:17-22.
(10) Page Numbering: on the right hand side of the page are the page numbers corresponding to the page numbers in the current edition of the Book of Mormon.
All of the above editorial devices were used at my discretion. One may differ with any or all of these devices and their usage. They are purely subjective in nature and are my sole responsibility.
So for these past 33 years I have hand typed the entire Book of Mormon over a dozen times trying to come up with just the right look and feel. My love for this great book keeps growing with each new variation I work with.
PLEASE NOTE: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the copyright to the Book of Mormon and to all the pictures I have included. This project is of my own doing and does not reflect any endorsement, review, or approval from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is not for sale nor to be used by anyone for monetary gains. It is only my attempt to share with others my view of possibly the scriptures could look and understood by "reading it again for the first time".
I hope you enjoy reading the Book of Mormon ... again for the first time :)
I would appreciate hearing from you and any comments you might have.
Finally, may I bear you my testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God for us today and that Joseph Smith was called of God to translate this work from the golden plates delivered to him by the angel Moroni.
I would enjoy your comments and any suggestions your might have.
David J. Potter
1067 Skyler Dr
Draper, Utah 84020