Talk:Book of Mormon

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Source: Official LDS Church site's online version of the BoM, so hopefully there arent any typos etc

[NOTE: this is copyright 1981 and should not be on wikipedia.]

Moved from possible copyvio page[edit]

I know the first edition of this is public domain, but I believe the more recent ones are copyrighted. Eric119 04:39, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Only to the extent that material has been added. The copyright on Joseph Smith's original work is not affected by having a new edition. Eclecticology 06:57, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The question is then, which portions are copyrighted and which aren't? The Book of Mormon as published today is not completely identical (in wording or content) to that originally published by Joseph Smith. Eric119 19:58, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
In answering that question we need to consider how much creative work is involved. It doesn't need to be completely identical to stay in the public domain. Fixing typos or updating spellings are not acts that will give rise to a new copyright. Having a text that is substantially different from the original could lead to Mormons doubting the validity of the text. I don't think that the LDS Church would want that kind of situation, and they are smart enough to avoid it. What IS likely to be covered by a new copyright includes new introductory or historical material, annotations, special formatting and original indexing. Eclecticology 00:36, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The changes that have been made are almost all very small, mainly involving punctuation. A few words have been changed, not to alter meaning but to clarify. As the note at the end of the introduction says:

About this edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

So it's my understanding that it should still be in the public domain. - Biggins 16:05, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Anon user posted the following at Talk:Book of Mormon, Introduction:


the 1830 public domain version of the book of mormon is here:

the 1981 version of the book of mormon you have put on wikipedia is under copyright.

i think you may have inadvertently done something illegal."

Christian S 15:16, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't think that we can attach much weight to anonymous comments from someone who has probably not read the discussion on this page. I'm sure that if the LDS Church has concerns about copyright violation they are big enough that they won't send someone to speak anonymously for them. Eclecticology 22:05, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

i (the above anon) didnt purport to be from the church, and i had read the discussion. i've got a copy of the book, and it has a copyright notice 1981 on it. are you a copyright lawyer eclecticology? it seems to me that if a book has a copyright notice in it, it shouldn't be copied and republished under a GNU licence.

also, they cut & paste "permission" from the church from roger k. peterson is ambiguous and flimsy. "text from the book of mormon" ?? what does that mean? which version?? there is a differnce. in any case, it's unclear to me who wrote what to mr. peterson and what the full text of the response is. until the church grants a license to wikisource to allow it to get republished under a GNU license, i think this is all bogus.

I would have to beg to differ with the above opinions. There are chapter headings that were penned by Bruce R. McConkie and are original copyright as of 1981... clearly a copyright violation. And the LDS Church is very protective of its copyright so I expect that there will be some problems here. If you have read the EULA of any of the computer software published by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (the official "publisher" of LDS books and copyrighted intellectual property), you would find something even worse than Microsoft. The history of Bonneville Communications (the televison & radio holding company that also makes movies) is also similarly very anal regarding unauthorized use of church publications and broadcasts. The 1830 edition (i.e. Gutenberg version) would not be a problem, however, and has been extensively used on campus at BYU in their computer science program as well as been to the knowledge of the Church for some time. I had it handed to me on a free floppy while on campus at BYU, with the understanding it was free of copyright issues (for some project I was working on at the time).

I am willing to make an "unofficial" request to the LDS church to see what their position is regarding this version of the Book of Mormon, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation. (Unofficial since I'm not on the board and can't presume to act for them or Wikisource as a whole.) If there needs to be something officially granted to the Wikimedia Foundation for copyright purposes, I'll try to get that arranged as well, with formal documents going to Jimbo or the Foundation, as appropriate. My gut feeling, however, is that the request will be denied and they will request the document removed, with us having to "revert" to the 1830 version from the Gutenberg Project instead. If instead we want to just go to the 1830 version without the commotion, I would encourage that very strongly right now. At least get rid of the chapter headings that are not found in the 1830 version.

I do speak "officially" as a member of the clergy of the LDS Church in this regard to suggest this is a worthwhile project and to have the Book of Mormon as a part of Wikisource is appreciated. On the other hand, I don't have the authority to grant copyright status to the Wikimedia Foundation, so that is why I'm willing to push to see what arrangements can be made with the LDS Church on an official basis.

Robert Horning 00:40, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, I came here from Wikipedia, so I suggest we get the 1830 edition here immediately. I will get it. Hawstom from Wikipedia

I added the 1830 Book of Mormon. If it needs work, I can massage it more. Wikipedia:User:Hawstom

I've restored the page as an index to the series of sub-pages. Putting the entire book on one page involved over more than 1.5Mb. All that does is bring browsers down to a crawl. The text that was added is still available through the page history. It might even be interesting to take a couple of chapters from the book and show the two editions on one page to see just how much change there was between the two editions.
There is no dispute about the worthwhileness of having the Book of Mormon in Wikisource. None of us from outside the LDS Church are disputing this.
Putting a copyright notice on a 1981 edition of a book that was first published in 1830 does not mean that absolutely everything in the revised edition is now protected by a new copyright. It is simply not copyrightable. Only the creative additions are protected. Correcting typos or modernizing the spelling are not considered to be creative additions. New introductions or indexation are protected, but no-one is arguing to include these. Text layout is protected, but preserving text layout could be contrary to the way we are trying to present material.
I'm willing to concede some benefit of the doubt as regards the chapter headings. Perhaps, in connection with the sample comparisons mentioned above you could show exactly what chapter headings you mean. Since I am not a member the Church I am not in a position to distinguish how the new chapter headings differ from the way in which these chapters might have been tradionally called.
I take due notice of your reference to the anality of various official LDS institutions. What would have been more convincing would have been links to specific legal cases where the publication in dispute was one in which the original copyright had expired. The only case that keeps reappearing on the net is the one against the Utah Lighthouse Ministry, and it's about a church handbook and against a group with apparent hostile intentions. Eclecticology 02:51, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I wish I could offer some specific legal cases to offer. The most I can do is suggest that I have seen "confidential" memos that have been sent to the leadership of the LDS church advising that church members refrain from breaking copyright laws in regards to church materials, and pointing out where to get copyrighted materials. For the most part, the LDS church offers just about anything that members would want to have a copy of at cost in reasonable formats (VHS tapes, DVD-Video, printed works, etc.) so the market really isn't there anyway to copy most church materials. Also, the LDS legal team likes to settle out of court as quickly as possible. In most cases a cease and desist request is all that is necessary, and done as informally as possible. In the case of the Lighthouse Ministry, that group refused to go quietly and was publishing content that was intended to be confidential, and clearly under copyright even with the 1790 copyright act (of 14 years + renewal). Had Wikisource done this I would expect no different kind of response. BTW, in a lawsuit the three worst defendants (in term of winning against them) are: the LDS Church, Boy Scouts of America, and IBM.... in that order.Robert Horning 5 July 2005 07:42 (UTC)

Here is the official response from the LDS Church:

The text of the Book of Mormon is in the public domain and may be published by anyone. The Introduction, chapter headings, footnotes, Index, Topical Guide, Guide to the Scriptures, Bible Dictionary, and Maps and Pictures are not in the public domain. They may not be published by other sources than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Roger K. Petersen
Manager, Intellectual Property Office
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

23:46, 22 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Excellent. This pretty well conforms with what I would have suspected. Only the first two items on that list are really of concern. No-one has expressed any intent to include the others. Can we be clear about exactly what we mean by the "chapter headings". I presume that we mean the small paragraph which we hav in italics at the beginning of each chapter, but the chapter names themselves. Once we agree that we are talking about the same thing we can certainly start removing these.
The summary at the beginning of several Books was there in 1830, and should stay. I would nevertheless be inclined to put this on the page for the Book rather than the page for the first chapter of the Book.
The modern introduction should be removed, but Joseph Smith's own two paragraph statement should stay, as should the various testimonies. I assume that the outline material is also a part of the introduction. Are we together on this? Eclecticology 01:58, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think your summary sounds good. It is indeed the little paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter that are copyrighted. Wikipedia:User:Hawstom

PLEASE SEE the "Challenge to Claim for 1830 Palmyra Edition" section below. From the discussion above, it sounds as though there is a mistaken assumption that simply removing the newly-copyrighted metadata, such as chapter headings, from the 1981 LDS edition somehow returns the text to the original 1830 Palmyra edition form. This is grossly incorrect. The scripture text itself has gone through multiple revisions since 1830, so there are many differences between the editions besides the added headings and other metadata. The samples mentioned below are only a sample of a much larger set of differences between the two. While removing the new 1981 information might make the 1981 scripture text fair-use under copyright law, it does not justify claiming at the top of the page that it is the 1830 Palmyra edition. That is patently false. If it is the 1981 LDS text, then it should be cited as such. MattMadden (talk) 16:40, 18 July 2011 (UTC)


I think it would be better having the chapters each split onto a separate page, just as you split it into the separate Books (Book of 1 Nephi, etc.) and for the same reason: it's just not feasible for people on dial-up to load the entire Book of Alma. People are going through Wikipedia and changing links to this Wikisource, and when the reference is just to one or two verses, as it typically is, it would be better to be able to just load the chapter.

Anyway, I think I see how to do this and so I will try it if that's OK. Any objections? Novel-Technology 06:05, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

This is actually the second time someone has suggested splitting the books up into seperate chapters. At the minute, it isn't a good idea because it would involve a lot of work. Yes, the book of Alma is quite long--somewhere in the region of 600 kilobytes, if I recall correctly. I do understand that this causes obvious issues with dial-up, but at the minute, splitting the books into seperate chapters will break the template that's used on Wikipedia.
We've been discussing other possible solutions though, and I'll probably make a proposal on the Wikisource:Scriptorium about it sometime in the next few days. Jude (talk,contribs,email) 06:53, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Well can't the template simply be changed? Instead of building make it build ? Isn't that one of the points of a template -- so the links aren't hardcoded and can be easily mass-reorganized? Plus there probably aren't more than a few thousand Book of Mormon references in Wikipedia, so the task is not too daunting regardless of what needs to be done, I think. Novel-Technology 15:30, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Ooh, I see the Bible has the same problem. Ouch. Maybe this would be a lot of work after all!!! That is if we're going to fix all of the scripture texts. Novel-Technology 15:37, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Beside the large amount of work it creates, another problem with splitting is that it would make proofreading quite daunting. Any change made a one page would have to transfer to all pages etc. There a bug proposal that would solve this issue described at Wikisource:Labeled section transclusion. Please vote on the bug at bugzilla and splitting will be an easier proposition.--BirgitteSB 17:44, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Challenge to Claim for 1830 Palmyra Edition[edit]

I challenge the assertion on this page that this is the 1830 Palmyra edition. Having just spot-checked the following (non-exhaustive) known differences, it is clear that this text is from a later edition.

- 1 Nephi 11:18 in the 1830 edition says "mother of God." This edition says "mother of the Son of God." This change was made in 1837.

- 1 Nephi 11:21 in the 1830 edition says "the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!" while this edition says "the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father." This change was made in 1837.

- 1 Nephi 11:32 in the 1830 edition says "the Everlasting God, was judged of the world" while this one says "the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world." This change was made in 1837.

- 1 Nephi 20:1 contains the phrase "or out of the waters of baptism." This was added by Joseph Smith in the 1840 edition.

- Both Mosiah 21:28 and Ether 4:1 in the 1830 edition say "Benjamin," while this edition says "Mosiah" in both locations. Again, those changes were made starting in the 1837 edition.

- Alma 57:25 in the 1830 edition says "foes of our whole army," while this one says "joy of our whole army." This handwriting misinterpretation was not corrected by the LDS church until the 1981 edition.

There have been several LDS editions of the Book of Mormon between 1830 and 1981, including the 1837 Kirtland edition, 1840 Nauvoo edition, 1841 European edition, 1852 European edition, 1879 Deseret News edition, and the 1920 edition. The RLDS church produced an 1874 edition, an 1892 edition, and a 1908 edition.

My preliminary guess was that the text here is the 1920 edition, the most recent non-copyrighted LDS edition. However, the use of "joy" instead of "foes" at Alma 57:25 seems to indicate that the text here is actually the 1981 edition. Additional changes would have to be checked to verify it, but if that's in fact what it is, it should be cited as such.

Simply removing the chapter headings is not sufficient to restore the text to the 1830 edition, which has MANY textual and punctuation variations from the 1981 edition. MattMadden (talk) 15 July 2011

I opened a discussion at WS:PD#Book of Mormon. CYGNIS INSIGNIS 17:19, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

1920/1974 edition as a starting point?[edit]

Since there is some dispute over how true to the text our Book of Mormon is, does anyone think it would be a good idea to start from the 1920 edition? My library has a copy of this one printed in 1976 with a copyright date of 1974 by Spencer Kimball. A 1920 date is listed as well. Here are some scans of these pages: [1]. Looking at Google books, I found this copy which seems to be identical to what my library has: [2]. I come from this as someone who has been fascinated by the LDS for 20 years now. Hoshie (talk) 06:31, 23 August 2014 (UTC)