The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) recently made a rather pricey purchase, spending $35 million on the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon. This significant manuscript “became the guide by which the type was set for the first edition (1830) of the Book of Mormon,” according to the Community of Christ based out of Independence, Missouri, who sold the manuscript to the Church.
Initially sold in 1903, though the Church turned down the opportunity to purchase and the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, acquired the manuscript for $2,500 as part of a collection of texts. Church officials praised the Community of Christ for the condition of the document, expressing their gratitude to “generous donors who provided the means to acquire this treasure.”
Image via the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mormonism.com historian John Hajicek compared the Church obtaining the manuscript to the religious equivalent of the United States purchasing the Constitution.
“This is a founding document of the LDS Church,” Hajicek said. “It is priceless. I thought the value of the manuscript exceeded $100 million, and the LDS Church got a good value.”
Steven E. Snow, LDS Church historian and recorder called the document a spiritual and historic treasure.
“We hold the Book of Mormon to be a sacred text like the Bible,” said Snow. “The printer’s manuscript is the earliest surviving copy of about 72 percent of the Book of Mormon text, as only about 28 percent of the earlier dictation copy survived decades of storage.”
The Church has begun planning an exhibit at the Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, where the manuscript will be on display.
The printing press used to produce the first copies of the Book of Mormon. | Image via The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
$35 million marks the highest price ever paid for a manuscript, bumping Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester from the top spot. The Codex, which is the original and only copy of the notebook, was sold in 1994 for $30.8 million, which, adjusted for today’s inflation rate, would be $49.8 million.
Must be nice to have that kind of disposable income, right?
Featured image via KnoWhy.