THE RESTORED COVENANT EDITION
We have recently produced the Restored Covenant Edition (RCE) of The Book of Mormon.
The Restored Covenant Edition
- is part of a larger, unique pattern of Book of Mormon enlightenment
- contains many word restorations from the Original and Printer's manuscripts
- has brought forth many testimonies
- is preparation for the hidden Title Page (the restoring of the Restoration Movement)
- is mentioned in two Book of Mormon references
The Larger Pattern
The Restored Covenant Edition (RCE) is not a one-time stand-alone project. It is part of the Lord's plan to take The Book of Mormon to the world for the last time. The Restoration Movement is soon to be manifested again to the world in great power. Before this is all over every believer in Jesus Christ will be a Book of Mormon believer as well as a Bible believer (2 Nephi 2:20-23; 3 Nephi 9:98). In preparation for this, the Lord has brought forth more new Book of Mormon enlightenment in the last 21 years than in all of the previous 150 years combined. The RCE is a part of this 21-year pattern and makes use of much of this enlightenment. The RCE is also supported by A Comparison of The Book of Mormon Manuscripts and Editions which documents all of the word changes comparing the two manscripts with 11 editions from four different churches. Every Book of Mormon believer should have their own revelation of the significance of these last 21 years.
In 1979 the book Discovery of Genesis provided evidence from the Chinese characters of the existence of the Jaredites. In the early 1980s we started to become aware of the Hebrew nature of The Book of Mormon. Meanwhile, more information on Book of Mormon archaeology, geography, no erasers, ancient Middle East treaty patterns and spiritual insights was coming forth. For example, the Lord began to open up our understanding of the covenant relationship which is the most important subject in The Book of Mormon and in all scripture as we have seen. The RCE is not an isolated event but part of a larger pattern.
- In 1 Nephi 3:165 the 1908 edition has the plainness of the gospel. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is the fullness of the gospel.
- In 1 Nephi 4:23 the 1908 edition has they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is they shall be numbered among the house of Israel . This is a significant change in meaning. To be numbered among the house of Israel is an important concept from the Restoration Movement.
- In 1 Nephi 3:127 the 1908 edition has The word of the justice of the Eternal God. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is the sword of the justice of the Eternal God.
- In 1 Nephi 4:62 the 1908 edition has The wicked are rejected from the righteous. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is the wicked are separated from the righteous. The separation of the righteous from the wicked is a major theme throughout scripture and is central to the Restoration Movement. Zion is the ultimate example of this. Zion is a gathering of covenant people who are separated from the world.
- In 1 Nephi 2:39 the 1908 edition has did offer sacrifice and [ ] burnt offerings. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is did offer sacrifice and offer burnt offerings. This restores a Hebraism. The discovery of this omission through a photograph shocked us into a greater realization of the need for a restoration of the text. The Hebrew nature of The Book of Mormon is very important. It tells us that no one in the 1800s could have written The Book of Mormon. The RCE restores variations of And it came to pass, an important Hebraism, 47 times.
- In 1 Nephi 3:179 the 1908 edition has Awful state of blindness. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is state of awful woundedness. This correlates with Jacob 2:8 which says the word which healeth the wounded soul.
- In 1 Nephi 3:111 the 1908 edition has I saw the multitudes which had [ ] fallen. The correct wording from the Original manuscript is I saw the multitudes which had not fallen.
We have heard many testimonies about the RCE since it was first made available for sale on the evening of July 21, 1999. The general rule is that for everyone who volunteers a testimony there are many more who have not had an opportunity to do so.
The most common theme is that the RCE is easier to read and easier to understand at the same time. Because of the natural flow of the poetic alignment, which mirrors in part the underlying Hebrew nature of The Book of Mormon, readers are seeing things which they have not seen before. The idea for the poetic alignment of the text came from a Jewish woman, the wife of an elder.
Another testimony theme is that readers are spending more time with The Book of Mormon. It is more enjoyable to read. One brother said, It reads like a novel! Also, some believers are now studying The Book of Mormon on a regular basis for the first time in their lives.
We have heard three testimonies in which the reader was told that the text of the RCE was that which was originally delivered to young Joseph. We should be aware of the fact that the only Book of Mormon we have is the two manuscripts. Between the two, we have 100% of The Book of Mormon in manuscript form. The Lord spoke to an elder in 1987 regarding The Book of Mormon and said: Leave the Book alone! Because of the faithfulness of the brethren who kept the record it is sacred unto Me and not to be tampered with! In other words, do not tamper with that which was originally given.
The Hidden Title Page
The importance of the Title Page of The Book of Mormon can not be overemphasized. It sets the stage for the entire book. We were told that we had been treating The Book of Mormon lightly (D&C 83:8). That being the case, we have been treating the Title Page even more lightly.
The RCE takes steps to remedy this. The Title Page is now page 1 (although the page has no number because it is the Title Page). First Nephi Chapter 1 is now page 3. The Title Page has verse numbers for the first time, helping readers realize that the Title Page came from the plates as did the rest of the book. There is also a side-note showing that the main purpose of The Book of Mormon from verses 2 and 6 is to restore a knowledge of the covenants (firstly to the Lamanites, then to the rest of the house of Israel and then to the world).
Another Title Page has been discovered (3 Nephi 10:1-7). This passage has the same basic information as the Title Page. It starts out with the covenant. It then talks about the beginning of the New Jerusalem and the gospel going to the Lamanites. The work of the Father commences in verse 4. Verses 5-6 also have the word commence. They deal with the rest of the house of Israel. Verse 7 also has commence. It talks about all nations. The implication is that the Restoration, which was put on hold in 1834 (D&C 102), will commence again in great power just as it did in the 1830 period. By putting proper emphasis on the Title Page the RCE is pointing us to the time when 3 Nephi 10:1-7, the hidden Title Page, will be fulfilled. The Lord is saying to us through the hidden Title Page that the scenario described in 3 Nephi 10:1-7 is that which He desired to have happened in the 1830s but we treated the book lightly. This time it will come to pass. The publication of the RCE is a part of the preparation. The RCE does represent more light. If we reject it we run the risk of losing what we have. We should never tell the Lord we have enough.
Two References Point to the RCE
It has been pointed out to us that there are two possible references in The Book of Mormon that point to the RCE. Here is the evidence. You decide.
The story in 3 Nephi 10:34-41 is well known. Jesus tells Nephi to bring forth the records. Jesus then asks them why Samuel the Lamanite's prophecy that at the resurrection many saints should arise and bring ministry to many was not written. Jesus then commanded that it be written. We enjoy the story but we need to realize that its inclusion in The Book of Mormon was for a purpose. The purpose is to tell us that if Jesus were to appear to us today He would do the same thing. He would ask that our Book of Mormon record be brought forth (the 1908 edition) and then ask why certain words were left out or changed and then He would command us to restore them. This is what the RCE is-a restoration of the words from the Original and the Printer's manuscripts.
The second reference is Mormon 4:32-38. This reference apparently is one of those prophecies that refer to more than one time period, as do several in Isaiah. It starts by talking about The Book of Mormon coming forth in 1830. Then there are a series of statements describing the time period. A type of Hebrew poetry called initial repetition is used in this prophecy. The phrase, it shall come in a day when is repeated six times as a beginning statement. Verses 37 and 38 describe our day more than they do the 1830 period. In verse 37 we are told about earthquakes in divers places. We know that the frequency of earthquakes is considerably higher now than in 1830. In addition, communication, while instant now took weeks or months in 1830. Verse 38 talks about great pollutions. This is definitely today, not 1830. If these verses do describe our day then they would be referring to the RCE which is the edition closest to the manuscripts to date.