"FROM DARKNESS UNTO LIGHT: Joseph Smith's Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon," by Michael Hubbard MacKay and Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $24.99, 256 pages (nf)
Michael Hubbard MacKay and Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, both of whom work as historians and editors of the Joseph Smith Papers project, explore some of the little-known facts that have been recently discovered that offer new insight surrounding the Prophet Joseph Smith's translation and the subsequent publication of the Book of Mormon in the book "From Darkness unto Light: Joseph Smith's Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon."
MacKay and Dirkmaat bring readers up to date on new perspectives that challenge some of the misconceptions surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon that have become popular throughout the years, including new findings that suggest that Joseph did not even look at the plates for much of the translation, in "From Darkness unto Light."
They also answers questions that some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have been curious about, including how much profit E.B. Grandin made in publishing the Book of Mormon and why Joseph Smith and Martin Harris chose Charles Anthon to look at copies of some of the characters from the plates.
The 12 chapters of the book are neatly organized with the historical record, starting with Joseph retrieving the plates — with a short background of Joseph's First Vision and the appearance of the Angel Moroni — to the actual publication of the Book of Mormon once the translation was complete.
They also include an appendix by Anthony Sweat, an assistant professor of LDS Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and a part-time professionally trained artist, that discusses the different artistic renderings of the translation throughout the years and how the art Sweat provided for the book reflects the newest findings of how Joseph translated.
Their presentation of facts that have been generally well known with historians but which most Latter-day Saints may not be familiar with — and which may startle some who come across them for the first time — are handled in a straightforward way that is not threatening but rather provides greater insight into the miracle of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Ben Tullis is a former Deseret News intern and currently a full-time copywriter and freelance writer. He graduated from UVU in August 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English. He lives in Pleasant Grove with his wife and two boys.