Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, May 17, 2019

John Hajicek on the Hidden Sacrifices Behind the Printing of the Book of Mormon

One of the really remarkable friends of the Church is John Hajicek (pronounced "high-check," I believe). John is an expert in documents and LDS history with vast resources of knowledge and treasures of documents and artifacts, with an abiding love of history. You can learn more about him at Mormonism.com and on his Facebook site (facebook.com/johnhajicek/). He shared the following post on Facebook, and kindly gave me permission to share it here. It's a fascinating and painful reminder of the sacrifices that have been made to bring forth the printed record of the Book of Mormon. Something to ponder!
The Book of Mormon. The greatest American grassroots work of literature, and most compelling Christian tale printed in America. The sacrifice was incalculable, and the book is priceless. The cotton-rag paper for the first edition was made in the town of Manchester, in the same town with the Hill Cumorah. The lead type was set one character at a time, from a manuscript without punctuation. One thousand sheep gave their lives for binding the first edition. But also, the printers of each of the first three editions (Palmyra: 1830, Kirtland: 1837, Nauvoo: 1840) gave their own lives so that you could read this book.

Printing ink was made of oil and charcoal, and caused “black lung” and tuberculosis among printers in the 1800s. (See James Alexander Miller, “Pulmonary Tuberculosis Among Printers”, 1908; and Margaret Cairns and Alice Stewart, “Pulmonary Tuberculosis Mortality in the Printing and Shoemaking Trades”, 1951.)

1. E. B. Grandin, the printer of the first edition Book of Mormon, was born in 1806, so he was 23 when he began printing 1830 publication. He died in 1845 of “pneumonia” at age 39.

2. Oliver Cowdery, the printer of the second edition Book of Mormon was also born in 1806, so he was 30 years old when he undertook to print the corrected edition of 1837. He died in 1850, at age 43, at the Whitmer home in Richmond, Missouri. For years, he was coughing up blood, diagnosed as “consumption” (pulmonary tuberculosis).

3. Nauvoo printers Don Carlos Smith and Robert B. Thompson both died in August 1841 from tuberculosis after printing runs of the third edition Book of Mormon, a revised version. “Consumption” is the cause given by mother Lucy Mack Smith. Don Carlos was the youngest brother of Joseph Smith Jr., born in the spring of 1816 (the year without a Vermont summer), and so he died at only 25 years of age. Thompson was born in England like John Taylor, emigrated to Toronto like John Taylor, and was baptized alongside John Taylor in Toronto in 1836—he died at age 29 (John Taylor lived to be a half-century older).

Nobody has ever told you what I tell you. Think about those young lives, if you think that the Book of Mormon is too much work to read. This is why I bought an original of one of these editions, when I was just a teenager—and I still work to discover, acquire, preserve, and share exemplary copies of these versions and other rare Mormon books from New England, New York, and the Midwest.


Anonymous said...

Good grief.

Pretty much everything Hajicek says here about the Book of Mormon could also be said about The Last of the Mohicans or The Scarlet Letter or any other book printed in those days (except of course that The Scarlet Letter is a far more “compelling Christian tale” than the BoM).

It’s also pretty silly to say that, because work like bookmaking involved health hazards that accumulated over time, the printing of a single book cost a printer his life. Meatpacking is also a hazardous occupation, but I doubt we’ll hear Hajicek haranguing anyone about how that one particular steak you’re eating cost some poor immigrant slaughterhouse worker his life — much less citing said sacrifice as evidence of the greatness of the steak!

This is quite possibly the most ludicrous Mormanity post ever.

— OK

Anonymous said...

From a believer’s point of view, one could also assume from the evidence that there was a curse put on those who participated in its publication so that they all died early. Maybe it wasn’t God’s will after all. . .

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, Anon 8:53. Some other kind of believer could interpret these completely unremarkable facts to mean something different, though equally ludicrous.

At this point it’s just reading entrails.

— OK

Anonymous said...

Every time Jeff is cornered, he will resort to it is just faith even ignore canonized scripture.

A person asked me the other day how Jeff responds to the fact that God's supposed statement to Joseph Smith that other religions "professors were all corrupt", I explained that Jeff dismisses this canon, falsely suggesting that it must be referring to just the local yokels around Joseph Smith at the time. The person said Jeff claiming that proves he is not a believer and just making everything up for sport.

Jeff Lindsay said...

John's point is interesting and worth considering, but yes, lots of jobs are hazardous. I could add that we should be grateful for the subways we ride, the tall buildings we work in, and the roadways for drive on, for many lives may have been lost to make those possible. To recognize the solemn hazards of the printing profession is not to devalue all the others whose work involves serious risk, but few of us have understood that printing was such a hazardous business. And yes, John's point can and should encourage people to value the written word in general. But I appreciate his recognition of the unique treasure of the Book of Mormon, regardless of what one thinks of its origins.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Off-topic Anon at 4:50, what?? I don't recall saying that the Lord's declaration only applied to those right around Joseph.

The word corrupt can mean, per the 1828 Webster Dictionary, "infected with errors or mistakes" as in "The text is corrupt." That doesn't mean there isn't great good therein at the same time. Parts of the Bible, for example, are clearly corrupted due to missing or unintelligible content, but that does not mean that the rest of the text does not have sacred value. From the Lord's perspective, if the covenants of the Gospel have been altered or lost, if authority has been lost, if erroneous teachings like infant baptism have been introduced, shouldn't God be able to express His concerns over such loss? Good, Christ-loving people can at the same time be professors of some corrupt doctrines requiring correction.

The real issue is not whether other religions have corrupt teachings and practices, but how we can best reduce our own corruption in our own lives, our practices, and our beliefs. The Restoration is still underway and what we do and teach may still have a long ways to go before the Lord can fully accept the Church, or, as President Nelson says, when the Lord comes again, will he recognize His Church?

Anonymous said...

There you go again with your sport. Your playing dumb, that was the person's point about you. As you know, your false spin was not how "corrupt" was presented by God, nor interpreted by Mormons for over century.

1. "Corrupt" was presented as "drawing near with their lips, far with the heart" which obviously is the opposite of the sincere dearly-held-though-errant spin you are presenting.

2. Your redefinition of corrupt then would have Mormons also corrupt because you have declared Mormons full of dearly-held-though-errant believes.

3 "shouldn't God be able to express His concerns over such loss" Strawman. You are the only one claiming God was merely expressing concern in this episode. That was the person's point about you, because he as an elderly ex-Mormon says you can lie only all you want, but he KNOWS what Mormons were taught. This is something you have been caught red handed in many times, for example pretending you taught your own children that Joseph Smith "translated" the BoM with a rock in a hat, when everyone knows Mormons did not previously (or currently?) teach this to their Children.

4. "The real issue is not whether other religions have corrupt teachings and practices, but how we can best reduce our own corruption in our own lives" NOw you are agreeing with the "critics"

5 "Restoration is still underway" This contradicts all the missionaries at chat.mormon.org which insist over and over that the FULLNESS of the gospel is incorporated in the Mormon church. They insist just because we do not have the answers to trivial items like evolution, etc, and will yet learn more, doesn't mean the restoration is incomplete.

6 "when the Lord comes again, will he recognize His Church?" We know that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would not recognize it as it is today.

Other topics

1 " if the covenants of the Gospel have been altered or lost" Mormons always say lost covenants without explanation. What covenants?> That was Hyrum Smith's original argument to JS and Oliver Cowdery when they first invited him to be baptized in their new church, that he (Hyrum) already covenanted with God when he got baptized Presbyterian, and to do it again would be like saying he was insincere in the first time he covenanted with God.

2. Not only was the the later invention of improper authority not original used with Hyrum Smith, it violates the assertion that God is no respecter of persons.

3. The idea that I need anyone's permission to make a covenant with them is absurd. I can covenant to quit calling Jeff anti-Christian no matter how hatefully Jeff chooses to behave without authority from Jeff to do so. If Jeff and I come to a mutual agreement, that he will cease his hateful behavior of calling others anti-Mormon and I will quite calling him anti-Christian that is perfectly fine, but if Jeff only makes such mutual agreements with people because of who they are related to, then he is a respecter of persons.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the above proves Jeff is just playing. Like Jeremy Runnels Stake President, he spits on his covenants with God and makes them a thing of dross and naught. If the Mormon version of heaven exist, then Jeff and Jeremy's Stake President will be required to personally apologize for their behavior for admittance into heaven.

Anonymous said...

Jeff and I have nearly universal agreement on things, except for one major difference. I do not reject Mormon canon. Above you see him reject canonized Joseph Smith history and weakly lie saying it is talking about scriptural text, when all anyone needs to do is read the canon to see Jeff is unabashedly lying. One can almost see Jeff smirk as you tells his tongue in cheek suggestion that it was the Bible that is corrupt not the religions and professors of the religions, uh, despite the Bible being the word of God. Then he calls millions of Mormons anti-Mormon. Why? because they say the canonized JS history isn't referring to scriptural text like he suggests. At least this is not as bad when Jeff wholesale rejected DC 10, concurring with the critics that people should be careful when creating alternate scenarios. The best part is when he says the restoration is not complete above contradicting those authorized, set apart, and ordain to represent his Church. Then we are all scratching our heads thinking, wait who is the apologist and who is the "critic". Jeff clearly does not have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Anon @11:07, you know RMN, your living prophet, has said the restoration isn't complete, right? McConkie said it too. He said there were rites, including sacrificing of animals, that still needed to be restored in some measure. Were you aware of it? Also, as for the JST, have you read the study released by BYU that shows conclusively that it was lifted whole cloth from an already existing source? I'll let you look all of this up on your own, as is your duty if you really value the truth.
That said, yeah, I don't consider Jeff a serious Mormon anymore. This whole blog is a history of his wishy-washiness. It's good to have a record of exactly what will keep him from ever being a GA.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:40 - "as is your duty if you really value the truth" You are going to have explained that one to me, why does a truth bound person need to do your homework for you.

You know McConkie said a lot of things that Jeff says were dearly held , but nonetheless errant beliefs such as declaring the non-Mormon Christians being part of the Book of Mormon's great and abominable Church.

When will RMN get the message to the missionaries. But I am curious, since you have such a duty to truth, why you didn't explain the difference between a fullness of the gospel and incomplete restoration? May be it is just word games that people not truth bound engage in? fullness - "the state of being filled to capacity." Maybe it is wishy-washy, fullness of gospel or incomplete restoration when convenient. Since you are so duty bound to truth, how do you explain God's contradiction in DC 10 where God falsely suggests that not retranslating some how stops evil mans plans.

John Gilbert said...

Didn't John Gilbert, the typesetter, live into his 90s?