Last week I had the opportunity to give a talk about the atonement. In the process, I came across a Wikipedia page that was clearly written by someone who purported to know Church doctrine but apparently hadn’t read the Book of Mormon. 1 So I edited the Wikipedia article. In citing the Book of Mormon passages that contain the doctrine discussed by the Wikipedia article, I took the time to insert the publication date of the Book of Mormon, 26 March 1830.
Sitting in Stake Conference yesterday, I had occasion to return to the article I’d edited. And as I stared at the date of publication for the Book of Mormon, I wondered why it was published on that date.
As has been discussed elsewhere, the First Vision occurred on a Sunday right after the Smith family had spent over a day harvesting maple sap. Due to weather records collected nearby, we know the maple sap was running a little over a week before the Easter of 1820.
A quick search confirmed that Easter fell on April 2 in 1820. That places the Sunday before Easter on 26 March 1820.
So it appears Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon on the tenth anniversary of the First Vision.
It’s a small historical grace note that doesn’t affect whether the Church is true or not. But it made me happy. And I hope it makes you happy as well.
- The article as it stood before my edit attributed key doctrines to Joseph Smith, citing sermons that occurred several years after publication of the Book of Mormon, which clearly contains the doctrine in question. ↩