Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Once all of the printing of The Book of Mormon was completed the next step was to bind the pages and add a cover.  This was done in the bindery.  The first job in the binding process was to fold the signatures (a set of 16 pages on one sheet).  This was done using a bone knife and folding the sheets 3 times. 


Next, all 37 signatures were collated, to complete one book.  Several of these "books" were placed in the standing book press and left overnight.  The pressure compacted the folds that had been made by hand.

At this point the signatures were ready to be sewn together.  With a needle and thread, the binder carefully stitched through the center of the folded signature and back out again.  This was repeated for each signature and the signatures were stitched to each other too.


When the sewing was complete a thin layer of glue was brushed across the spine.  This is also the point at which the blank end sheets were added.

Then the book was trimmed.  All three unsewn edges were trimmed to open up the pages.

The next to last step was attaching the cover. First the binder cut a piece of leather just larger than the book. 


After spreading glue onto the entire piece of leather, the hide was carefully wrapped around the boards and the blank end  pages of the book were glued to the boards. As a final step, another end paper was glued to the board, covering up the uneven edges of the leather.


Now the newly made volume needed a name.  A piece of gold leaf wast tacked down on the spine of the book.  Then embossing dies were heated on the stove, one for each letter, and pressed one-by-one into the gold leaf.  When the title was completed the excess gold leaf was brushed away and the volume was complete.

The process of printing and binding the Book of Mormon is interesting and miraculous, but the real miracle is the message of Jesus Christ contained within the book.  Many artists have been touched by this message and have painted some of the stories from the book.  In the art gallery, here on the second floor, we can see original works of several artists, along with a photographic reproduction.

These original paintings of C. C. A. Christensen depict events told about in the Book of Mormon.  Christensen was a Danish convert artist that immigrated to Utah after he joined the Mormon religion.  He lived from 1831-1912. 

The Prophet Lehi Preaches to the People of Jerusalem:
Lehi was a prophet in Jerusalem around 600 BC. Here he calls repentance to the people of Jerusalem.  God then inspired Lehi to take his family and leave Jerusalem before it was destroyed because of wickedness.

Below right: Nephi Prepares for the Journey to the Promised Land:
With divine inspiration, Nephi constructed a ship for the journey to the new land, the Americas.  His family took seeds, livestock, and other provisions for their new life.  Essential among their possessions were the scriptures, engraved on brass plates.

Below left: Father Lehi Blesses His Posterity:
Shortly after arriving in the new land, Lehi pronounced blessings upon his descendants.
Below: Nephi's Vision of Christ's Earthly Ministry:  Lehi's son, Nephi, received a vision of God's plan of salvation.  Christ's birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection were central events of this eternal plan.

Below: Baptisms in the Waters of Mormon:  Nephits organized a church and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Converts to the church were baptized by immersion as a sign of their acceptance of Christ's atonement and willingness to live by His teachings.  The artist for this painting is Arnold Friberg and here in the art gallery we have a photographic print of the original oil painting.

Below: Christ's Ministry in the Promised Land - John Scott:
This is an original acrylic on canvas.
Christ taught His gospel among the people of the America.  They all became converted and lived together in complete peace, unity, and righteousness for nearly two centuries.  He came shortly after His resurrection and blessed the children, healed the sick, and established His Church.

Below: Both paintings are original and were created by artist Tom Lovell in 1968

Left: Mormon Abridges the Record of the Nephites
Following two centuries of righteousness after Christ's ministry among the Nephites, they turned completely to wickedness and were destroyed by civil war.  The prophet Mormon obeyed a commandment from God to abridge the records of their thousand-year history in the Promised Land.

Right:  Moroni Buries the Golden Plates
Mormon's son Moroni finished the Nephite record and buried it consistent with Mormon's instructions.  According to prophecy, record would be the means of restoring to earth in the last days Christ's gospel and God's covenants of salvation.

This concludes our tour of the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site.  We hope you enjoyed your tour.  To receive your free copy of the Book of Mormon call the phone number listed on this blog or go 
     to mormon.org.  We  promise you this book will bless your lives.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Spring in New York has been exciting and beautiful.  Two weeks ago we had a variety of experiences we want to share with you.

There is a park in Rochester, Highland Park, that contains 120 acres and over a 1,000 varieties of lilacs.  We went there one evening after we visited people we are working with in Rochester and enjoyed strolling among the lilacs.  The aroma was heavenly and the flowers stunning!

We enjoyed a short drive along Lake Ontario looking at the apple trees as they were in blossom.  There are miles and miles of apple orchards here in New York, home of Seneca Apple Juice.

In the Sacred Grove plants are beginning to be lush and green!  For a short window of time we enjoyed the Trilliums in bloom too.

The foxes aren't so little anymore and are venturing farther and farther from their den (PVC Pipe under the road).  They are still calm around the visitors and have added a nice addition to our tours of the Smith Farm.  We expect they will outgrow their home and be moving on soon, but we have enjoyed watching them grow.  See them as babies.


Richard Turley is head of the Historical Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He has been traveling throughout the United States making a documentary of the historical sites, including the ones here in Palmyra where we serve.  They were filming at the Smith Farm while we were working there.  It was fun to watch - such patience - filming the same short scene over and over again until it was just right!

The next day they were filming at the Book of Mormon Historical Publication Site and we were assigned to work there that day, so we got to watch again.  The camera was amazing!  Besides a very large lens and a monitor with prompts, it could be controlled by remote, making complex shots seem easy.

The director watched each scene filmed on a monitor and could guide the production from a distance.  I was able to talk to the director's wife for a while.  Steven and I also visited with Richard Turley.  The entire crew worked long hours and with great patience.  One scene at the Whitmer Farm had to be shot 49 times.

This was the big semi truck that transported all of the equipment needed to make the documentary.  See our red PT in the parking lot too?


. . . and we thought they only happened in the winter! 

We had a big wind storm on Saturday. A tree blew over on the road to the top of Hill Cumorah and that part of the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center had to be closed. Then the power went out at Hill Cumorah and the entire site was closed. The Sacred Grove was also closed due to danger of falling branches with the high winds (gusts were from 45 - 60 miles per hour).

That is how our mid May went: Flowers, Foxes, Films and Storms.  Of course we continued to give tours and meet lots of wonderful people too!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Welcome to the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site. This site is one of the sacred sites here in Palmyra because this is where the Book of Mormon was first printed, bound, and sold to the public. We will start the tour with a 5 minute video to give you an overview of the site. Please have a seat and enjoy the video.The owner of the print shop and bookstore was Egbert B. Grandin. He was just 21 when he bought the print shop and was a young up and coming businessman in Palmyra.

Please notice this wall map. The scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants written in the 1830's tells us that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be taught to everyone in their own tongue. The Book of Mormon has now been printed either completely or partially in 108 languages. We are seeing that prophecy full filled!
Now, get prepared to "step back in time" as we visit the bookstore of EB Grandin. In the bookstore you will note that the walls, floors and ceiling beams are original. The furnishings are either antiques from the period or authentic reproductions. Most of the books sold in the store were paperback. The Book of Mormon was bound in sheepskin leather and was approximately the size of the Bible used during that time period. That way people could have a matched set of scriptures.
The scriptures above aren't part of the official tour, but a book collector came by the Grandin Building with this original copy of the Book of Mormon and and original Bible from the same time. You can see how they are a matched set. We were happy to get this picture of both books together!
The Book of Mormon sold for $1.25, about equal to two days wages during that time. EB Grandin's store was a community gathering place, to discuss politics, the weather, social events, read the paper and play board games, much like bookstores in our day.

In the case above is a math book printed and published by EB Grandin in 1832 and is very valuable.

This is the office of EB Grandin where he signed the contract with Joseph Smith to publish the Book of Mormon for the cost of $3000. Martin Harris a trusted friend agreed to mortgage his farm to pay for the printing. Eventually he had to sell half of his farm to pay the printing costs.

Below are original paintings of EB Grandin and his wife Harriet. They are the only known likenesses that exist of them and the paintings were donated to the LDS Church by their descendants in 1980. EB Grandin became an apprentice in the printing business at age 16 and bought his own business at age 21. He married Harriet a year later and they had 6 children. Though they didn't sympathize with Joseph religiously, they were business associates that helped bring forth the Book of Mormon to the public.

In the case below you will see one of those first 5.000 copies of the Book of Mormon and a Bible printed in 1828. One contains the Old Testament of Jesus Christ and the New Testament of Jesus Christ, and the other is another Testament of Jesus Christ. Together they testify of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and give us the fullness of His Gospel.

Next we will go upstairs to learn more about how the Book of Mormon was revealed, translated and printed.

(Check the next blog post for that part of the tour.)