On March 26, 2011, to celebrate the 181st Anniversary of the first printing of the Book of Mormon, the missionaries invited the public to a birthday party. Here's what we did:
Visitors were greeted by missionaries in period clothing, or just missionary attire. They were invited to sign in.
A large variety of cookies, along with lemon water was offered to guests throughout the evening. After all, what's a party without refreshments?
Guests gathered on the main floor visitor's lobby and, as groups gathered, young sister missionaries ushered the groups through the various level of the store.
Throughout the evening some of the young sister missionaries delighted the guests with beautiful singing.
The first stop for our guests was E.B. Grandin's bookstore, where visitors learned some of the history of this enterprising young printer.
Three senior missionaries portrayed EB Grandin (left), Joseph Smith (center), and Martin Harris (right), as they negotiated the contract to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon. Later, Martin Harris willingly sold 151 acres, almost half, of his farm to pay the cost of printing the books, which was $3,000.
On the third floor the guests arrived at a diorama of the farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania where Joseph Smith (right) translated most of the Book of Mormon, with Oliver Cowdery (left) acting as his scribe, and his wife Emma (center) keeping up on the household duties, all played by more of our wonderful senior missionaries.
Once the translation was completed and the contract to publish the book agreed upon, it was taken to the third floor of Grandin's business, the print shop. Here, senior missionary, Elder Watts, portrayed John H. Gilbert, the typesetter for the Book of Mormon.
Another senior missionary took the role of Hyrum Smith (left), who brought the copied transcript to the print shop daily to be typeset and printed.
Once John H. Gilbert (center), set the type, Pomeroy Tucker (right), printed the pages, using the new and improved Smith Patented Press.
Guests were next taken to the second level where the bindery was located. After the pages were printed they were folded and bound by Luther Howard (below), owner of the bindery.
If women worked anywhere in the print shop, it would have been in the bindery at the stitching frames, laboriously stitching the books together.
The entire process of printing and binding the Book of Mormon was amazing, but the real miracle is the messages contained within the book. Below a senior missionary portrays Moroni, the ancient American prophet who buried the record, engraved on gold plates, in the Hill Cumorah.
As guests finished on the second floor, they were invited to write their own testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. These were compiled in a leather bound binder, to be kept at this historic site.
And finally, before leaving, each visitor was given a favor, a thank-you for coming. It was a magnet made of candy, designed to look like a Book of Mormon.
We had about 180 guests come to our celebration. It was a wonderful party! To get your free copy of a Book of Mormon or to learn more about the Book of Mormon, click this link: