Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are studying the Book of Mormon this year. This has focused renewed attention on the faith’s signature scripture and how it came to be — with stories of angels and gold plates and rocks called “seer stones.”

Discussing the text’s origins is Richard Bushman, author of the highly acclaimed Joseph Smith biography, “Rough Stone Rolling.” He is working on a book about the gold plates, which Latter-day Saints believe tell the religious history of peoples in the ancient Americas and which Smith said he translated into English. That translation now is known as the Book of Mormon.