‘Mormon Land’: Scholar Richard Bushman discusses those mysterious gold plates

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Mormon historian Richard Bushman gives a talk at Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Bushman is working on a new book about the gold plates, from which church founder Joseph Smith said he translated the Book of Mormon.

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.

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