We’re familiar with the story of Jesus calming the waves. LeGrand Richards grandfather was also promised that he would have power over the elements and so when the ship captain asked Brother Richards to do something about the stormy sea, Brother Richards responded by calming the ocean. What did the ship captain give to Brother Richards?
a. Captaincy over the ship for the remainder of the voyage
b. Time shares in England
c. The use of his private quarters for the remainder of the voyage
d. 10% of the ship’s profits
(C) Oliver Cowdery
The flyleaf of Joseph Smith’s King James Version of the Bible contains the following information in Joseph Smith’s handwriting:
“The Book of the Jews And the property of Joseph Smith Junior and Oliver Cowdery. Bought October the 8th 1829, at Egbert B. Grandin Book Store, Palmyra Wayne County NewYork. Price $3.75. Holiness to the Lord.”
You might ask what is so amazing about this information. More than anything, it is the price of the Bible. An average man was paid $1 a day in the 1830’s. Do the math; that same Bible today would cost $600-$800. The cost of printing was extremely expensive in Joseph Smith’s day.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,Church History In The Fulness Of Times (Salt Lake City: Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 118.
How does this compare to the cost of the bible when it was first printed?
At first there was an attempt on the part of the powerful but corrupt clergy to destroy these copies which were prepared without authority being granted by the great Catholic Church. Before the time of printing, a copy of the Bible cost the sum of 500 crowns (approximately $125.00). Through the aid of printing the price was reduced to five crowns (This would be in 1440 AD and each Bible would have cost $1.25. This is still extremely expensive considering most people worked for 6 pennies a week), which made it possible for the people not only to have the privilege of hearing the scriptures read in their native tongue, but also to acquire the understanding by which they could read them for themselves.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956), 185.
Knowing what the Bible sold for in Joseph Smith’s day, you might be somewhat curious as to the retail price of the
Book of Mormon. Parley P. Pratt’s Autobiography sheds some light on this.
A Book of Mormon sold for $1.25.
Considering the average man works for about $150-$200 a day, I think you can see the expensive cost of printing in the early days of the church.
Scott Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 110.