On the March 26, 1830, the Wayne Sentinel, the village newspaper of Palmyra, New York, printed an advertisement under the heading "The Book of Mormon." The advertisement reproduced the title page of the book in question, which had created a considerable stir in the area months before its publication, followed by a simple announcement: "The above work, containing about 600 pages, large Duodecimo, is now for sale, whole-sale, and retail at the Palmyra Bookstore, by HOWARD & GRANDIN." This announcement heralded the publication of what would become the most widely distributed book in American history, save only the Bible. And that publication was the immediate prelude to the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized on April 6. That same church has consistently relied, from the day of its founding to the present, on the Book of Mormon as the principal agent of conversion to the gospel it preached.

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Copyright © 2010, CQ Press. This article first appeared in Encyclopedia of Religion in America: Volume 1 (2010), 310-313.

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