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Brush up on your Church history with this new narrative

Beginning in February 2018, the Church started publishing a four-volume history of the Church titled "Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

The first six chapters of Volume 1 are now available. The four volumes will be published in 14 langauges in book form (available at store.lds.org), online at saints.lds.org, and in the Gospel Library app for mobile devices.

The history is not a reference work, but a narrative based on well-researched facts. Every detail and every line of dialogue is supported by historical sources, according to a Church News article when the first chapter was released in February.

Read an excerpt titled, "Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer Testify of the Book of Mormon":

Oliver Cowdery
Oliver Cowdery Photo: Ken Corbett

When violence erupted in the streets of Independence, (Missouri,) William McLellin fled his home and hid in the woods, terrified of the mobs. After destroying the church’s printing office, the people of Jackson County had ransacked Sidney Gilbert’s store and driven many Saints from their homes. Some men had been captured and whipped until they bled.

Hoping to avoid their fate, William stayed in the woods for days. When he learned that a mob was offering a cash reward to anyone who captured him or other prominent church members, he slipped away to the Whitmer family’s settlement along the Big Blue River, several miles to the west, and kept out of sight.

Alone and afraid, William was racked with doubts. He had come to Independence believing the Book of Mormon was the word of God. But now he had a price on his head. What would happen if a mob found him? Could he stand by his testimony of the Book of Mormon then? Could he declare his faith in the restored gospel? Was he willing to suffer and die for it?

As William agonized over these questions, he met David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery in the woods. Even though there was a reward out for Oliver too, the men had reason to believe the worst had passed. The people of Independence were still determined to drive the Saints out of the county, but the attacks had stopped and some church members were returning to their homes.

For a story on William E. McLellin in Mormon Times. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. (Photo of painting courtesy LDS Church)
For a story on William E. McLellin in Mormon Times. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. (Photo of painting courtesy LDS Church) Photo: Provided by LDS Church

Looking for reassurance, William turned to his friends. “I have never seen an open vision in my life,” he told them, “but you men say you have.” He had to know the truth. “Tell me, in the fear of God,” he demanded, “is that Book of Mormon true?”

Oliver looked at William. “God sent His holy angel to declare the truth of the translation of it to us, and therefore we know,” he said. “And though the mob kill us, yet we must die declaring its truth.”

“Oliver has told you the solemn truth,” David said. “I most truly declare to you its truth.”

“I believe you,” William said.

Read more from "Saints" here.

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