According to standard definition, an encyclopedia is a work designed to "treat comprehensively all the various branches of knowledge" pertaining to a particular subject. The subject of this collection of reprints from Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992) is the Book of Mormon, a key scripture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Encyclopedia, as well as this new spin-off volume, is intended for all kinds of readers, young and old, novices and experts, Latter-day Saints and those of other faiths. Readers will find concise articles about the contents, peoples, teachings, and coming forth of the Book of Mormon, although no article is exhaustive because of space limitations. Most articles include a bibliography; some of these have been expanded to include additional sources on the Book of Mormon since the Encyclopedia's bibliography was compiled. Where a few inconsistencies and inaccuracies occurred in the original, we have silently corrected these. Otherwise the text remains untouched. Cross-references to other articles in the Encyclopedia are indicated when relevant by small capital letters.
For further study on many topics, please see the original four volumes of the Encyclopedia. The first of those volumes contains a list of contributors and their institutional affiliations, as well as a helpful synoptic outline. Additionally, volume four includes thirteen appendixes ranging from a chronology of church history to letters from the First Presidency. Beyond those acknowledged in the full edition of the Encyclopedia, we wish to thank Wendy H. Christian for her extensive help in the production of this volume.
Lest the role of this reprint of the Encyclopedia be given more weight than it deserves, the current editors make it clear that those who have written and edited these materials have tried only to explain their understanding of church history, doctrines, and procedures; their statements and opinions remain their own. The contents of this reprint do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University, or the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. It is hoped that these materials, conveniently gathered under one cover, will serve as a valuable introduction to the Book of Mormon, leading readers into its pages and especially into its covenantal testament of and with the Savior Jesus Christ.