An 1841 first European edition of the Book of Mormon, printed in Liverpool, is now on display at the London Temple Visitors’ Centre in Newchapel, Surrey. This priceless artifact, printed by John Tompkins at the request of Brigham Young and John Taylor,former presidents of the Church, is one of 4,050 copies originally published for 110 pounds plus 100 pounds for paper.
Dr. Peter Crawley, in A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, vol. I, pp. 148-51, wrote:
“Taylor reported on July 23, 1840, that Tompkins had printed three forms, and he suggested that the galleys be forwarded to Young in Manchester and then sent back to be read by a new convert who was a compositor at a Liverpool newspaper. The next day he paid Tompkins the first of nine monthly installments. But the printing took longer than the four months Brigham Young had anticipated, and not until January 1841 did Thompkins finish the text… Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball, who were laboring in London, received a bundle of twenty copies of the new Book of Mormon on February 8, 1841 and that day they secured the British copyright at Stationers’ Hall and deposited five copies. Four days later the last of the monthly payments was made to Thompkins....The book did not sell out until December 1848, and the second European edition was printed in 1849, and the third edition in 1852.”
The London Temple Visitors’ Centre is now open Sundays from 3-8 p.m., Mondays from 5-8 p.m ., and Tuesday – Saturdays and bank holidays from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The Visitors' Centre will remain open while the London Temple is closed for renovation September 2 - November 12. This would be a great time for families and friends to come and receive personal attention from the sister missionaries giving tours, watching the latest Church movies, and discussing gospel principles.
Everyone is invited to come see this historic edition of the Book of Mormon, as well as a new display, “We Follow Christ.”