“Four New Translations Completed for Book of Mormon, Triple Combination,” Ensign, Feb. 2007, 77–78
The Church continues to make editions of the scriptures available to members in many languages. In 2006 speakers of Armenian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Malagasy received word that the triple combination of the scriptures, along with new editions of the Book of Mormon, was available in their language.
The release of the new triple combinations continues a push by Church leaders to give every member the opportunity to own his or her own copies of the scriptures, hopefully resulting in an increase in testimony and faith.
“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular, personal, and family study, and in Church meetings and assignments,” the First Presidency stated in letters announcing the release of the new editions. “As they prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow, their knowledge will increase, their love of family and others will expand, their ability to serve others will enlarge, and they will receive greater strength to resist temptation and defend truth and righteousness.”
Whenever the scriptures are provided in a new language, Church members respond enthusiastically. Such was the case with the new triple combinations released last year.
“To see how people receive the books when they come out—it’s just fantastic,” said Jim Berlin, a scripture translation supervisor.
In Armenia Brother Berlin gathered with a group of about 20 people, and each person shared a scripture from the new publication and told why it had touched his or her heart.
“It is so powerful as 15 to 20 people hold in their hands their own copy of the Book of Mormon—marked up, loved, cherished,” he said. “They shared their love for scripture passages and for the Lord.”
Although some preparatory work was done beforehand, the translation of the scriptures in Armenian, Latvian, and Lithuanian began in 1998.
After a new scripture translation is requested by an Area Presidency and approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Church’s Translation Division begins the translation process, communicating with local priesthood leaders to find and recommend candidates from the area as scripture translators.
“The Lord prepares souls in all these lands, and one thing that we as supervisors see very clearly is that this is the Lord’s work and He has His hand on it,” said Brother Berlin, who supervised the translation process for Armenian and initiated and later finished the process for Latvian and Lithuanian.
Brother Berlin told the story of a brother who had joined the Church in St. Petersburg, Russia, many years ago and felt prompted to return home to Armenia to build up the kingdom. He did so, and a year later Brother Berlin arrived to begin the scripture translation work.
The man had helped in the translation of the Book of Mormon, published in 2000, and after his English skills increased, he became the translator of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in the full triple combination.
Brother Berlin said scripture translators in Latvia and Lithuania have similar experiences of how the Lord had prepared them.
“The Lord has prepared people in all these countries and is currently preparing people to accomplish His work,” he said.
The first full edition of the Book of Mormon in Malagasy was published in 2000; selections from the book were published in 1986. Malagasy is a language spoken by the people in Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa. Just months after the first full edition of the Book of Mormon was published, the first stake was organized in Madagascar—the Antananarivo Madagascar Stake. Madagascar is home to more than 3,300 members of the Church. Church membership there grew 86.3 percent from 2000 to 2005.
The first edition of the Book of Mormon in Armenian was published in 1937. Because the majority of Armenians speak a different dialect today, a new Armenian edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 2001. Located in southwestern Asia, Armenia is home to more than 2,000 members of the Church. Membership has almost tripled in Armenia since 2000.
Latvia and Lithuania, Baltic States in Eastern Europe, are home to more than 800 and 750 members of the Church respectively. From 2000 to 2005, Church membership grew by 62 percent in Latvia and by 42.8 percent in Lithuania.
Copies of the triple combination editions of the scriptures are available through local Church distribution centers and may be ordered through local Church leaders.