Restoration and Church History
An Inspired, Timely Translation

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An Inspired, Timely Translation

When asked to translate the Book of Mormon into Icelandic, Sveinbjörg Guðmundsdóttir was initially intimidated by the magnitude of the task. A professional translator was hired instead, but in three years the translator had progressed no further than the book of Mosiah. The work was so slow that the Church’s translation department recommended that only selections be translated and published.

Sveinbjörg planned to accept this more modest assignment but received the impression that it “was not what the Lord wanted.” Not understanding her impression, she prayed for three days before receiving the answer: “Do not worry, my child. The translation of the Book of Mormon will be finished this year if you are willing to work hard.” Sveinbjörg was kneeling in her office on a very noisy street in Reykjavík. “When I received the answer,” she said, “there was such a complete silence … just this voice.” She stood up, feeling weak and dazed, yet knowing what the Lord wanted her to do.

To finish the translation within the year, Sveinbjörg labored longer each day, worked on Saturdays, and refused to take summer vacation. But her hard work was blessed; she finished translating the last verses on December 30, 1979. “Even reading it today,” she reflected, “I think … I didn’t do it. … It came straight from the Spirit.”