“Four Triple Combination Translations Completed, Now Available,” Liahona, Dec. 2006, N12–N13
The people of four nations have received another portion of the printed word of God in their own language. In letters to area Church leaders dated July 28, 2006, the First Presidency announced the completion of the triple combination of the scriptures in Armenian, Latvian, and Lithuanian. On May 11, 2006, the First Presidency announced the completion of the triple combination of the scriptures in Malagasy. The completion of new editions of the Book of Mormon in the four languages was also announced.
“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 the letters. “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.”
Church members have responded with excitement to the new triple combinations.
“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, 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. A newer version of the Armenian Book of Mormon language edition was published in 2001. The distribution of this edition in Armenia in May 2001 coincided with the 1,700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia—one of the oldest Christian nations in the world.
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 Europe, are home to more than 800 and more than 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.