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Royal Skousen collation of Book of Mormon text, 1981-2020

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8255 Series 2 Sub-Series 2

Scope and Contents

Contains materials pertaining to the linguistic work of Royal Skousen, professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In particular are Skousen's complete collation files on the Book of Mormon text, title page through Moroni 10, in main bulk and original drafts. This includes symbol keys and stemma, progressive editions of each passage's collation, overhead sheets, articles, cue sheets, library research notes, and directory and file printouts. Also includes research, writing, and publication files for Skousen's Book of Mormon Critical Text Project series, particularly volumes 3 and 4 (comprising 12 parts and two editions between the two volumes) on grammatical variation, the nature of the original language, quotations from the King James Bible in the Book of Mormon, spelling in the manuscripts and editions of the Book of Mormon, and the analysis of textual variants; features edited drafts, background information and articles on Joseph Smith and his scribes, presentations and articles, printed signatures, alphabetical topical files (on specific words and phrases unique to the Book of Mormon as well as grammatical constructions and literary features), work of and with his collaborator Stanford Carmack and other peers, file cards, corrections, suggestions from other editors and linguists, correspondence, publication information, printed volumes, etc. Materials dated 1981-2020.


  • 1981-2020


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research with permission from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Prospective users must request access in writing. The donor agreement requires that Special Collections seek permission from the Skousens until 2045 or their demise; thereafter, Special Collections will solely make decisions regarding access.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

From the Collection:

Royal Jon Skousen, son of LeRoy Bentley Skousen and Helen Louise McCarty, was born on August 5, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of ten children. He graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon. When he was 19, his father unexpectedly died of lung cancer. Royal went on to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Finland from 1965 to 1967. After his return in 1968, he married Sirkku Unelma Härkönen; they moved to Orem, Utah and raised seven children together. Meanwhile, Royal received further education in the form of a BA from BYU in English and math. He earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1972, then worked as an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Texas-Austin until 1979, when he was hired by BYU. He was also a visiting professor at the University of California-San Diego in 1981, a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Tampere (Finland) in 1982, and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, Netherlands) in 2001. In 1999, he was awarded BYU's Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Research and Creative Arts distinction. Since then he has served as the president of the Utah Association of Scholars, as well as associate editor of the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics since 2003.

Skousen's work in linguistics has dealt chiefly with developing a theory of language called Analogical Modeling, a theory that predicts language behavior by means of examples rather than by rules. He has published three books on this subject: Analogical Modeling of Language (1989), Analogy and Structure (1992), and Analogical Modeling: An Exemplar-Based Approach to Language (2002). More recently, he has published on the quantum computation of Analogical Modeling, notably in his 2005 paper "Quantum Analogical Modeling" (available at Skousen began working on the critical text of the Book of Mormon in 1988. This work represents the central task of the Critical Text Project, to restore by scholarly means the original text of the Book of Mormon, to the extent possible. To date, he has published 9 books on the subject, with 4 more to appear in the next three years. Altogether, up through 2013, he has given 94 presentations and written/published 14 books, 70 articles, and 23 online and media publications. He lives in Spanish Fork with his wife Sirkku and continues to teach and lecture.


37 cartons

23 folders

2 boxes

Language of Materials



Collation files arranged in corresponding Book of Mormon order (title page and witness statements, 1 Nephi - Moroni). Original drafts follow preliminary work, with the same basic scheme.

Critical Text Project files divided into 5 subseries: 1. Royal Skousen materials for "History of the Text of the Book of Mormon: Grammatical Variation," 1981-2018. 2. Royal Skousen materials for "History of the Text of the Book of Mormon: The Nature of the Original Language," 1985-2019. 3. Royal Skousen materials for "History of the Text of the Book of Mormon: King James Quotations in the Book of Mormon," 2005-2019. 4. Royal Skousen materials for "History of the Text of the Book of Mormon: Spelling in the Manuscripts and Editions," 2006-2020. 5. Royal Skousen materials for "History of the Text of the Book of Mormon: Analysis of Textual Variants," 2004-2018.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States