I received an email from a reader concerned about how to respond to some stories he was hearing about the printing of the Book of Mormon in 1830. Specifically, there's a book and a speaker out there claiming the actual printing of the book, at Grandin's print shop in Palmyra in 1829-30, could not have been accomplished by the normal printing technology of that time and that it must, therefore, have been miraculous, in some unspecified way. Here's an article at Meridian Magazine that summarizes and responds to the book and its claims. I'll summarize my response, then invite your comments and feedback.
Here are a few points I made in responding to the email. First, this is not the way the LDS Church presents the Book of Mormon through its missionaries or other representatives. While the story told about the book is that it was brought forth "by the gift and power of God" rather than by strictly natural means, the primary focus is on the contents of the book and the promise in Moroni 10.
Second, the actual first printing of the book in 1829-30 in Palmyra has never been held out as anything other than just a regular printing project. So presenting it as an additional evidence of the Book of Mormon's divinity seems like creating a superfluous miracle. To me, it seems like those who are promoting this idea are off on a tangent.
Third, it seems like this is an example of faith-promoting history at its worst. Those who accept this "miracle" at face value are at risk of feeling betrayed if they later determine there was no miracle, just a print shop; there were no angels in the print shop, just John H. Gilbert, a typesetter. So while telling exaggerated stories about the printing of the Book of Mormon may be largely harmless, it might also set some people up for a big disappointment farther on down the road.
Any other ideas? Anyone have other reactions?