The "lost 116 pages" were the original manuscript pages Joseph Smith translated. These pages were lost by Joseph Smith's scribe Martin Harris during the summer of 1828 and are presumed to have been destroyed.

These lost 116 pages were handwritten on the paper of the day. If these pages were printed in the Book of Mormon as modern pages, how many pages would this be?

Zarahemla Research Foundation gives the following description of the pages.

Description of the Original Manuscript. The paper used for the Original manuscript was called "foolscap." Foolscap originally referred to a watermark of a jester's cap on writing paper. This term came to apply to writing paper which generally measured 12" to 13-1/2" wide by 15" to 17" long, whether or not it carried a watermark. The surviving Original manuscript pages are of two sizes and three kinds of paper-one, a coarse mesh machined paper, the others of finer handmade texture.

I am not sure how to take this description and turn it into the number of modern Book of Mormon pages.

In other words, I would like to know what percentage of the Book of Mormon was lost.


Taking the liberty of assuming that the "116 lost pages" were similar in size and content to what was presented to the publisher for printing, I think we can uncover a reasonable estimate.

The Printer's Manuscript is the earliest complete pre-publication document we have of the original translation. Like the Original Manuscript, it was written by hand and had the addition of punctuation. While the scribes were different, it is probably reasonable to assume that the content would be reasonably similar overall.

This table provides a correlation to the current publication and the Printer's Manuscript. According to the table, 116 pages would cover the extant from 1 Nephi through Words of Mormon.

In narrow columns, new chapter divisions, cross references, footnotes, etc., the "116 lost pages" would be about 144 pages of the current typed version, or about 21% of the total translated pages.

In regards to the amount of content lost, the "116 lost pages" contained the "Book of Lehi" and covered—according to the Words of Mormon—the same time period as the books from 1 Nephi to the Omni. Nephi states some of the things previously recorded, perhaps in the Book of Lehi, which were intentionally left out of his personal account.

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    I just went through my reprint of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon (single column, fewer chapters, no cross references or footnotes, etc.) and the pages missing would amount to about 148 pages of that printed text, and 20% of the completed volume.
    – Tavrock
    Oct 30 '16 at 5:19

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