Kelvin Henson’s testimony of his work as scribe for the translation

At 3:00 pm Brazilian time [on May 25, 2018], Mauricio Berger took Joni Batista and myself into the back room of his apartment where he does the work of translating the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. In a corner of the room, there is a small table with a desk on the end closest to the corner. He set up the area for him to translate and for me to write the words that he speaks. Mauricio sat at the desk, his back in the corner of the room. Joni and I sat at the table across from him. Mauricio had driven nails high up in the walls, one to his left and one to his right. He took a sheet with two strings attached to it and strung it around these nails. The end result created a little triangular space, between the two walls and the sheet, where Mauricio sat at the desk. Joni and I were on the outside of the sheet at the other end of the table. Right before we began, I looked in his little triangle and there was nothing there except for the plates, the interpreters, which he has fastened into a frame, and a chair. I sat at a computer and Joni sat next to me. For this small portion, Mauricio just had me type. But later he said I will need to write it out because there needs to be a physical copy of the translation. This first time for me was just a short passage, and we only did it in English, as the Portuguese part of the portion had already been completed. The three of us knelt on the floor and Mauricio offered a prayer. We then took our seats and the translation commenced. Mauricio sounded out the words as best he could. Some of them I was able to understand, while many needed to be spelled out. Joni sat next to me and watched, asking Mauricio questions of clarification when I couldn’t make something out, or thought a word didn’t sound right. There were some times when Mauricio made a mistake and he would reread the word until we could figure it out. The mistakes that were made were minor, such as accidentally replacing a letter “a” with a letter “o.” Often times in these moments of question, he would ask me to turn off the light, as I was sitting next to the switch on the wall. He told me later that sometimes the artificial light reflecting off of the plates would interfere with what he was seeing through the stones. The translation that I typed came out to fifteen lines of text, and one hundred and ninety seven words. I asked Mauricio how much it was on the plates, and he put his fingers at the point where he started and where he ended. It was a little more than half of one line of characters. He later counted eleven characters that had been translated in that session. He also later explained some about how the interpreters work. He sees a list of articles and other filler words for the English translation that he chooses from to put into the spot provided. I do not fully understand this, and I don’t know if I ever will. But Mauricio said that when he read the English with me today, there were less options for him to choose from. He believes that since I was helping this time, he didn’t need as much assistance from the interpreters as he does when he is alone. It was a marvelous experience to help with the translation. The Holy Spirit was present and gave me clarity of mind which was needed to understand Mauricio’s attempts at sounding out the English words, some of which were far from correct, and to suggest the necessary minor changes. I do testify that the translation was accomplished only by the divine power of God who has brought forth this work in His own time and His own way. It is my understanding that I am supposed to be the English scribe for the complete length of the sealed portion, but I do not know if that is the Lord’s plan, neither do I know when it will be completed.

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