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.
At the link below is a copy of the signed testimony of the three witnesses to the plates of Mormon. It is in Portuguese and the translation is below which was done using Google translate.
STATEMENT OF THREE WITNESSES FROM THE SEALED BOOK OF MORMON
By the power and mercy of our Heavenly Father and our Master and Redeemer, yes, Jesus Christ, we bear our witness to all nations.
The nature of this testimony is to briefly describe what we have seen, heard and touched:
After some time with Mauricio Berger, who told us about the events on Mount Agudo, we decided to accompany him to the mountain. We can say that everything we have seen there has an extraordinarily sacred character. The prayers and praises offered to the Lord in that place, seeking to do the will of the Father, resulted in the visit of celestial beings; the instructions received directly from the Angel Moroni, are events that have marked our lives forever and ever. We squeezed his hand and received from him the Golden Plates, the translating stones and the Sword of Laban, formerly in possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. This sublime circumstance had a powerful effect on our beliefs by enlarging our perception of this great and marvelous work.
We affirm that, by the power of God, the Sealed Book of Mormon will be translated, contained in the plates.
We know, therefore, that the translation will take place in two time periods. The first part that belongs to Maurício Berger (in fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Nephi 27: 21-26 LDS, or even 2 Nephi 11: 143-147 RLDS), with the intention of calling His people again to repentance. Upon completion of the translation, we understand that will be fulfilled what is written in 2 Nephi 30: 3 LDS, or 2 Nephi 12:80 RLDS – where it is clear this Record will be sealed back to the Lord in accordance with Ether 4: 7 LDS or Ether 1: 101 RLDS. Qualifying your people to receive the second part.
We place our witness at the disposal of the world, with a deep sense of gratitude and a total sense of responsibility towards God who directs this work. We solemnly affirm that by our fidelity to this testimony our garments will be clean at the last day.
In vain will be the one who stands up against the work of God. Honor and glory be for ever and ever, the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, in whom we entrust the conclusion of this glorious work. Amen.
Joni Batista, Valdeci Machado, and Wagner Zeppenfeld
Kelvin Henson has written about his experiences and testimony from the eight witnesses trip to Brazil. It can be read here.
At the link below is a copy of the signed testimony of the eight witnesses to the plates of Mormon.