RELIGION

Mormon church to release more papers from church founder as part of transparency push

  • The Mormon church is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how its founder formed the religion.

    The Mormon church is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how its founder formed the religion.  (AP)

  • Flowers bloom in front of the Salt Lake Temple Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    Flowers bloom in front of the Salt Lake Temple Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historian Steven E. Snow rests his hand on the third volume of the Joseph Smith papers, which includes the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon, during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historian Steven E. Snow rests his hand on the third volume of the Joseph Smith papers, which includes the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon, during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)  (The Associated Press)

The Mormon church is taking another step in its push to be more transparent, and is releasing more historical documents that shed light on how Joseph Smith formed the religion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the volume being released at a news conference Wednesday in Salt Lake City is a printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon.

Mormons believe that 185 years ago, God helped Smith translate a story that was written in ancient Egyptian and engraved on gold plates. It became known as the Book of Mormon.

The religion counts 15 million followers worldwide after experiencing a tripling of membership in the past three decades. Some outsiders have criticized it as being secretive about its practices and beliefs.

This is the church's latest step toward making available documents or clarifying some of the more sensitive parts of its doctrine or history.