Book of Mormon Changes — The Fall of Mormonism: changes and problems with the Book of Mormon are discussed

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Book of Mormon Changes — The Fall of Mormonism

Rich Kelsey

Seattle Temple

 

Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is the 4th largest religious denomination in the United States. More than 85,000 full-time LDS missionaries are serving in 407 missions around the world. That is four times as many missionaries as the Church had 40 years ago. No doubt Mormonism is a formidable spiritual movement! However, "Is the LDS Church true?" My articles in this series make the answer to that question as clear as water — Rich Kelsey

 

Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, proclaimed:

“Mormonism must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith.”[i]

There is little doubt the story[ii] in question[iii] includes Smith’s visions and heavenly visitations, leading up to the discovery[iv] of the golden plates.  According to the story, Smith translated that ancient record into English by,

"the gift and power of God."[v]

With the newly published Book of Mormon in hand, Smith soon found himself as the founder of a new church.[vi]  

Joseph Fielding Smith went on to say:

“He [Joseph Smith] was either a Prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground.  If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol. 1, p. 188)

(Please keep this last quote in mind as you examine the body of evidence presented in this study)

The Arch and the Keystone:

Latter-Day Saints compare their religion to an arch, with the Book of Mormon as the keystone.[vii]  

On this subject, LDS President Ezra Taft Benson explained,

"A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.” [viii]

According to Mormon thought, without the Book of Mormon, there could be no[ix] LDS religion.

Ezra Taft Benson went on to say:

“Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation.” (The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion, Ensign, Nov 1986, p. 4)

This Is What Actually Happened:

When the Book of Mormon was still in the manuscript stage, its spelling was different than the first printed edition:

“…in what is now I Nephi 7:20, ware sorraful in the manuscript was changed to were sorrowful in the first printed edition.  Plaits in the manuscript (1 Nephi 13:23) became plates in the printed edition.  These and similar changes show why editing was necessary to make the manuscript more understandable.” (About Mormons, article: Changes to the Book of Mormon, by Robert L. Matthews. Lightplanet.com, Mormonism)

Another way to explain this is to say: The manuscript that became the Book of Mormon was somewhat crude and difficult to understand because of extensive spelling and grammatical errors. 

Richard Lloyd Anderson, LDS professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, said:

“…we possess parts of the original unpunctuated Cowdery manuscript from Joseph’s dictation in 1829. The scribe on occasion wrote ‘hart’ for ‘heart’; ‘desirus’ for ‘desirous’; and ‘futer’ for ‘future.’ These spelling errors were corrected in the recopied printer’s manuscript and thus appeared in correct form in the first printing.” (By the Gift and Power of God, Ensign, Sept, 1977)

Then, between the initial printed version of 1830, to the 1964 edition, the Book of Mormon went through 3,913[x] more changes, which were mostly related to the correction of grammatical and spelling errors.  Following is a breakdown of some of the more glaring changes, including references to the years in which they were made:

Changing "sayeth" to "said":

With the second edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1837, some words were changed to present a more modern writing style.  For example: the words saith” and sayeth” were changed to said” 229 times.[xi] 

Here is an example:

“For behold it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and sayeth unto him…” (1 Nephi 2:1, 1830 edition)

Became:

“For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him…” (1 Nephi 2:1, 1837 edition)

And:

“And the spirit saith unto me again, behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; yea…” (1 Nephi 4:11, 1830 edition)

Became:

“And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea…” (1 Nephi 4:11, 1837 edition) 

Changing "which" to "who":

The word which” was changed to who” 891 times.[xii]

Here is an example:

“…and my elder brothers, which were Laman, Lemuel and Sam.” (1 Nephi 2:5, 1830 edition)

Became:

“…and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.” (1 Nephi 2:5, 1837 edition)

These 1,120 changes seem typical of an "author"[xiii] polishing his work. 

Removing the Idiomatic "a": 

Also, in 1837, the idiomatic a” was removed from the following verses.  These changes, which took place a mere seven years after the first edition was published, demonstrate that Joseph Smith and his associates felt corrections needed to be made to the original printed version:

●  "As I was a journeying..." (Alma 10:7, 1830 edition)

  "And as I was a going…" (Alma 10:8, 1830 edition)

  "…the foundation of the destruction of this people is a beginning to be laid..." (Alma 10:27, 1830 edition)

  "...he met with the sons of Mosiah, a journeying towards the land..." (Alma 17:1, 1830 edition)

  "...there he found Muloki a preaching the word unto them..." (Alma 21:11, 1830 edition)

  "Korihor... went about from house to house, a begging for his food." (Alma 30:56, 1830 version)

  "And Korihor did go about from house to house, a begging food for his support." (Alma 30:58, 1830 edition)

  "...Moroni, on the other hand, had been a preparing the minds of the people..." (Alma 48:7, 1830 edition)

  "And thus Moroni had obtained a possession of the city Mulek..." (Alma 52:26, 1830 edition)

  "…my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites a marching towards them…" (Mormon 6:7, 1830 edition)

It’s worth mentioning that expressions like,

“I was a journeying,”

point to the back-woods manner of speech of Smith’s day.  Joseph Smith spoke like that,[xiv]  yet one might wonder if prophets living at the time of Christ did?[xv]  And, if they did speak that way, then why did Smith change what the prophets said?

Changing "was" to "were":

"…they met the king of the people, which was in the land of Nephi… and they were surrounded by the king's guard, and was taken, and was bound, and was committed to prison" (Mosiah 7:7, 1830 edition).

Compare to:

"…they met the king of the people, who was in the land of Nephi… and they were surrounded by the king's guard, and were taken, and were bound, and were committed to prison" (Mosiah 7:7, 1837 edition).

While Smith was still living, under his direction, four words were changed in that single verse.  This demonstrates extensive rewriting. 

Why? 

More changes:

One thing we can be certain of: Joseph Smith had a habit of using the word was instead of were:

“…wherefore the Plates was taken from me by the power of God…” (1832 History of Joseph Smith, Volume I)[xvi]

Compare to:

“...Adam and Eve, which was our first parents...” (1 Nephi 5:11, 1830 edition; changed to who were in the 1837 edition)

According to this revelation given through Joseph Smith, in April of 1830,

"[God] gave him [Joseph Smith] power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:8).

If God’s power[xvii] was really involved in the translation process, then why wasn’t the Book of Mormon translated correctly to begin with? 

Even More Changes:[xviii]

●  "…these interpreters was doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries" (Mosiah 8:19, 1830 and 1837 editions; changed to were in 1840).

●  "...and the seats which was set apart for the high priests, which was above all the other seats..." (Mosiah 11:11, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1840)

●  "...the arms of mercy was extended towards them; for the arms of mercy was extended..." (Mosiah 16:12, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "…whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God, they was added to his church (Mosiah 18:17, 1830 edition; changed in 1837 by removing the word they).

●  "…telling them that these things ought not to be; that they was expressly repugnant to the commandments of God (Mosiah 29:36, 1830 edition; changed to they were in 1837).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) describes the teenage Joseph Smith as a,

“Plowboy with a second grade education.”[xix]

Mormons often appeal to Smith’s poor education in attempts to convince potential converts that without divine guidance, a young man with Smith’s limited education, couldn’t have possibility written the Book of Mormon.  However, their argument breaks down when one examines the original 1830 Book of Mormon.  The writing style in that edition sounds just like how a “Plowboy with a second grade education” might express himself.

Also, Joseph Smith claimed that God is the author[xx] of the Book of Mormon.  This claim breaks down with every word that he changed and/or deleted.  To make matters worse, the Book of Mormon’s Three Witnesses signed a prepared statement in which they insisted,

“…we know of a surety that the work is true.”[xxi]

Yet, the Book of Mormon they endorsed had all the problematic verses in place; including all of the poor grammar.  Placing that testimony in revised editions of the Book of Mormon amounts to nothing less than misrepresentation!

Changing "for to" To "to":

  "...the Lamanites did gather themselves together for to sing..." (Mosiah 20:1, 1837 edition; changed in the 1840 edition)

  "...therefore the people of the Nephites was aware of the intent of the Amlicites, and therefore they did prepare for to meet them..." (Alma 2:12, 1830 edition; changed in the 1840 edition)

  "...Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which should come for to redeem his people..." (Alma 6:8, 1830 edition; changed in 1837) 

  "Now it was for the sole purpose for to get gain..." (Alma 11:20, 1830 edition; changed in 1837)

  "...this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men for to receive his word..." (Alma 13:24, 1830 edition; changed in 1837)

  "...did pour out his spirit on all the face of the land, for to prepare the minds of the children of men..." (Alma 16:16, 1830 edition; changed in 1837)

  "...had found after their many struggles for to destroy them..." (Alma 27:1, 1830 and 1837 editions; changed in 1840)

  "...and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, for to buy and to sell..." (Helaman 6:8, 1830 edition; changed in 1837)

  "...for we depend upon them for to teach us the word..." (Helaman 16:21, 1830 edition; changed in 1837)

It’s worth mentioning that Joseph Smith also used the expression for to in his writings:

"…the Lord had prepared spectacles for to read the Book therefore I commenced translating the characters" (1832 History of Joseph Smith, Volume I, p. 8)

1840 Title Page:

The closing paragraph of the 1830 Book of Mormon’s title-page reads:

"…And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men, wherefore, condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of CHRIST."

Yet, with the third edition of the Book of Mormon, in 1840, this paragraph, along with the rest of the work, was,

“Carefully Revised By The Translator:”[xxii]

As a result, the title page's closing paragraph was changed to:

"…And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of CHRIST.

MORONI." 

It's interesting that Smith also affixed the name Moroni to the end of that paragraph, leading his readers to believe that Moroni wrote that section.

Mormon author and apologist: Curt A. Bench comments on this Book of Mormon change:

“And for the first time ‘Moroni’ is designated at the bottom of the full-title page as the actual author of the text.”[xxiii]

Smith had stated,

“…the title page of the Book of Mormon ‘is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf’ [of the golden plates].”[xxiv]

However, if the title page of the Book of Mormon was a literal translation from the golden plates as Smith claimed, then Moroni’s name should have been included under that title section in the first two Book of Mormon editions.

It was not!

One reading either one of the two earlier Book of Mormon editions may have thought Joseph Smith penned that section, because that is exactly how the twenty-four-year-old Mormon prophet spoke.  People may have found it hard to believe that an ancient American Prophet named Moroni, from Book of Mormon legend, expressed himself with the same manner of speech as Joseph Smith, using such colloquial English as,

“…if there be fault, it be the mistake of men,”

Eventually,[xxv] the LDS Church removed the name Moroni from that section, and, to this day his name is not found under the section Smith attributed to him.

Why?

More Polishing for the 1840 edition:

Two words were deleted in Ether 13:31:

“…all the people upon all the face of the land were a shedding blood…” (Ether 13:31, 1830 edition)

Became:

“…all the people upon the face of the land were shedding blood…” (Ether 13:31, 1840 edition)

Also:

"…to remove the cause of diseases which was subsequent to man, by the nature of the climate." (Alma 46:40, 1830 and 1837 edition)

Became:

"…to remove the cause of diseases to which men were subject by the nature of the climate." (Alma 46:40, 1840 edition)

The possibility that an error was found and corrected here is slim, because no typesetting mistake can explain why Alma 46:40 was changed in the manner it was.  Changes like this blow the lid off of the idea that,

"...the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation.” (The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion, Ensign, Nov 1986, p. 4)

because in Alma 46:40, the word-order was re-arranged.  Once again the changed text corrects poor grammar found in the original version; which is noteworthy.

Adding Words:

“And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me.” (I Nephi 8:18, 1830 and 1837 edition)

Became:

“And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come to me and partake of the fruit.” (I Nephi 8:18, 1840 and 1852 edition)

The problem is: the words and partake of the fruit” were not found in the original 1830 Book of Mormon; and neither the printer’s manuscript or any other pre-publication manuscript has ever been brought into evidence to show that these words should have been included in the original 1830 edition.

Also:

“…The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious.” (2 Nephi 7:5, 1830 and 1837 editions)

Became:

“…The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” 2 Nephi 7:5, 1840 edition)

No documentation has been made known to support adding these four words to 2 Nephi 7:5.  What compounds the problem is that Mormons say the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, based on what Joseph Smith stated about the original 1830 edition:

“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth…" (History of the Church, 4:461).

Obviously, if the Book of Mormon needed revision to make it correct, then it was not correct to begin with.

During Joseph Smith’s lifetime and under his direction, words were added,[xxvi] words were deleted;[xxvii] even the name of a king was changed:

“…king Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings…” (Mosiah 21:28, 1830 edition)

Became:

“…king Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings…” (Mosiah 21:28, 1837 edition)

Also:

“…and for this cause did king Benjamin keep them…” (Ether 4:1, 1830 edition)

Became:

“…and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them…” (Ether 4:1, 1837 edition)

Starting with the second edition of the Book of Mormon; and all subsequent editions, what king Benjamin did in those passages, was now attributed to king Mosiah.

Changes to Christ’s Divinity:

“And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!...” (1 Nephi 11:21, 1830 edition)

Became:

“And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!...” (1 Nephi 11:21, 1837 edition)

With the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon and all editions since, the words: the Son of” were added to this verse.  One might wonder: Did Smith not read the words "the Son of" to his scribe as he dictated 1 Nephi 11:21 from the golden plates?  Or, did Smith’s scribe fail to pen the words the Son of” as Smith was dictating?

One might think this is an isolated case?  Perhaps the typesetter made a mistake?  After all, the Book of Mormon itself points out:

"And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire." (Mormon 8:17)

Yet, any notion that faults in the 1830 Book of Mormon were the faults of a man will not solve this mystery, because Smith also added the words the Son of” to other verses in the 1837 version: 

 

"...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world..." (I Nephi 11:32, 1830 edition)

Became:

"...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world..." (I Nephi 11:32, 1837 edition)

And:

"...that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world..." (I Nephi 13:40, 1830 edition)

Became:

"...that the Lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world..." (I Nephi 13:40, 1837 edition)

People reading the first edition of the Book of Mormon are led to believe that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Father” and the Everlasting God.”  Later versions, where the words, the son of” were inserted before titles of God, clearly changed the meaning of the text.

More Polishing:

“…and it is I that granteth unto him that believe in the end, a place at my right hand.” (Mosiah 26:23, 1830 edition)

Became:

“…and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth until the end, a place at my right hand.” (Mosiah 26:23, 1840 edition)

Also:

"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise that inasmuch as they which the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem …" (2 Nephi 1:9, 1830 edition)

Became:

"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem…" (2 Nephi 1:9, 1840 edition)

 

Once again, the changed text corrects poor grammar.

The Change to 2 Nephi 30:6

The LDS Church did not allow the fullness of the everlasting gospel to blacks[xxviii] until 1978.[xxix]  The reason[xxx] for this racial discrimination had its roots in Mormon scripture,[xxxi] which spells out why certain peoples have black skin: the Book of Abraham connects the black skin of the Egyptians to the curse of Ham; the Book of Mormon explains the dark skin[xxxii] of the American Indians:  

"And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5:21)

According to the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites (American Indians) were, at one time:

"white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome…" (2 Nephi 5:21)

With the words white and …delightsome” in mind, let’s consider a change made to 2 Nephi 30:6, which once also contained those same words:

"And then shall they rejoice,… and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people." (2 Nephi 30:6, 1830, 1837, 1841, 1852, 1879, 1920, 1964, and 1977 editions)

Became:

"And then shall they rejoice,… and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people." (2 Nephi 30:6, 1840, 1981 and 2006 editions)

One Mormon President gave the following reason for this change:

“…with the Third Edition of the Book of Mormon, the word white was changed to pure (in 2 Nephi 30:6) by Joseph Smith, Jr. to more closely reflect the original intent of the Nephite authors.”[xxxiii]  

LDS Scripture maintains:

“Joseph Smith… has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God…” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3)

If Mormon’s record[xxxiv] was really translated by the gift and power of God, then why would Smith change the translation?

With the 1981 Book of Mormon, a different reason for the change of 2 Nephi 30:6 was offered. The new explanation was that the word white” should have been pure” all along, and that by changing the word white” to pure” actually corrected an error; bringing the text into conformity with prepublication manuscripts:

“About this [1981] edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith.”[xxxv]

No documentation for this change has ever been made known.  Can you imagine Joseph Smith reading the word pure” to his scribe and his scribe writing down white” instead?  Or, that the printer mistakenly inserted the word white” into the book instead of pure?

If an error was made in 2 Nephi 30:6 where the word “white” was supposedly wrongly inserted instead of “pure,” then what about other verses in the Book of Mormon where the same wording is found:

  "…they shall be a white and a delightsome people." (Original wording of 2 Nephi 30:6)

  "…wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome..." (2 Nephi 5:21)

  "And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. (3 Nephi 2:15)

  "O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God." (Jacob 3:8)

This verse in Jacob 3:8 along with the original reading of 2 Nephi 30:6 implies that when black people repent of their wickedness, their curse will be lifted, and their skins will once again[xxxvi] become white.

In defense of this subject, Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, claimed,

“For years they [American Indians] have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised...”[xxxvii]

Kimball was wrong!  Dark skinned Mormons, including Native American Indians, were not turning white!  The storyline within the Book of Mormon was becoming unbelievable.  So, evidently, in 1981, the leadership looked for a reason to change a word to make the Book of Mormon record more acceptable.[xxxviii]

1830 Edition verses 2006 Edition:

Speaking of Jesus Christ, it was once claimed that he was:

"the Son of the only begotten of the Father  (Alma 5:48, 1830 edition."

Now Jesus is said to be:

"the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father" (Alma 5:48, 2006 edition)

The meaning of that verse was changed when the word of” was removed.  This is important because Alma 5:48 is used as a proof text about Christ’s divinity.  Christ cannot be both the “Son of the only begotten” and also “the Only Begotten.” 

Originally Alma 32:30 read:

"But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, and then ye must needs say, That the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow." (Alma 32:30, 1830 edition)

The 2006 edition reads:

"But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow." (Alma 32:30, 2006 edition)

Thirty-five words were added.  Again, no textual proof is offered to support this addition.

Then:

"…yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness, and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these directors." (Alma 37:24, 1830 edition)

Becomes:

"…yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters." (Alma 37:24, 2006 edition)

Also:

"And now my son, these directors were prepared, that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake saying:" (Alma 37:24, 1830 edition)

Becomes:

"And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:" (Alma 37:24, 2006 edition)

The word directors” was changed to interpreters in both of these verses.  Why?

Also:

“I had not ought to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God…” (Alma 29:4, 1830 edition)

Becomes:

“I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God…” (Alma 29:4, 2006 edition)  

The word had” was removed.  And, once more the word-order was changed, correcting poor grammar found in the original edition.  All of these changes void earlier claims made by Smith's scribes; such as this statement from Martin Harris:

"By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, 'Written,' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.'" (Deseret News, One of the Three Witnesses, 30 November 1881).

The most likely reason Martin Harris related the story of Smith seeing words appearing and disappearing, is because that is the story Smith told him.  Until recently it was believed that the Book of Mormon came forth just as the witnesses attested.  Yet, there are problems with this story; it makes God the source of all the bad spelling and poor grammar, as spelled out in this statement by David Whitmer:

"Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 12. - Quoted by Elder Russell M. Nelson, A Treasured Testament, Ensign, July 1993, p. 61)

Something had to be done to discredit claims made by Smith's scribes, and reinforce the concept that LDS leaders are not exactly sure how the translation came forth:    

“Perhaps David Whitmer unconsciously added his own ideas as he spoke on the translation method. He could legitimately speak on the physical appearance of translation but had no personal knowledge of the translation itself.” (By the Gift and Power of God Richard Lloyd Anderson, Ensign, Sept, 1977)

In Smith’s day Mormon leaders knew exactly how the translation took place!   Joseph Smith used a stone in a hat.  Yet, today, a stone in hat is not how the translation process is depicted in Church media.  Smith is often shown sitting at a table looking directly at the golden plates:

 Translating the golden plates

Why?

Could it be that the old miracle method of translation story — a stone in a hat — is no longer believable, and quite frankly, an embarrassing detail best forgotten from the Church’s early years?

The Record Gets Worse:

"...for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more." (3 Nephi 22:4, 1830 edition)

Became:

"...for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more." (3 Nephi 22:4, 2006 edition)

Nine words were added to that verse.

Also:

"...his sons and to his daughters, which were not, or which did not seek his destruction." (Ether 9:2, 1830 edition)

Became:

"... his sons and to his daughters who did not seek his destruction." (Ether 9:2, 2006 edition)

The words “… which were not, or…” have been deleted and the remaining word which” was changed to who.

Also:

"For behold, Ammon had sent to their support a new supply of provisions…" (Alma 57:17, 1830 edition)

Became:

"For behold, Ammoron had sent to their support a new supply of provisions…"(Alma 57:17, 2006 edition)

 

In later editions the name Ammon” was changed to Ammoron.”  These names belong to two different Book of Mormon characters.  What Ammon did is now attributed to Ammoron.

Also:

In later editions the words, "it came to pass" have been removed 46 times.  Here is an example:

"...And it came to pass that he began to plead for them, from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the Devil? And it came to pass that they spit upon him ..." (Alma 14:7, 1830 edition)

Became:

"...And he began to plead for them from that time forth; but they reviled him, saying: Art thou also possessed with the devil? And they spit upon him..." (Alma 14:7, 2006 edition)

No typesetting mistake can adequately explain why

it came to pass

was included twice in the 1830 edition of Alma 14:7; only to be removed years later.  

Critics of the LDS Church have made note of the frequent use of that phrase throughout the Book of Mormon.  Could this be the reason why the words,

it came to pass

were deleted here and there on 46 occasions?

Finally,

"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold…  yea, the Devil would never have no power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma 48:17, 1830 edition)

The idiomatic no has been removed from this verse!

With all the changes over the years, LDS Church leaders have not treated the Book of Mormon like God’s word!  Why should anyone else consider it sacred?  For some readers, perhaps it's time to remove the keystone of Mormonism from its place and let Mormonism fall.  It is never too late to put faith in the bible alone, building,

“upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:20, KJV)

 

Other Articles of Interest:

■  Ask a Mormon: Cognitive Dissonance and the LDS Faith

■  PREACH MY GOSPEL — A Guide for Missionary Service

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Endnotes:

[i] (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1 p. 188)

[ii] I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me. (JS History of the Church, Vol. 1, 1:22) 

[iii] Joseph Smith said, "I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; …and that said title-page is not…a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation" (Joseph Smith, History of Joseph Smith 1:71,  Times and Seasons 3, Oct. 15, 1842). 

[iv] Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History (On-site copy) 

[v] THE BOOK OF MORMON:

AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI.

Wherefore it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of Prophesy and Revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God, unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God; an abridgement taken from the Book of Ether, (Title page 1830 Book of Mormon) 

[vi] In 1830, when the Church was organized it was called the Church of Christ.  “To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business—“ (D&C 107:59) Then, in May, 1834, the church adopted a resolution that the church would be known as The Church of the Latter Day Saints.  ”In June, 1829, the Lord gave us the name by which we must call the church, being the same as He gave the Nephites. We obeyed His commandment, and called it THE CHURCH OF CHRIST until 1834, when, through the influence of Sydney Rigdon, the name of the church was changed to "The Church of the Latter Day Saints," dropping out the name of Christ entirely, that name which we were strictly commanded to call the church by, and which Christ by His own lips makes so plain.” (An Address to All Believers in Christ,  DAVID WHITMER, Richmond, Mo., April 1st, 1887. p.73) In 1838, Smith announced a revelation renaming it, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

[vii] "I told the brethren, that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book of any on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (Statement by Joseph Smith, JSHC 7 Vol., 4:461) 

[viii] “…the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion… A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov 1986, 4)  

[ix] “Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none.” (History of the Church, 2:52) 

[x] "As we stated earlier, most of the 3,913 changes which we found were related to the correction of grammatical and spelling errors and do not really change the basic meaning of the text." (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chicago: Moody Pres., 1980, p 131)  see Introduction to 3,913 changes

[xi] (An Analysis of Selected Changes in Major Editions of the Book of Mormon—1830-1920,  A thesis by Jeffrey R. Holland, Brigham Young University, Aug. 1966). 

[xii] (Understanding Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon by George Horton, Ensign, 1983) https://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/12/understanding-textual-changes-in-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng 

[xiii] Excerpt from the 1830 Book of Mormon preface: BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR,

AUTHOR AND PROPRIETOR. PALMYRA;

PRINTED BY E.B. GRANDIN FOR THE AUTHOR.

1830. 

[xiv] "This view of the translation of the Nephite record accounts for the fact that the Book of Mormon, though a translation of an ancient record, is nevertheless, given in English idiom of the period and locality in which the prophet lived; and in the faulty English, moreover as to composition, phraseology, and grammar, of a person of Joseph Smith's limited education; and also accounts for the sameness of phraseology and literary style which runs through the whole volume." (Young Men's Manual, 1903-4, p. 71)

[xv] An analysis of the book of Mormon with an examination of its internal and external evidences, and a refutation of its pretenses to divine authority

by Alexander Campbell
from the Millennial Harbinger
a monthly periodical published by him in Bethany, Virginia
February 7th, 1831

“Smith, its real author… is better skilled in the controversies in New York than in the geography or history of Judea. He makes John baptise in the village of Bethabara, (page 22) and says Jesus was born in Jerusalem, p. 240. Great must be the faith of the Mormonites in this new Bible!!! 

The book professes to be written at intervals and by different persons during the long period of 1020 years. And yet for uniformity of style, there never was a book more evidently written by one set of fingers, nor more certainly conceived in one cranium since the first book appeared in human language, than this same book. If I could swear to any man's voice, face or person, assuming different names, I could swear that this book was written by one man. And as Joseph Smith is a very ignorant man and is called the author on the title page, I cannot doubt for a single moment that he is the sole author and proprietor of it. As a specimen of his style the reader will take the following samples - Page 4. In his own preface: - 'The plates of which hath been spoken.' In the last page, 'the plates of which hath been spoken.' In the certificate signed by Cowdery and his two witnesses, he has the same idiom, 'which came from the tower of which hath been spoken;' page 16…”

[xvi] (The Joseph Smith papers, MS. JS Letterbook 1, p. 6, JS Collection, Church History Library, originally dictated in 1832; also known as Joseph Smith’s 1832 History / The History of Joseph Smith Volume I) 

[xvii] “But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 3:11). 

[xviii]  More Changes:

●  "Wherefore, all mankind was in a lost and in a fallen state..." (1 Nephi 10:6, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "And all these things of which I have spoken, was done..." (1 Nephi 10:16, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "...and loosed the bands which was upon my wrists..." (1 Nephi 18:15, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "...both Alma and Helam was buried in the water..." (Mosiah 18:14, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "And the priests was not to depend upon the people..." (Mosiah 18:26, 1830 and 1837 editions; changed to were in 1840)

●  "…and those that was with him" (Mosiah 19:18, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837).

●  "And now the afflictions of the Nephites was great..." (Mosiah 21:5, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "…king Limhi and many of his people was desirous to be baptized…" (Mosiah 21:33, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "And now there was seven Churches..." (Mosiah 25:23, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "Now it came to pass that there was many of the rising generation..." (Mosiah 26:1, 1830 and 1837 editions; changed to were in 1840)

●  "…it became expedient that those who committed sin that was in the church..." (Mosiah 26:6, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "Now the sons of Mosiah was numbered..." (Mosiah 27:8, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "...I had much desire that ye was not in the state of dilemma…" (Alma 7:18, 1830 edition, changed to were in 1837)

●  "...they was angry with me..." (Alma 9:32, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "...the land of Nephi, and the land of Zarahemla, was nearly surrounded..." (Alma 22:32, 1830 edition; changed to were in 1837)

●  "But behold there was no wild beasts..." (3 Nephi 4:2, 1830 and 1837 editions; changed to were in 1840)

Also: The word "that" was eliminated 188 times, and the word "the" 48 times.

[xix] “A 14-year-old plowboy with a second grade education opens the Bible to James 1:5 and reads that if you ask God in faith He will answer your prayer. From this beginning comes the revelation that God and Jesus Christ are real and ushered in the Restoration of Truth” (Mormon.org, member stories, Nature of God dialog from video, 2008). 

[xx] “God is the author of the book.”  (2009 on-line article, lds.org, Title: The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God, President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Council of the Twelve) 

[xxi] “…for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man…” (The Testimony of Three Witnesses) 

[xxii]  "Carefully Revised by the Translator" (Title page, 1840 Book of Mormon). 

[xxiii] (The Parallel BOOK of MORMON, Signature Books, 2008 p.xvii) 

[xxiv] (Joseph Smith, History of Joseph Smith,” Times and Seasons 3 (Oct. 15, 1842). 

[xxv] (The name "Moroni" was inserted at the end of the title page in the 1840 edition; it remained in place in both the 1874 and 1892 editions; then starting with the 1908 edition it was removed.  This omission has continued with the 1920, 1977, 1981, 2006 and also the current online version of the Book of Mormon). 

[xxvi] The original text of I Nephi 20:1 reads: "Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel; yet they swear not in truth, nor righteousness."  The phrase 'or out of the waters of baptism' was inserted in the 1840 edition. 

 [xxvii] 1830 Book of Mormon: “…yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills…”  (Alma 29:4)

1840 Book of Mormon:  “…Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, according to their wills... (Alma 29:4)

Note: LDS leaders re-inserted these omitted words into all editions since 1981. 

[xxviii] (Priesthood, Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1981, pp. 127–128) 

[xxix] June 8, 1978. To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:

Dear Brethren:

As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows there from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

Sincerely yours,

SPENCER W. KIMBALL

N. ELDON TANNER

MARION G. ROMNEY

The First Presidency

[xxx] The dark skin of the Negro and the dark skin of the native Americans are not the same in Mormon doctrine, and they had different origins.   The Negro had dark skin because he was a descendant of Cain, and bore the "curse of Cain" (the dark skin).  He was born as a descendant of Cain as punishment for his lack of valiancy in the "War in Heaven" in the pre-mortal existence. The dark skin of the Lamanites came upon them solely because of their (or their ancestors') unrighteousness in this life, and could be removed by becoming righteous.   The priesthood ban applied only to Negro blacks.   Dark-skinned people of non-Negro races (native Americans, Maoris, etc.) were never barred from the priesthood.

[xxxi] “When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessing of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry; “ (Book of Abraham 1:24-27)

[xxxii] "The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple—Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites. Between 588 and 559 B.C." (Introduction to 2 Nephi 5) 

[xxxiii] (Answers to Gospel Questions, Smith, Joseph Fielding, Vol. 3. p. 122 Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1959-1961).

[xxxiv] “THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI.” (Title of 1830 Book of Mormon)

[xxxv] (Notice found in the 1981 version of the Book of Mormon)

[xxxvi] “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” (2 Nephi 5-21)

[xxxvii] "I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today as against that of only fifteen years ago. Truly the scales of darkness are falling from their eyes, and they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people....For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised..." (Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, Dec. 1960, pp.922-3) 

[xxxviii] The 1981 version of the Book of Mormon was born on the heels of one of the biggest revelations that the LDS Church had received in the last 130 years.  Three years earlier, in 1978, God allegedly showed leaders of the LDS Church that black people were now to be allowed in temple ceremonies: This revelation came at the perfect time; because in the 1970s the Church stood to lose millions of dollars due to lawsuits claiming racial discrimination.  Also, in 1975, LDS President, Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build a temple in São Paulo Brazil.  After the Brazilian temple plan was announced, Church leaders realized the difficultly of restricting black people from attending.  And, problems determining priesthood eligibility in Brazil were thought to be almost impossible, because of widespread integration: "And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done." (2 Nephi 5:23)  In the 1970s there was every reason for LDS leaders to see if the time had come to accept blacks into the priesthood.

 

 

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