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Book of Mormon/Translation Errors from the KJV
Translation errors in the King James Bible appearing in the Book of Mormon
Summary: Critics wonder why many of the quotes from Isaiah in the Book of Mormon are identical to the King James version. The Book of Mormon incorporates text which seems to be taken from the King James Version, including passages which are now considered to be mistranslations in the King James Version. If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, some claim that it shouldn't contain these translational errors.
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, why would it contain translational errors that exist in the King James Bible?
- Ensign (Sept. 1977): "If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible"
- Question: Were the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon simply plagiarized from the King James Bible?
- Question: Why are many of the quotes from Isaiah in the Book of Mormon identical to those in the King James Bible?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith ignorantly include an error from the Bible into the Book of Mormon when including the Lord's Prayer in 3 Nephi 13:13?
Question: If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, why would it contain translational errors that exist in the King James Bible?
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Introduction to Question
The Book of Mormon contains quotations from the King James Version of the Bible (Hereafter "KJV"). These quotations contain what are now considered to be translation errors on the part of the translators of the KJV.
Royal Skousen, a Latter-day Saint linguist and scholar of the textual history of the Book of Mormon, has given a definitive and exhaustive list of these translation errors. Below is a table that contains all of them. They are organized in alphabetical order:
|Location in Bible and Book of Mormon||Erroneous Translation||Passage Fragment||Commentary|
|1. Isaiah 3:22 ~ 2 Nephi 13:22||Crisping pins||"and the mantles and the wimples and the crisping pins"||"The modern-day equivalent of crisping pin would be curling iron. The Hebrew is generally interpreted here as referring to purses or handbags."|
|2. Isaiah 5:2 ~ 2 Nephi 15:2||Fenced||"and he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof"||"The Hebrew verb for fenced in Isaiah 5:2 is now translated as 'to dig about' or 'to hoe or weed'; in other words, "he dug about it and cleared it of its stones."|
|3. Isaiah 14:29 ~ 2 Nephi 24:29||Fiery flying serpent||"and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent"||"The correct rendition of the Hebrew for Isaiah 14:29 should be 'a flying fiery serpent'. The compound fiery serpent is represented in the Hebrew by a single word saraf, which comes from the verb saraf 'to burn'; here we have a flying serpent whose sting burns (in other words, 'a flying poisonous serpent')."|
|4. Isaiah 14:4 ~ 2 Nephi 24:29||Golden city||"how hath the oppressor ceased, the golden city ceased!"||The better translation is "how hath the oppressor ceased, the assaulting ceased".|
|5. Isaiah 9:1 ~ 2 Nephi 19:1||Grievously afflict||"and afterward did more grievously afflict by the way of the sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations"||The better translation is "but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan".|
|6. Micah 5:14 ~ 3 Nephi 21:18||Groves||"and I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee"||"Here the noun grove is used to refer to a sacred grove used for cultic rites. However, the original Hebrew in these passages refers to Asherim, that is, wooden images of the Canaanite goddess Asherah."|
|7. Isaiah 14:2 ~ 2 Nephi 24:2||Handmaids||"and the land of the Lord shall be for servants and handmaids"||"In this verse the sense of handmaid is 'a female slave', especially since the paired noun 'servant means 'a male slave'. In biblical contexts, handmaid usually means 'a female personal servant', but not here."|
|8. Isaiah 3:3 ~ 2 Nephi 13:3||Orator||"and the cunning artificer and the eloquent orator"||"Here in the Hebrew the sense of orator is 'enchanter'. The English word derives from the Latin verb meaning 'to pray' (see definition 1 under orator in the [Oxford English Dictionary])."|
|9. Isaiah 2:16 ~ 2 Nephi 12:16||Pictures||"and upon all the ships of Tarshish and upon all the pleasant pictures"||The better translation is "and upon all the pleasant ships".|
|10. Isaiah 3:2 ~ 2 Nephi 13:24||Prudent||"the judge and the prophet and the prudent and the ancient"||"In the phrase 'the prudent and the ancient', the adjectival noun prudent is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for divining. This phrase is translated, for instance, as 'the diviner and the elder' in the English Standard Version."|
|11. Isaiah 2:4 ~ 2 Nephi 12:4||Rebuke||"and he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people"||"The Hebrew verb here lacks the negative sense of rebuke—that is, it means 'to judge' rather than 'to reprove'; note the preceding parallel line: 'and he shall judge among the nations'."|
|12. Isaiah 3:24 ~ 2 Nephi 13:24||Rent||"and instead of a girdle, a rent"||"There are two Hebrew verbs, both with identical consonants, but with different meanings: one means 'to tear' and the other means 'to go around or to surround'. The noun rent derives from the first verb, but the noun rope or cord (meaning to go around the body) derives from the second. Here the word girdle takes the archaic meaning 'belt'. Modern translators have typically rendered this line in Isaiah 3:24 as 'and instead of a belt, a rope'."|
|13. Isaiah 29:21 ~ 2 Nephi 27:32||Reproveth||"and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate"||"The verb reprove is used four times in the Book of Mormon, all in biblical quotes. The King James use of reprove adds a negative sense that is not in the Hebrew original. In all cases, the neutral verb judge would be a more appropriate translation."|
|14. Isaiah 13:21 ~ 2 Nephi 23:21||Satyrs||"and satyrs shall dance there"||"The Hebrew word here in the singular is sa'ir, which in the Hebrew refers to hairy demons or monsters that inhabit the deserts. This word has been incorrectly translated into its phonetically similar Greek word satyr, which refers to a woodland god that is half-human and half-beast."|
|15. Isaiah 14:5 ~ 2 Nephi 24:5||Scepter||"the Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers"||The better translation is "the Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the rod of the rulers".|
|16. Isaiah 52:15 ~ 3 Nephi 20:45||Sprinkle||"so he shall sprinkle many nations"||The Hebrew verb for sprinkle doesn't make sense in context here. Other translations have made this verse something like "the nations shall marvel upon him". Joseph Smith in his "New Translation" of the Bible replaced sprinkle with gather, showing the difficulty of rendering this verse.|
|17. Isaiah 14:12 ~ 2 Nephi 24:12||Weaken||"art thou cut down to the ground which did weaken the nations"||"There are two meanings for this verb in the Hebrew: one means 'to weaken', the other 'to defeat or to lay prostrate'. In this context, the second of these works better and is the one adopted in modern translations, such as the English Standard Version: 'How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!'"|
|18. Isaiah 13:12 ~ 2 Nephi 23:12||Wedge||"I will make a man more precious. . .than the golden wedge of Ophir"||The better translation is "more precious. . .than the gold of Ophir".|
|19. Isaiah 3:22 ~ 2 Nephi 13:22||Wimples||"the changeable suits of apparel and the mantles and the wimples"||"The Hebrew word refers to a wide or flowing cloak. The English word used by the King James translators, wimple, is quite different: 'a garment of linen or silk formerly worn by women, so folded as to envelop the head, chin, sides of the face, and neck; now retained in the dress of nuns' (the first definition under the noun wimple in the Oxford English Dictionary)."|
Thus the Book of Mormon includes some anachronistic, erroneous elements in its translation. Our critics ask “if the Book of Mormon is ‘the most correct book of any on earth,’ why would it contain translational errors that exist in the King James Bible?”
The only description of the translation process that Joseph Smith ever gave was that it was performed by the "gift and power of God"
We do not know the specific mechanism by which the biblical passages were included in the translation, therefore we cannot answer this question definitively based upon current historical information. The only description of the translation process that Joseph Smith ever gave was that it was performed by the "gift and power of God," and that the translation was performed using the "Urim and Thummim." Joseph Smith stated the following in July 1838:
Question 4th. How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon? Answer. Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from whence the book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them and the Urim and Thummim with them; by the means of which I translated the plates and thus came the book of Mormon. (Joseph Smith, (July 1838) Elders Journal 1:42-43.)
That said, a well-documented textual history of the Book of Mormon and statements left by witnesses to the translation may provide us a path to some answers.
Manuscipt evidence, as well as several statements from eyewitnesses to the translation, definitively rules out that a Bible was consulted during the translation of the Book of Mormon.
Using the Original and Printer's Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, Latter-day Saint scholar Royal Skousen has definitively shown that none of the King James language contained in the Book of Mormon could have been copied directly from the Bible. He deduces this from the fact that when quoting, echoing, or alluding to the passages, Oliver (Joseph's amanuensis for the dictation of the Book of Mormon) consistently misspells certain words from the text that he wouldn't have misspelled if he was looking at the then-current edition of the KJB.
Witnesses to the translation process never reported that a Bible or any other book was present during the translation. Joseph performed most of the translation in the open using the stone and the hat. Thus how do we get the language from the King James version of the Bible? Given this evidence, we could assume that the Biblical passages were revealed to Joseph during the translation process in a format almost identical with similar passages in the King James Bible. Of course, it's possible that Joseph Smith dictated every portion of the Book of Mormon that quotes Isaiah to Oliver so that Joseph is always looking at the Bible and Oliver isn't; but that's less likely given the consistency with which Oliver misspells the words (wouldn't there be at least one time, throughout all the time that Joseph and Oliver were translating, where Joseph Smith hands Oliver the Bible to more efficiently copy the passages and where Oliver then spells the words correctly?) and the fact that no witnesses to the translation report a Bible in use.
When considering the data, Skousen proposes that, instead of Joseph or Oliver looking at a Bible, that God was simply able to provide the page of text from the King James Bible to Joseph's mind and then Joseph was free to alter the text as he pleased. In those cases where the Book of Mormon simply alludes to or echoes KJV language, perhaps the Lord allowed these portions of the text to be revealed in such a way that they would be more comprehensible/comfortable to his 19th century, Northeastern, frontier audience. This theology of translation may feel foreign and a bit strange to some Latter-day Saints, but it seems to fit well with the Lord's own words about the nature of revelation to Joseph Smith. The Lord speaks to his servants "after the manner of their language that they may come to understanding" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:24). Latter-day Saints should take comfort in fact that the Lord accommodates his perfection to our own weakness and uses our imperfect language and nature for the building up of Zion on the earth.
Ensign (Sept. 1977): "If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible"
Richard Lloyd Anderson (Ensign, September 1977):
In fact, the language in the sections of the Book of Mormon that correspond to parts of the Bible is quite regularly selected by Joseph Smith, rather than obtained through independent translation. For instance, there are over 400 verses in which the Nephite prophets quote from Isaiah, and half of these appear precisely as the King James version renders them. Summarizing the view taken by Latter-day Saint scholars on this point, Daniel H. Ludlow emphasizes the inherent variety of independent translation and concludes: “There appears to be only one answer to explain the word-for-word similarities between the verses of Isaiah in the Bible and the same verses in the Book of Mormon.” That is simply that Joseph Smith must have opened Isaiah and tested each mentioned verse by the Spirit: “If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible.”  Thus the Old Testament passages from Isaiah display a particular choice of phraseology that suggests Joseph Smith’s general freedom throughout the Book of Mormon for optional wording. 
NOTE: Witnesses to the translation process, including Joseph's wife Emma, state that Joseph Smith never consulted a Bible or any other book as he was dictating. If Joseph did indeed quote passages from the Bible word-for-word, as Richard Lloyd Anderson suggests, he did it without the aid of having a physical Bible present during the translation. For details, see Question: Could Joseph have used a Bible during and simply dictated from it during Book of Mormon translation?.
Question: Were the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon simply plagiarized from the King James Bible?
Nephi and Jacob generally make it clear when they are quoting from Isaiah
If a Christian is making an accusation of plagiarism, then they are, by the same logic, indicting the Bible which they share with us. Close examination of the Old Testament reveals many passages which are copied nearly word for word including grammatical errors. Micah, who lived hundreds of years after Isaiah, copies word for word in Micah 4:1-3 from Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 2:2-4 without once giving him credit. We also find the genealogy from Genesis 5:10-11,36 repeated in 1 Chronicles, much of the history in Samuel and Kings is repeated in Chronicles, and Isaiah 36:2 through Isaiah 38:5 is the same as 2 Kings 18:17 through 2 Kings 20:6.
Although Old Testament scripture was often quoted by Old and New Testament writers without giving credit, Nephi and Jacob generally make it clear when they are quoting from Isaiah. Indeed, much of 2 Nephi may be seen as an Isaiah commentary. Of course, Nephi and Jacob do not specify chapter and verse, because these are modern additions to the text (as Joseph Smith somehow knew). It is ironic that critics of the Book of Mormon find fault with its "plagiarism," even though its authors typically mention their sources, while they do not condemn the Bible's authors when they do not.
Additionally, the Church has made clear in the 1981 and the 2013 editions of the Book of Mormon  in footnote "a" for 2 Nephi 12:2 that: "Comparison with the King James Bible in English shows that there are differences in more than half of the 433 verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon, while about 200 verses have the same wording as the KJV" Thus it doesn't appear that the Church is afraid of having its members understand the similarities and differences between the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
Finally, it may be that the use of King James language for passages shared by the Bible and the Book of Mormon allows the Book of Mormon to highlight those areas in which the Book of Mormon's original texts were genuinely different from the textual tradition of the Old World's which gave us the Holy Bible of today.
A closer look at these duplicate Isaiah texts actually provides us an additional witness of the Book of Mormon's authenticity
A closer look at these duplicate texts actually provides us an additional witness of the Book of Mormon's authenticity.
The 21 chapters of Isaiah which are quoted (Chapters 2-14, 29, and 48-54) either partially or completely, represent about one-third of the book of Isaiah, but less than two and one-half percent of the total Book of Mormon. We also find that more than half of all verses quoted from Isaiah (234 of 433) differ from the King James version available to Joseph Smith. Perhaps it may be said that the Book of Mormon follows the King James (Masoretic) text when the original meaning is closer to how the King James renders the passages in question.
Additionally, we often find differences in Book of Mormon Isaiah texts where modern renderings of the text disagree. One verse (2 Nephi 12:16), is not only different but adds a completely new phrase: "And upon all the ships of the sea." This non-King James addition agrees with the Greek (Septuagint) version of the Bible, which was first translated into English in 1808 by Charles Thomson.  Such a translation was "rare for its time." The textual variants in the two texts have theological import and ancient support. John Tvedtnes has documented many in this study of the Isaiah variants in the Book of Mormon. A critic, David Wright, responded to Tvedtnes and Tvedtnes’ review of that critic’s response can be found here.
Accounting for the Rest of the Book of Mormon
If Joseph or anyone else actually tried to plagiarize the Book of Mormon, critics have failed to show the source of the remaining 93% (when all similar texts are removed). A 100% non-biblical book of scripture wouldn't have been much more difficult to produce.
Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Was Joseph Smith Smarter Than the Average Fourth Year Hebrew Student? Finding a Restoration-Significant Hebraism in Book of Mormon Isaiah"Paul Y. Hoskisson, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (2016)
The brass plates version of Isaiah 2:2, as contained in 2 Nephi 12:2, contains a small difference, not attested in any other pre-1830 Isaiah witness, that not only helps clarify the meaning but also ties the verse to events of the Restoration. The change does so by introducing a Hebraism that would have been impossible for Joseph Smith, the Prophet, to have produced on his own.
Question: Why are many of the quotes from Isaiah in the Book of Mormon identical to those in the King James Bible?
Witnesses to the translation process are unanimous that Joseph did not have any books, manuscripts, or notes to which he referred while translating
There are several problems with the idea that Joseph simply copied passages from the Holy Bible.
1) Witnesses to the translation process are unanimous that Joseph did not have any books, manuscripts, or notes to which he referred while translating. Recalled Emma, in a later interview:
- I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for [Joseph] I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat , with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.
- Q. Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you?
- A. He had neither manuscript or book to read from.
- Q. Could he not have had, and you not know it?
- A. If he had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.
Martin Harris also noted that Joseph would translate with his face buried in his hat in order to use the seer stone/urim and thummim. This would make referring to a Bible or notes virtually impossible:
- 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...
2) It is not clear that Joseph even owned a Bible during the Book of Mormon translation. He and Oliver Cowdery later purchased a Bible, which suggests (given Joseph's straitened financial situation) that he did not already own one.
3) It is not clear that Joseph's Biblical knowledge was at all broad during the Book of Mormon translation. It seems unlikely that he would have recognized, say, Isaiah, had he encountered it on the plates. Recalled Emma Smith:
- When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made a mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. .?. . When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, "Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?" When I answered, "Yes," he replied, "Oh! I was afraid I had been deceived." He had such a limited knowledge of history at the time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.
Emma also noted that
- Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and wellworded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, . . . it is marvelous to me, “a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to any one else.
And, if Joseph was merely inventing the Book of Mormon story, he picked some of the more obscure and difficult Bible passages to include.
4) If Joseph was forging the Book of Mormon, why include Biblical passages at all? Clearly, Joseph was able to rapidly produce a vast and complex text that made no reference to Biblical citations at all. If Joseph was trying to perpetrate a fraud, why did he include near-verbatim quotations from the one book (the Holy Bible KJV) with which his target audience was sure to be familiar?
The differences in wording between the KJV and the Book of Mormon highlight the areas in which there were theologically significant differences between the Nephite versions and the Masoretic text
Even academic translators sometimes copy a previous translation if it serves the purpose of their translation. For example, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) provided previously unknown texts for many Biblical writings. However, in some translations of the DSS, approximately 90% is simply copied from the KJV.
Surely we are not expected to believe that the DSS translators dropped back into King James idiom and just happened to come up with a nearly identical text! They, in fact, unabashedly copied the KJV, except where the DSS texts were substantially different from already known Hebrew manuscripts.
Why was this done? Because, the purpose of the DSS translation is to highlight the differences between the newly discovered manuscripts and those to which scholars already had access. Thus, in areas where the DSS manuscripts agree with the Biblical texts that were already known, the KJV translation is used to indicate this.
This is not to argue that there may not be a better way to render the text than the KJV—but, it would be counterproductive for the DSS committee spent a lot of time improving on the KJV translation. A reader without access to the original manuscripts could then never be sure if a difference between the DSS translation and the King James (or any other) translation represented a true difference in the DSS text, or simply the choice of the DSS translators to improve existing translations.
The situation with the Book of Mormon is likely analogous. For example, it is possible that most of the text to which the Nephites had access would not have differed significantly from the Hebrew texts used in later Bible translations. The differences in wording between the KJV and the Book of Mormon highlight the areas in which there were theologically significant differences between the Nephite versions and the Masoretic text, from which the Bible was translated. Other areas can be assumed to be essentially the same. If one wants an improved or clearer translation of a passage that is identical in the Book of Mormon and the KJV, one has only to go to the original manuscripts available to all scholars. Basing the text on the KJV focuses the reader on the important clarifications, as opposed to doing a new translation from scratch, and distracting the reader with many differences that might be due simply to translator preference.
Since there is no such thing as a "perfect" translation, this allows the reader to easily identify genuine differences between the Isaiah texts of the Old World and the Nephites.
Bible text itself quotes extensively from past scripture
When considering the presence of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, it is also interesting to note that one Bible scholar has found that the four gospels attest to the fact that Jesus Christ and the apostles consistently quoted scripture. He calculated that over "ten percent of the daily conversation of Jesus consisted of Old Testament words quoted literally" and nearly 50% of the Lord's words as quoted by John were quotations from the Old Testament.
When we consider the fact that Isaiah is the most quoted of all prophets, being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John (in his Revelation) than any other Old Testament prophet, it should not surprise us that both the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants also quote Isaiah more than any other prophet. The Lord told the Nephites that "great are the words of Isaiah," and the prophet Nephi confessed, "my soul delighteth in his words... for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him" (2 Nephi 11:2).
New Testament writers literally quoted hundreds of Old Testament scriptures including 76 verses from Isaiah
It is clear that the writings of Isaiah held special significance for Jesus Christ and Nephi (see 2 Nephi 11:8, 2 Nephi 25:5; 3 Nephi 20:11; 3 Nephi 23:1-3). Isaiah's prophecies might also have been quoted frequently because they were largely concerned with latter-day events. The Saints understand Isaiah to have foretold the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith (see Isaiah 49:), the gathering of Israel in the last days (Isaiah 18:), the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 29:), wickedness in the last days (Isa. 33), and the Savior's second coming, and the millennium (Isaiah 13:, Isaiah 26:, Isaiah 27:). While he also wrote about the Savior's first coming (Isaiah 32:1-4) and events in his own time (Isaiah 20,23:), most of what he wrote about is yet to be fulfilled.
When one considers that New Testament writers literally quoted hundreds of Old Testament scriptures including 76 verses from Isaiah it should not surprise us that Book of Mormon writers did likewise. After all, these writings were part of the old world scriptures brought with them to the new world 1 Nephi 19:22-23). If the prophets of the Book of Mormon had not quoted Isaiah we might have questioned the authenticity of their words. That they did quote him extensively shows that they understood his writings as did Jesus and other apostles and prophets.
Paul has been cited as the most original of all New Testament writers but investigations of his epistles show that Paul often quoted from classical writers, orators, dramas, law courts, sports commentaries, and ancient religious rites. Even the well-known Pauline formula of "faith, hope, and charity," which appears also in the Book of Mormon, has been traced to Babylonian writings.
Analysis of Specific Passages
2 Nephi 14:5
Walter Martin claims that Isaiah 4:5 is followed (mistakenly) by (2 Nephi 14:5). The phrase "For upon all the glory shall be a defense" should actually be "For over all the glory there will be a canopy."
Martin ignores that as translation literature, the Book of Mormon may well follow the KJV when the documents upon which the KJV is based match those of the Nephite text. Book of Mormon variants likely reflect only theologically significant changes not available in the Old World textual tradition.
2 Nephi 22:2
Some have questioned the use of the name JEHOVAH in 2 Nephi 22:2 and the use of some italicized King James Version words in the Book of Mormon. It seems clear that Joseph Smith was led to translate many passages as they appear in the King James Bible and made changes specifically by exception. Use of the proper name "Jehovah" which is an anglicized form of the Hebrew Yahweh, was common in the Bible and was also in common use in Joseph Smith's day. Although the name Jehovah is of more recent origin than the original Book of Mormon plates, it does not mean this name could not properly be used in translating a more ancient Hebrew title denoting the eternal I AM. Why should Joseph Smith be criticized for using the same name that King James scholars used?
Question: Did Joseph Smith ignorantly include an error from the Bible into the Book of Mormon when including the Lord's Prayer in 3 Nephi 13:13?
The text is arguably both an original teaching of Jesus and something associated with the Lord's Prayer, and thus is entirely supportable as a teaching of Jesus during His ministry as recorded in the Book of Mormon
Critics of the Book of Mormon point to the ending of the Lord's Prayer as found in 3 Nephi 13:13 which reads "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." This phrase, called the doxology, is missing from early manuscripts of Matthew 6:13 but is included in the King James Version of the Bible. The argument is that Joseph Smith ignorantly included a late addition to the Bible into the Book of Mormon, thus proving the Book of Mormon to be a creation of Joseph Smith and not an ancient text.
The issue of recovering the earliest form of Matthew is a matter of manuscript discoveries and continued scholarship. But the doxology is arguably both an original teaching of Jesus and something associated with the Lord's Prayer, and thus is entirely supportable as a teaching of Jesus during His ministry as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
The problem with the criticism is that it presumes that, based on an appeal to the Bible, the doxology was not spoken by Jesus to the Nephites
The problem with the criticism is that it presumes that, based on an appeal to the Bible, the doxology was not spoken by Jesus to the Nephites. The presumption is that the Book of Mormon record should properly match our earliest manuscripts for Matthew rather than being in its own right an historical record of Jesus' words to the Nephites. This criticism also is based on the related assumptions that Matthew properly recorded the entire words of Jesus and that the doxology was not used by Jesus during His mortal ministry in connection with the Lord's Prayer. The critics err in all of these instances.
It is not known when the doxology was first used by Christians, but the doxology might first be prefigured in 1 Chronicles 29:10-11 where the following phrases appear:
"Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all."
It is clear that early Christians believed that Jesus spoke those words and that the words were associated with the Lord's Prayer
The first extant text of the doxology in association with the Lord's Prayer is found in the Didache, an ancient Christian document written in Greek and dating from no later than the early second century and possibly as early as A.D. 70.
It is clear that early Christians believed that Jesus spoke those words and that the words were associated with the Lord's Prayer. We cannot know whether Matthew simply did not record those words or if Matthew's record had been corrupted early on to remove those words. It is possible that Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer on multiple occasions and didn't always use the same form, making Matthew's account neither incomplete nor corrupt, merely a record of one of several sermons that include the Lord's Prayer. It is even possible that during His mortal ministry Jesus spoke the doxology yet never combined the doxology with the Lord's Prayer, but that He combined those teachings during His three-day ministry among the Nephites.
- Royal Skousen, The History of the Text of the Book of Mormon, Part Five: King James Quotations in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2019), 216. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid., 217. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid., 218.
- Ibid. Bold added.
- Ibid., 219. Bold added.
- Grant H. Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002) 10, 83. ( Index of claims ); Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), 205. ( Index of claims ); La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 7 (17 February 1838) off-site
- Interpreter Foundation, "The History of the Text of the Book of Mormon," <https://interpreterfoundation.org/the-history-of-the-text-of-the-book-of-mormon/> (25 January 2020).
- Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 141.
- Richard Lloyd Anderson, "By the Gift and Power of God," Ensign (September 1977).
- See A. Melvin McDonald, Day of Defense (Sounds of Zion Inc., 1986; 2004), 49.
- These were the only editions consulted for this point. More editions may render the same however the author did not have access to them at this time.
- See page 81 of either edition of the Book of Mormon
- See Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort Publisher, 2004),193–196. (Key source)
- See Book of Mormon note to 2 Nephi 12:2
- See also See also Kirk Holland Vestal and Arthur Wallace, The Firm Foundation of Mormonism (Los Angeles, CA: The L. L. Company, 1981), 70–72.
- The implications of this change represent a more complicated textual history than previously thought. See discussion in Dana M. Pike and David R. Seely, "'Upon All the Ships of the Sea, and Upon All the Ships of Tarshish': Revisiting 2 Nephi 12:16 and Isaiah 2:16," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/2 (2005): 12–25. off-site wiki For earlier discussions, see Gilbert W. Scharffs, The Truth about ‘The God Makers’ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994), 172. Full text FairMormon link ISBN 088494963X.; see also Milton R. Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon (Kolob Book Company, 1964),100–102.; Hugh W. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd edition, (Vol. 7 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988),129–143. ISBN 0875791395.
- Wikipedia, "Thomson's Translation," <http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomson%27s_Translation> (11 February 2015).
- Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Advocate 2 (Oct. 1879): 51
- David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887), 12; Cited frequently, including Neal A. Maxwell, "By the Gift and Power of God," Ensign (January 1997): 34–41.
- John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha: Shadow or Reality? (Review of Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha by Jerald and Sandra Tanner)," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 326–372. off-site
- Emma Smith to Edmund C. Briggs, "A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856," Journal of History 9 (January 1916): 454.
- Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Advocate 2 (Oct. 1879): 51
- “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, (1 Oct. 1879): 290.
- Jay P. Green Sr., The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew-Greek-English (Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1995), 975.
- See LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 707.
- Bruce R. McConkie, "Ten Keys to Understanding Isaiah," Ensign (October 1973): 78–83.
- See LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 756-59
- Hugh W. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd edition, (Vol. 7 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), 128. ISBN 0875791395.
- See Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:4.
- See such scriptural examples as DC 109:34,42,56,68; DC 110:1-3; DC 128:9. See also Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 220, 221, 250–251. off-site
- H. Michael Marquardt, Literary Dependence in the Book of Mormon: Two Studies, 2000. Accessed on April 14, 2008, on the Institute for Religious Research (IRR) website.