Book of Mormon in the CES Letter

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Book of Mormon in the CES Letter

The CES Letter lists several concerns about the Book of Mormon. Below are links to various FAIR resources and other resources responding to each concern.

1769 KJV Errors

CES Letter: "What are 1769 King James Version edition errors doing in the Book of Mormon?"

Answer: Translations are often based on common word usage in the target language at the time of translation. Further, the so-called "errors" are not unique to the 1769 version.

For more information:

17th Century Italics

CES Letter: "When King James translators were translating the KJV Bible between 1604 and 1611, they would occasionally put in their own words into the text to make the English more readable. We know exactly what these words are because they're italicized in the KJV Bible. What are these 17th century italicized words doing in the Book of Mormon?"

Answer: They are fulfilling the same function as in the Bible: making the text more clear and readable in English. Phrases that make perfect sense in one language often need additional words when you translate them to another language.

For more information:


CES Letter: "Christ's Sermon on the Mount in the Bible and the Book of Mormon are identical. But Joseph Smith later corrected the Bible. . . . How is it that the Book of Mormon has the incorrect Sermon on the Mount passage and does not match the correct JST version in the first place?"

Answer: The Sermon on the Mount as given in the Bible is not identical to the one given in the Book of Mormon. Though there are many similarities, there are also many differences. As for the Joseph Smith Translation, it not only restored ancient text in some instances but also "improved grammar, clarified meaning, modernized language, corrected points of doctrine, or alleviated inconsistencies."[1]

For more information:


CES Letter: "DNA analysis has concluded that Native American Indians do not originate from the Middle East or from Israelites but rather from Asia."

Answer: DNA analysis currently indicates that a majority of Native American DNA comes from East Asia, and a minority of DNA comes from Europe and West Asia. Thus, some ancestors of Native Americans came from the same general area where the Jews lived.[2]

For more information:


CES Letter: "Why are these things [that did not exist in Book of Mormon times] mentioned in the Book of Mormon as being made available?"

Answer: These things did exist in Book of Mormon times, as amply evidenced in numerous scientific publications.

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CES Letter: "There is absolutely no archaeological evidence to directly support the Book of Mormon or the Nephites and Lamanites, who were supposed to have numbered in the millions. . . . Where are the Nephite or Lamanite buildings, roads, armors, swords, pottery, art, etc.?"

Answer: Because "the Church does not take a position on the specific geographic locations of Book of Mormon events in the ancient Americas,"[3] it's hard to know where to look for archaeological evidence. One theory is that the events in the Book of Mormon took place in Central America. If that is true, then there is ample archaeological evidence for buildings and roads that can accommodate a population of many millions of people.[4]

For more information:


View of the Hebrews

The Late War

The First Book of Napoleon

Early Godhead

  1. "Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible," Church History Topics, See also Kent P. Jackson, Understanding Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2022), 34–35.
  2. "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies," Gospel Topics Essays,
  3. "Book of Mormon Geography," Topics and Questions,
  4. "4 Ways the New Maya Discoveries May Relate to the Book of Mormon," Book of Mormon Central, 5 February 2018.