Criticism of Mormonism/Books/No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith/Chapter 6

Contents

Response to claims made in "Chapter 6: The Prophet of Palmyra"



A FAIR Analysis of: No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, a work by author: Fawn Brodie
Claim Evaluation
No Man Knows My History
Chart.brodie.ch6.jpg

Response to claims made in No Man Knows My History, "Chapter 6: The Prophet of Palmyra"


Jump to details:


Response to claim: 83 - The Book of Mormon was conceived as a money-making history of the Indians

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

The Book of Mormon was conceived as a money-making history of the Indians.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

There is no evidence that the Book of Mormon was ever a "money making" scheme.


Question: What authorship theories are proposed by non-believers to account for the authorship of the Book of Mormon?

There are a wide variety of theories proposed to account for the Book of Mormon, none of which provide any concrete proof

Non-believers produce a variety of theories to explain the existence of the Book of Mormon. A number of different authorship theories have been proposed since the book was first published in 1830. One critic of the Church even goes so far as to suggest that the Church encourages challenging the authorship of the Book of Mormon.

Ever since it was first published in 1830, numerous secular and non-secular theories have been proposed to account for the existence of the Book of Mormon. Initially, it was assumed that the book was the product of Joseph Smith’s own creative mind—a book not worthy of attention since it could not possibly contain anything of value. As critics began to actually read the book however, it became apparent that the depth and complexity of the writing did not fit well with the proposal that Joseph Smith, Jr. as the book’s sole author. This gave rise to the theory that Joseph Smith had an educated accomplice in his effort to create the book. The accomplices most often proposed are typically Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery.

Some secular authorship theories also postulate that Joseph Smith plagiarized sources that may have been available to him during the time that he was producing the Book of Mormon. The most commonly referenced potential sources include an unpublished manuscript by Solomon Spalding, a published work called View of the Hebrews, and the King James Bible.

Had anyone other than Joseph Smith "authored" the Book of Mormon, it surely would have come out by now: the person that is able to move millions can make millions. Breaking this story to the world would truly be the religious story of the century. The fact that no one has come forward is due simply to the fact that there is no one else: any other explanation, besides that given by Joseph Smith simply doesn't hold any water. Anyone who has read the Book of Mormon knows that if Joseph Smith or anyone else had written the Book of Mormon 'from whole cloth' would be infinitely more miraculous than the account given by Joseph Smith.

Authorship theory categories

Non-secular authorship theories (those involving some sort of “spiritual” element) usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Joseph Smith’s own story that he received the plates from an angel and translated them by “the power of God,” but that the work thus produced is simply inspirational fiction.
  • Joseph Smith created the book through “non-divine” (i.e., satanic) inspiration.
  • Joseph Smith wrote the book without any knowledge of what he was writing through a process called “automatic” or “spirit” writing. Closely related to this theory is that Joseph wrote the book during fits of Epilepsy.

Book of Mormon secular authorship theories usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Joseph Smith wrote the book on his own, without assistance and with full knowledge that he was writing a work of fiction. It is sometimes postulated that Joseph wrote the book by drawing upon his own life’s experiences.
  • Joseph Smith wrote the book on his own by plagiarizing works that were available to him. Examples of this are the Spalding manuscript theory, the View of the Hebrews theory, and The Golden Pot theory.
  • An associate of Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon or Oliver Cowdery) wrote the book, either alone or in a group, and then allowed Joseph to take the credit.
  • Some combination of theories involving associates and plagiarism together. An example of this is the Spalding-Rigdon theory.

Critics of the Book of Mormon do not agree on a prevailing theory

The critics themselves have never come to an agreement on which theory holds the most promise. For example, Fawn Brodie discounted the Spalding-Rigdon theory in favor of the View of the Hebrews theory. Various authorship theories have fallen into or out of favor as new evidence has come to light. The Spalding-Rigdon theory, first introduced by E. D. Howe in his anti-Mormon book Mormonism Unvailed, was quite popular until the later discovery of a Spalding manuscript which bore little resemblance to the Book of Mormon narrative. The View of the Hebrews theory became popular with the publishing of B. H. Roberts’ critical examination of the Book of Mormon titled Studies of the Book of Mormon. The best argument against View of the Hebrews being the source for the Book of Mormon is the text of View of the Hebrews itself. Because the book was not widely available for many years, Brigham Young University re-published it in order to make it available to those who wished to make this comparison for themselves.

All new theories that are proposed tend to combine elements of various older theories in an ever evolving attempt to pin down, in secular terms, the precise origin of the Book of Mormon.


Response to claim: 84 - A story circulated that Joseph Smith boasted he would walk upon the water

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

A story circulated that Joseph Smith boasted he would walk upon the water, and secretly built a plank bridge underneath the surface of the pond.

Author's sources:

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The author is now relying on unsubstantiated gossip. The articles cited say nothing about Joseph; they are being cited to demonstrate the absurd slanders and ridicule that "Mormon elders" are subject to by their religious critics.


Question: Did Joseph Smith claim to have walked on water?

The story about Joseph walking on water is recognized even by the Church's antagonists as a fake

It is claimed by critic Fawn Brodie that Joseph attempted to prove he was a prophet by walking on water; he sought to do so by hiding planks of wood under the water's surface.

The story about Joseph walking on water is recognized even by the Church's antagonists as a fake. It never happened. Fawn Brodie included it in her biography of the Prophet and wrote: "Baseless though this story may be, it is none the less symbolic."[1] So, this story is baseless, worthless, without truth. But it fit well with what Brodie thought about the prophet, and so she passed it on.

The application of this folk tale to Joseph is one example of a broader pattern of using such a tale to discredit unpopular religious claims:

  • Stanley J. Thayne, "Walking on Water: Nineteenth Century Prophets and a Legend of Religious Imposture," Journal of Mormon History 36:2 (Spring 2010): 160.


Response to claim: 84-85 - Joseph began to sincerely believe what he was teaching

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Joseph began to sincerely believe what he was teaching.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Joseph did sincerely believe what he was teaching. Brodie is simply forced to this conclusion by the evidence.


Response to claim: 86 - Joseph Smith performed "miracles," but was unaware that they were common occurrences

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Joseph Smith performed "miracles," but was unaware that they were common occurrences.

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author attempts to minimize any miracles attributed to Joseph by claiming that everyone did them, even if Joseph wasn't aware of that fact.


Question: Do we have any record of Joseph Smith performing healings or other miracles by the power of Christ's priesthood?

Accounts of healings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are at least as well attested historically as those recorded in the Gospels

Both sincere and insincere persons have asked this question. The Saints believe in healings and other miracles through Christ's priesthood power, but are cautious about sharing such events. However, such events are mainly for the comfort and blessing of the Saints, and are not intended to convince others or act as a "sign." Said Elder B.H. Roberts, quoting the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants:

"And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall do many wonderful works; in my name 2 they shall cast out devils; in my name they shall heal the sick; in my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; and the tongue of the dumb shall speak; and if any man shall administer poison unto them, it shall not hurt them; and the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them. But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation. (D&C 84꞉65-73)

[Elder Roberts then continues] The last part of the passage I have written in Italics that it might be the clearer understood that this promise of the miraculous gifts enumerated was not made that servants of God in the new dispensation might have evidence of what are commonly looked upon as miracles to point to in attestation of their divine authority; but are blessings given to the saints for their profit and salvation. For the very reasons that they were not given as evidence of divine authority, but as a promise of blessing to the saints, they will become all the stronger proof of divine authority in the ministry of the new dispensation, provided it can be proven that they follow those who believe. And I want to say, also, that because of the commandment that the servants of God shall not boast of these powers before the world is the very reason that so little has been said of them as proof of the divine mission of our New Witness; and even now I make their chief weight as evidence consist in the fact that their enjoyment is the fulfillment of a promise made by the God of heaven through Joseph Smith, which if it had not been fulfilled would prove him beyond all question an impostor. But I affirm that these promises are fulfilled in the experience of those who believe in, and accept the new dispensation...[2]:1:253-254

1830

April 1830

In the month of April, 1830, Joseph Smith was visiting at the house of a Mr. Joseph Knight, at Colesville, Broome County, New York. This gentleman had rendered the prophet some timely assistance while translating the Book of Mormon, and he was anxious that Mr. Knight and his family should receive the truth. While in Mr. Knight's neighborhood the prophet held a number of meetings. Among those who attended regularly was Newel Knight, son of Joseph Knight. He and the prophet had many serious conversations on the subject of man's salvation. In the meetings held the people prayed much, and in one of the aforesaid conversations with the prophet, Newel Knight promised that he would pray publicly. When the time came, however, his heart failed him, and he refused, saying that he would wait until he got into the woods by himself. The next morning when he attempted to pray in the woods, he was over-whelmed with a sense of having neglected his duty the evening before, in not praying in the presence of others. He began to feel uneasy and continued to grow worse both in body and mind, until upon reaching home his appearance was such as to alarm his wife. He sent for the prophet, who, when he came found Newel in a sad condition and suffering greatly. His visage and limbs were distorted and twisted in every shape imaginable. At last he was caught up off the floor and tossed about most fearfully. The neighbors hearing of his condition came running in. After he had suffered for a time the prophet succeeded in getting him by the hand, when Newel immediately spoke to him, saying he knew he was possessed of the devil, and that the prophet had power to cast him out. "If you know I can, it shall be, done," replied the prophet; and then almost unconsciously he rebuked Satan and commanded him to depart from the man. Immediately Newel's contortions stopped, and he spoke out and said he saw the devil leave him and vanish from sight.

"This was the first miracle which was done in this church, or by any member of it," writes the prophet; "and it was done not by man, nor by the power of man, but it was done by God and by the power of Godliness; therefore let the honor and praise, the dominion and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."[2]:1:254-255

1831

Spring 1831

Words of Oliver B. Huntington: Soon after Joseph settled in Kirtland, members of the Church began to gather to that place. The name of Joseph Smith and his power with God aroused everybody either for good or for bad. Mrs. John Johnson, who lived at the town of Hiram, forty miles distant from Kirtland, heard of the wonderful man that could receive revelations from God, heal the sick and see angels. She had a stiff arm that she wanted healed and made useful like the other, so she induced her husband to take a journey to Kirtland to see the Prophet.

Joseph asked her if she believed that God could make him instrumental in healing her arm which had been stiff a long time.

She answered that she believed her arm could be healed.

The Prophet only remarked that he would visit her the next day.

The next day Joseph came to Bishop Newel K. Whitney's home where Mr. Johnson and his wife were staying. There were a Campbellite doctor and a Methodist preacher in the room. He took Mrs. Johnson by the hand and without sitting down or standing on ceremonies, and after a very short mental prayer, pronounced her arm whole in the name of Jesus Christ. He left the house immediately.

When he was gone, the preacher asked if her arm was well. She immediately stretched out her arm straight, remarking at the same time, "It's as well as the other."

The next day the preacher came to the house of Philo Dibble, who lived a little out of town, and related what he saw, and then tried to account for it upon natural principles, saying that when Joseph pronounced that arm whole in the name of Jesus Christ, it frightened her so badly that it threw her in a heavy perspiration and relaxed the cords, and the result was that she could straighten her arm.

When the knowledge of the miracle was had among the Saints, some of the brethren asked the Prophet if the arm would remain sound. Joseph answered, "The arm is as sound as the other and is as liable to accidents or to be hurt as the other."[3]


The following account of a miraculous healing is to be found in Hayden' History of the Disciples (Campbellites); and is the statement of witnesses hostile to the prophet and the work in which he was engaged:

"Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and some other citizens of this place, visited Smith at his house in Kirtland, in 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith, partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine. During the interview the conversation turned upon the subject of supernatural gifts; such as were conferred in the days of the apostles. Some one said: 'Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men on the earth to cure her?' A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: "Woman, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command thee to be whole; and immediately left the room. The company were awestricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock—I know not how better to explain the well attested fact—electrified the rheumatic arm—Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain."[2]:1:255-256

1834

24-25 June 1834

This night the cholera burst forth among us, and about midnight it was manifested in its most virulent form. Our ears were saluted with cries and moanings, and lamentations on every hand; even those on guard fell to the earth with their guns in their hands, so sudden and powerful was the attack of this terrible disease. At the commencement, I attempted to lay on hands for their recovery, but I quickly learned by painful experience, that when the great Jehovah decrees destruction upon any people, and makes known His determination, man must not attempt to stay His hand. The moment I attempted to rebuke the disease I was attacked, and had I not desisted in my attempt to save the life of a brother, I would have sacrificed my own. The disease seized upon me like the talons of a hawk, and I said to the brethren: "If my work were done, you would have to put me in the ground without a coffin.". . .

When the cholera made its appearance, Elder John S. Carter was the first man who stepped forward to rebuke it, and upon this, was instantly seized, and became the first victim in the camp.[4]:2:114-115

11-13 October 1835

Waited on my father again, who was very sick. In secret prayer in the morning, the Lord said, "My servant, thy father shall live." . . . We called on the Lord in mighty prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, and laid our hands on him, and rebuked the disease. And God heard and answered our prayers—to the great joy and satisfaction of our souls. Our aged father arose and dressed himself, shouted, and praised the Lord. Called Brother William Smith, who had retired to rest, that he might praise the Lord with us, by joining in songs of praise to the Most High...Visited my father, who was very much recovered from his sickness, indeed, which caused us to marvel at the might, power, and condescension of our Heavenly Father, in answering our prayers in his behalf.[4]:2:289-290

10 December 1835

This afternoon I was called, in company with President David Whitmer, to visit Angeline Works. We found her very sick, and so much deranged that she did not recognize her friends and intimate acquaintances. We prayed for her and laid hands on her in the name of Jesus Christ, and commanded her in His name to receive her senses, which were immediately restored. We also prayed that she might be restored to health; and she said she was better.[4]:2:328

1839

22 July 1839

(Wilford Woodruff): On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1839, [the Prophet] arose reflecting upon the situation of the Saints of God in their persecutions and afflictions. He called upon the Lord in prayer, and the power of God rested mightily upon him. And as Jesus healed all the sick around Him in His day, so Joseph, the Prophet of God, healed all around on this occasion. He healed all in his house and dooryard, then, in company with Sidney Rigdon and several of the Twelve, he went through among the sick lying on the bank of the river, and he commanded them in a loud voice, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come up and be made whole, and they were all healed.

When he healed all that were sick on the east side of the river, they crossed the Mississippi River to Montrose, where we were. The first house they went into was President Brigham Young's. He was sick on his bed at the time. The Prophet went into his house and healed him, and they all came out together. As they were passing by my door, Brother Joseph said, "Brother Woodruff, follow me."

These were the only words spoken by any of the company from the time they left Brother Brigham's house till we crossed the public square and entered Brother Elijah Fordham's house. Brother Fordham had been dying for an hour, and we expected each minute would be his last.

I felt the power of God that was overwhelming His prophet. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph walked up to Brother Fordham and took him by the right hand; in his left hand he held his hat.

He saw that Brother Fordham's eyes were glazed, and that he was speechless and unconscious.

After taking hold of his hand, the Prophet looked down into the dying man's face and said, "Brother Fordham, do you not know me?"

At first he made no reply; but we could all see the effect of the Spirit of God resting upon him.

Joseph again said, "Elijah, do you not know me?"

With a low whisper, Brother Fordham answered, "Yes."

The Prophet then said, "Have you not faith to be healed?"

The answer, which was a little plainer than before, was, "I am afraid it is too late. If you had come sooner, I think I might have been."

He had the appearance of a man waking from sleep. It was the sleep of death.

Joseph then said, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ?"

"I do, Brother Joseph," was the response.

Then the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice, as in the majesty of the Godhead, "Elijah, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to arise and be made whole!"

The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God. It seemed to me that the house shook from its foundation. Elijah Fordham leaped from his bed like a man raised from the dead. A healthy color came to his face, and life was manifested in every act. His feet were done up in Indian-meal poultices. He kicked them off his feet, scattered the contents, then called for his clothes and put them on. He asked for a bowl of bread and milk and ate it. Then he put on his hat and followed us into the street to visit others who were sick.

As soon as we left Brother Fordham's house, we went into the house of Joseph B. Noble, who was very low and dangerously sick. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph took him by the hand, and commanded him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole. He did arise and was immediately healed.

While this was going on, the wicked mob in the place, led by one Kilburn, had become alarmed, and followed us into Brother Noble's house. Before they arrived there, Brother Joseph had called upon Brother Fordham to offer prayer. While he was praying, the mob entered, with all the evil spirits accompanying them. As soon as they entered, Brother Fordham, who was praying, fainted and sank to the floor.

When Joseph saw the mob in the house, he arose and had the room cleared of both that class of men and their attendant devils. Then Brother Fordham immediately revived and finished his prayer.

This shows what power evil spirits have upon the tabernacles of men. The Saints are only saved from the devil by the power of God.

This case of Brother Noble's was the last one of healing upon that day. It was the greatest day for the manifestation of the power of God through the gift of healing since the organization of the Church.

When we left Brother Noble, the Prophet Joseph went with those who accompanied him from the other side of the bank of the river, to return home. While waiting for the ferryboat, a man of the world, knowing of the miracles which had been performed, came to him and asked him if he would not go and heal his twin children, about five months old, who were both lying sick nigh unto death. They were some two miles from Montrose.

The Prophet said he could not go, but after pausing some time, he said he would send some one to heal them. He then turned to me and said, "You go with the man and heal his children."

He took a red silk handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to me, and told me to wipe their faces with the handkerchief when I administered to them, and they should be healed. He also said unto me, "As long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall remain a league between you and me."

I went with the man, and did as the Prophet commanded me, and the children were healed.

I have possession of the handkerchief unto this day.[4]:4:3[5]

23 July 1839

As a great number of brethren lay sick in the town, on Tuesday, 23rd July, 1839, I told Don Carlos and George A. Smith to go and visit all the sick, exercise mighty faith, and administer to them in the name of Jesus Christ, commanding the destroyer to depart, and the people to arise and walk; and not leave a single person on the bed between my house and Ebenezer Robinson's, two miles distant; they administered to over sixty persons, many of whom thought they would never sit up again; but they were healed, arose from their beds, and gave glory to God; some of them assisted in visiting and administering to others who were sick.[4]:4:398-99

1840

circa 1 December 1840

[Dated 19 May 1841]

Be it known that on or about the first of December last, we, J. Shamp and Margaret Shamp, of the town of Batavia, Gennesee county, N.Y., had a daughter that had been deaf and dumb four and a half years, and was restored to her hearing, the time aforesaid, by the laying on of the hands of the Elders (Nathan R. Knight and Charles Thompson) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons, through the power of Almighty God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as believed and practiced by them in these last days. [Signed]

J. SHAMP,
M. SHAMP.[4]:4:361

1850

Shortly after her marriage to T.H.B. Stenhouse, English convert Fanny reported witnessing miracles performed by LDS Elders. Interestingly, Fanny reported these events after her apostasy from the Church, in an anti-Mormon book. These accounts can be read here.


Response to claim: 89 - Joseph detested tedious and solitary field labor

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Joseph detested tedious and solitary field labor.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

There is no evidence that Joseph detested labor, and quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.


Question: Is it possible to deduce Joseph Smith's thoughts and dreams years after his death?

Some critics of the Church attempt to discern Joseph Smith's motivations, thoughts and dreams, in order to explain the rise of the Church

Secular critics face a tough challenge when attempting to explain the foundational stories of Church—the primary sources from Joseph Smith and his associates do not provide them with any useful information. The only explanation left to them is that Joseph must have been lying about everything that he said. Authors then resort to fabricating Joseph's thoughts and dreams, and deducing his motivations based upon his surroundings. As one reviewer of Vogel's work puts it, "if no evidence can be gathered to demonstrate that a historical actor thought what you attribute to him or her, no conjecture can be beyond the realm of hypothetical possibility—just make things up, if you need to."[6]:326 This technique allows secular critics to quite literally create any explanation that they wish to account for Joseph's ability to restore the Church.

Creating a "psychobiography" by putting thoughts into Joseph's head

Secular critics, as a result of their inability to accept what they call "paranormal experiences," must come up with explanations for why Joseph Smith was able to create and grow the Church. Since many of the primary documents from Joseph and his associates accept evidence of spiritual experiences and angelic visitations as normal, secular critics look at Joseph's surrounding environment in order to deduce his thoughts and dreams, thus creating a "psychobiography" of the Prophet. A well-known critical work in which this technique is heavily employed is Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History. Consider the following:

But the need for deference was strong within [Joseph]. Talented far beyond his brothers or friends, he was impatient with their modest hopes and humdrum fancies. Nimble-witted, ambitious, and gifted with a boundless imagination, he dreamed of escape into an illustrious and affluent future. For Joseph was not meant to be a plodding farmer, tied to the earth by habit or by love for the recurrent miracle of harvest. He detested the plow as only a farmer's son can, and looked with despair on the fearful mortage [check spelling] that clouded their future.[7]:18

Brodie's prose is very readable, and would be well suited to a fictional novel. Unfortunately, nothing in the paragraph quoted above is referenced to any sort of a source. According to Dr. Charles L. Cohen, professor of history and religious studies, and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

This habit of insinuating herself into historical actors' minds constitutes the second part of Brodie's method. "For weeks" after learning that Martin Harris had lost the 116-page translation of the golden plates, she stated, "Joseph writhed in self-reproach for his folly." Lucy Smith described her son's distraught reaction when Harris told him the bad news, but, though one can well imagine Joseph agonizing over what to do, there is insufficient evidence to say in an unqualified declarative sentence what he actually did.[8]

The speculation of one author becomes a later author's "fact"

Since Brodie's work is heavily referenced by critics, Brodie's opinions eventually become considered to be "fact" by those who wish to tear down the Church. Brodie's pronouncements regarding Joseph's motives are then passed along to the next anti-Mormon writer. Consider how the following claim evolves from speculation to "documented endnote," when Brodie states:

The awesome vision he described in later years was probably the elaboration of some half-remembered dream stimulated by the early revival excitement and reinforced by the rich folklore of visions circulating in his neighborhood. Or it may have been sheer invention, created some time after 1830 when the need arose for a magnificent tradition to cancel out the stories of his fortune-telling and money-digging. Dream images came easily to this youth, whose imagination was as untrammeled as the whole West (emphasis added).[7]:25

Now observe how author Richard Abanes treats this quote in his book Becoming Gods (retitled Inside Today's Mormonism):

Such a theory boldly challenges LDS apostle James Faust's contention that critics of the First Vision "find it difficult to explain away." His assertion is further weakened by yet another theory of Brodie's, which posits that Smith's story might have been "created some time after 1830 when the need arose for a magnificent tradition to cancel out the stories of his fortune-telling and money-digging" (emphasis added).[9]

Here we have an unsupported theory by Brodie being confirmed by another author to "further weaken" LDS claims about the First Vision. Brodie's speculation of "was probably" and "it may have been" now becomes a cited endnote in Abanes' work. The speculation of one author has become the documented fact for the next author down the line.

Deducing Joseph's thoughts from his environment

Another author who takes great liberties in deducing Joseph's thoughts and dreams is Dan Vogel. Vogel's book Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet liberally assigns motives to the Prophet which cannot be backed up with any primary source. Instead, the author must interpret the meaning behind second- and third-hand sources that agree with his point-of-view.

Frankly admitting his "inclination . . . to interpret any claim of the paranormal . . . as delusion or fraud" (p. xii), Vogel refuses to accept Joseph's and his supporters' autobiographical statements—most of which grant, either explicitly or implicitly, such "paranormal" phenomena as angels, revelation, visions, and prophecy—at face value. Vogel's Joseph opens his mouth only to lie and deceive; and whatever he might be experiencing, or trying to do, or thinking about, one can rest assured that it's not what any record generated by him or his sympathizers would have us believe.[10]:206

When an author disregards the primary sources—the statements made by Joseph Smith himself—it becomes possible to create any story, motivation, thought or dream which suits the author's purpose. Responding to Vogel's description of Joseph's prayers and thoughts on September 21, 1823 leading up to the visit of Moroni, BYU professors Andrew and Dawson Hedges note:

What more could a student of early Mormon history possibly want? Here, in a crisp three pages, is a detailed account of what Joseph Smith was thinking about, praying about, and hesitating about over 180 years ago during one of the most significant 24-hour periods in church history. And not just what he was thinking about, in general terms, but how and when, within this 24-hour period, his thoughts evolve! And Vogel gives us all this without a single source to guide his pen—indeed, in direct contravention of what the sources say! One might chalk up this ability to navigate so confidently and so deftly through Joseph's mind to some type of clairvoyance on Vogel's part—"clairvogelance," we could call it—were it not that he himself protests so loudly against anything smacking of the "paranormal."[10]:211

Again, as with Brodie, and freed from the constraint of having to use actual sources, the author can attribute any thought or motivation to the Prophet that they wish in order to explain the unexplainable.


Response to claim: 92 - Oliver Cowdery demanded that Joseph amend some of his own revelations

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Oliver Cowdery demanded that Joseph amend some of his own revelations.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

There is no evidence that Oliver demanded that Joseph alter his revelations.


Question: Who made the changes to the Doctrine and Covenants?

The First Presidency of the Church made the changes to the Doctrine and Covenants

The Saints have never believed in inerrant prophets or inerrant scripture. The editing and modification of the revelations was never a secret; it was well known to the Church of Joseph's day, and it has been discussed repeatedly in modern Church publications, as well as extensive studies in Masters' and PhD theses at BYU.

If Joseph could receive the Doctrine and Covenants by revelation, then he could also receive revelation to improve, modify, revise, and expand his revelatory product. The question remains the same—was Joseph Smith a prophet? If he was, then his action is completely legitimate. If he was not, then it makes little difference whether his pretended revelations were altered or not.

Richard Lloyd Anderson wrote:

First Presidency members were assigned to compile "the items of the doctrine" of the Church from the standard works, including "the revelations which have been given to the Church up to this date or shall be, until such arrangement is made" (Kirtland High Council Minute Book, 24 September 1834; also cited in History of the Church, 2:165. Volume 2 link). This resolution might suggest the correction of former wording through revelation. [The revised D&C was] issued in August 1835 with a 17 February 1835 preface signed by the Prophet, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, the revision committee. [11]

Thus, the First Presidency of the time supervised the revisions.


Response to claim: 92 - Oliver Cowdery secretly encouraged Hiram Page to receive revelations through his seer stone

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Oliver Cowdery secretly encouraged Hiram Page to receive revelations through his seer stone.

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

If Oliver "secretly" encouraged this, then how does the author know this?


Question: Why did Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer accept Hiram Page's seer stone revelations as authoritative?

The Lord used this incident as a way to teach Oliver the proper order of revelation in the Church

This event is discussed in the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013):

In 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith encountered a challenge because Church members did not understand the order of revelation in the Church. Hiram Page claimed to receive revelations for the Church through the medium of a special stone, and some Church members, including Oliver Cowdery, believed him. Shortly before a Church conference that was held on September 26, 1830, the Lord revealed truths that helped Oliver Cowdery and others understand the order of revelation in the Church.[12]

Oliver was actually directed by the Lord to correct Hiram Page in this matter. It was a "teaching moment" for Oliver:

11 And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;

12 For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants.

13 For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.

14 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites. (D&C 28꞉11-14).


Response to claim: 96 - Joseph experimented with the idea of "revealing" lost books of the Bible

The author(s) of No Man Knows My History make(s) the following claim:

Joseph experimented with the idea of "revealing" lost books of the Bible.

FAIR's Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The author is trying to come up with an explanation for Joseph's translation of the Bible, but there is no evidence that this was an "experiment".


Articles about Joseph Smith

Articles about the Holy Bible

What is the nature of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST)?

Is the JST intended primarily or solely as a restoration of lost Bible text?

Video published by BYU Religious Education.


The JST is not intended primarily or solely as a restoration of lost Bible text.

As expressed in the Bible Dictionary on churchofjesuschrist.org "The JST to some extent assists in restoring the plain and precious things that have been lost from the Bible."

Two main points should be kept in mind with regards to the Joseph Smith "translation" of the Bible:

  • The JST is not intended primarily or solely as restoration of text. Many mainline LDS scholars who have focused on the JST (such as Robert J. Matthews and Kent Jackson) are unanimous in this regard. The assumption that it is intended primarily or solely as a restoration of text is what leads to expectations that the JST and Book of Mormon should match up in every case. At times the JST does not even match up with itself, such as when Joseph Smith translated the same passage multiple times in different ways. This does not undermine notions of revelation, but certainly challenges common assumptions about the nature and function of Joseph's understanding of "translation".
  • One of the main tendencies of the JST is harmonization. Readers are well aware of differences in Jesus' sayings between different Gospels. For example, Jesus' statements about whether divorce is permitted and under what conditions differ significantly. Matthew offers an exception clause that Mark and Luke do not, and this has severely complicated the historical interpretation of Jesus' view of divorce.
The JST often makes changes that harmonize one gospel with another. While one gospel says "judge not" (though this may not be as absolute as some make it out to be), John 7:24 has Jesus commanding to "judge righteous judgment." The JST change harmonizes the two gospels by making Matthew agree with John. If there is a real difference between being commanded to "Judge righteously" and being commanded to "Judge not", then it is a problem inherently present in the differing accounts of the Gospels, which the JST resolves.

Matthews: "To regard the New Translation...as a product of divine inspiration given to Joseph Smith does not necessarily assume that it be a restoration of the original Bible text"

In describing the nature of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST), the leading expert, Robert J. Matthews, said:

To regard the New Translation [i.e. JST] as a product of divine inspiration given to Joseph Smith does not necessarily assume that it be a restoration of the original Bible text. It seems probable that the New Translation could be many things. For example, the nature of the work may fall into at least four categories:

  1. Portions may amount to restorations of content material once written by the biblical authors but since deleted from the Bible.
  2. Portions may consist of a record of actual historical events that were not recorded, or were recorded but never included in the biblical collection
  3. Portions may consist of inspired commentary by the Prophet Joseph Smith, enlarged, elaborated, and even adapted to a latter-day situation. This may be similar to what Nephi meant by "Likening" the scriptures to himself and his people in their particular circumstance. (See 1 Nephi 19:23-24; 2 Nephi 11:8).
  4. Some items may be a harmonization of doctrinal concepts that were revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith independently of his translation of the Bible, but by means of which he was able to discover that a biblical passage was inaccurate.

The most fundamental question seems to be whether or not one is disposed to accept the New Translation as a divinely inspired document.[13]

The same author later observed:

It would be informative to consider various meanings of the word translate. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives these definitions: "To turn from one language into another retaining the sense"; also, "To express in other words, to paraphrase." It gives another meaning as, "To interpret, explain, expound the significance of." Other dictionaries give approximately the same definitions as the OED. Although we generally think of translation as having to do with changing a word text from one language to another, that is not the only usage of the word. Translate equally means to express an idea or statement in other words, even in the same language. If people are unfamiliar with certain terminology in their own tongue, they will need an explanation. The explanation may be longer than the original, yet the original had all the meaning, either stated or implied. In common everyday discourse, when we hear something stated ambiguously or in highly technical terms, we ask the speaker to translate it for us. It is not expected that the response must come in another language, but only that the first statement be made clear. The speaker's new statement is a form of translation because it follows the basic purpose and intent of the word translation, which is to render something in understandable form…Every translation is an interpretation—a version. The translation of language cannot be a mechanical operation … Translation is a cognitive and functional process because there is not one word in every language to match with exact words in every other language. Gender, case, tense, terminology, idiom, word order, obsolete and archaic words, and shades of meaning—all make translation an interpretive process.[14]

What is the relationship between the JST and biblical manuscripts?

The Joseph Smith Translation does claim to be, in part, a restoration of the original content of the Bible. This may have been done (a) by reproducing the text as it was originally written down; or, (b) it may have been about reproducing the original intent and clarifying the message of the original author of the text in question. We are not entirely sure, but in either case the JST does claim to be, in part, a restoration.

Critics who fault the JST because it doesn't match known manuscripts of the Bible are being too hasty: we do not have the original manuscripts of any text of the Bible, nor do we know the exact nature of every change made in the JST and whether a particular change was meant to be a restoration of original text.

Kent P. Jackson, another leading expert on the JST, wrote:

Some may choose to find fault with the Joseph Smith Translation because they do not see correlations between the text on ancient manuscripts. The supposition would be that if the JST revisions were justifiable, they would agree with the earliest existing manuscripts of the biblical books. This reasoning is misdirected in two ways. First, it assumes that extant ancient manuscripts accurately reproduce the original test, and both Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon teach otherwise.[15] Because the earliest Old and New Testament manuscripts date from long after the original documents were written, we no longer have original manuscripts to compare with Joseph Smith's revisions. The second problem with faulting the JST because it does not match ancient texts is that to do so assumes that all the revisions Joseph Smith made were intended to restore original text. We have no record of him making that claim, and even in places in which the JST would restore original text it would do so not in Hebrew or Greek but in Modern English and in the scriptural idiom of early nineteenth-century America. Revisions that fit in others of the categories listed above are likewise in modern English, "given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language" (D&C 1꞉24)/[16]

The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) is not a translation in the traditional sense. Joseph did not consider himself a "translator" in the academic sense. The JST is better thought of as a kind of "inspired commentary". The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is not, as some members have presumed, simply a restoration of lost Biblical text or an improvement on the translation of known text. Rather, the JST also involves harmonization of doctrinal concepts, commentary and elaboration on the Biblical text, and explanations to clarify points of importance to the modern reader. As expressed in the Bible Dictionary on lds.org "The JST to some extent assists in restoring the plain and precious things that have been lost from the Bible". Joseph did not claim to be mechanically preserving some hypothetically 'perfect' Biblical text. Rather, Joseph used the extant King James text as a basis for commentary, expansion, and clarification based upon revelation, with particular attention to issues of doctrinal importance for the modern reader. Reading the JST is akin to having the prophet at your elbow as one studies—it allows Joseph to clarify, elaborate, and comment on the Biblical text in the light of modern revelation.

The JST comes from a more prophetically mature and sophisticated Joseph Smith, and provides doctrinal expansion based upon additional revelation, experience, and understanding. In general, it is probably better seen as a type of inspired commentary on the Bible text by Joseph. Its value consists not in making it the new "official" scripture, but in the insights Joseph provides readers and what Joseph himself learned during the process.

The Book of Moses was produced as a result of Joseph's efforts to clarify the Bible. This portion of the work was canonized and is part of the Pearl of Great Price. There was no attempt to canonize the rest of the JST then, or now.

What was the translation procedure used by Joseph Smith and his scribes to produce the JST?

Kent Jackson reports:

The original manuscripts of the JST, as well as the Bible used in the revision, still exist. They show the following process at work: Joseph Smith had his Bible in front of him, likely in his lap or on a table, and he dictated the translation to his scribes, who recorded what they heard him say. ... there are no parts of the translation in which the scribes "copied out the text of the Bible." The evidence on the manuscripts is clear that this did not happen. The Prophet dictated without punctuation and verse breaks, and those features were inserted as a separate process after the text was complete. [Some have argued that after supposedly] copying of text out of the Bible, the scribes then inserted the "numerous strikethroughs of words and phrases, interlinear insertions, and omissions," and thus Joseph Smith’s revised text was born. But the overwhelming majority of the revisions were in the original dictation and are simply part of the original writing on the manuscripts. There are indeed strikeouts and interlinear insertions on the manuscripts, but they came during a second pass through parts of the manuscripts and comprise only a minority of the revisions Joseph Smith made.[17]:20-21

Did Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary significanly influence the JST?

In March 2017, Thomas Wayment, professor of Classics at Brigham Young University, published a paper in BYU’s Journal of Undergraduate Research titled "A Recently Recovered Source: Rethinking Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation". In a summary of their research, Wayment and his research assistant wrote:

Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible has attracted significant attention in recent decades, drawing the interest of a wide variety of academics and those who affirm its nearly canonical status in the LDS scriptural canon. More recently, in conducting new research into the origins of Smith’s Bible translation, we uncovered evidence that Smith and his associates used a readily available Bible commentary while compiling a new Bible translation, or more properly a revision of the King James Bible. The commentary, Adam Clarke’s famous Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, was a mainstay for Methodist theologians and biblical scholars alike, and was one of the most widely available commentaries in the mid-1820s and 1830s in America. Direct borrowing from this source has not previously been connected to Smith’s translation efforts, and the fundamental question of what Smith meant by the term "translation" with respect to his efforts to rework the biblical text can now be reconsidered in light of this new evidence. What is noteworthy in detailing the usage of this source is that Adam Clarke’s textual emendations come through Smith’s translation as inspired changes to the text. Moreover, the question of what Smith meant by the term translation should be broadened to include what now appears to have been an academic interest to update the text of the Bible. This new evidence effectively forces a reconsideration of Smith’s translation projects, particularly his Bible project, and how he used academic sources while simultaneously melding his own prophetic inspiration into the resulting text. In presenting the evidence for Smith’s usage of Clarke, our paper also addressed the larger question of what it means for Smith to have used an academic/theological Bible commentary in the process of producing a text that he subsequently defined as a translation. In doing so, we first presented the evidence for Smith’s reliance upon Adam Clarke to establish the nature of Smith’s usage of Clarke. Following that discussion, we engaged the question of how Smith approached the question of the quality of the King James Bible (hereafter KJV) translation that he was using in 1830 and what the term translation meant to both Smith and his close associates. Finally, we offered a suggestion as to how Smith came to use Clarke, as well as assessing the overall question of what these findings suggest regarding Smith as a translator and his various translation projects.

Our research has revealed that the number of direct parallels between Smith’s translation and Adam Clarke’s biblical commentary are simply too numerous and explicit to posit happenstance or coincidental overlap. The parallels between the two texts number into the hundreds, a number that is well beyond the limits of this paper to discuss. A few of them, however, demonstrate Smith’s open reliance upon Clarke and establish that he was inclined to lean on Clarke’s commentary for matters of history, textual questions, clarification of wording, and theological nuance. In presenting the evidence, we have attempted to both establish that Smith drew upon Clarke, likely at the urging of Rigdon, and we present here a broad categorization of the types of changes that Smith made when he used Clarke as a source.[18]

Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon then published a more detailed account of their findings together in Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity (2020) edited by BYU professor Michael Hubbard MacKay, Joseph Smith Papers researcher Mark Ashurst-McGee, and former BYU professor Brian M. Hauglid.[19] Wayment then published an additional article on the subject in the July 2020 issue of the Journal of Mormon History.[20]

Wayment outlined what he and Haley Wilson believed they had found:

What we found, a student assistant (Hailey Wilson Lamone) and I, we discovered that in about 200 to 300 — depending on how much change is being involved — parallels where Joseph Smith has the exact same change to a verse that Adam Clarke does. They’re verbatim. Some of them are 5 to 6 words; some of them are 2 words; some of them are a single word. But in cases where that single word is fairly unique or different, it seemed pretty obvious that he’s getting this from Adam Clarke. What really changed my worldview here is now I’m looking at what appears obvious as a text person, that the prophet has used Adam Clarke. That in the process of doing the translation, he’s either read it, has it in front of him, or he reads it at night. We started to look back through the Joseph Smith History. There’s a story of his brother-in-law presenting Joseph Smith with a copy of Adam Clarke. We do not know whose copy of Adam Clarke it is, but we do know that Nathaniel Lewis gives it to the prophet and says, "I want to use the Urim and Thummim. I want to translate some of the strange characters out of Adam Clarke’s commentary." Joseph will clearly not give him the Urim and Thummim to do that, but we know he had it in his hands. Now looking at the text, we can say that a lot of the material that happens after Genesis 24. There are no parallels to Clarke between Genesis 1–Genesis 24. But when we start to get to Matthew, it’s very clear that Adam Clarke has influenced the way he changes the Bible. It was a big moment. That article comes out in the next year. We provide appendi [sic] and documentation for some of the major changes, and we try to grapple with what this might mean.[21]

Accusation of plagiarism

In another interview with Kurt Manwaring, Wayment addressed the charge of plagiarism directly:

When news inadvertently broke that a source had been uncovered that was used in the process of creating the JST, some were quick to use that information as a point of criticism against Joseph or against the JST. Words like "plagiarism" were quickly brought forward as a reasonable explanation of what was going on. To be clear, plagiarism is a word that to me implies an overt attempt to copy the work of another person directly and intentionally without attributing any recognition to the source from which the information was taken.

To the best of my understanding, Joseph Smith used Adam Clarke as a Bible commentary to guide his mind and thought process to consider the Bible in ways that he wouldn’t have been able to do so otherwise. It may be strong to say, but Joseph didn’t have training in ancient languages or the history of the Bible, but Adam Clarke did. And Joseph appears to have appreciated Clarke’s expertise and in using Clarke as a source, Joseph at times adopted the language of that source as he revised the Bible. I think that those who are troubled by this process are largely troubled because it contradicts a certain constructed narrative about the history of the JST and about how revelation works.

The reality of what happened is inspiring.

Joseph, who applied his own prophetic authority to the Bible in the revision process, drew upon the best available scholarship to guide his prophetic instincts. Inspiration following careful study and consideration is a prophetic model that can include many members of the church.

I hope people who read the study when it comes out will pause long enough to consider the benefit of expanding the definition of the prophetic gift to include academic study as a key component before rejecting the evidence outright.[22]

Mark Ashurst McGee of the Joseph Smith Papers team made similar points as those of Wayment at the 2020 FAIR Conference held in Provo:


A rebuttal to the Adam Clarke hypothesis

In October 2020, Kent P. Jackson (Emeritus Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and a leading expert on the JST) responded to Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon's work.[17]

Jackson's paper identified several striking weakness to the Adam Clarke hypothesis. These include:

  • "I have examined in detail every one of the JST passages they set forth as having been influenced by Clarke, and I have examined what Clarke wrote about those passages. I now believe that the conclusions they reached regarding those connections cannot be sustained. I do not believe that there is [Page 17] Adam Clarke-JST connection at all, and I have seen no evidence that Joseph Smith ever used Clarke’s commentary in his revision of the Bible. None of the passages that Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon have set forward as examples, in my opinion, can withstand careful scrutiny."[17]:16-17
  • "Too often Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon did not read carefully what Clarke wrote, and thus they frequently misinterpret him by ascribing intentions to him that cannot be sustained from his own words."[17]:28
  • "There is much evidence in the JST to show that when the Prophet removed or replaced words, he had a tendency to save the deleted words and place them elsewhere, and this [Psalms 33:2] is a good example. All of these revisions are the opposite of what Clarke wanted."[17]:30
  • [there are] "several examples in which Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon isolate one small similarity to something Clarke wrote in his commentary, but it is in a Bible passage where nothing in Clarke can account for the other changes Joseph Smith made."[17]:31
  • "In his commentary on the surrounding verses in Isaiah 34, Clarke makes several suggestions for revising the text. The fact that none of those suggestions are reflected in Joseph Smith’s translation adds to the unlikelihood that Clarke was the Prophet’s source here at all."[17]:33
  • Regarding Mark 8, "Clarke provides what he felt was better wording for four passages in this chapter. Joseph Smith’s translations contains none of them. And Joseph Smith made over thirty changes in the chapter, some of them rather extensive, and none of them resemble anything in Clarke."[17]:39
  • "There is even further reason to rule out Clarke as the source for this change [in John 2:24]. [Clarke's] commentary on John 2 has over 3,000 words, and he recommends changing the text in ten places. Joseph Smith made over thirty changes in this short chapter, but this is the only one that resembles anything in Clarke. Why, among Clarke’s thousands of words and scores of thoughtful insights, would Joseph Smith make only this one small revision of minimal consequence if he had Clarke’s commentary in front of him?"[17]:40
  • "Wayment states that Adam Clarke 'shaped Smith’s Bible revision in fundamental ways.' Even if all of the passages he attributes to Clarke were really influenced by Clarke, it seems difficult to justify such a sweeping statement, given the mostly minor rewordings that we have seen. If among the verses listed above are the best examples, as Wilson-Lemmon states,102 then the Adam Clarke-JST theory can be dismissed out of hand."[17]:53

Jackson concluded that "none of the examples they provide can be traced to Clarke’s commentary, and almost all of them can be explained easily by other means."[17]:15

Similarly, Latter-day Saint scholar Kevin L. Barney, who has published on the JST in the past,[23] wrote that the chances for the Adam Clarke commentary influencing the production of the JST are "de minimis or negligible."[24]

To be sure, neither Jackson nor Barney are opposed to the idea that there could be secondary source influence on the production of the JST. Thus, this is a faith-neutral issue for both.

At the 2022 FAIR Conference held in Provo, UT, Professor Kent Jackson responded to the theory directly and in depth.[25]


Was the JST ever completed?

As one LDS scholar noted:

"The Bible Dictionary in the English LDS Bible states that Joseph Smith 'continued to make modifications [in the translation] until his death in 1844.' Based on information available in the past, that was a reasonable assumption, and I taught it for many years. But we now know that it is not accurate. The best evidence points to the conclusion that when the Prophet called the translation 'finished,' he really meant it, and no changes were made in it after the summer (or possibly the fall) of 1833."[26]

Joseph did not view his revisions to the Bible as a "once and for all" or "finally completed translation" goal—he simply didn't see scripture that way. The translation could be acceptable for purposes, but still subject to later clarification or elaboration. Joseph was, however, collecting funds to publish the JST—which indicates that he believed it was ready for public use and consumption.

George Q. Cannon reported that Brigham Young heard Joseph speak about further revisions:

We have heard President Brigham Young state that the Prophet, before his death, had spoken to him about going through the translation of the scriptures again and perfecting it upon points of doctrine which the Lord had restrained him from giving in plainness and fullness at the time of which we write.[27]

We again see that the JST or any other scripture is not the ultimate source of LDS doctrine—having a living prophet is what is most vital.

Why does the Church continue to use the KJV instead of the JST as its official bible?

The answer to this question is complex. There is no single reason; instead, there are many:

  1. There is no revelation that has directed the Church to replace the KJV with the JST. Such a change would require both prophetic instruction and a sustaining vote of the membership.
  2. The original manuscripts for the JST were retained by Emma Smith when the Saints went west. She later gave them to her son, Joseph III, and he had the first JST Bible printed under the auspices of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At this time there was a great deal of animosity between the LDS and RLDS churches; Brigham Young feared that the RLDS church had tampered with the JST text and that it didn't accurately reflect Joseph Smith's original translation. Given that the Utah Church could not verify the translation, along with the fact that they did not own the copyright, kept the Utah Saints from embracing the JST. The LDS interest in the JST came much later, largely due to the scholarly work of Robert Matthews on the manuscripts in the early 1970s, and apostle Bruce R. McConkie's embrace of the JST.
  3. From a practical sense, adoption of the JST could cause a stumbling block for converts. The doctrine of Joseph Smith, modern prophets, and modern books of scripture are already difficult for many Christians to consider. In this sense, the KJV serves as a connection between the LDS Church and the remainder of the Christian world.
  4. Portions of the JST have been canonized: Our Book of Moses and Joseph Smith—Matthew are excerpts from the JST.

In 1978, the Church produced its new version of the KJV after years of work—it included multiple footnote and appendix entries from the JST. (Ironically, the JST was the focus of serious attention by the Church long before critics of the Church began to insist that leaders were ashamed of it.[28])

The Church magazines also launched a concerted effort to introduce Latter-day Saints to the JST material that was now easily available, and to encourage its use.[29]

Among Church leaders, Elder Bruce R. McConkie was especially vocal about the JST. In 1980, he said:

[Joseph] translated the Book of Abraham and what is called the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. This latter is a marvelously inspired work; it is one of the great evidences of the divine mission of the Prophet. By pure revelation, he inserted many new concepts and views as, for instance, the material in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis about Melchizedek. Some chapters he rewrote and realigned so that the things said in them take on a new perspective and meaning, such as the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew and the first chapter in the gospel of John.[30]

In 1985 Elder McConkie told members during a satellite broadcast:

As all of us should know, the Joseph Smith Translation, or Inspired Version as it is sometimes called, stands as one of the great evidences of the divine mission of the Prophet. The added truths he placed in the Bible and the corrections he made raise the resultant work to the same high status as the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. It is true that he did not complete the work, but it was far enough along that he intended to publish it in its present form in his lifetime.[31]

Source(s) of the criticism
Critical sources

Why does the JST translation of Genesis (the Pearl of Great Price's Book of Moses) contain New Testament language?

The Book of Moses comes from the few chapters of the JST—it is essentially the JST of the first chapters of Genesis.

The translation includes many phrases from the New Testament. The following occurences of New Testament language and concepts reflected in the Book of Moses were documented by David M. Calabro—a Latter-day Saint and Curator of Eastern Christian Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University.[32]

Phrase Location in Book of Moses Location in New Testament
"Only Begotten" and "Only Begotten Son" Moses 1:6, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 32, 33; 2:1, 26, 27; 3:18; 4:1, 3, 28, 5:7, 9, 57; 6:52, 57, 59, 62; 7:50, 59, 62 John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Hebrews 11:17; 1 John 4:9
"transfigured before" God Moses 1:11 Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2
"get thee hence, Satan" Moses 1:16 Matthew 4:10
the Holy Ghost "beareth record" of the Father and the Son Moses 1:24; 5:9 1 John 5:7
"by the word of my power" Moses 1:32, 35; 2:5 Hebrews 1:3
"full of grace and truth" Moses 1:32, 5:7 John 1:14; cf. John 1:17
"immortality and eternal life" Moses 1:39 Both terms are absent from the Old Testament but are relatively frequent in the New Testament: immortality occurs six times, all in Pauline epistles; eternal life occurs twenty-six times in the Gospels, Pauline epistles, epistles of John, and Jude; "eternal life" also appears elsewhere like in Moses 5:11; 6:59; 7:45.
"them that believe" Moses 1:42; 4:32 Mark 16:17; John 1:12; Romans 3:22; 4:11; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 14:22; Galatians 3:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 10:39; the contrasting phrase "them that do not believe" also appears (Rom. 15:31; 1 Cor. 10:27; 14:22)
"I am the Beginning and the End" Moses 2:1 Revelation 21:6; 22:13
"Beloved Son" as a title of Christ Moses 4:2 Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17; the phrase "beloved son" appears elsewhere in the New Testament (Luke 20:13; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 1:2) and in the Greek Septuagint of Gen. 22:2, but it is absent from the Hebrew and KJV Old Testament.
"my Chosen," as a title of Christ Moses 4:2; 7:39 Compare "chosen of God" in reference to Christ in Luke 23:35 and 1 Pet. 2:4
"thy will be done" Moses 4:2 Matthew 6:10; 26:42; Luke 11:2
"the glory be thine forever" Moses 4:2 Compare Matthew 6:13 - "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever;" note the proximity of this phrase to "thy will be done" both in Moses 4:2 and in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9–1.
"by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that [Satan] should be cast down" Moses 4:3 Compare Revelation 12:10 - "Now is come . . . the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down"; note that the Hebrew title Satan means "accuser"
"the devil" Moses 4:4 Sixty-one instances in the New Testament, translating the Greek word diabolos
"carnal, sensual, and devilish" Moses 5:13; 6:49 James 3:15 "earthly, sensual, and devilish"
"Satan desireth to have thee" Moses 5:23 Luke 22:31 "Satan hath desired to have you"
"Perdition," as the title of a person Moses 5:24 Compare "the son of perdition" in John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; the word perdition as an abstract noun meaning "destruction" (translating the Greek word apoleia) occurs elsewhere in the King James version of the New Testament (Philippians 1:28; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:8, 11)
"the Gospel" Moses 5:58, 59, 8:19 Eighty-three instances in the New Testament; the word gospel, irrespective of the English definite article, occurs 101 times in the New Testament but is not found in the Old Testament.
"holy angels" Moses 5:58 Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Acts 10:22 (singular "holy angel"); Revelation 14:10
"gift of the Holy Ghost" Moses 5:58; 6:52 Acts 2:38; 10:45
"anointing" the eyes in order to see Moses 6:35 – "anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see" Compare John 9:6–7, 11 (Jesus anoints the eyes of a blind man with clay and commands him to wash in the pool of Siloam, and he "came seeing"); Revelation 3:18 (the Lord tells the church in Laodicea, "anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see"); these are the only passages in the Bible that refer to anointing the eyes
"no man laid hands on him" Moses 6:39 John 7:30, 44; 8:20
"my God, and your God" Moses 6:43 John 20:17
"only name under heaven whereby salvation shall come" Moses 6:52 Acts 4:12
collocation of water, blood, and Spirit Moses 6:59-60 1 John 5:6, 8
"born again of water and the Spirit"; "born of the Spirit"; "born again"; "born of water and of the Spirit"; "born of the Spirit" Moses 6:59, 65 John 3:3, 5-8
"the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" Moses 6:59 Matthew 13:11. The phrase "kingdom of heaven" is absent from the Old Testament; in the New Testament it is found only in Matthew (thirty-two occurrences), but it is frequent in rabbinic literature
"cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten" Moses 6:59 Compare 1 John 1:7 ("the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin")
"the words of eternal life" Moses 6:59 John 6:68
eternal life "in the world to come" Moses 6:59 Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; the phrase "the world to come" is absent from the Old Testament but occurs five times in the New Testament; other than the two just quoted, see Matthew 12:32; Hebrews 2:5; 6:5
"by the Spirit ye are justified" Moses 6:60 Compare 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Timothy 3:16
"the Comforter," referring to the Holy Ghost Moses 6:61 John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7
"the inner man" Moses 6:65 Ephesians 3:16; Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16
"baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost" Moses 6:66 Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16
"they were of one heart and one mind" Moses 7:18 Compare Acts 4:32
"in the bosom of the Father," referring to heaven Moses 7:24, 47 John 1:18 (note that JST deletes this phrase in this verse, perhaps implying that it entered the text sometime after its original composition)
"a great chain in his hand" Moses 7:26 Revelation 20:1 (here the one holding the chain is an angel, unlike Moses 7:26, in which it is the devil)
commandment to "love one another" Moses 7:33 John 13:34, 35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 1:5
"without affection" Moses 7:33 Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3
"the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world" Moses 7:47 Compare Revelation 13:8 – "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," as a noun phrase); the term "the Lamb" is used as a title of the Messiah only in the New Testament and is distinctively Johannine (John 1:29, 36; twenty-seven instances in Revelation), and the words lamb and slain collocate only in Revelation 5:6, 12; 13:8.
"climb up" by a gate or door, as a metaphor of progression through Christ Moses 7:53 John 10:1

Video by The Interpreter Foundation.


This language can be explained by a few possible factors, not all mutually exclusive.

"After the Manner of Their Language" – Doctrine & Covenants 1:24

The first possibility to consider is that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Moses into a vernacular that was comprehensible to his 19th century audience. Joseph's contemporaries were steeped in biblical language and used it even in everyday speech. The language of the New Testament was the natural way to discuss certain theological ideas.

D&C 1꞉24 tells us that in revelation, God uses the language of his audience to communicate effectively" Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding."[33]

An early Christian context for the creation of the Book of Moses

Another possibility is that the Book of Moses was originally written in an early Christian context. That would place the composition of the Book of Moses in the 1st and 2nd century AD (about 1900 to 1800 years ago). Calabro outlined and defended this theory.[32] Calabro argues that the Book of Moses can still preserve actual events from the life of Moses while placing the story in a Christian context describing it with Christian language. Thus, Joseph Smith could actually be restoring lost understanding of Moses—but that information has already been filtered through New Testament language.

One potential weakness of this theory is that it disrupts the understanding of many Church members about the Book of Moses, since it has more traditionally been seen as a restoration of Moses' writings in Genesis. However, Joseph Smith does not seem to have left a detailed account of what the Book of Moses represents. Joseph saw the JST as a restoration of "many important points touching the salvation of men, [that] had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled."[34]

This theory could also, in essence, be turned on its head, making an ancient version of the Book of Moses the source of subsequent Christian writing. Latter-day Saint author Jeff Lindsay and former BYU professor Noel Reynolds have theorized that the Book of Moses influenced the language of the Book of Mormon via the brass plates or another source.[35]

Similar messages to different nations

Speaking in reference to the Bible, the Book of Mormon has God announce that "I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two enations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also."[36]

It is certainly possible that the same concepts were revealed to Moses with similar language as that used in the New Testament.

Conclusion—New Testament and the Book of Moses

There are therefore multiple models which would explain the similarity between the Book of Moses and the New Testament. Given that the Book of Moses claims to be a translation, it is hardly strange that it would echo another translation (the KJV bible) that discusses the same ideas and issues.

Why does the Book of Mormon match the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible so closely?

Some have presumed that Joseph simply opened a Bible and copied those chapters when he came to material on the gold plates that he recognized as being from the Bible

Some passages from the Bible (parts of Isaiah, for example) were included in the Book of Mormon text. Some people have long adopted the position that Joseph Smith simply copied the King James Version (KJV) Bible text for the relevant portions of, for example, Isaiah. Even some Church members have presumed that the close match between the texts indicates that Joseph simply opened a Bible and copied those chapters when he came to material on the gold plates that he recognized as being from the Bible.

The purposes of the Book of Mormon and JST translations were not identical. The LDS do not believe in one fixed, inviolate, "perfect" rendering of a scripture or doctrinal concept. The Book of Mormon likely reflects differences between the Nephite textual tradition and the commonly known Biblical manuscripts. The JST is a harmonization, expansion, commentary, and clarification of doctrinally important points. Neither is intended as "the final word" on a given concept or passage—continuing revelation, adapted to the circumstances in which members of the Church find themselves, precludes such an intent.

Joseph did not believe that there was "one and only one" true translation of a given passage or text. The Book of Mormon is "the most correct book" in the sense that it those who read and obey its precepts will draw nearer to God than in reading any other book. This is not a claim about textual perfection or inerrancy (which the book itself insists will still be present—title page, Mormon 9꞉31). In fact, Brigham Young taught that the Book of Mormon text would have been different if it were redone later:

Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to re-write the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings. [37]

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.[38]

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...[39]

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.[40]

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.[41]

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.[42]

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.[43]

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.[44]

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.[45] 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 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.[46]

When one considers that New Testament writers literally quoted hundreds of Old Testament scriptures including 76 verses from Isaiah[47] 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.[48]

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[49] and was also in common use in Joseph Smith's day.[50] 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?

Source(s) of the criticism—Relationship of JST and Book of Mormon
Critical sources

Do academic translators copy translations of other documents to use as a "base text"?

In some translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, approximately 90% is simply copied from the King James Bible

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.[51]

The purpose of the DSS translation is to highlight the differences between the newly discovered manuscripts and those to which scholars already had access

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. Here, for example, is how the first verses of Genesis are treated:

Dead Sea Scrolls Translation: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2 And] the earth [was] formless and void; and darkness was upon the fac[e of the dee]p: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," [and there was light. 4 And] God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light [from the darkness.] 5 And God called the light daytime, and the darkness he cal[led ni]ght. And there was evening [and there was morning,] one day.

KJV: 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

We can see that it generally follows that same King James language. In places, it has variant readings, and it footnotes what ancient texts caused these different readings. You can also see from the various punctuation marks that there is a system in place to help us understand what part of the text comes from which source. Why would a translation made in 1999 (170 years after the Book of Mormon gets published) generally follow the King James Version? It isn't because the King James Version is the best, or the easiest to understand. In 1830, it was the only mass produced translation (the next major translation wouldn't be published for another half century). And it remains today one of the most common translations of the Bible. You don't have to be a specialist to compare the two texts and see what the differences are. In this way, we can (as non-specialists) get a better feel for the various ancient versions of the biblical texts. The same is true for the Book of Mormon except perhaps in reverse. By using the KJV language, we are probably being clued in to the fact that the potential differences aren't the important parts of the Book of Mormon. Rather than focusing on how this or that word was changed, we can focus on what the passages are trying to teach us.

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 KJV translation represented a true difference in the DSS, or simply the choice of the DSS translators to improve the KJV.

The situation with the Book of Mormon is likely analogous

The situation with the Book of Mormon is likely analogous. For example, most of the text to which the Nephites had access would not have differed significantly from the Hebrew texts used in 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.

Furthermore, using a KJV "base text" also helps us to identify the source of some scriptural citations that might be otherwise unclear. Consider this bit from Jacob 1꞉7:

Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness.

This sounds nice, but its real impact on our reading Jacob occurs when we recognize that Jacob is alluding to Psalm 95:8-11:

8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Jacob wants us to understand what follows in the context of Israel being led in the wilderness by Moses. Drawing that connection is hard enough for people who don't have a lot of familiarity with the Old Testament. But had it followed language not found in the Bible they had (the KJV)—even if conceptually it was the same—it would have been far more difficult for readers to connect the two to understand the point Jacob was trying to make.

In this way, it makes a lot of sense for a translation—even a divinely inspired translation which is being read through revelation (from a seer stone) - to follow a conventional text where it duplicates the same original source material. It isn't just about trying to duplicate the source material, it is also about getting the reader who then reads the text to understand it.

How do we explain multiple "Isaiahs" and the Book of Mormon?

The challenge to the Book of Mormon is that Nephi quotes several chapters from Second Isaiah, who allegedly had not yet written his material in time for Nephi to quote from it

As part of the record Nephi creates for his people, he quotes heavily from the prophet Isaiah. The source for Nephi's text are the brass plates that he and his brothers obtained from Laban before leaving Jerusalem. Traditionally, the Book of Isaiah has been understood to be the composition of a single author living before Nephi, and before the Babylonian exile. However, modern scholars have found evidence in the Book of Isaiah that it was written by multiple authors spanning periods of time before and during the Babylonian exile, including before and after Nephi and his brothers obtained the brass plates. Nephi quotes from some of the passages of Isaiah that scholars believe were written after Nephi and his family left Jerusalem, creating a conundrum for students of the Book of Mormon.

The general division of Isaiah chapters according to this view looks like this:

  • Ch. 2-39, First Isaiah (Proto-Isaiah), written about 100 years before Lehi left Jerusalem, and so available to Nephi on Laban's brass plates.
  • Ch. 40-55, Second Isaiah (Deutero-Isaiah), written, at the earliest, 20-30 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, and so allegedly not available to Nephi on Laban's brass plates.
  • Ch. 56-66, Third Isaiah (Trito-Isaiah), written at least 60-70 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, and so not available to Nephi on Laban's brass plates.

The challenge to the Book of Mormon is that Nephi quotes several chapters from Second Isaiah, who allegedly had not yet written his material in time for Nephi to quote from it. The key question is, "Were those passages available to Nephi on the plates of brass?". If some parts of Isaiah were not written until after Nephi obtained the brass plates then they obviously would not be available for Nephi to quote from. This criticism/question is not new to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For instance, the semi-official encyclopedic work Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992, 2007) broached it in their entry on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.[52] Among the Latter-day Saints who are familiar with this issue there is more than one approach taken. Some argue for single authorship of Isaiah, disagreeing with multiple authorship theories of Isaiah. Others agree that the Book of Isaiah was authored by more than one person and look for ways to resolve that with the Book of Mormon. We will consider the latter position first.

Many Latter-day Saint scholars and students have come to agree with mainstream biblical scholars who suggest that parts of the Book of Isaiah were written by multiple authors and at different times

Many Latter-day Saint scholars and students have come to agree with mainstream biblical scholars who suggest that parts of the Book of Isaiah were written by multiple authors and at different times. There is no official position from the Church that requires Latter-day Saints to see Isaiah as having been written by one author. Therefore, Latter-day Saints are free to form their own opinions of this issue. Hugh Nibley summarizes the main reasons why many believe Isaiah was written by multiple authors:

"The dating of Deutero-Isaiah rests on three things: (1) the mention of Cyrus (Isa. 44:28), who lived 200 years after Isaiah and long after Lehi; (2) the threats against Babylon (Isa. 47:1, 48:14), which became the oppressor of Judah after the days of Isaiah and (3) the general language and setting of the text, which suggests a historical background commonly associated with a later period than that of Isaiah."[53]

Latter-day Saints who agree with this view do not do so because they don't believe that Isaiah could not prophecy of future events. Certainly it is within God's power to have Isaiah predict the name of Cyrus, or for Isaiah to write as if he were experiencing the Israelite exile to Babylon which would not happen for a couple hundred years. However, it would be very unusual for these things to happen. Those who accept the multiple authorship of Isaiah ask questions like, "Why would God have Isaiah predict the name of Cyrus, which would have been meaningless to his audience, and not predict the name of the Jesus?" In other words, if God is going to reveal the future name of an important person, it would seem that Jesus' name would have priority over Cyrus' name. The same question could be asked about why God would have Isaiah write as if he were experiencing the Babylonian exile. It would make little sense to his contemporary audience, and would not be very helpful to them. They would be long dead before any of those prophecies made sense. Could it be written like that to be a sign to future audiences that God has predictive power? Perhaps, but to some that seems like an unusual and trivial thing for God to do.

The important question to ask for the purposes of this study is not "Who wrote the text of Isaiah", but rather "When and how was the text of Isaiah written?".

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

The primary Isaiah passages found in the Book of Mormon are illustrated in the following table:

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.jpg

2 Nephi 12-24 quotes 1st Isaiah. This is not a problem because it is agreed by scholars that this author wrote before Nephi obtained the brass plates. 1 Nephi 20-21, 2 Nephi 7-8, and 3 Nephi 16:18-20 all quote from 2nd Isaiah, which is a problem if those chapters were not written by 2nd Isaiah until after Nephi had obtained the brass plates. Along with the quotations from the above table, Third Isaiah is alluded to in Jacob 6:3 of the Book of Mormon. It is important to remember that the only part of 2nd Isaiah we need to account for is Isaiah 48-53 and the only part of Trito-Isaiah (it should be remembered that some scholars reject trito-Isaiah) being the one verse from Isaiah 65 (65:2). Thus we have four chapters and four verses to account for.

The development of the text of Isaiah

There are a few important key points about the development of the text of Isaiah that may help resolve this challenge:

  • 1st Isaiah wrote during a time when a powerful nation, Assyria, threatened the destruction of Israel. While this was the immediate issue in 1st Isaiah's mind, he also may have been inspired to make general prophecies about a more future destruction of Israel. While not specifically mentioning "Bablyon" or "Cyrus", this 1st Isaiah may have made broad prophecies about a future threat to Israel separate from the immediate Assyrian threat.
  • Latter-day Saints scholar Sidney B. Sperry has suggested that we pay attention to the research of several non-Latter-day Saint scholars who "held that Isaiah 40-66 arose in exilic times, but consisted in considerable measure of ancient prophecies of Isaiah, which were reproduced by an author of Isaiah's school living in the exilic period, because the events of the day were bringing fulfillment of the prophecies." In other words, our current Isaiah 40-55 (or 40-66) may originate in primitive writings of 1st Isaiah, but which were reworked and reinterpreted by 2nd Isaiah. This is very likely the best approach and one the easily accounts for the both the essential unity of the text of Isaiah and the presence of material from other chapters. Marc Schindler described this approach in detail in this article from FairMormon Papers.
  • In that same vein, Latter-day Saint scholar Brant Gardner writes:
Rather than seeing the specificity of "Cyrus" or "Babylon" as denying Isaiah's authorship because they must have been written later, those same techniques of analysis suggest that others added those names later when fulfillment made the intent of the prophecy obvious. Cyrus might not have been named when Isaiah ben Amoz [1st Isaiah] wrote, but anyone living after the fact would certainly recognize the name and perhaps "improve" the original Isaiah text by adding the specifics of the fulfilled prophecy. If the earliest versions of Deutero-Isaiah were actually written by proto-Isaiah, they were later redacted on the basis of the similar historical facts of destruction and hope of return from exile that were part of both the earlier Assyrian and later Babylonian captivity.

Issues of Translation

However, this doesn't quite settle the issue yet. The question is asked, "What text was available to Nephi?" Nephi would have had available to him only the text of 1st Isaiah (which presumably would include the 1st Isaiah version of the 4 chapters and 4 verses of Deutero-Isaiah that we need), a text which possibly included broad and perhaps vague prophecies of the threat of a future exile of Israel. The prophecies on Laban's plates of brass which Nephi was quoting from may not have specifically mentioned "Babylon" as that threat. Thus, what Nephi quoted as he inscribed on his plates would have been the original, early, 1st Isaiah version of Isaiah 48-52 and all of chs. 2-40. However, the text that we have in the Book of Mormon of Isaiah 48-52 quotes from the later, 2nd Isaiah material (which is a reworked version of 1st Isaiah's earlier material) as found in the KJV Bible. How can this be?

The answer to this question will involve a brief consideration of the translation process of the Book of Mormon. Some may believe that the Book of Mormon must have been a translation in which nothing but formal equivalency (word for word translation) would be what God would provide as the translation. The problem is that the Book of Mormon does not represent a one-for-one conversion of text from Reformed Egyptian to English. There is much language, for example, that quotes, echoes, or alludes to the King James version of the Holy Bible. This includes the passages claimed to belong to Deutero-Isaiah. The Book of Mormon often does not translate the version that Nephi would have had, but simply uses the text as rendered in the King James Bible. Oddly enough, this actually should not lead one to believe that Joseph Smith simply plagiarized from it. Using the Original and Printer's Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon, Latter-day Saint scholar Royal Skousen has identified 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 spelling of words had indeed been standardized prior to the translation of the Book of Mormon (contrary to popular belief) and that Oliver Cowdery (Joseph's amanuensis for the dictation of the Book of Mormon), when quoting, echoing, or alluding to passages in Bible, 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.[54] Additionally, it should be noted that the current edition of the Book of Mormon notes that "more than half of the 433 verses of Isaiah that are used in the Book of Mormon" differ from the Isaiah text in the KJV "while about 200 verses have the same wording as the KJV."[55]

A Proposed Scenario

When considering the the data, Skousen proposes that, instead of Joseph or Oliver looking at a Bible (the absence of a Bible now near-definitively confirmed by the manuscript evidence and the unequivocal statements of witnesses to the translation to the Book of Mormon), 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 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. 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. Thus:

  • As Joseph was translating the text of the Book of Mormon, he would find himself translating something that he recognized as being roughly similar to texts from the Bible. This would occur most prominently when Nephi quotes from Isaiah.
  • Instead of translating Nephi's quotations of Isaiah word-for-word, the Lord gave the passages from Isaiah as contained in the KJV . This may have been done to cater to Joseph's contemporary audience, to save time, and to respect the aesthetic value that the KJV held at that time (and does now to an extent). The chapters of Isaiah that we find in the Book of Mormon were taken largely by Joseph Smith from the KJV Bible, instead of being translated from Nephi's version of that text. In other words, why reinvent the wheel when the work had already been done?
  • As a result of this, the Isaiah chapters on Nephi's plates would have looked slightly different from the Isaiah chapters that we have now in the Book of Mormon. Remember, the only 2nd Isaiah chapters that show up in the Book of Mormon are Isaiah 48-52 and we have just the one echo from Trito-Isaiah. Nephi's version of Isaiah 48-52 that he quoted on his plates was the primitive, early version written by 1st Isaiah which might not have included specific references to Babylon. The version of Isaiah 48-52 that we have now in the Book of Mormon would not then be taken directly from Nephi's plates, but rather adapted from the KJV Bible for reasons suggested above. That version of Isaiah 48-52 is the older, reworked material of 2nd Isaiah which inserted specific references to Babylon.

One final observation should be made. Scholars believe that Isaiah chapter 1 was not part of 1st Isaiah's original book,[56] but was a later addition by a later writer, perhaps 2nd or 3rd Isaiah. It is noteworthy that Nephi begins quoting Isaiah 2 and continues until Isaiah 14 without break, and never quotes Isaiah 1. If Isaiah chapter 1 was not yet a part of the record of Isaiah when Nephi obtained it would make sense that he would not quote Isaiah chapter 1.

Theories of A "Single Isaiah" and the Book of Mormon

Some take a conservative view and argue for the unity of Isaiah, suggesting that theories about multiple authorship are not correct. This approach was taken by one author in an old article in the Ensign. The following represents part of that answer that was given (the full text may be read on churchofjesuschrist.org at the link below):

Many non-LDS scholars claim that the second half of the book of Isaiah was written after the time Lehi left Jerusalem, Yet the Book of Mormon contains material from both halves. How do we explain this? ...

Literary style in Hebrew is much more accessible to computer analysis than is English. This is partly because the Hebrew characteristic known as the function prefix can help identify speech patterns of a given author. For example, how an author uses Hebrew function prefixes, such as those that translate into "and in this," "and it is," and "and to," are expected to be unique with him. Thus, comparing parts of an author’s work with other parts, as well as comparing his work with work by other authors, can yield statistical evidence for claims of authorship.

Accordingly, we coded the Hebrew text of the book of Isaiah and a random sampling of eleven other Old Testament books onto computer tape. 3 Then, using a computer, we compared rates of literary usage (such as unique expressions and idiomatic phrases including the function prefix and other such literary elements) from text to text. Since any author varies within himself, depending on context, audience, his own change of style, and so forth, variations for a given author were compared with variations between authors for any literary element.

The results of the study were conclusive: there is a unique authorship style throughout the various sections of Isaiah. The rates of usage for the elements of this particular style are more consistent within the book of Isaiah, regardless of the section, than in any other book in the study. This statistical evidence led us to a single conclusion: based on style alone, the book of Isaiah definitely appears to be the work of one man. The two parts of Isaiah most often claimed to have been written by different authors, chapters 1–39 and 40–66, were found to be more similar to each other in style than to any of the other eleven Old Testament books examined.[57]

A full answer to the Crticism

Thus, to fully address the criticism we should recognize that:

  • We have four chapters and four verses to account for. We don't need to have the entire book of Isaiah date to a certain time—just those passages in the Book of Mormon.
  • The Book of Mormon uses KJV Language. There are perhaps a few reasons for it: (1) Joseph's model of revelation is one in which the Lord speaks after the manner of their language. King James vernacular was their's (D&C 1:24), (2) The end of that verse in Doctrine and Covenants suggests that he does this so that they can come to understanding. So when we have King James language in the Book of Mormon, it is to point out clearly what theological issue is being engaged. The Book of Mormon teaches that this is one of its purposes in 2 Nephi 29; (3) If we didn't get any language from the Nephites that matched or alluded to King James Language, we would be closer to thinking that they were trying to communicate an entirely different message or teach something else entirely.
  • Literary arguments for dating a text are often highly subjective and most prone to disagreement. Many scholars use narrative criticism to establish the dating of a text. It's one of the trickiest ways to date a text and several scholars have pointed out the fallacies of doing so.[58] This is significant: we have no manuscript evidence that would establish that there were multiple authors. The earliest manuscript of the text "ha[s been] dated using both radiocarbon dating and palaeographic/scribal dating[,] giving calibrated date ranges between 356–103 BCE and 150–100 BCE respectively."[59]
  • All it would really take to eliminate the argument would be to find a copy of Isaiah—either in its wholeness or even just a couple of fragments that had portion(s) of deutero and trito Isaiah on them—within 7th century strata. The problems with this are that:
    • The texts themselves, if preserved, would most likely be contained within temple deposits. These would have been ransacked by the Babylonians when they took Israel captive circa 600 BCE. Upon taking Israel, the Babylonians would have pillaged and destroyed the Israelite's temples, records, and other belongings. This is actually recorded in the Old Testament itself.[60] The most likely temple to find the texts from Isaiah in would be the Temple of Solomon which is buried under the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. It is archaeologically inaccessible by law for religious and political reasons.
    • The texts, if they survived outside temple deposits and survived Babylonian or other foreign invasion, would have been deposited in environments for which it is doubtful they would survive for hundreds of years. For example, K.A. Kitchen commenting on arguments against the historicity of the Exodus narratives in the Bible, wrote the following:
Egyptian gods gave only victories to kings—and defeats indicated divine disapproval, not applause! It is no use looking for administrative registers giving the Hebrews "customs clearance" to clear out of Egypt. In fact, 99 percent of all New Kingdom papyri are irrevocably lost (administrative and otherwise), the more so in the sopping mud of the Delta; the few survivors hail from the dry sands of Sawwara and Upper Egypt, far away from Pi-Ramesse's total of our administrative texts so far recovered from Pi-Ramesse![61]
Thus, depending on what environmental conditions obtained upon deposition, the papyri or scrolls upon which the text of Isaiah that we would need to make a fully-informed decision on authorship may be lost. But even in good taphonomic conditions, it may be years before such a document might be uncovered. Consider that one archaeological excavation took some 30 years to uncover a Philistine cemetery in southern Israel.[62] These processes take time, and we shouldn't expect everything to come to us so easy. We should remain patient on the Lord (1 Nephi 21:23) and know that sometimes we may never find remains of what we're looking for. That this argument against the Book of Mormon is an argument from silence is the most damning point against it and one that should provide all of us pause when evaluating how problematic it really is for our faith. In light of the foregoing analysis, perhaps we shouldn't stress so much.

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Their Imperfect Best: Isaianic Authorship from an LDS Perspective"

Daniel T. Ellsworth,  Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (September 15, 2017)
For Latter-day Saints, the critical scholarly consensus that most of the book of Isaiah was not authored by Isaiah often presents a problem, particularly since many Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon are assigned post-exilic dating by critical scholars. The critical position is based on an entirely different set of assumptions than most believers are accustomed to bring to scripture. This article surveys some of the reasons for the critical scholarly position, also providing an alternative set of assumptions that Latter-day Saints can use to understand the features of the text.

Click here to view the complete article

Learn more about the KJV of the Bible in the Book of Mormon
Wiki links
Online
Book of Mormon Central KnoWhys (including article and video):
Video
Saints Unscripted:
Print
  • Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Horizon Publishers & Distributors, 1995) (now published by Cedar Fort Publisher: Springville, UT, 2004),193–196. ISBN 0882905368. ISBN 0882907786. ISBN 0882907786. (Key source)
  • Stephen D. Ricks, "The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon," Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1994.
  • Royal Skousen, "Towards a Critical Edition of the Book of Mormon," Brigham Young University Studies 30 no. 1 (Winter 1990), 41–69.
  • Royal Skousen, "Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997), Chapter 4. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GL direct linkGospeLink
  • John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount: A Latter-day Saint Approach (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 130-44.
  • Spencer, Joseph M. The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi's Record. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford, 2016. This book is remarkable in that, as part of its analysis, it demonstrates clearly that the selection of Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon is one not done at random but that there is a unifying theme and purpose that drives Nephi's use of Isaiah.
  • Sperry, Sidney B. "The ‘Isaiah Problem’ in the Book of Mormon," Book of Mormon Compendium. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968. An explanation of the problem and response from Sidney Sperry concerning the "Isaiah Problem."
  • Jackson, Kent P. "Isaiah in the Book of Mormon," A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2016. This book chapter responds to common questions about the so-called "Isaiah Problem" and offers resources for further study and help in resolving those questions.
  • Carr, David. “Reaching for Unity in Isaiah,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 18, no. 57 (1993): 61–80. There is a large bibliography of scholars who believe in a single Isaiah in notes 3-5 of this article.
  • Harrison, R. K. Introduction to the Old Testament. Grant Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1969, 371–78.
  • LaSor, W. S., D. A. Hubbard, and F. W. Bush. Old Testament Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982.
  • Parry, Donald; Welch, John W. Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998. One of the largest studies done on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. John Welch offers his perspective on the "Isaiah Problem" near the end of the volume.
  • Adams, Larry L., and Rencher, Alvin A. "A Computer Analysis of the Isaiah Authorship Problem," BYU Studies 15 (Autumn 1974): 95-102. This analysis takes the English KJV text of Isaiah and through textual analysis argues that there was one singular author of Isaiah. That this study was done with the English translation of Isaiah instead of the original Hebrew is a weakness (though perhaps not necessarily fatal to the authors' arguments).
  • Andersen, Francis L. "Style and Authorship," The Tyndale Paper 21 (June 1976): 2.
  • Kissane, E. J. The Book of Isaiah. 2 vols. Dublin, Ireland: 1941, 1943.
  • Ludlow, Victor L. Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet. Salt Lake City, 1981.
  • Tvedtnes, John A. "Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon," Isaiah and the Prophets, ed. M. Nyman. Provo, Utah: 1984.
  • Young, Edward J. Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: 1949.
  • Sears, Joshua M. "Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon." In They Shall Grow Together: The Bible in the Book of Mormon, ed. Charles Swift and Nicholas J. Frederick. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2022. Perhaps the best treatment on different approaches taken by Latter-day Saints to the problem and resources for reconciling criticism.
Navigators

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.[63]

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.


Why does the Book of Mormon and Book of Moses describe "God" as creating, while the Book of Abraham describes "Gods?"

Latter-day Saints believe that God is one, but accept the Biblical witness that this is a oneness of purpose, intent, mind, will, and love

The scriptures affirm that there is "One God" consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. A great debate in Christian history has been the nature of this oneness.

Protestant critics do not like the fact that Latter-day Saints reject the nonbiblical Nicene Creed, which teaches a oneness of substance. Latter-day Saints believe that God is one, but accept the Biblical witness that this is a oneness of purpose, intent, mind, will, and love, into which believers are invited to participate (see John 17꞉22-23). Thus, it is proper to speak of "God" in a singular sense, but Latter-day Saints also recognize that there is more than one divine person—for example, the Father and the Son.

This is not a contradiction; it merely demonstrates that the Latter-day Saints do not accept Nicene trinitarianism.

When Joseph performed his inspired translation of the Bible, why didn't he rewrite the creation account in Genesis to read more like that in the Book of Abraham?

The Bible does support plurality of gods

When God gives new insight and revelation, he doesn't typically "rewrite" all scripture that has gone before: He simply adds to it.

The creation account in the Book of Abraham supports a plurality of gods. Critics claim that the Bible does not support this. However, there are two errors in the assumption that the Bible does not support a plurality of gods.

There are clearly multiple divine personages in Genesis

Error #1: It is debatable that the unedited King James Version of Genesis truly only includes "one God." There are clearly multiple divine personages in Genesis:

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.... (Genesis 3꞉22)

Only creeds or convictions that insist on a single divine being make us unable to notice.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, the Book of Moses, actually did clarify the role and existence of multiple divine personages

Error #2: The Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis actually did clarify the role and existence of multiple divine personages. The Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price (which is the simply the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis) has many examples of multiple divine personages:

I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all (Moses 1꞉6).

Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? (Moses 1꞉13)

for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten....Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me. (Moses 1꞉16-17)

Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son; (Moses 1꞉24)

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. (Moses 1꞉33)

That's just the first chapter of the JST of Genesis. There are many, many more examples in Moses.

In chapter 2 of Moses, God prefaces his remarks by saying, "I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest" (Moses 2꞉1).

So, in each case when "I, God" did something in the creation, it should be understood that the Only Begotten is also involved, since it is by him that God created all. So, there are multiple divine personages in each mention in the verses that follow.

Question: Is the Church "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence

Some critics have claimed that the Church is "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. [64]

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence. The claim was made in 1977. In 1978, the Church produced its new version of the KJV after years of work. Thus, the JST was the focus of serious attention by the Church long before the Tanners began to insist that leaders were ashamed of it.[65] It had multiple footnote and appendix entries from the JST.

The Church magazines also launched a concerted effort to introduce Latter-day Saints to the JST material that was now easily available, and to encourage its use. Some examples of this effort published around the time the Tanners were making their claim include:

  • Robert J. Matthews, “The Bible and Its Role in the Restoration,” Ensign, Jul 1979, 41 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Plain and Precious Things Restored,” Ensign, Jul 1982, 15 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Joseph Smith’s Efforts to Publish His Bible ‘Translation’,” Ensign, Jan 1983, 57–58. off-site
  • Monte S. Nyman, “Restoring ‘Plain and Precious Parts’: The Role of Latter-day Scriptures in Helping Us Understand the Bible,” Ensign, Dec 1981, 19–25 off-site

The Church is not, and was not, embarrassed by the JST. In its historical context, the critics' claim is incredibly ill-informed.

Source(s) of the criticism
Critical sources

Why are there discrepancies between translations in the Book of Mormon, King James Bible and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?

Parallel passages from the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible sometimes disagree not only with the King James Version of the Bible, but also with each other

Parallel passages from the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible sometimes disagree not only with the King James Version of the Bible, but also with each other. Critics ask why Joseph's earlier work (i.e., the Book of Mormon) generally followed the King James Version of the Bible closely while his later work (i.e., the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible) did not. Critics ask which translation did Joseph get right, implying that one is wrong, hence bringing his prophetic calling into question. Critics generally cite any of a number of passages from Matthew 5-7 from the King James Version and Joseph Smith Translation and 3 Nephi 12-14 from the Book of Mormon. A much celebrated example is:

Matthew 6:25-27 (King James Version)

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

3 Nephi 13꞉25-27) (Book of Mormon)

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Matthew 6:25-27 (Joseph Smith Translation)

25 And, again, I say unto you, go ye into the world, and care not for the world; for the world will hate you, and will persecute you, and will turn you out of their synagogues.
26 Nevertheless, ye shall go forth from house to house, teaching the people; and I will go before you.
27 And your heavenly Father will provide for you, whatsoever things ye need for food, what ye shall eat; and for raiment, what ye shall wear or put on.

Joseph had different purposes in mind in his different translations

Joseph had different purposes in mind in his different translations. This is not unique or unusual in scripture—even the Bible. Hence, neither the Book of Mormon nor the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible can be discounted because of seeming discrepancies with each other or with the King James Version of the Bible.

Joseph Smith had different purposes in mind when bringing forth the Book of Mormon and the Joseph smith Translation. His purpose in bringing forth the Book of Mormon was to witness "the reality that "Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations". Departing from the King James Version, i.e., the translation familiar to those who would become the Book of Mormon's first readers, would have been a stumbling block in achieving its purpose. On the other hand, Joseph's later purpose in bringing forth the Joseph Smith Translation is largely understood to have been one of redaction, or inspired commentary—to resolve confusion regarding biblical interpretation[66] Hence the different wording, and in some cases, even content.

Biblical Parallel

Gleason Archer, well known Evangelical Christian and the Author of a highly respected book called "Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties", addresses the issue of Paul citing deficient Greek Septuagint translations that appear in our New Testaments today in lieu of better translations of the Old Testament he could have come up with. Archer says:

Suppose Paul had chosen to work out a new, more accurate translation into Greek directly from Hebrew. Might not the Bereans have said in reply, "that’s not the way we find it in our Bible. How do we know you have not slanted your different rendering here and there in order to favor you new teaching about Christ?" In order to avoid suspicion and misunderstanding, it was imperative for the apostles and evangelists to stick with the Septuagint in their preaching and teaching, both oral and written.

We, like the first-century apostles, resort to these standard translations to teach our people in terms they can verify by resorting to their own Bibles, yet admittedly, none of these translations is completely free of faults. We use them nevertheless, for the purpose of more effective communication than if we were to translate directly from the Hebrew or Greek.[67]

Archer's point is that it is more important in certain settings that Paul's writings be familiar rather than 100% precise.

Learn more about the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the bible
Key sources
  • Kent P. Jackson, "Some Notes on Joseph Smith and Adam Clarke," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 40/2 (2 October 2020). [15–60] link
FAIR links
  • Jeffrey Bradshaw, "The Message of the Joseph Smith Translation: A Walk in the Garden," Proceedings of the 2008 FAIR Conference (August 2008). link
  • Kent P. Jackson, "Was Joseph Smith Influenced by Outside Sources in His Translation of the Bible?," Proceedings of the 2022 FAIR Conference (August 2022). link
Online
  • W. John Welsh, "Why Didn't Joseph Correct KJV Errors When Translating the JST?", lightplanet.com off-site
  • Garold N. Davis, "Review of The Legacy of the Brass Plates of Laban: A Comparison of Biblical and Book of Mormon Isaiah Texts by H. Clay Gorton," FARMS Review 7/1 (1995). [123–129] link
  • Kevin L. Barney, "The Joseph Smith Translation and Ancient Texts of the Bible," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 no. 3 (Fall 1986), 85–102.off-site
  • Cynthia L. Hallen, "Redeeming the Desolate Woman: The Message of Isaiah 54 and 3 Nephi 22," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998). [40–47] link
  • Matthew L. Bowen, "'They Shall Be Scattered Again': Some Notes on JST Genesis 50:24–25, 33–35," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 57/4 (23 June 2023). [107–128] link
  • Brant A. Gardner, "Joseph Smith's Translation Projects under a Microscope," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 41/15 (18 December 2020). [257–264] link
  • Kent P. Jackson, "Some Notes on Joseph Smith and Adam Clarke," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 40/2 (2 October 2020). [15–60] link
  • Spencer Kraus, "An Unfortunate Approach to Joseph Smith's Translation of Ancient Scripture," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 52/1 (17 June 2022). [1–64] link
  • Mark J. Johnson, "Review of The Legacy of the Brass Plates of Laban: A Comparison of Biblical and Book of Mormon Isaiah Texts by H. Clay Gorton," FARMS Review 7/1 (1995). [130–138] link
  • Stephen D. Ricks, "Review of The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon by Wesley P. Walters," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 4/1 (1992). [235–250] link
  • 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] link
  • A. Don Sorensen, "'The Problem of the Sermon on the Mount and 3 Nephi (Review of “A Further Inquiry into the Historicity of the Book of Mormon,” Sunstone September–October 1982, 20–27)'," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004). [117–148] link
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "'Literary Problems in the Book of Mormon involving 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and Other New Testament Books'," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4/1 (1995). [166–174] link
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "The Book of Mormon and the Problem of the Sermon on the Mount," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4/1 (1995). [153–165] link
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "The 'Isaiah Problem' in the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4/1 (1995). [129–152] link
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "The Isaiah Quotation: 2 Nephi 12–24," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4/1 (1995). [192–208] link
  • John A. Tvedtnes, "'Isaiah in the Bible and the Book of Mormon (Review of “Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: Or Joseph Smith in Isaiah.” In American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, 157–234.)'," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004). [161–172] link
  • Kurt Manwaring, “10 questions with Thomas Wayment”.
  • LDS Perspectives, Joseph Smith's Use of Bible Commentaries in His Translations - Thomas A. Wayment .
  • Thomas Wayment and Haley Wilson, “A Recently Recovered Source: Rethinking Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation".
Video
Video published by BYU Religious Education.

Print
  • Robert J. Matthews, "A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1985).
  • Matthew B. Brown, "The Restoration of Biblical Texts," in All Things Restored, 2d ed. (American Fork, UT: Covenant, 2006),159–181. AISN B000R4LXSM. ISBN 1577347129.
Navigators

Source(s) of the criticism—Discrepancies between KJV, JST, and Book of Mormon
Critical sources


Notes

  1. Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945), 84. ( Index of claims )
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, 3 Vols., (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909[1895, 1903]). ISBN 0962254541.
  3. Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon, eds., Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 23. ISBN 1570086729. ISBN 978-1570086724.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957).
  5. footnote; see also Wilford Woodruff, Leaves from My Journal, 75–79 and History of Wilford Woodruff, 326.
  6. Alan Goff, "Dan Vogel's Family Romance and the Book of Mormon as Smith Family Allegory (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 321–400. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945). ( Index of claims )
  8. Charles L. Cohen, "No Man Knows My Psychology: Fawn Brodie, Joseph Smith, and Psychoanalysis," Brigham Young University Studies 44 no. 1, 68.
  9. Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005). 44, note 135. ( Index of claims )
  10. 10.0 10.1 Andrew H. Hedges and Dawson W. Hedges, "No, Dan, That's Still Not History (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet, by Dan Vogel)," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 205–222. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  11. Richard L. Anderson, "The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching," Brigham Young University Studies 24 no. 4 (1984). PDF link
    Caution: this article was published before Mark Hofmann's forgeries were discovered. It may treat fraudulent documents as genuine. Click for list of known forged documents.
    Discusses money-digging; Salem treasure hunting episode; fraudulent 1838 Missouri treasure hunting revelation; Wood Scrape; “gift of Aaron”; “wand or rod”; Heber C. Kimball rod and prayer; magic; occult; divining lost objects; seerstone; parchments; talisman
  12. "Lesson 34: Doctrine and Covenants 28," Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013.
  13. Robert J. Matthews, "A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1985), 253.
  14. Robert J. Matthews, "Joseph Smith as Translator," in Joseph Smith, The Prophet, The Man, edited by Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo: Religious Studies Center, 1993), 80, 84.
  15. "History of Joseph Smith," 592; 1 Nephi 13:28; see 13:23–29.
  16. 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.
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 Kent P. Jackson, "Some Notes on Joseph Smith and Adam Clarke," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 40/2 (2 October 2020). [15–60] link
  18. Haley Wilson and Thomas Wayment, "A Recently Recovered Source: Rethinking Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation," Journal of Undergraduate Research (March 2017) off-site
  19. Thomas A. Wayment and Haley Wilson-Lemmon, "A Recovered Resource: The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation," in Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity, eds. Michael Hubbard MacKay, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Brian M. Hauglid (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2020), 262–84.
  20. Thomas A. Wayment, "Joseph Smith, Adam Clarke, and the Making of a Bible Revision," Journal of Mormon History 46, no. 3 (July 2020): 1–22.
  21. Transcript of Laura Harris Hales, "Joseph Smith's Use of Bible Commentaries in His Translations - Thomas A. Wayment," LDS Perspectives, September 26, 2019, https://www.ldsperspectives.com/2017/09/26/jst-adam-clarke-commentary/.
  22. Kurt Manwaring, "10 Questions with Thomas Wayment," From the Desk of Kurt Manwaring, January 2, 2019, https://www.fromthedesk.org/10-questions-thomas-wayment/.
  23. See, for instance, Kevin L. Barney, "A Commentary on Joseph Smith’s Revision of First Corinthians," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 53, no. 2 (Summer 2020): 57–105.
  24. Kevin Barney, "On Secondary Source Influence in the JST," By Common Consent, April 16, 2021, https://bycommonconsent.com/2021/04/16/on-secondary-source-infuence-in-the-jst/
  25. Kent P. Jackson, "Was Joseph Smith Influenced by Outside Sources in His Translation of the Bible?," Proceedings of the 2022 FAIR Conference (August 2022). link
  26. Kent P. Jackson, "New Discoveries in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible," in Religious Educator 6, no. 3 (2005): 149–160 (link).
  27. George Q. Cannon, The Life of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1888), 142.
  28. Lavina Fielding Anderson, "Church Publishes First LDS Edition of the Bible," Ensign (Oct 1979), 9.
  29. Robert J. Matthews, "The Bible and Its Role in the Restoration," Ensign, Jul 1979, 41 off-site; "Plain and Precious Things Restored," Ensign, Jul 1982, 15 off-site; "Joseph Smith’s Efforts to Publish His Bible ‘Translation’," Ensign, Jan 1983, 57–58. off-site; Monte S. Nyman, "Restoring ‘Plain and Precious Parts’: The Role of Latter-day Scriptures in Helping Us Understand the Bible," Ensign, Dec 1981, 19–25 off-site
  30. Bruce R. McConkie, "This Generation Shall Have My Word Through You," Ensign (June 1980), 54.
  31. Bruce R. McConkie, "https://www.lds.org/ensign/1985/12/come-hear-the-voice-of-the-lord?lang=eng Come: Hear the Voice of the Lord]," Ensign (December 1985), 54.
  32. 32.0 32.1 David M. Calabro, "An Early Christian Context for the Book of Moses," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 47/7 (20 September 2021). [181–262] link
  33. See also 2 Nephi 31꞉3.
  34. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938), 10–11.
  35. Jeff Lindsay and Noel B. Reynolds, "'Strong Like unto Moses': The Case for Ancient Roots in the Book of Moses Based on Book of Mormon Usage of Related Content Apparently from the Brass Plates," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 44/1 (26 March 2021). [1–92] link Noel B. Reynolds, "The Brass Plates Version of Genesis," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 34/5 (15 November 2019). [63–96] link
  36. 2 Nephi 29:8
  37. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:311.
  38. Joseph Smith III, "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints’ Advocate 2 (Oct. 1879): 51
  39. 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.
  40. 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
  41. Emma Smith to Edmund C. Briggs, "A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856," Journal of History 9 (January 1916): 454.
  42. Joseph Smith III, "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints’ Advocate 2 (Oct. 1879): 51
  43. "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints’ Herald, (1 Oct. 1879): 290.
  44. Jay P. Green Sr., The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew-Greek-English (Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1995), 975.
  45. See LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 707.
  46. Bruce R. McConkie, "Ten Keys to Understanding Isaiah," Ensign (October 1973): 78–83.
  47. See LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 756-59
  48. 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.
  49. See Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:4.
  50. See such scriptural examples as D&C 109꞉34,42,56,68; D&C 110꞉1-3; D&C 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
  51. See, for example, Martin G. Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint, Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (New York: HarperCollins, 2012). Other examples of similar choices in translation include: Robert H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1913), Theodor H. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures, 3rd ed. (Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1976), and Robert Lisle Lindsey, A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark (Jerusalem: Baptist House, n.d.).
  52. Legrande Davies, "Isaiah: Texts in the Book of Mormon," Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel Ludlow (New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1992 and 2007). Worthy of mention is that two then-current apostles, Elder Neal A. Maxwell and Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and one future apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, were advisors for the encyclopedia and its editorial board. They are recognized in the acknowledgements to the encyclopedia.
  53. 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), "Chapter 5: The Bible in the Book of Mormon", subsection "The Book of Mormon Explains Isaiah". ISBN 0875791395.
  54. 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).
  55. See footnote 2a in 2 Nephi 12 in either the 1989 or 2013 editions of the Book of Mormon.
  56. John Barton, Isaiah 1-39, (London: T&T Clark International, 1995), 25–26. See also Michael Fallon, "Introduction to Isaiah 40–48," Isaiah School in Exile—Isaiah 40–55 (6 September 2014), 194.
  57. L. La Mar Adams, "I Have a Question," Ensign 14 (October 1984): 29.
  58. Benjamin D. Sommer, "Dating Pentateuchal Texts and the Perils of Pseudo-Historicism," The Pentateuch: International Perspectives on Current Research eds., Thomas B. Dozeman, Konrad Schmid, and Baruch J. Schwartz (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 85-108.
  59. Wikipedia, "Isaiah Scroll," (25 January 2020); citing Jull, Timothy A. J.; Donahue, Douglas J.; Broshi, Magen; Tov, Emanuel, "Radiocarbon Dating of Scrolls and Linen Fragments from the Judean Desert," Radiocarbon 37-1 (1995): 14. doi:10.1017/S0033822200014740. Also citing All About Archaeology, "The Dead Sea Scrolls," (25 January 2020).
  60. Wikipedia, "Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)," (25 January 2020).
  61. Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, MA: William B. Eerdmans, 2010), 311.
  62. ABC News, "Philistine cemetery uncovered in archaeological dig in Israel, Goliath's people were 'normal sized'," <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/old-bones-cast-new-light-on-goliath-people/7584904> (4 November 2019).
  63. 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.
  64. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 385.( Index of claims )
  65. Lavina Fielding Anderson, "Church Publishes First LDS Edition of the Bible," Ensign (Oct 1979), 9.
  66. Kevin Barney, "The Joseph Smith Translation and Ancient Texts of the Bible," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 no. 3 (Fall 1986), 85-102.
  67. Gleason L. Archer, An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1982), 31. ISBN 0310435706.


Notes