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Comparing Isaiah and the Book of Mormon (Part 2)

The following is a list of differences between chapters of Isaiah found in the Herald Heritage Reprint (1973) of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon (BOM) and the King James version (KJV) of the Bible. The list will include comparisons between”Second Book of Nephi: Chapter 5″ (2 Nephi 6:16-18/7-8) and Isaiah 49:24-26/50-51/52:1-2.

Text that is found in the BOM but not in the KJVwill be bolded, underlined and italicized. Text that was excluded from the BOM that was found in the KJV will have a line through it.

“Second Book of Nephi: Chapter 5” (2 Nephi 6:16-18) and Isaiah 49:24-26

24 (Isaiah). “For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?”

25. “But thus saith the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for the Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people. For thus saith the Lord: I will contend with them him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

“Second Book of Nephi: Chapter 5” (2 Nephi 7) and Isaiah 50

1. Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith the Lord: Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement? To whom have I put thee away, or to which of my creditors is it to whom I have have I sold you? Yea, to whom have I sold you?…”

2. “wherefore, when I come came, there was was there no man?; when I called, yea, there was was there none to answer?

3. “O House of Israel, is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke, I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink stinketh, because the waters are dried up there is no water; and they die because of for thirst.”

4. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O House of Israel. When ye are to him that is weary, he waketh morning by morning…”

5. “The Lord God hath appointed opened (it is changed back to “opened” in later editions) mine ear, and I was not rebellious…”

8. “And the Lord He is near, and he that justifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me, and I will smite him with the strength of my mouth…”

9. “For Behold, the Lord God will help me. And all they which who is he that shall condemn me?, behold lo, all they they all shall wax old as a garment, and the moth shall eat them up.”

10. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord; that obeyeth the voice of his servent; that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.

11. “…walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which that ye have kindled…”

“Second Book of Nephi: Chapter 5” (2 Nephi 78) and Isaiah 51-52:1-2

1. “Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: Look unto the rock from whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence ye are digged.”

2. “Look unto Abraham, your father; and unto Sarah, she that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

4. “…and I will make my judgment to rest for a light thing (deleted in later editions) of the people.”

7. “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written is my law…”

8. “Awake, awake, put on strength O arm of the Lord: awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old…”

11. “…and come singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy: and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

12. “I am he; yea, I even I am he that comforteth you: Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man which that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made like unto as grass;”

15. “But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of Hosts is my his name.”

16. “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have hath covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Behold, thou art my people.”

17. “…thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out;”

18. “and There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand, of all the sons that she hath brought up.”

19. “These two sons things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword: And by whom shall I comfort thee?”

20. “Thy sons have fainted, save these two: they lie at the head of all the streets…”

21. “Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, and but not with wine…”

22. “Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury…”

23. “But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which I have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over…”

Isaiah 52: 2 “Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem…”

Comparing Isaiah in the Bible and the Book of Mormon (Part 1)

The following is a comparison of Chapter 6 in the First Book of Nephi (1 Nephi 20-21) in the original 1830 edition text of the Book of Mormon (BOM) and Isaiah 48-49 of the King James version of the Old Testament. In several instances, prophets in the BOM quote from Old Testament prophets, whose writing were contained on the plates of brass. There are several differences between the King James version of the revelations of Isaiah and the text provided by Nephi in the Herald Heritage Reprint (1973) of the 1830 edition of the BOM. It should be noted that much of the text (excluding spelling errors) in the 1830 edition and today’s 2013 version of the BOM are nearly identical. Some differences include changing the word “which” to “who” and adding “or out of the waters of baptism” in 1 Nephi 20:1 in later additions of the BOM (most likely to provide clarity to the meaning “waters of Judah”).

Text that is found in the BOM but not found in the Old Testament will be bolded, underlined, and italicizedText that is included in the Old Testament and not found in the BOM will have a line through the text. The chapters will not be reproduced in their entirety, but all changes aside from spelling errors will be noted.

“First Book of Nephi: Chapter 6” (1 Nephi 20)/Isaiah 48

Verse 1.”Hearken and hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear but not in truth, nor in righteousness-”

2. “Nevertheless For they call themselves of the Holy city, but they do not and stay themselves upon the God of Israel, which is the Lord of hosts; yea, the Lord of hosts is his name.”

3. “Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did shew them suddenly, and they came to pass.

4. “And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck was an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;”

5. “And I have, even from the beginning, declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed them it thee; and I shewed them for fear lest thou shouldst say, Mine idol hath done them; and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.”

6. “Thou hast seen and heard see all this; and will ye not declare them it? And that I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.”

7. “They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not, they were declared unto thee, lest thou shouldst say, Behold, I knew them.”

8. “Yea, and thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time, that thine ear was not opened…”

9. “Nevertheless, for my name‘s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain from for thee…”

10. “For, behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

11. “For mine own sake, yea even, for mine own sake, will I do this it; for I will not suffer how should my name to be polluted…”

12. “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; for I am he; and I am the first, and I am also also am the last.”

13. “Mine hand hath also also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: and when I called unto them, and they stand up together.”

14. “All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things unto them? The Lord hath loved him: yea, and he will fulfill his word which he hath declared by them; and he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall come upon be on the Chaldeans.”

15. “Also, saith the Lord; I the Lord, yea, even I have spoken, yea, I have called him, to declare I have brought him…”

16. “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was declared, have I spoken there am I; and now the Lord God, and his spirit, hath sent me.”

17. “And thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel; I have sent him am, the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go, hath done it.

19. “Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof…”

20. “…with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth…”

21. “And they thirsted not; when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he cleaved clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.”

22. “And notwithstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”

“First Book of Nephi: Chapter 6” (1 Nephi 21)/Isaiah 49

1. “And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and driven out, because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, which are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O isles, unto me…”

4. “…I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain; yet surely, my judgment is with the Lord…”

5. “And now, saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb that I should to be his servant…”

7. “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

8. “Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time I have heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people…”

9. “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that sit are in darkness, Shew yourselves…”

12. “And then, O house of Israel, behold, these shall come from far…”

13. “Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of them which are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for they shall be smitten no more: for the Lord hath comforted his people…”

14. “But, behold, Zion hath said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me; but he will shew that he hath not.

15. “For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

17. “Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee waste, shall go forth of thee.”

18. “Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and they shall come to thee. And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee even as a bride doeth.”

19. “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall again in thine ears say shall say again in thine ears, the place is too strait for me…”

21. “…Behold, I was left alone; these, where have had they been?

24. “For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered?”

26. ” And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood…”

 

Some “textual errors” in the Book of Mormon also found in the Bible

The Book of Mormon is often criticized as being full of grammatical errors that have been changed over the years. What is rarely acknowledged, however, is that many of the “errors” are also found in the King James version of the Bible. The following compares changes made from the first edition of the Book of Mormon to the 1981 edition.

  1. An extra “for” which was deleted in later editions of the Book of Mormon

a. “and their precious things, for to perish in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:11)

b. “the daughters of the Lamanites did gather themselves together for to sing” (Mosiah 20:1)

c. “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come” (Matthew 11:14)

d. “he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16)

e. “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him” (Luke 15:1)

f. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31) (See also Acts 8:27/11:2/12:25/15:6/16:4/17:15/20:1/22:5/Romans 13:6/II Corinthians 2:9/Psalm 75:1)

2.  A superfluous “a” which was deleted 

a. “As I was a journeying to see a very near kindred” (Alma 10:7)

b. “and there he found Muloki a preaching the word unto them” (Alma 21:11)

c. “For he had only one daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying” (Luke 8:42)

d. “thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee” (Psalm 73:27)

e. “in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing” (I Peter 3:20)

3. A superfluous “that” which was deleted

a. “wherefore, after that I have abridged the record of my father” (1 Nephi 1:17)

b. “because that he was a visionary man” (1 Nephi 2:11)

c. “And after that the angel had spoken unto us, he departed.” (1 Nephi 3:31)

d. “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments” (Acts 1:2)

e. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8)

f. “And Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak” (Acts 24:10)

4. Changing “exceeding” to “exceedingly”

a. “I, Nephi, being exceeding young” (1 Nephi 2:16)

b. “when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceeding great” (1 Nephi 3:25)

c. “and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine” (1 Nephi 4:9)

d. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth” (Matthew 2:16)

e. “And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow” (Mark 9:3)

f. “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mark 14:34)

5. Switching past tense with present tense

a. “And I saith unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things” (1 Nephi 17:50)

b. “he was also wroth; and he saith: Who is Abinadi” (Mosiah 11:27)

c. “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream” (Matthew 2:13)

d. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city” (Matthew 4:5)

e. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them” (Mark 2:17)

6. Changing “which” to “who” and “whom”

a. “pointing their fingers towards those which had come at and were partaking of the fruit” (1 Nephi 8:27)

b. “Behold the twelve disciples of the Lamb, which are chosen to minister unto thy seed” (1 Nephi 12:8)

c. “show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, which are of the house of Israel” (2 Nephi 29:14)

d. “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)

e. “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question” (Matthew 22:35)

e. “there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death” (Mark 9:1)

“Thus Saith The Lord:” Calling into Question Beliefs of How Revelation Should Be Received.

I have decided to examine some examples of prophets recording the word of the Lord in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Many critics argue that modern-day LDS revelations, some of which have gone through grammatical and textual changes, are false revelations. They argue that because the revelations are not perfect or went through revisions, then they are not the words of the Lord. Essentially, critics demand that revelations be written in perfect form, without revision, and in one sitting. As far as I know, the assumption that revelations from the Lord must be written in one sitting without change or revision is not based on any Biblical or historical evidence. I will argue that there is absolutely no reason to suggest that when a prophet says “Thus saith the Lord” that every word that comes out of his mouth is what exactly what the Lord said, down to the last exclamation point. The Bible and Book of Mormon are shrouded in mystery on the subject of how revelations are recorded, so I do not claim to know for a surety how revelation is received and recorded in ancient scripture. What I do hope to do is help the reader understand the possibility that when we are criticizing modern-day revelations that we are doing so based on our own assumptions of what revelation should be and not what it actually is as presented in ancient scripture. All of the points I make and questions I ask are pure speculation and are not meant to provide conclusive evidence of how revelation is received. I ask these rhetorical questions because I want to show that the nature of recording prophetic revelations are seldom brought to light in ancient scripture, and unfortunately our own assumptions tend to fill the void. (I will be citing from the King James Version of the Bible and the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon)

Before I begin, I would like to ask some rhetorical questions to help set the stage to challenge assumptions about ancient and modern day revelation:

  1. Do prophets in the Bible and Book of Mormon, when quoting the Lord, literally quote him word for word?
  2. What happens when the voice of the Lord comes to a prophet when they do not have a quill and parchment on hand? Do they  write what they heard the Lord say according to their memory?
  3. Did the prophets wait for the Lord to speak to them, and then literally write down every single word that the Lord spoke in real time?
  4. If prophets write the words of the Lord according to their memory, does that mean that there would be human errors in the revelation? Does the Holy Ghost prevent errors from being made?

I will begin by examining some examples of the Lord commanding his prophets to write his words as found in the Book of Mormon. The following examples have helped strengthen my testimony in the revelations from the Lord through Joseph Smith because it has helped me break down my own assumptions about the nature of recording prophetic revelation.

EXAMPLE #1: The first example is of the Brother of Jared in the Book of Ether.The Brother of Jared has a miraculous vision of the Spiritual Lord Jesus Christ when the Lord touches clear stones in order to provide light in the Jaredite barges. The Brother of Jared quotes the Lord in Ether 3:7,9,11,13-16,21-24. According to Moroni, who abridged the Book of Ether, these writings are much longer, but he is forbidden to write them down (v. 17).

The Brother of Jared quotes the Lord for many verses, and yet he had the vision while he was at the top of a mountain without means to write down what he heard. It is after he has the marvelous vision that the Lord commands him to descend and write down what he saw and heard (Ether 4:1). We do not know by what means he wrote down this miraculous and lengthy vision. It is possible that he wrote it all according to his memory or was guided by the Holy Ghost. It is possible that he wrote it in one sitting without revision, or he wrote it, and revised it several times before being satisfied with it. All of these options are pure speculation.

The prophet Moroni, in Ether 4, then goes on to say that the Lord spoke to him and commanded him to write the words of the Brother of Jared, and he quotes the Lord’s commandment in verses 6-19. In Ether 5:1, Moroni may give us a clue as to what actually happens (on at least this one occasion) when a prophet writes down the words of the Lord. He states: “And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me, according to my memory; and I have told you the things which I have sealed up…” If Moroni is referring to the words of the Lord in verses 6-19, then the words that are spoken by the Lord may not be word for word what was spoken to Moroni, but rather the words of the Lord as he remembered to the best of his ability.

EXAMPLE #2: The second example I will offer from the Book of Mormon comes from the writings of 1 Nephi. Nephi is commanded to write a record on two separate sets of metal plates (1 Nephi 19:1) after he and his family arrive in the Americas, about 11 years (589 B.C.) after they left Jerusalem. Previous to writing on the plates of ore, Nephi experiences miraculous visions of angels and of the Spirit of the Lord. Specifically, Nephi has the vision of the tree of life and his interactions with the Spirit of the Lord and an angel are found in 1 Nephi 11-14. This vision comprises 12 pages of dialogue between Nephi, the Spirit of the Lord, an angel, as well as physical descriptions of what Nephi saw. While it is possible that, shortly after having them, Nephi wrote down his visions on another source, such as parchment. However, Nephi does not begin to write down his experiences on the plates of ore until nearly 11 years after his experiences. It is possible that Nephi is writing according to his memory, and thus the words of the Lord are not the exact words spoken, but nevertheless they are the doctrines and events that the Lord commanded to be written. Other examples of Nephi receiving the word of the Lord prior to making the small and large plates include 1 Nephi 2:19-24 and 1 Nephi 17:53.

EXAMPLE #3: The third example I will give of prophets writing the words of the Lord well after receiving them comes from Helaman 10. Nephi has decided to return home after validating a prophecy he made about the murder of the Chief Judge. Helaman 10:2-3 states: “And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him… And it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him…” The Lord then speaks for 8 verses or 289 words. What happens after he hears the voice of the Lord is important to consider when understanding the nature of recorded revelations. It states in verse 12: “when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes…to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him.” In verse 12, we find that Nephi did not receive this revelation in his home, at his desk, with a parchment, quill, and ink to write down the exact words of the Lord. He instead turned around and returned to the city to preach the words of the Lord, and then he or someone else wrote the words afterwards. Just how he went about writing the words of the Lord—whether by memory, the Holy Ghost, or some other means—we are not sure.

EXAMPLE #4: The revelations of Isaiah and the words of Moses in Exodus are hardly put through as much scrutiny by Christians as are the revelations of Joseph Smith. Yet the words of Isaiah and Moses are similar to that of Joseph Smith’s revelations in that they claim to quote the Lord (“saith the Lord”) and they do so uninterrupted for many pages. Unlike the revelations of Joseph Smith, some of which were received and recorded in the presence of witnesses, we know very little about when or how the revelations of Isaiah and Moses were written. In Isaiah 1, Isaiah writes claiming that what he writes are the words of the Lord himself (“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” Isaiah 1:18). This chapter is two pages long in the KJV Bible. What we don’t know about this chapter, as well as other verses in Isaiah quoting the Lord (see Isaiah 7:3-9, Isaiah 6:1,3-10,12), is how this revelation was recorded. Did Isaiah make several revisions of his account? Did he receive the revelation and simultaneously write it down, or did he record it hours, days, or years after the fact? Did the Holy Spirit give him power to remember the exact words spoken to him, or did he record it to the best of his knowledge? Those who criticize the revelations of Joseph Smith do so without understanding that prophets such as Isaiah may have used the exact same methods to produce their writings, such as recording from their memories or making multiple revisions. If it were somehow proven that Isaiah made multiple revisions of his writings and wrote the words of the Lord according to his memory then critics would not have ammunition to criticize LDS revelations. What we do know about ancient prophecies, however, is that we don’t know much about them.

The writings of Moses are also very similar to the revelations given by Joseph Smith because he also claims to quote the Lord God and often records the words of the Lord after he has heard them. In Exodus 19, the Lord is quoted on several occasions. We know he is quoting the Lord because in verse 3 it reads “And the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob” and in verse 9 it reads “And the Lord said unto Moses…” and he goes on to quote the Lord. (see Exodus 19:3-6, 9-13,20-22,24). Most of Exodus 20 also quotes the Lord, as well as all of chapters 21-23. In Exodus 24 it is suggested that Moses came down out of the mountain, after receiving chapters 20-23 from the Lord, spoke these commandments to Israel, and then wrote them down after he had spoken them to the people. It would be a superhuman feat for Moses to have copied the exact words of the Lord (nearly 7 pages in the KJV) without divine help after having spoken them to the House of Israel. Seldom do Christians question this accomplishment, some of whom believe the Bible to be the perfect word of God. We do not know exactly how this revelation was received or recorded. Similar to the questions asked previously about the revelations of Isaiah, I would like to ask again: did Moses write down the exact words of God? Did he bring a quill and parchment to write word for word the commandments of the Lord on the mountain? Did he write according to his memory, or did the Holy Spirit expand his memory to perfection? Did he make multiple revisions to these revelations, or did he write them perfectly, in one draft and in one sitting?

Once again, the point I am making is that we know very little about how ancient prophets recorded the words of the Lord. How much do we put our perceptions of what revelation “should be” on what revelation actually is? Since we know very little about how the word of the Lord was received in ancient times, it is unreasonable for us to challenge modern-day revelations according to our unfounded beliefs of how revelation from the Lord should be received.

An Examination of the Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon

The purpose of this post is to show that even though there seems to be a high number of textual changes to the Book of Mormon since its first publication in 1830, most of the changes are minor and do not suggest a sort of conspiracy by the leadership of the church to clean up gross errors in Joseph Smith’s invention of the Book of Mormon. I also will show how the changes to the Book of Mormon can help in strengthening the faith of those who believe the Book of Mormon to be an ancient record translated by Joseph Smith.

First, it is no secret that the original 1830 version of the Book of Mormon is structurally different than the version used today. The 1830 version reads in paragraph form and is not broken up into verses. The chapters are also numbered differently than in today’s version. The version I will be comparing the 1830 version (Palmyra, New York 1830, replica versionto is the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Intellectual Reserve, Inc). This is not a complete examination of all of the changes in the Book of Mormon, but they are some of the most common changes. There is a difference between changes in spelling and textual changes. I will not be examining changes in the spelling of individual words, because spelling errors do not challenge the veracity of the Book of Mormon. I will be focusing on textual changes, in which an entire word has been changed. In the end, I am attempting to show that most of the textual changes are grammatical in nature and do not affect the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

Here is a summary of many of the changes found throughout the Book of Mormon:

1. Changing “Saith” to “Said”= Many times the Book of Mormon, when referring to someone speaking in the past tense, says “saith” in the present tense. This is found throughout the Book of Mormon. An example of this is found in Jacob 5, the Parable of the Olive Tree, where the word “saith” has been changed to “said” twenty eight times. The 1830 version, for instance, says “And the Lord of the vineyard saith unto the servant”, while verse 57 in today’s version changes it to “said”.

2. Changing “which” to “who” and “whom”= The 1830 version of the Book of Mormon seems to prefer using “which” rather than using “who” and “whom” to refer to individual or groups of people. Examples of this can be found in 1 Nephi 14:12, with sentences such as “the whore which sat upon the waters” and “which were the saints of God” and “the great whore which I saw.” They have since been changed to “the whore who sat” and “who were the saints” and “whore whom I saw.”

3. Removing “that”= Throughout the 1830 version that are many instances where “that” is used superfluously, at least in modern day english. It usually occurs following the word “after” in phrases such as “For behold, after that they”…Some examples of this include 1 Nephi 4:20 which states “and after that I had done this,” while the 1981 edition removes “that”.

It is also found in verse five “And after that they had hidden themselves,” and “they should do after that I was gone” (1 Nephi 19:4),”And since that they had been led away” (1 Nephi 22:5), and “for after that I had made an abridgment” (Words of Mormon 3).

4. Changing “hath” and “doth” to “has,” “have,” and “do”= The Book of Mormon tries and mimic the English of the King James version of the Bible, but often does so unsuccessfully. This supports the idea that Joseph Smith had his own influence in the translation process, rather than simply receiving the translation from reformed Egyptian directly to English from the Spirit. The 1830 version prefers words like “hath” and “doth”, and these have been changed in the 1981 version to make it more grammatically correct. Some examples of the 1830 version include: “For I, Nephi, hath seen it” (2 Nephi 26:7), “forever and ever and hath no end” (2 Nephi 9:16) to “For I, Nephi, have seen it” and “forever and ever and has no end”

5. Changing “had ought” to just “ought”= (Alma 1:1)

6. Adding “the Son of God”= This is often used by critics of the Book of Mormon to claim that Joseph Smith originally believed that God and Jesus were the same being, just as do traditional Christians, but then he changed his doctrine after the founding of the church. In 1 Nephi 11:18,21,32, the phrase “Son of the” has been added to the original text. In verse 18 it states “the mother of the Son of God,” whereas the 1830 version just says “the mother of God.” In verse 21 it states “the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” whereas the 1830 version says “even the Eternal Father.” In verse 32 it states “yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged.” The phrase has also been added in 1 Nephi 13:40, which reads “the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father.” However, neither the original reading nor the changed reading have any effect on the doctrine of the church. The phrase “son of” was added for clarification, not because the doctrine in these passages is inconsistent. There are many instances in the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon where “the Son of God” is used, such as 1 Nephi 10:17 which says “which power he received by faith on the Son of God–and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come.” Another example is 2 Nephi 25:19 which says “according to the words of the prophets, and also according to the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

The main problem is that the doctrine of the Godhead is confusing even for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon identifying Jesus as God is consistent with many Biblical passages, showing that the language of the Book of Mormon describing the Godhead is consistent with the Bible. We believe that the Godhead are three separate beings, but both the Bible and the Book of Mormon use the terms “Eternal Father,” “God,” and “Creator” interchangeably for “Jesus Christ” and “God the Father.” In Mosiah 15:3,4 it argues that Jesus Christ the Messiah is “The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son–And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth.” If the leadership of the church had left 1 Nephi 11:18,21,32 unchanged, it would still be consistent with this account in Mosiah. It is only possibly to conclude, then, that the leadership added “Son of” to the passages in 1 Nephi 11,13 in order to clarify the LDS doctrine, and not to change it.

7. Changing “Benjamin” to “Mosiah”= In Mosiah 21:28 it says “And now Limhi was again filled with joy on learning from the mouth of Ammon that king Mosiah had a gift from God.” The 1830 version, however, says “Benjamin” had a gift from God. This is a possible problem because Benjamin would have been dead by the time Ammon had met Limhi. The Book of Mormon was changed, then, in order to make the timeline consistent, having Mosiah as the king. This does not prove that the Book of Mormon is not true, though. According to Mosiah 6 and 7, King Benjamin gave up the throne to his son Mosiah. Benjamin then died three years later. The Book of Mormon then says that Mosiah “had continual peace for the space of three years” (Mosiah 7:1). According to the timeline in the Book of Mormon, these three years were during the time that Benjamin was alive. Benjamin died in “about 121 B.C.” and Mosiah sent “strong men” (v. 2) to go and find the land of “Lehi-Nephi” (v.1). It is possible, therefore, that Ammon and the other strong men had left to find the land of Lehi-Nephi before Benjamin had died. So when Ammon said that Benjamin had the power to translate, it is possible that he was not aware of Benjamin’s passing away. And even if there was some blatant inconsistency with the timeline, the Book of Mormon was written by men, and there may be faults within the record. It is possible that either Joseph Smith or Moroni or Mormon could have accidentally put the name “Benjamin” when they intended to write “Mosiah” (see Mormon 8:17)

8. Changing “is” to “are” and “were” to “was”= In many instances in the Book of Mormon identifying the singular and plural are correctly done. However, sometimes a phrase like “thy seed, which is among thy brethren” is changed to “which are among thy brethren” (1 Nephi 13:30), “mercies of the Lord is over” to “mercies of the Lord are over” (1 Nephi 1:20), and “we are a descendant of Joseph” to “we are descendants of Joseph.” It also has phrases like “all mankind was in a lost” are changed to “all mankind were in a lost”

There are many more changes made to the Book of Mormon. Because of the nature of the grammatical errors, it is possible that these changes may support the argument that Joseph Smith, a relatively uneducated man, had a direct influence on the translation of the Book of Mormon and did not receive the exact, perfect translation word for word. It can also help prove that Joseph Smith to some extent or another was responsible for producing the Book of Mormon, and that it was not first written by someone else like Solomon Spaulding or Sydney Rigdon.

Here is an example of a single chapter in the Book of Mormon, with its total number of changes that are not spelling errors, but actual word changes. There are 33 word changes in this chapter, which sounds like a lot, but they have no real change on the doctrine or meaning of the passages. This is the general pattern found throughout the Book of Mormon. The following is a comparison of the 1830 version to the 1981 version of 2 Nephi 9.

Changing (v. 1) “That he hath covenanted with all…”  to  “That he has covenanted with all”

Changing (v. 2) “That he hath spoken to the Jews” to “That he has spoken unto the Jews” and “until the time cometh” to “until the time comes

Changing (v. 4) “For I know that thou hast searched much” to “For I know that ye have searched much”

Changing (v. 5) “show himself unto them at Jerusalem” to “show himself unto those at Jerusalem”

Changing (v. 8) “subject to that angel which fell” to “subject to that angel who fell”

Changing (v. 12) “death and hell must deliver up its dead” to “death and hell must deliver up their dead”

Changing (v. 16) “they which are righteous” to “they who are righteous”/”they which are filthy” to “they who are filthy”/”torment is a lake of fire” to “torment is as a lake of fire”/”whose flames ascendeth” to “whose flame ascendeth”/”and hath no end” to “and has no end”

Changing (v. 18) “they which have believed” to “they who have believed”/”they which have endured” to “they who have endured”

Changing (v. 20) “save he knoweth it” to “save he knows it”

Changing (v. 24) “hath spoken it” to “has spoken it”

Changing (v. 25) “Wherefore, he hath given a law” to “Wherefore, he has given a law”/”hath claim upon them” to “have claim upon them”

Changing (v. 27) “that hath the law given” to “that has the law given”/”that hath all the commandments” to “that has all the commandments”

Changing (v. 28) “They shall perish” to “And they shall perish”

Changing (v. 29) “is good if that they” to “is good if they”

Changing (v. 30) “which are rich as to” to “who are rich as to”/”For because that they” to “For because they”

Changing (v. 37) “wo unto them that worship” to “wo unto those that worship”

Changing (v. 38) “wo unto all they which die” to “wo unto all those who die”

Changing (v. 40) “righteous fear they not” to “righteous fear them not”

Changing (v. 41) “his paths are righteousness” to “his paths are righteous

Changing (v. 42) “which are puffed up” to “who are puffed up”

Changing (v. 45) “that God which is the rock” to “that God who is the rock”

Changing (v. 53) “he hath promised unto us” to “he has promised unto us”

Rather than harming faith, I believe seeing and understanding these changes can help to increase one’s faith in the Book of Mormon. Many theories exist as to how the Book of Mormon was written. In the early days of the church, few people believed that Joseph Smith could write this book all by himself, so some argued that Joseph had gotten hold of a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding which follows the exact story in the Book of Mormon. This manuscript has never been found, and the Spaulding manuscript that has been found is a completely different story that does not account for explaining the existence of the Book of Mormon. Others proposed that a more educated man like Sydney Rigdon or even Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and Hyrum Smith were involved in writing the Book of Mormon. These grammatical errors suggest to me that Joseph Smith was responsible for the translation of the plates, and no one else. Educated men like Spaulding or Rigdon would not have confused the singular and plural, such as confusing “they was” to “they were” or “they is” to “they are.” Had a more educated man written the Book of Mormon, the first edition would have been a much more polished work grammatically. Many of the grammatical errors point to either an error in the original writing of the Book of Mormon (maybe Nephi or Mormon made grammatical mistakes) or an error in the translation of the Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith translated from an ancient language to the best of his abilities by the power of God). If it is possible that it is a translational error, then it is most likely that the story told by Joseph Smith and the many witnesses about him dictating the Book of Mormon without manuscripts to his scribes is true, and no one else wrote the Book of Mormon for him. Therefore, all that is left to decide is whether or not you believe that Joseph Smith made it all up from his head while dictating to scribes, or that he had the power of God to translate a real ancient record.