Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, part XI

By Marvin W. Cowan

Mormons often say that the LDS Church has “so much more than other Christians.” LDS do teach more doctrines that are not part of mainstream Christianity such as: people were born first as baby spirits as offspring of God the Father and Mother in a pre-mortal spirit world; eternal progression; three heavens; baptism for the dead; eternal marriage and sealing families together for all eternity and many other things. But are those things true? LDS also have more laws, ordinances, commandments and more “scripture.” But having “more” things to do or believe doesn’t necessarily make it true or better! If more desert is available so you take more but it is full of salmonella, more does not make it good or good for you! And Mormonism’s claim that it has “more” doesn’t make it true or good for you either! Christian beliefs come from the New Testament and it teaches a clear and simple way of salvation. Matt. 1:21 says of Christ, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” John 6:47, and Acts 16:31 etc. say belief in Christ will give one eternal life or salvation. Heb. 7:25 says, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him.” I Tim. 2:5 declares, “There is one God and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” In John 14:6 Jesus said HE is the Way to the Father. And Colossians 2:10 tells believers, “You are complete in him.” But LDS say that is not enough and that we also need all of the LDS things mentioned above as well as their four books of scripture, counting the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible. But are those LDS “scriptures” helpful when they contradict each other and the New Testament? Mormonism teaches that those who want to go to the “celestial heaven,” must obey all of the LDS laws, ordinances, and commandments, go through temple rituals and study “more LDS scripture,” etc. When more things are added to Jesus Christ, the One and only Mediator, it is a distortion of the gospel, not something better! So, all of those added LDS beliefs and works do give them “more to do,” but do they provide salvation or eternal life?

Some of the content in Smith’s JST of Genesis was not revealed until New Testament times so it is completely out of historical context in Genesis! “Enoch’s sermon” that Smith added to his JST of Genesis 6 and 7 has no valid historical evidence to support it. Joseph Smith said texts like “Enoch’s sermon” were lost or removed from the Bible by unscrupulous men. When Smith put “Enoch’s sermon” in Genesis of his JST, he tried to show that the Bible is incomplete because that sermon is not in it. But evidence shows that it was Smith who added “Enoch’s sermonand other content to the Bible. Smith ended his elaborate story of Enoch in Genesis 7:78 of the JST when he had the entire City of Enoch caught up to God instead of just Enoch as the Bible says in Genesis 5:24. The Bible also says that Enoch lived 365 years and then was translated, but Smith’s JST says Enoch was 430 years old when he and his city were caught up. Did Smith change Enoch’s age in an attempt to show that our Bible is not accurate? No Bible manuscript supports Smith’s JST but they all support what the Bible says! Smith’s JST of Genesis 7:79-85 has added some “wordiness” that clarifies nothing but otherwise it has the Biblical story found in Genesis 5:25-32.

Smith’s JST of Genesis 8 generally follows the Bible account in Genesis 6 through 8:14 with some “filler material” added in places that doesn’t add anything helpful to the Biblical story. Part III in this series of articles mentioned that the content of Genesis 1:1 through 8:18 in the JST is exactly the same as Moses chapter 2:1 to 8:18 in the Pearl of Great Price, but they have different chapter and verse numbers. The book of Moses ends with Moses 8:18 in the Pearl of Great Price. The first chapter of Moses is not in Smith’s JST but it has some unique LDS doctrines and it says God spoke to Moses and he saw God’s glory and creations. In Moses 1:41 God told Moses that in the future he will write some words (in the Bible) that will be taken out by evil men, but will be restored through another prophet like Moses (Joseph Smith)! Moses 1:41 sounds like those words must be very important, but there is nothing in the book of Moses that anyone needs for salvation. The JST essentially contains the King James Version of the Bible from Genesis 8:19 to the end of the book of Revelation except for “filler material” that Smith added in several places. Genesis 8:19 to the end of chapter 9 in the JST has the content of Genesis 6 through 9 in the real Bible. Genesis 10:1 is the same in both the JST and the KJV Bible. From Genesis 10:1 through the end of Genesis the chapters are the same in both the JST and Bible but the verse numbers are often different because of the extra content Smith added.

Genesis 14 in the Bible only has 24 verses but the JST has 40 verses. Smith added 16 verses after Genesis 14:24 and mentioned several things that LDS do not teach or practice. In Genesis 14:27-28 in the JST it says that Melchizedek “was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the Son of God.” LDS also claim their Melchizedek Priesthood is “after the order of the Son of God.” Genesis 14:30-33 in the JST then says, “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now Melchizedek was a priest of this order.” Notice that everyone ordained to this order…have power to do these things! Yet, Melchizedek was not translated! And not one LDS Melchizedek Priesthood holder has done any of these things, not even Joseph Smith, the “translator” of the JST! Why don’t LDS Melchizedek Priesthood holders have power to do these things? Don’t they have enough faith or are they apostates? Or, did Joseph Smith get carried away by his own imagination as he “translated” his JST?

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part X

By Marvin W. Cowan

In this series of articles about the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible we have discussed only a few of the changes in the first seven chapters of Genesis. Yet, God’s “Only Begotten” Son, the Holy Ghost, and some LDS doctrines have been mentioned several times. Such things are out of place in these early chapters of Genesis. But Genesis 7 in the JST has more changes and additions. Noah was born long after God took Enoch to heaven, but Gen. 7:49-51 in the JST says God revealed to Enoch that Noah would build an ark which would save his descendants from a great flood. And Gen. 7:57-58 in the JST says, “Enoch continued to cry unto the Lord, saying, I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah, and his seed, and that the earth might never more be covered by the floods. And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah; and he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations while the earth should stand.” Did Enoch have more compassion for Noah and his family than the Lord Himself? And does “the Lord” have an “Only Begotten” named “Jesus Christ” in the Old Testament as the JST says in Genesis 7:57?

In the JST of Gen. 7:61-62 Enoch said, “When the Son of Man cometh in the flesh shall the earth rest? I pray thee show me these things. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Look; and he looked, and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men.” Notice that it says Enoch saw the “Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men.” But the cross was used by the Romans many centuries after Moses wrote Genesis and it was not the “manner of men” when Genesis was written. The JST of Gen. 7:66-67 also says, “And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying, Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? For inasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of Thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given me a right to thy throne, and not to myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth? And the Lord said unto Enoch, As I live, even so will I come in the last days…” In this text Enoch is talking to “the Lord” when he asks, “Wilt thou not come again upon the earth?” Then Enoch said to “the Lord,” Thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten…” So, again, Enoch says “the Lord” has an “Only Begotten” Son in the JST of Gen. 7:66. Genesis 7 in the JST mentions the crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord as well as His Second Coming and His millennial reign on the earth! Those doctrines were not taught in the Old Testament, so they are out of place in the JST of Genesis!

The JST of Gen. 7:78 says “And it came to pass, that Zion was not, for God received it up into His own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled.” Moses 7:69 in the Pearl of Great Price says exactly the same thing. The Bible says that only Enoch was caught up to God, but these LDS scriptures teach that the City of Enoch or Zion was caught up to God. Just before that text, the JST in Gen. 7:70-72 says, “And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city that my people may gird up their loins and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there; and we will receive them into our bosom; and they shall see us, and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other; and there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years shall the earth rest.” The P of GP says the same thing in Moses 7: 62b-64.

LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie explained LDS beliefs about these texts in Mormon Doctrine, on pp. 854-855, “After the Lord had called his people Zion, Enoch ‘built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.’ This ‘Zion in the process of time,’ after 365 years, ‘was taken to heaven….for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, ZION IS FLED.’ Between that time and the flood ‘many’ persons ‘were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.’ It is this City of Zion (City of Enoch or New Jerusalem) which is to return in the last days, probably shortly after the ushering in of the millennial era. Moses 7:18-69; D. & C. 38:4…” McConkie also says on p. 532, “In addition to the rebuilding the Jerusalem of old, the latter days are to see the initial building of a New Jerusalem on the American continent, a city which like its ancient counterpart will be a holy city, a Zion, a city of God (3 Nephi 20:22). This New Jerusalem is to be built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Jackson County, MO, is the spot designated by revelation for its construction…This New Jerusalem on the American continent will have a duel origin. It will be built by the saints on earth and it will also come down from heaven, (the City of Enoch or New Jerusalem) and the cities so originating will be united into one holy city.” See D. & C. 84:1-5 also. This is not in any real Bible but Joseph Smith claimed that much had been lost or taken out of the Bible and he was replacing it in his JST. The problem is that no ancient manuscript or historical document supports Smith’s claim. The only support for this information is what Joseph Smith said!

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part IX

By Marvin W. Cowan

The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible is one of four books of scripture that LDS have in addition to their official King James Version (KJV) Bible. Joseph Smith wrote all four of the LDS scriptures between 1830 and 1844. He said the Book of Mormon (B. of M.) is a sacred history of the ancestors of the American Indians like the Bible is of the Israelites. No ancient documents support the B. of M. as real history and no scientific evidence supports it either. Smith said that the B. of M. was written in a “Reformed Egyptian language” on gold plates that he found near Palmyra, NY and that he translated it into English by the gift and power of God. However, no “Reformed Egyptian” writing has been found in the Americas and Egyptologists say there is no such language. Smith also said by the gift and power of God he translated the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price (P. of G. P.) from ancient Egyptian papyri purchased in 1835 in Kirtland, OH. Facsimiles of three of those papyri are in every copy of the Book of Abraham along with Smith’s explanations. Egyptologists say the papyri are common funeral papyri and have nothing to do with Abraham or Smith explanations. Smith’s “translation” of Abraham contains stories of creation and other early Biblical events that are very different from the Bible. Smith also claimed that the book of Moses in the P. of G. P. was written by Moses, but was lost until God restored it through a revelation to him. It also has stories of creation and other early Biblical events that are different from the Book of Abraham as well as the Bible. No historical document or evidence of any kind supports Smith’s book of Moses.

The Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) contains revelations from God primarily to Smith, so there are no historical documents to support his “revelations.” Smith also made changes in the KJV Bible and called it the Inspired Version or the JST, but no ancient manuscripts or other historical documents support his changes. LDS claim Satan led some early religious leaders to add and delete Bible content, but Smith corrected those errors through revelations from God in his JST. The Bible has thousands of ancient manuscripts that support its content, but not even one supports Smith’s corrections in his JST! None of Smith’s scriptures have any valid evidence to support them! So, was the new content in Smith’s scriptures something he made up?

In Genesis 6 and 7 of the JST, Enoch supposedly preached a long sermon which contains several unique LDS doctrines. Smith claimed that many things in the Bible had been distorted or were missing and that he restored them in his JST and in the book of Moses in the P. of G. P. In Genesis 6:60 of the JST and Moses 6:57 of the P. of G. P, Enoch mentioned the language of Adam or the “pure Adamic language” as it was called in the LDS temple ceremony. LDS believe they will speak that language during the millennium (Mormon Doctrine, p. 19).

Genesis 7:9-10 in the JST and Moses 7:8 in the P. of G. P. say the land of Cainan was cursed and “a blackness came upon all the children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people.” LDS taught that those of the Negroid race were cursed with black skins and were to be excluded from the LDS priesthood. That curse also excluded them from entering Mormon temples which meant they couldn’t go to the highest heaven after they died so they couldn’t become gods. The Negroid curse was part of the Mormon beliefs until June 1978 when it was cancelled by LDS Prophet Spencer Kimball’s revelation (Official Declaration—2 in the D. & C.). The curse of black skin had LDS scriptural authority because it is mentioned in Genesis 7:29 of the JST and in Moses 7:8 & 22 and Abraham 1:21-26 in the P. of G. P. But LDS believe their President is a Prophet who gives “current revelation” and his “revelation” ended that curse.

Genesis 5:24 in the Bible says that Enoch was translated or taken up to heaven. But Genesis 7:23-27 in the JST and Moses 7:18-21 in the P. of G. P says the Lord showed Enoch that the City of Enoch or “Zion in the process of time was taken up into heaven.” So, LDS teach that the City of Enoch or Zion was taken up to heaven, where it will remain until the millennium begins. It will then return to earth with the New Jerusalem and be merged with the New Jerusalem or Zion that the Mormons will build in Independence, Missouri where Christ will reign for 1,000 years (JST of Genesis 7:70-71; D. & C. 84:1-5; Moses 7:62-64 in the P. of G. P.).

In Genesis 7:42 of the JST and Moses 7:35 in the P. of G.P God said, “Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name also.” In D. & C. 19:10-12 God said, “For behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.” A pamphlet published by the LDS Church entitled “The Plan of Salvation” explains on p. 29, “Eternal punishment is God’s punishment; everlasting punishment is God’s punishment; or in other words it is the name of the punishment God inflicts, He being eternal in His nature. Whosoever, therefore, receives God’s punishment receives eternal punishment, whether it is endured one hour, one day, one week, or an age.” So, LDS “eternal punishment” is not eternal, but “eternal lifeis eternal and never ends! Is that consistent?

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part VIII

By Marvin W. Cowan

Mormonism claims that the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible was revealed to him by the Lord as he looked at the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. He didn’t have any original language manuscripts to “translate” so he just revised, added to or deleted from the KJV as he felt “inspired.” That kind of activity is NOT A translation, so why does the LDS Church call it the Joseph Smith Translation? And why did the Lord reveal the JST in 1611 KJV English instead of the English spoken in the USA in 1830-1833 when Smith wrote it? No real translator translates any writing into an archaic language for his own generation! When the LDS Church published their official KJV Bible in 1979, they put parts of Smith’s “translation” in the margins and appendix and called it the JST. Before 1979 it was called the Inspired Version of the Bible and it was published by the Reorganized LDS Church which is now The Community of Christ Church. Why didn’t the LDS Church publish all of the JST if the Lord revealed it? LDS answers to that question sound more like excuses than serious answers as we pointed out in an earlier article in this series.

Genesis 6:26b through Genesis 7:75 in the JST has 123 verses or eight pages that are not in any real Bible or ancient manuscript. It is one of the longest additions in one place in the JST, so Smith must have had a reason for adding it. In those verses the Biblical Enoch supposedly taught several LDS doctrines. Smith apparently thought people would more readily believe his new doctrines if they saw them in the Bible, so he just added them to his JST Bible. One LDS doctrine found in “Enoch’s message” is that Enoch anointed his eyes and “beheld the spirits that God had created” (Genesis 6:37-38 in the JST). That supports the LDS doctrine that God created people, animals and everything else spiritually before they were created physically, which is also found in the JST in Genesis 2:5 and 9 and 6:52. Another LDS doctrine found in Genesis 6:47 in the JST says, “Because that Adam fell, we are.” II Nephi 2:25The Book of Mormon also says, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.” LDS teach that God gave Adam and Eve two contradictory commands in the Garden of Eden. In Gen.1:30 of JST God told them to multiply and replenish the earth and in Gen. 2:19-20 of the JST He also told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. LDS believe Adam and Eve were immortal in the Garden of Eden and could not reproduce. In order to “multiply and replenish the earth” they had to disobey God’s other command and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they wisely chose to do that. LDS say that Adam and Eve’s disobedience was necessary so that mortals could continue their progression toward godhood in the celestial kingdom (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 238, 268-269 & 289).

In the JST of Genesis 6:51-53, Smith has Enoch say, “God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And He called upon our father Adam, by His own voice, saying, I am God; I made the world and all men before they were in the flesh. And He said unto him, if thou wilt, turn unto Me and hearken unto my voice, believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of Mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men…”. Smith took several New Testament teachings and put them in the Old Testament in Genesis of his JST! The LDS doctrines in this JST text are not in any Old Testament manuscripts or Hebrew documents written during Old Testament times, but they are in the New Testament! For example, in this text God told Adam to “believe, repent, and be baptized” which is Peter’s message in Acts 2:38. Adam was to be baptized in the name of God’s Only Begotten Son. The King James Translation of the New Testament uses “Only Begotten Son” just five times and only the Apostle John used it! He used it four times in the Gospel of John and once in I John 4:9. Other translations use the word “unique” or some equivalent instead of “Begotten.” So, Smith plagiarized those words from the KJV of John’s writings in the New Testament! The JST says Christ was “full of grace and truth, whose name is Jesus Christ.” John 1:14 & 18 speaks of Christ as “the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” so Smith plagiarized those words too! The Lord is never called “Jesus Christ” in the Old Testament, but John 1:17 says, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” so Smith also plagiarized those New Testament words in Genesis of his JST! Genesis 6:53 in the JST says of Jesus Christ, that His name is the “only name given under heaven whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men,” which is a paraphrase of Acts 4:12.

Joseph Smith claimed that the gospel of Christ was taught to Adam and all of those who lived after him except during “great apostasies.” Is that why Smith put “the gospel” in Genesis of the JST? Mormonism believes in “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins” (4th Article of Faith). However, in the JST of Genesis 6:55, “The Lord said unto Adam, Behold, I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.” That was before Adam was baptized in Gen. 6:67 of the JST! The JST of Genesis 6:67 says, “Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water and was brought forth out of the water; and thus he was baptized.” If baptism remits sin as LDS claim, how was Adam’s transgression forgiven before he was baptized? What was the purpose of his baptism if he was already forgiven? Mormons believe that baptism must be performed by LDS men who have the Priesthood or God won’t recognize it. They also believe that God the Father and Son have resurrected bodies of flesh and bones (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22), but the Spirit of the Lord is a Spirit and does not have a body of flesh and bones. When the Spirit of the Lord baptized Adam, did he have the LDS Priesthood even though He didn’t have a physical body? Since He baptized Adam, couldn’t He baptize us too?

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part Vll

By Marvin W. Cowan

In 1979 the Mormon Church published a new edition of King James Version (KJV) which is their official Bible. It has cross references to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. It also has an LDS topical guide and parts of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) in the margins and appendix, so it is no ordinary KJV Bible! Smith’s JST was first called the Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures and was published by RLDS Church, now known as the Community of Christ Church. The Utah Mormon Church didn’t publish any of the JST until 1979 because the RLDS Church had Smith’s JST manuscript and the LDS Church didn’t trust their “competitors” with it. When the LDS Church finally received a copy of Smith’s manuscript, why didn’t they publish all of it like the RLDS did? Robert J. Matthews, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University tried to answer that question when he said, “While there were several reasons why the entire text of the Joseph Smith Translation was not incorporated in the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible, unreliability of the JST text was not one of them. Passages of doctrinal significance were given preference, and since space was a major factor, not everything was included” (The Ensign, June 1992, p. 29). But the Preface of the Inspired Version says the translation “was done by direct revelation from God.” Was space more important to LDS than having all of God’s revelation? LDS had plenty of space to publish all of their other three books of scripture, so why didn’t they publish all of the JST? Our series of articles about the JST should help answer that question.

On Feb. 16, 1832, Joseph Smith said, “I resumed the translation of the scriptures (JST). From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 9-11). Smith had no evidence to support his claim, but LDS still use it today in claiming that the Bible is mistranslated and incomplete. When LDS leaders chose not to publish most of the JST in their official LDS Bible, there was no serious objection by any LDS! Matthews even said “there were several reasons” NOT to publish the entire text of Smith’s JST. IF the JST really came by “direct revelation” from God, why should any of it be excluded from the LDS Bible? Why did God “reveal” it if it wasn’t to be included? In the above quotation Matthews said, “There were several reasons why the entire text of the JST was not incorporated in the 1979 edition of the Bible.” Really? “Several reasons” for not publishing “direct revelation” from God! That is a very interesting statement!

Genesis 5:44-45 in the JST says: “And thus the gospel began to be preached from the beginning, being declared by holy angels, sent forth from the presence of God; and by His own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam by an holy ordinance; and the gospel preached; and a decree sent forth that it should be in the world until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen.” Moses 5:58-59 in the P of GP says exactly the same thing. Those LDS “scriptures” contradict the LDS doctrine of a universal apostasy which says there was no gospel no earth from the time of the Apostles of Christ until Joseph Smith restored it in 1830 (History of the Church, Vol. I, Introduction, pp. XXXIX-XLI). If there was a universal apostasy for 1700 to 1800 years when there was no gospel was on earth as LDS claim, how could the gospel be in the world “from the beginning…until the end thereof? This text also says that the gospel was preached from the beginning by holy angels sent from God and by His (God’s) own voice! Angels did many things in the Bible, but preaching the gospel was not one of them! Why did the Lord give the great commission to men in Matthew 28:19-20 if God Himself and angels preached the gospel “from the beginning”? Who would deny the gospel if it was preached by God or angels? God wants men to accept the gospel by faith when men preach it, not because of miraculous communications from Him or angels. Since man wasn’t on the earth in the beginning, to whom did God and the angels preach?

Genesis 4:25-26 in the Bible is Genesis 6:2, 4b & 5a in the JST. Before and after those JST verses is more non-Biblical content. Genesis 6:5b-6 in the JST mentions “the language of Adam…which was pure and undefiled,” a concept which is very important to Mormons and was even part of their temple ceremony until 2005. LDS temple patrons would raise their hands high above their heads and while lowering them would say the words “Pay Lay Ale, Pay Lay Ale, Pay Lay Ale” in three different parts of the ceremony. Mormons were told that the words “Pay Lay Ale” were part of the “pure Adamic Language which will be spoken during the millennium.” In 2005 that part of the LDS temple ceremony was changed and “Pay Lay Ale” became “Oh God, hear the words of my mouth, Oh God, hear the words of my mouth, Oh God, hear the words of my mouth,” which is now said in the same three areas where they used to say “Pay Lay Ale.”

Genesis 5:1-21 in the Bible is Genesis 6:9-26 in the JST along with some non-Biblical material in those verses. Genesis 6:26b-7:75 in the JST contains 123 verses about Enoch and a long message he preached that are not in any other Bible or in any ancient manuscript. Enoch is also mentioned in Genesis 9:17 & 21 of the JST. But in the true Bible Enoch’s birth is recorded in Genesis 5:18-19 and Genesis 5:21-24 contains most of what we know about him. He is not mentioned again in the Old Testament and is only briefly mentioned three times in the New Testament: He is in Jesus’ genealogy in Luke 3:37, and Hebrews 11:5 says he pleased God and was translated, and Jude 14-15 says he prophesied of the Lord’s coming in judgment upon the ungodly. That is all the Bible says about Enoch. But the JST has Enoch give a long message that teaches several LDS doctrines. Joseph Smith knew that people will more readily believe what is in the Bible, so he just put his new beliefs in it! But Deut. 4:2, Prov. 30:6 and Rev. 22:18-19 warns that those who add to or change what God has revealed will suffer severe judgment!

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part VI

By Marvin W. Cowan

In all genuine translations of Genesis 1-3 in the Bible it says “God said…” or “God did…” something. But the Joseph Smith “Translation” (JST) of Genesis 1-3 says, “I, God…” 33 times and “I, the Lord God…” 32 times and “I…” (God) said or did something 11 other times. So, in Smith’s JST God Himself tells the creation story even though not even one ancient Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament says that! Moses 2 and 3 in the Pearl of Great Price (P of GP) is also LDS Scripture and has the same text verbatim as Genesis 1 & 2 in the JST. LDS often claim that truth is established by two witnesses. But Joseph Smith wrote both the JST and Moses in the P of GP, so those two books can’t be called two witnesses! In the P of G P the creation story is told in both Moses 2-3 and in Abraham 4 & 5, but Abraham 4-5 is very different from Moses 2-3 as well as Genesis 1-2 in the JST. Instead of saying “I God” created everything like Moses and the JST say, Abraham 4:1 says “They, the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.” At least 30 times in Abraham 4 & 5 it says “the Gods” said or did something! So, was it “I, God” or “they, the Gods” who did the creating? Genesis 1-3 in the JST and Moses 2-4 in the P of GP also mention God’s “Only Begotten” six times, and it is mentioned several times later in Smith’s JST of Genesis. But God’s “Only Begotten” was an unknown concept in Old Testament times so is never mentioned in the real Old Testament. LDS claim their Prophets and scripture “clarify” the Bible. Do these quotations really clarify the Bible?

Genesis 3:1-5 in the JST is not in any real Bible. Those verses say that while Satan was still in the pre-mortal spirit world he wanted to become the Savior of mankind. That doctrine is also in the P of GP in Moses 4:1-4 and Abraham 3:27-28. In 2010 and 2011, LDS adults studied the 2009 edition of Gospel Principles which explains this LDS doctrine. It says, “All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. ‘Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal (physical) body’” (p. 9)…. “When the plan for our salvation was presented to us in the pre-mortal spirit world we were so happy…We understood that we would have to leave our heavenly home for a time…We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father. Our Father said, ‘Whom shall I send’ (Abraham 3:27). Jesus Christ, who was called Jehovah, said, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abraham 3:27; Moses 4:1-4)…Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, ‘Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost’…Under his plan, we would not be allowed to choose…our purpose in coming to earth would have been frustrated …After hearing both sons speak, Heavenly Father said, ‘I will send the first’” (pp. 13 and 15).

Notice that last sentence: “After hearing both sons speak” God said He would send the first (Jesus). So, LDS believe Satan and Jesus Christ are both sons of God and therefore, brothers! Gospel Principles was first copyrighted by the LDS Church in 1978 and several editions have been published since then. All previous editions made this LDS doctrine even clearer. In the 1997 edition when God the Father asked “Whom shall I send” to be the Savior it says, “Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, ‘Here am I, send me’” (p. 17). It goes on to tell what Satan (the other brother) said. LDS leaders changed the wording after the 1997 edition to make it less obvious that they teach that Christ and Satan are brothers. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was asked about Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs on a national TV program. He responded, “Don’t they believe that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers?” For asking that question, some LDS called him a “Mormon basher” while others in the media criticized him for it. LDS leaders didn’t defend their own doctrine because they know that it is offensive to non-LDS people and defending it would make it more difficult to proselyte them. LDS leaders tried to “manage” that problem by changing some words that offended non-Mormons, but they did not change LDS doctrine because it is in LDS scripture!

Genesis 3:32 through 5:3 in the JST is not in any real Bible or any original manuscript. Genesis 4:1-5 in the JST says Adam and Eve had other children who married and had children before Cain and Abel were born. Genesis 4: 6-9 of the JST says an angel appeared to Adam and explained “the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father” and mentions the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But there is no evidence that people in Old Testament times were taught those doctrines. In Genesis 4:10-13 of the JST Adam & Eve rejoice because their transgression made it possible to reproduce and know good and evil, which are LDS doctrines. Genesis 5:4-9a in the JST contains basically what is in Genesis 4:1-7 in real Bibles. Genesis 5:9b-16 in the JST says Cain made a deal with Satan so he could kill Abel, but that is not in any real Bible. Genesis 5:17-34 in the JST again has the basic content in Genesis 4:8-24 of other Bibles. Genesis 5:35-6:1 in the JST says that Lamech made a secret covenant with Satan and was cursed because of it, but that is not in any real Bible. These examples show that Smith changed and added content to his JST Bible. But Smith’s JST contains the King James Version (KJV) of Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-19 and those verses say that no one is to add or change what God revealed! Did Smith obey the instructions in those three texts that he also put into his JST?

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part V

By Marvin W. Cowan

In Deut. 4:2, Prov. 30:6 and Rev. 22:18-19 the Bible warns not to add to or delete from what God has revealed. Those who believe the Bible obey it, but Joseph Smith added, deleted and changed many parts of the Bible in his Joseph Smith Translation or JST (also called the Inspired Version). Do you think he really believed the above Bible texts? When Smith made his JST all he had was a copy of the King James Version (KJV) Bible, so he didn’t really “translate” anything. Yet, he made more changes in Genesis than any other book in the Bible, so did he intend to make more changes in the Bible but didn’t because he got tired, distracted or didn’t have the time? Or, was Genesis more corrupt than the other books in the Bible? Smith still made so many changes in the Bible that we can only discuss a few of them. LDS often claim that they have a “living prophet” and “latter-day revelation” which clarifies many things in the Bible. Let’s look at a few examples of some of those “clarifications” that their “living prophet” and “latter-day revelation” have recorded in the JST and elsewhere.

Although Joseph Smith “translated” his JST Bible, the official Bible of the LDS Church is still the King James Version (KJV) published in 1611 AD. Genesis 2:7 in the KJV Bible says “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In his JST Smith added some material before that text so it is Genesis 2:8 in it. It says, “And I, the Lord God, formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul; the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also;” The JST has some of the same content as the KJV, but it also has things that are not in it. It says that man was “the first flesh upon the earth,” but Genesis 1:22-26 in Smith’s JST as well as the KJV says that fish, fowls and all other animals were created before man. How can man be “the first flesh” if Gen. 1:22-26 in the JST is true? LDS doctrine says that Genesis 1 is about a spiritual creation which took place before the physical creation of the world and Genesis 2:5 & 9 in the JST is used as proof. LDS also use Moses 3:5 & 9 in the Pearl of Great Price which says exactly the same thing as Genesis 2:5 & 9 in the JST. But the creation of the sun, moon stars, water, air, earth, plants and animals in Genesis 1 and Moses 2 sounds like the physical world we live in when read in context. Smith’s “translation” of Genesis 2:7 into the content in Genesis 2:8 in his JST conflicts with what he taught on May 17, 1843. On that date he said, “The 7th verse of the 2nd chapter of Genesis ought to read—‘God breathed into Adam his spirit [i.e. Adam’s spirit] or breath of life…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 301; History of the Church, vol. 5, pp. 392-393). If that is the way it “ought to read,” did God reveal it that way to Smith when he translated his JST? If God did reveal it that way, Smith ignored it. But if God didn’t reveal it that way, Smith must have known more than God when he said it “ought to read” that way!

Brigham Young, the LDS Prophet who succeeded Joseph Smith as head of the LDS Church, also had some things to say about the same text. He said, “Though we have it in history that our father Adam was made of the dust of this earth and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth we shall see and understand that he was the chief manager in that operation. He was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world, and brought a wife with him and stayed here. You may read and believe what you please as to what is found written in the Bible. Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 319). Joseph Smith said that the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price was revealed by God, and Moses 3:7a says exactly the same thing as Genesis 2:8 in the JST, so two LDS books of scripture agree. But LDS Prophet Joseph Smith said that text “ought to read” as stated above. And LDS Prophet Brigham Young explained it in a completely different way. So, have LDS “Prophets” and “latter-day” revelation really clarified the Bible as Mormonism claims? Some LDS try to explain contradictions like the above by saying that when their Prophets say something it may or may not be a revelation. But that raises another question: Who determines what is or is not revealed by God? The living LDS Prophet is supposed to be the final authority for LDS people. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were LDS Prophets when they gave the above messages!

Genesis 2:11 in the JST says, “And out of the ground , made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man, and man could behold it, and it became a living soul; for it was spiritual in the day I created it; for it remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it; yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good.” That verse and verse 12 are based on Genesis 2:9 in all other Bibles but the content is very different. However, that JST text supports what Mormon leaders have taught. For example, Orson Pratt, one of the original Twelve Apostles of Mormonism declared, “Both animals and vegetables consist of two substances, very different in their nature, viz: body and spirit…If the spirit of an apple tree were rendered visible when separated from its natural tabernacle, it would appear in the form, likeness, and magnitude of the natural apple tree; and so it is with the spirit of every other tree, or herb, or blade of grass, its shape, its magnitude, and its appearance, resemble the natural tabernacle intended for its residence…we are compelled to believe that every vegetable, whether great or small, has a living intelligent spirit capable of feeling, knowing, and rejoicing in its sphere…When the spirit first takes possession of the vegetable or animal seed or embryo, it contracts itself into a bulk of the same dimension as the seed or tabernacle into which it enters…Spirits, therefore, must be composed of substances, highly elastic in their nature…When the limb of a tree or of an animal is severed from the main body, the spirit, occupying that limb, is not severed from the other parts of the spirit, but immediately contracts itself into the living portions of the body, leaving the limb to decay” (The Seer, pp. 33-34, 36). Such teachings may interest some who worship “Mother Earth,” but do they really help to know the one true God?

People familiar with the Bible notice that the changes Smith made in his JST support things that he wanted to teach. Since no Biblical manuscripts support his changes, was he trying to make the Bible say what he wanted it to say? The Apostle Peter said this about scripture: “Knowing this first, that, no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:20-21).

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part IV

By Marvin W. Cowan

The King James Version or KJV Bible is still the official LDS Bible even though Joseph Smith claimed he was inspired to write the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) or Inspired Version of the Bible between 1830 and 1833. At the end of our last article (Part III) in this series, we quoted Genesis 1:1-3 from the KJV as well as from the JST to show that they are very different. The KJV translation of the Bible was published in 1611 AD and was translated from ancient manuscripts of the Bible that are still available. But there are no original language manuscripts of the Bible that support any of the changes Joseph Smith made in his JST. “Moses” is one of the books in the Mormon scripture called the Pearl of Great Price. Moses 2:1 through 8:30 is exactly the same as Genesis 1:1 through 8:18 in the JST except for the chapter and verse numbers. So, the entire text in Moses 2:1 in the P of GP is exactly the same in the JST of Genesis 1:1-3 except for the verse numbers. One would assume when two LDS books of scripture say exactly the same thing that it should confirm that the reading is accurate. A heading over the Book of Moses even says “Revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet, June 1830–February 1831.” If it was “revealed” by God, it should be accurate. But on June 16, 1844, just 11 days before his death, Joseph Smith said that the Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1 actually say, “In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 371; History of the Church. vol. 6, p. 475). If that is what the original Hebrew says, why doesn’t Smith’s “revealed” JST say that? The P of GP in Moses 2:1 doesn’t say it either. So, is Smith’s JST Bible wrong or was he wrong about the meaning of the original Hebrew or are both wrong? No reputable Hebrew scholar translates the Hebrew manuscripts for Genesis 1:1 like Smith said they should be or like his JST reads!

Genesis 1:26-27 in the KJV Bible says, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” This became Genesis 1:27-29 in the JST because Smith added other content before it. It says, “And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said, Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.” The same wording is found in Moses 2:27-28 in the P of GP but the verse numbers are slightly different. Once again when two books of LDS scripture say the same thing one would think that the wording is accurate. But on June 16, 1844 Joseph Smith commented on the Hebrew meaning of Genesis 1:26 and said, “If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, ‘The head one of the Gods said, Let us make man in our own image’” (H. of C. vol. 6, p. 475; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 372). If that is what the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:26 said, why didn’t Smith “translate” it that way in his JST or in Moses 2:26 in the P of GP? The Hebrew texts for Genesis 1:26 show that the KJV is translated correctly. But no Hebrew manuscript supports the JSTtranslation” or Moses 2:27-28 in the P of GP. Nor does it support Smith’s June 16, 1830 translation of the Hebrew text of Genesis I:26. Why did Smith “translate” his JST in the KJV English of 1611 AD instead of the English that was spoken in America in 1830-1833 when he wrote it? And why are all of Smith’s LDS scriptures written in 1611 AD English? Is that the only English that God knows?

When a message in one language is transcribed so that it can be understood in another language it is called a “translation.” The accuracy of the translation can be checked by other translators who know both languages. Joseph Smith claimed he “translated” the Bible (History of the Church, vol. I, pages 324 and 368) and the Mormon Church officially calls Smith’s Bible “the Joseph Smith Translation.” In Doctrine and Covenants 73:4 “the Lord” told Smith to “continue the work of translation (of the Bible) until it is finished. And in D. & C. 124:89 “the Lord” commanded Smith to “Publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth.” At least ten times in the D. & C. “the Lord” refers to Smith’s work on the Bible as “translation.” Surely “the Lord” knows the meaning of the word “translation.” But, Mormon writer Merrill Y. Van Wagoner said on page 14 of his booklet, The Inspired Revision of the Bible, “It is incorrect to say that the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Bible. He did not “pretend” to know any ancient language such as Hebrew or Greek nor did he have any manuscripts.” If that is true, why did “the Lord” call it a “translation” in Mormon scripture? And if Smith didn’t have any ancient manuscripts of the Bible, on what basis did he make changes in his JST Bible? Some LDS claim the changes were made by “revelation,” but revelation is NOT translation, and “the Lord” called it a “translation.” Surely He knows the difference between those words! The quotations in this article show that Smith did claim to know some Hebrew even though no Hebrew scholar supports what he said. Van Wagoner said that Smith didn’t “pretend” to know “Hebrew or Greek.” But his “translation” of Hebrew in the above quotations certainly looks like he thought he was translating Hebrew or else he was trying to deceive people! Every real translation of the Bible was made from ancient Biblical manuscripts, not by “revelation!”

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part III

By Marvin W. Cowan

Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, declared, “From sundry revelations which had been received (by him), it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 9-10). That is a serious charge but Smith and his successors use it to try to prove there is a need for the new LDS “scriptures.” They also claim that the Bible has been corrupted by errors in translation and by deliberate changes made by careless, unscrupulous scribes who also deleted or lost at least 20 books from it. Many LDS books make those claims like LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen’s book, As Translated Correctly. In it he said, “Many ancient manuscripts (of the Bible) are known to exist, but none are originals” (p. 3). Because of that he questioned the reliability of any translation of the Bible even though he admitted that many ancient manuscripts of the Bible exist in the original languages. Since there are thousands of ancient copies of the Bible in the original languages they can be compared to help determine the original text. It is hypocritical for LDS to claim that the Bible is unreliable because there are no original manuscripts for it when the LDS Church has no original for the B. of M., yet they accept it “without qualification” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 764). The LDS Church does not have the original “gold plates” that Joseph Smith said contained the B. of M. written in “Reformed Egyptian,” nor do they have even one copy of the B. of M. written in “Reformed Egyptian.” They don’t even have one document of any kind written in that language and Egyptologists say there is no such language. And LDS only have small fragments of the original English “translation” made by Smith and his scribe between 1827 and 1830!

Chapter 2 in Apostle Petersen’s book quotes I Nephi 13:20-40 from the B. of M. which was supposedly written between 592 and 600 BC. It “predicts” that “the great and abominable (Catholic) church” will take “many plain and precious” parts out of the gospel (even before the gospel was revealed)! Verses 34-40 “predict” that those “plain and precious” parts of the Bible that were taken out of it will be made known in the records (B. of M.) that God will reveal in the last days. Of course, there is no evidence that anyone saw that prophecy until Joseph Smith published the B. of M. in 1830 AD. Mormons need to explain exactly what was taken out of the Bible that is now in the B. of M. They have had the B. of M. since 1830, so they should be able to do that! Chapter 3 in Apostle Petersen’s book is entitled “Much Missing Scripture” and it is about the 20 books of the Bible that LDS claim have been lost. Petersen says “The Book of the Covenant” mentioned in Exodus 24, the “Book of the Wars of the Lord” mentioned in Numbers 21 and the “Book of Jasher” mentioned in Joshua 10:13 are among the missing books of the Bible. Orson Pratt, one of the original Twelve Apostles of Mormonism and one of their greatest apologists also said, “We all know that but few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost, and it is quite certain that there are many other inspired books that even the names have not reached us” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 47). James Talmage, one of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church and one of their most admired theologians also listed the twenty lost books of the Bible and where they are mentioned in the Bible on page 501 of his book, Articles of Faith.

When the Bible mentions a book that isn’t in the Bible, LDS assume it must be a lost book of the Bible, which is an absurd conclusion! If someone reads a book which mentions a different book, is it logical to assume that the book mentioned has to be part of the one he is reading? Mormons often claim that the “lost books of the Bible” prove that the Bible is incomplete. If their claim is true, why didn’t Joseph Smith replace those books when he wrote his “Joseph Smith Translation” of the Bible? He claimed God inspired him to write it, so apparently “God” didn’t think those “lost books” should be in the Bible! Not only did Joseph Smith fail to restore those “lost books” of the Bible, he also deleted the Song of Solomon! When LDS mention the lost books of the Bible, it is not because they believe those books really contain important scripture, it is just to discredit the Bible so they can promote their own three books of “scripture.” There is no evidence that the books that LDS call “lost books” of the Bible were ever part of the Bible.

The King James Version of the Bible says in Genesis 1:1-3, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” But Genesis 1:1-3 of the JST or Inspired Version Bible says: “And it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven and this earth; write the words which I speak. 2. I am the Beginning and the End; the Almighty God. By mine Only Begotten I created these things. 3. Yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.” Moses 2:1 in the Pearl of Great Price is exactly the same as Genesis 1:1-3 in the JST. In fact, Moses 2: 1 through 8:30 is exactly the same as Genesis 1:1 through 8:18 in the JST except for chapter and verse numbers. The JST text is written in 1611 AD English so it sounds like the KJV Bible, but there is not even one ancient manuscript that supports the changes Joseph Smith made in his Inspired Version or the JST Bible. That raises some serious questions about the validity of the JST Bible!

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part II

By Marvin W. Cowan

People who believe the Bible is God’s word to mankind wouldn’t think of changing its message. The Bible warns in Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Proverbs 30:6 also says, “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.” And Revelation 22:18-19 warns not to add or delete any words from that book or there would be severe consequences. These and other texts make it clear that God doesn’t want anyone to tamper with His word. That is one reason most Bible translators try to accurately convey the message in the original documents when they translate it into other languages. But there are a few people, like Joseph Smith, who think they can improve the Bible. BYU Prof. Richard J. Matthews said in the June 1992 Ensign, p. 29, that Smith translated the Bible between June of 1830 and July of 1833.

In Doctrine & Covenants 73:4 “the Lord” told Smith on January 10, 1832, “It is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.” Joseph Smith said, In the History of the Church vol. I, page 324, “I completed the translation and review of the New Testament on the 2nd of February 1833.” On p. 368 of the same volume Sidney Rigdon said on July 2nd 1833, “We this day finished the translating of the (O.T.) scriptures.” And on p. 369 Rigdon again said, “Having finished the translation of the Bible…” On January 19, 1841 “The Lord” commanded Smith in D. & C. 124:89 to “Publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth.” He lived 3 ½ years after that command but didn’t publish his new translation before he died. Smith’s widow, Emma, kept his “translation” of the Bible until 1866 when she gave it to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who published the first edition in 1867. The RLDS Church is now known as the Community of Christ Church and publishes Smith’s “translation” of the Bible under the title of Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures. A sub-title says it is “An Inspired Revision of the Authorized (KJV) Version” and below that it says it is “A New Corrected Edition.” If it was an “inspired revision” of the KJV why did “inspiration” need correction? Since the RLDS Church had Smith’s original “translation” of the Bible, the LDS Church in Utah didn’t publish any of it until 112 years after the RLDS Church first published it. Then in 1979 the LDS Church put some of the changes Smith made in the margins and index of their edition of the King James Version of the Bible and called it the Joseph Smith Translation or the JST. Ironically the KJV Bible is still the official LDS Bible! When asked why the JST isn’t their official Bible LDS usually claim Smith didn’t finish it before his death. It only took Smith 3 years to “translate” the entire Bible and he lived 11 years after he completed it, so he had ample time to make corrections if this “revelation from God” needed to be corrected!

A Mormon booklet entitled The Inspired Revision of the Bible, by Merrill Y. Van Wagoner was published by the Deseret News Press (the official LDS publishers) in 1947 and revised and updated in 1963. In it Van Wagoner, a devout Mormon, said on page 14, “It is incorrect to say that the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Bible. He did not pretend to know any ancient language such as Hebrew or Greek nor did he have any manuscripts. The only text he used was the old family (KJV) Bible he and Oliver Cowdery had purchased the previous year…Through inspiration and revelation the Prophet was led to render differently various passages and also restore missing parts. His work was that of revising the scriptures rather than translating them in the way that translating is usually understood.” The God of the Bible is intelligent enough to know the difference between “revising” and “translating,” but apparently the LDS God didn’t know the difference because he used the word “translation” in D. & C. 73:4 and 124:89 when he referred to Smith’s Bible. If Smith wasn’t actually translating the Bible, why did he say he “completed the translation of the New Testament” on Feb. 2, 1833 and why did Rigdon say they “finished translating the Scriptures” (Old Testament) on July 2, 1833 (see History of the Church vol. I, pages 324, 368-369)? Why does the LDS Church still call Smith’s Bible the “Joseph Smith Translation” or the JST if it is not a translation?

Van Wagoner said that Smith “did not pretend to know any ancient language such as Hebrew or Greek.” But several times in the last 100 pages or so of Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Smith speaks about translating both Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible! Since Smith did not have any manuscripts of the Bible in the original language when he “translated” the JST, he was not translating them even if he did know a little of the original language. And he certainly did “render differently various passages” in the Bible because no original document supports his changes! That is why we said in Part I of this series that Joseph Smith added, changed or deleted from the Bible what he wanted in order to produce his JST Bible. If Smith made changes in the Bible by “inspiration and revelation” as Van Wagoner said, why did it need to be corrected? Van Wagoner also said Smith was led to “restore missing parts” of the Bible. But you can’t restore something that was never there in the first place and no original manuscript supports Smith’s additions in the JST. The first time anyone saw Smith’s additions was after he wrote them! We will look at some of his changed texts in our next article.