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!