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?