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!

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