Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part XII

By Marvin W. Cowan

LDS historical records show that Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith compiled the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible between June 1830 and July 2, 1833. Previous articles in this series have shown that the JST version of Genesis contains several LDS doctrines. One LDS practice the JST of Genesis contains is when children are accountable and when they should be baptized. In the JST of Genesis 17:5-6, Smith wrote, “God” said to Abram, “They have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them; But have turned from the commandment and taken unto themselves the washing of children…” The “washing of children” refers to the baptism of infants or young children, which Smith rejected. But baptism was not an Old Testament doctrine and is not found in any authentic ancient manuscript of Genesis, so it is out of context in the JST of Genesis. But in the JST of Genesis 17:11 “God” told Abraham, “Children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.” Joseph Smith said God told him the same thing in Doctrine and Covenants 68:27 which he said he received as a revelation in November 1831. It said, “And their (LDS) children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of hands.” D. & C. 68:25 also says eight year old children are accountable for their sins and should be baptized then. That doctrine wasn’t in LDS “scripture” or anywhere else until Smith put it in both the JST and D. & C. in 1831. So, was it Smith’s idea or did the omniscient God reveal it for the first time in 1831 after millions of people had lived and died without knowing about it?

Genesis 18 through 47 of the JST is essentially the same as the King James Version of the Bible except for some verse numbers and some unnecessary words that have been added in various places. After Genesis 48:6 of the JST, Smith added 5 verses in which Jacob’s son, Joseph, and his descendants, are blessed above his brethren. That is very important to LDS for two reasons: 1. Because the Book of Mormon is primarily about descendants of Joseph who came to America and 2. Because of what the JST of Genesis 50 says. Genesis 49 to Genesis 50:24 of the JST is the same as the KJV. Then in the middle of Genesis 50:24, twelve verses are added which “predict” the coming of Moses and his ministry (verses 24, 29, 34, 35) and the coming of Joseph Smith and his ministry (verses 25-33). Did Joseph Smith think more people would accept him as a prophet if in his JST of Genesis the Lord told Joseph in Egypt about his (Smith’s) coming in the latter days? We will give more details about the “prophecy” of Joseph Smith’s coming in the last days in our next article. In the added verses in the JST of Genesis 50 God also supposedly told Joseph, the son of Jacob, that Moses would come in the future to lead Israel out of Egypt. But anyone in 1831 AD could make that kind of “prophecy” since it had already happened about 3300 years before 1831! If someone wrote a book of “scripture” in 2015 that predicted George Washington would be the first President of the United States, would you think it was a marvelous prophecy? Why?

In Genesis 50:29b of the JST, God supposedly spoke to Joseph, the son of Jacob, about “him whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt; for a seer will I raise up to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt; and he shall be called Moses. And by this name he shall know that he is of thy house; for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter, and he shall be called her son.” Genesis 50:34-35 of the JST also says “And the Lord sware unto Joseph (son of Jacob) that he would preserve his seed forever, saying, I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand, and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod. And he shall have judgment and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of mine own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him and his name shall be called Aaron.”

This “prophecy” in Genesis 50 of the JST was supposedly addressed to Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham long before Moses was born. Exodus 12:40 says it was 430 years from Abraham to Moses and the Israelites became a nation when Moses led them out of Egypt. Before that, Abraham’s descendents were just family clans named after the sons of Jacob. So, when Smith’s JST of Genesis 50:29b has God speak to Joseph concerning “my people, O house of Israellong before Israel was even a nation it is out of context! In the Bible, the “house of Israel” is first mentioned in Leviticus 10:6, which was long after Joseph died in Egypt. In the JST of Genesis 50:29, 34 & 35 the Lord told Joseph about Moses and Aaron, who were born long after Joseph’s death, so those names were meaningless to him. If those names were in any ancient document before they were born, it would be an impressive prophecy but they weren’t in Genesis until Smith wrote his JST between 1830 and 1833 AD. In Genesis 50:29b of the JST God told Joseph that Moses “is of thy house,” which means Moses should be a descendent of Joseph. But Exodus 2:1 says Moses and his wife were both of the tribe of Levi, so did God make a mistake? Smith’s JST of Genesis 50:34 says that Moses “shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.” But Exodus 14:21 says, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea” and the waters parted and Exodus 14:27 says he did the same thing when the Red Sea returned to its normal position. The JST of Exodus 14 says exactly the same thing as the KJV so there is no record of Moses “smiting” the Red Sea with his rod in the Bible or in Smith’s JST! Moses did smite the river in Egypt with his rod when it turned to blood in Exodus 7:20, so did God confuse those two events, or is this just more evidence that Smith wrote the JST himself?

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