By Marvin W. Cowan
The Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 50 added 12 verses that are not in the Bible or in any ancient manuscripts of the Bible. In those 12 verses it says “the Lord” told Joseph, (the son of Jacob in Genesis) about the “future coming” of both Moses and Joseph Smith. But until around 1830 AD when Joseph Smith put those “prophecies” in his JST there is no evidence that they ever existed! The death of Joseph, the son of Jacob is recorded in Genesis 50:26 and Exodus 1:6. Moses’ birth is recorded in Exodus 2:2-10 which was long after Joseph died, so if Joseph prophesied about Moses it would have been a marvelous prophecy! But Moses was the inspired writer of both Genesis and Exodus and the original Hebrew manuscripts of those books do not contain that prophecy by Joseph. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, appointed Joseph, son of Jacob to rule under his authority. While Joseph was a ruler in Egypt he had his father Jacob and his entire family move to Egypt. Exodus 12:40-41 says the Israelites (who were descendants of Jacob) had been in Egypt 430 years when Moses led them out of Egypt. So Moses lived many years after Joseph’s death. But Moses’ name and what he did was recorded in the Bible in Exodus over 3000 years before Joseph Smith. So, when Smith added to his JST of Genesis 50 the “prophecy” that Joseph, the son of Jacob supposedly gave about Moses, it looks phony! Someone today could use content from the book of Acts to write a “prophecy” about Paul, the Apostle, and put it into his own version of Genesis and there would be just as much “evidence” to support it as there is for the JST “prophecy” of Moses in Genesis 50!
The 12 verses Joseph Smith added to the JST of Genesis 50 also “prophesies” about the coming of “Joseph the Seer” in the latter days, which obviously refers to Joseph Smith. Anybody could write a “prophecy” about himself and insert it into Genesis or any book of the Bible and there would be as much evidence to support it as there is for this “prophecy” about Joseph Smith in the JST of Genesis 50, which is no evidence at all! In the JST of Genesis 50:26-33, Joseph the son of Jacob in the Bible, said, “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me, A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren. And he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers; and he shall do whatsoever work I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work; and he shall be great like unto 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…And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth of my word only, saith the Lord, but to convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them, in the last days; Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them who are of the house of Israel, in the last days. And that seer will I bless and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.” Following are our comments on the content in bold print in this text.
The 12 verses added to Genesis 50 in the JST have a “second witness” in II Nephi 3:5-18 of the Book of Mormon. The caption over II Nephi 3 says, “Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision—He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter day seer.” The prophecy about “Joseph Smith, the seer” in II Nephi 3:5-18 says the same thing as Genesis 50:26-33 in the JST except for a few words that were changed. LDS say the similarity exists because God inspired both texts, but it is also possible that the similarity exists because Joseph Smith wrote both texts! Genesis was originally written in Hebrew while Smith said he translated the B. of M. from “Reformed Egyptian.” So, how did Smith “translate” two different texts from two different languages into almost identical wording in English? Translators know that isn’t possible. The main B. of M. story is about a few descendants of Joseph, son of Jacob in Israel, who left Jerusalem in 600 BC and came to America and divided into good, light skinned Nephites and bad, dark skinned Lamanites. LDS believe the Lamanites were ancestors of the American Indians and they annihilated the white skinned Nephites about 421 AD. The choice seer in this prophecy was to be a descendant of the Biblical Joseph and bring God’s word to his descendants. The B. of M. identifies Smith as “the choice seer” in this prophecy, but his genealogy shows his ancestors were English, not Israelites or Native Americans. Smith’s ministry was not to Joseph’s descendants who are Israelites, nor was it to Native Americans as the B. of M. indicates!
Genesis 50:33 in the JST and II Nephi 3:15 says the choice seer “shall be called Joseph and it shall be after the name of his father.” Joseph Smith’s father’s name was Joseph, so that helps to identify Joseph Smith as the “Seer.” Genesis 50:26-29 in the JST and II Nephi 3:7 both say “Joseph” will be esteemed highly and “the Lord” said, “I will make him great in mine eyes.” Smith wrote that about himself, so it sounds egotistical. Genesis 50:31 in the JST and II Nephi 3:12 say the Biblical Joseph’s descendants are to write scripture (LDS say it is the B. of M.) and Judah’s descendants were also to write scripture (the Bible) and those two books would end false doctrines, contentions and bring peace to Joseph’s descendants. Smith’s B. of M. was published in 1830, the same year that he organized the LDS Church. Since then the LDS Church has had 200 schisms or factions, so the B. of M. and Bible together did not end false doctrines and contentions or bring peace to Joseph’s descendants! Genesis 50:33 in the JST and II Nephi 3:14 in the B. of M. say, “They that seek to destroy him (Joseph Smith) shall be confounded.” The “omniscient God” who supposedly inspired that prophecy in LDS scripture apparently didn’t know that those seeking to destroy Smith would succeed! Smith was shot and killed by his enemies while he was in jail in Carthage, IL on June 24, 1844. Smith had a six shot revolver and fired it probably killing two or three men according to the LDS History of the Church, vol. VI pp. 616-620 and Introduction to that volume on p. XLI, yet LDS call Smith a martyr.