Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, Part XVIII

By Marvin W. Cowan

Joseph Smith finished “translating” the Book of Mormon (B. of M.) just before he started the LDS Church in 1830. Ever since Mormonism began it has questioned the reliability of the Bible. In the B. of M., I Nephi 13:24-26 says “the great and abominable church” has “taken away from the gospel of the lamb many parts which are plain and most precious and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away” (from the Bible). The B. of M. dates that LDS text between 592 and 600 BC which was more than 600 years before Christ even revealed the gospel! While writing the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST), Smith said on Feb. 16, 1832, “Upon my return from Amherst Conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures (the 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; History of the Church, vol. I, p. 245). But in the B. of M., I Nephi 13:40 also says: “These last records (the B. of M.)…shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them (in the Bible).” But, did the B. of M. or JST restore those “important points touching the salvation of men” or any of the gospel or the covenants of the Lord that I Nephi 13:24-26 say were taken out of the Bible? When LDS are asked for examples of those “restored things” in the B. of M., they usually can’t give any. In reality it is LDS scripture that has serious problems, not the Bible. In this series of articles we have given numerous examples of changes and problems in the JST and other LDS scripture. But LDS believe their scripture was revealed by God without error.

The following paragraphs are based on the content in Isaiah 49:24 through 52:2 in the King James Version Bible (KJV). That content, with Smith’s alterations, is also in the same verses in the JST and on pp. 75-78 of the original 1830 B. of M. and in II Nephi 6:16 through 8:25 in the current B. of M. Some verses in the JST are longer or shorter than in the B. of M. because of Smith’s alterations or because some verses were combined, so the verses don’t always start or end the same in each book. The same content in Isa. 50 in the  KJV is II Nephi 7 in the B. of M. and both chapters have eleven verses, but the JST of Isa. 50, has only has eight verses but still has all of the same content, because some verses were combined. The original 1830 B. of M. has no verses and the chapters are longer and start and end in different places than the current B. of M., so we refer to page numbers in that edition.

Isa. 49:25 in the JST is II Nephi 6:17 in the B. of M. After the phrase “And the prey of the terrible shall be delivered,” both books add “for the Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people.” That phrase is not in the KJV or any real translation of this verse, but it is on p. 75 in the original 1830 B. of M. which Smith published two or three years before he wrote the JST Bible. So, he apparently copied that phrase from his B. of M. into his JST.

Isa. 50:1 in the JST is II Nephi 7:1 in the B. of M. Both begin with, “Yea, for thus saith the Lord, Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For”…and then the content in Isa. 50:1 of the KJV follows that. Isa. 50:1 in the JST also ends with “Yea, to whom have I sold you?” That phrase is in the middle of II Nephi 7:1 in the B. of M. because half of the next verse (Isa. 50:2 in the JST) was added to Isa 50:1. Those two phrases aren’t in the KJV or any true translation of Isa. 50:1, but they are on pp. 75-76 of the original B. of M., so Smith must have copied them into his JST.

Isa. 50:4 in the JST is II Nephi 7:4 in the B. of M. After the phrase, “I should know how to speak a word in season,” both books add, “unto thee, O house of Israel when ye are…”. That phrase isn’t in the KJV or any other translation of Isa. 50:4, but it is on p. 76 in the 1830 B. of M., so Smith again copied it into his JST.

Isa. 50:5 in the JST is II Nephi 7:5 in the B. of M. The JST says “The Lord God hath appointed mine ears…” and so does p. 76 of the original 1830 the B. of M., so Smith must have copied it into his JST. But after that text in the original B. of M. became II Nephi 7:5 in the current edition, the word “appointed” became “opened” just like it is in the KJV of Isa. 50:5. Now it says, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear” which makes more sense. Did God or Joseph Smith make a mistake in the original B. of M. and the JST?

Isa. 50:6 in the JST is II Nephi 7:8-9 in the B. of M. (except the first sentence). After the words “Let him come near to me,” in both books it says, “and I will smite him with the strength of my mouth.” Those words are not in the KJV or any other real translation, but they are on p. 76 of the original 1830 B. of M., which the JST of Isa. 50:6 evidently copied.

Do the underlined words in this article restore important points of salvation, the gospel or the covenants of the Lord which Smith and the B. of M. said were missing from the Bible? And do any of the additions and changes mentioned in this entire series of articles restore important points of salvation, the gospel, or the covenants of the Lord? If they don’t do that and they don’t clarify anything, they are essentially worthless additions! If important points of salvation, the gospel and covenants of the Lord that were supposedly lost or taken out of the Bible aren’t “restored” in the B. of M., then the B. of M. cannot be the fullness of the LDS gospel like they claim. And if those things have not been restored in the B. of M., the LDS Church is no better off than the churches they claim are apostate!

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