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Saturday
Mar262011

5,000 Changes to the Book of Mormon

"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."
Joseph Smith

Since its first publication in 1830, the Book of Moron has undergone thousands of changes.
  • Royal Skousen, a professor of linguistics at BYU and a recognized expert of the textual history of the Book of Mormon, has identified 5,280 variations in all editions of the Book of Mormon.
    Reference: The Book of Mormon, The Earliest Text
  • Jerald and Sandra Tanner of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry have identified nearly 4,000 changes when comparing the original 1830 edition to the 1964 edition.
    Reference: 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon


Doctrinal Changes

A selection of doctrinal changes in the Book of Mormon.
  • Godhead
    Changes were made to the Book of Mormon after Joseph Smith changed his doctrine from Monotheism to Polytheism.
    1830 original edition 1837 and subsequent editions
    1 Nephi 11:18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin which thou seest is the mother of God after the manner of the flesh. And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
    1 Nephi 11:21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!
    1 Nephi 11:32 ...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people, yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world. ...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world.
    1 Nephi 13:40 ...that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world... ...that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world...

  • Racism
    The church made changes to the Book of Mormon to soften its racism:
    1830 original edition 1981 edition
    2 Nephi 30:6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white pure and a delightsome people.
    and changes to chapter headings:
    1981 edition 2010 online edition
    2 Nephi, ch. 5 The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple—Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites. The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple—Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness cut off from the presence of the Lord, are cursed, and become a scourge unto the Nephites.
    Mormon, ch. 5 Mormon again leads the Nephite armies in battles of blood and carnage—The Book of Mormon shall come forth to convince all Israel that Jesus is the Christ—The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people—They shall receive the gospel from the Gentiles in the latter days. Mormon again leads the Nephite armies in battles of blood and carnage—The Book of Mormon will come forth to convince all Israel that Jesus is the Christ—The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them—They will receive the gospel from the Gentiles in the latter days.

  • Alterable Decrees
    The evolving doctrines of the church necessitated editing the Book of Mormon's teaching that God's decrees are unalterable.
    1830 original edition 1837 edition until 1981
    Alma 29:4 I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.


Correcting Errors

A selection of changes to correct errors in the Book of Mormon.
  • Christ named too soon
    In the Book of Mormon narrative, the name of Christ is not revealed until 2 Nephi 10:3.
    Book of Mormon Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name.
    2 Nephi 10:3
    This necessitated that "Jesus Christ" be replaced with "the Messiah" in 1 Nephi 12:18.
    1830 original edition 1837 and subsequent editions
    1 Nephi 12:18 Yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and Jesus Christ who is the Lamb of God. Yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and Jesus Christ the Messiah who is the Lamb of God.

  • King Benjamin still alive after being dead
    In the Book of Mormon narrative, Mosiah 6:5 records king Benjamin's death.
    Book of Mormon And king Benjamin lived three years and he died.
    Mosiah 6:5
    Later in the narrative the author forgot King Benjamin had died, which necessitated replacing him with another king.
    1830 original edition 1837 and subsequent editions
    Mosiah 21:28 ...king Benjamin had a gift from God. ...king Benjamin Mosiah had a gift from God.
    Ether 4:1 ...and for this cause did king Benjamin keep them... ...and for this cause did king Benjamin Mosiah keep them...


From Author to Translator

The original 1830 edition named Joseph Smith as Author and Proprietor. After Joseph could not sell the Book of Mormon copyright, all subsequent editions named him Translator.
See: 1830 Book of Mormon Title Page


More changes

A selection of various changes from the many thousands in the Book of Mormon.
1830 first edition 1840 and subsequent editions
1 Nephi 20:1 ...and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord... ...and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord...
1830 original edition 1981 edition
Alma 32:30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
1830 original edition 1837 edition until 1981
3 Nephi 3:23 And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation. And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.
1830 original edition 1837 and subsequent editions
3 Nephi 10:4 O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, which are the descendant of Jacob; yea, which are of the house of Israel; O ye people of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you. O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, O ye people of the house of Israel how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
1830 original edition 1837 edition until 1981
3 Nephi 16:10 ...and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. ...and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
1830 original edition 1837 edition until 1981
Mormon 9:34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.


Conclusion

The thousands of changes throughout the editions of the Book of Mormon raise serious doubts about Joseph Smith's claim that his translation of the Book of Mormon was by the gift and power of God.


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