16 June 2009

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answers 25, 26, and 27)

Because of the repetitive nature of the next three questions, I have decided to lump them into one post.

Tower To Truth Question:

25. Why does the Book of Mormon contain extensive, word-for-word quotes from the Bible if the LDS Church is correct in teaching that the Bible has been corrupted?

FAIR Answer:

It would be more correct to say that the Book of Mormon teaches that plain and precious things have been removed from the Bible 1_Ne. 13:28. The vast majority of that which has remained in the Bible is both true and valuable.

Latter-day Saints take two years of every four in Sunday School studying the Bible. They cherish it. They merely refuse to believe that the Bible is all that God has said, or can say. God can speak whenever He wishes.

To learn more: Bible basics

For extensive evidence that the Bible both underwent change and deletions in the very early years, see here.

To learn more: Biblical completeness


Tower To Truth Question:

26. Why do the Bible verses quoted in the Book of Mormon contain the italicized words from the King James Version that were added into the KJV text by the translators in the 16th and 17th centuries?

FAIR Answer:

The italics do indeed identify words added by the translators. They were "added" because they were necessary words for making sense of the translation: in Hebrew and Greek the words are sometimes implied, but necessary for English to make sense. (Italics can mislead us, however, in suggesting that there is such a thing as a word-for-word translation without interpretation, save for the italics.)

Thus, in some cases the italic words are necessary, and Joseph or another translator would have had to put them in. In other cases, Joseph removed the italic words. (It's not clear that Joseph even owned a Bible during the Book of Mormon translation era, much less that he knew what the italics meant.)

This is really a question about why the Book of Mormon text is often very close (or, in some cases, identical to) the King James Version. If Joseph was trying to forge a book (as the critics claim) then why did he quote from the Bible, the one book his readers would be sure to know?

To learn more: Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon


Tower To Truth Question:

27. If the Book of Mormon was engraved on gold plates thousands of years ago, why does it read in perfect 1611 King James Version English?

FAIR Answer:

Because Joseph translated it as King James English.
Why do modern translations of the Greek and Hebrew Bible sound like modern English, even though the texts are hundreds or thousands of years old? Because that's how the translators translated them. It doesn't say anything about what the language is like on the original. (French translators make totally different translations than English translators, but the manuscripts remain the same!)

Do Christians condemn the Bible as an inauthentic record because their translations sound like 21st century English? This question is a good example of how insincere these "questions" from an anti-Mormon ministry are.


My Response:

OK, we'll take the first one (Answer 25), since it is the simplest. It is simply another example of Mormon double-speak. They are basically saying, "We don't believe the Bible has been corrupted. We just believe some things have been removed."

Doesn't the "fact" (quote-unquote) that things have "been removed" (quote-unquote), by default, render something "corrupt?" The word "corrupt" comes from the Latin (through Middle English) "to break." In fact, according to Merriam-Webster, to "corrupt" means "to alter from the original or correct form or version" (See full entry here). So....if something was "removed," doesn't that, automatically, mean that it has been "altered from its original form?" But, this is, yet again, another example of a Mormon defining things differently than what they really mean. Oh, and, as usual, not a word about which of the "truths, plain and most precious" were removed. Yeah, good luck getting an answer on THAT.

Then there is the link that says, "For extensive evidence that the Bible both underwent change and deletions in the very early years." Of course, that link takes you to another FAIR page where they quote Blake Ostler. Oh, yeah, real unbiased work, there. **rolls eyes** Oh, and as far as trying ot use Vagany against the reliability of Scripture, let's look at the quote from FAIR:
"In AD 178 the secular writer Celsus stated in polemic against the Christians: some of the believers . . . have changed the original text of the Gospels three or four times or even more, with the intention of thus being able to destroy the arguments of their critics.' (quoted in Origen, Contra Celsum, SC 132, 2, 27).

Now, one thing you need to know about Celsus: he was a heretic. He vehemently opposed the Christians and went out of his way to disparage them. Which means he is exactly the kind of person FAIR will quote in order to defend their beliefs--a known heretic! Way to go, guys! I suppose that next, in order to "prove" the Bible was wrong about the creation account, they will probably be quoting Charles Darwin.

Oh, and by the way, here is the full quote from Origen (emphasis mine):
After this he says, that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original integrity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and have remodelled it, so that they might be able to answer objections. Now I know of no others who have altered the Gospel, save the followers of Marcion, and those of Valentinus, and, I think, also those of Lucian. But such an allegation is no charge against the Christian system, but against those who dared so to trifle with the Gospels. And as it is no ground of accusation against philosophy, that there exist Sophists, or Epicureans, or Peripatetics, or any others, whoever they may be, who hold false opinions; so neither is it against genuine Christianity that there are some who corrupt the Gospel histories, and who introduce heresies opposed to the meaning of the doctrine of Jesus.
I suppose that is enough evidence to shatter FAIR's misuse of someone's quote. And, yeah, there are going to be differences in the various Hebrew manuscripts. It would be interesting if FAIR would live up to their acronym and share with us some of these differences from Tov's book. Oh wait......are those crickets I hear chirping in Utah? Yeah, I thought so.


So, for the second (Answer 26), let's boil it down. Let's look at the main thrust of their response:
The italics do indeed identify words added by the translators. They were "added" because they were necessary words for making sense of the translation: in Hebrew and Greek the words are sometimes implied, but necessary for English to make sense.

The Book of Mormon was not written in Hebrew, or Greek! IT WAS SUPPOSEDLY WRITTEN IN REFORMED EGYPTIAN! So the argument that the italics were added to the Hebrew for insertion into the BOM is silly, because Isaiah was written in Hebrew while the BOM was written in a totally different language! BUSTED!! That would be like saying "The parts of the Bagavad Gita that were plagiarized from Das Kapital kept the italics to get the sense of what the Japanese meant." We're talking about completely different languages, so their answer on this point is moot.


Finally, Answer #27. I would have to say this isn't much of an issue. Of course the gold-digger was going to translate it into the language of his day, so I really don't think that's any ground we need to cover.

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