11 July 2008

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 16)

Tower To Truth Question:

16. If the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, as Joseph Smith said, why does it contain over 4000 changes from the original 1830 edition?


FAIR Answer:

Christians should be careful with such attacks. If they don’t want to have a double standard, they'd have to realize that there are more differences in Biblical manuscripts of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament! Yet, Latter-day Saints and other Christians still believe the Bible.

Most of the changes to the Book of Mormon were issues of spelling, typos, and the like. A few changes were for clarification, but the original Book of Mormon text would easily serve members and scholars.

To learn more:: Book of Mormon textual changes


My Response:

The LDS claim that the "changes" to the Bible have corrupted it, all the while claiming that the changes to the BOM were for "clarity."

"Yeah, I'd like to answer that. Uh...what?"

What is the official Mormon stance on the accuracy of the Bible?
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Where do they get this idea from? The Book of Mormon:
1st Nephi 13:26--And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have 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.

So, basically, they will swallow--hook, line, and sinker--the Book of Mormon, with all of its 4000 changes, which are thouroughly documented. Yet ask them where these supposed "plain and precious truths" were taken out of the Bible--ask them to show you where it was not "correctly translated," and they will give you a blank stare and offer some vague blurb about the "restoration of the gospel."

So, what are some of these changes to the "most correct book of any on earth?" Well, according to the link provided by FAIR,
If one counts every difference in every punctuation mark in every edition of the Book of Mormon, the result is well over 100,000 changes. The critical issue is not the number of changes that have been made to the text, but the nature of the changes.

Most changes are insignificant modifications to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and are mainly due to the human failings of editors and publishers. For example, the word meet — meaning "appropriate" — as it appears in 1_Ne. 7:1, was spelled "mete" in the first edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830. (This is a common error made by scribes of dictated texts.) "Mete" means to distribute, but the context here is obvious, and so the spelling was corrected in later editions.

Some of these typographical errors do affect the meaning of a passage or present a new understanding of it, but not in a way that presents a challenge to the divinity of the Book of Mormon. One example is 1_Ne. 12:18, which in all printed editions reads "a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God," while the manuscript reads "the sword of the justice of the Eternal God." In this instance, the typesetter accidentally dropped the s at the beginning of sword.

In other words, God didn't brush up on His grammar and spelling before He allowed Joseph Smith's scribe to write down, word for word, what God "dictated" to Joseph Smith. But you have to remember how the Book of Mormon was "translated." Joseph did not sit down with the plates and translate directly from the "golden plates." Smith buried his head in a hat, along with a "peep stone", and every word appeared before his eyes. Smith then told his scribe (whether Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris) what to write down. The word would stay there until it was written properly, and a new word would not appear until the present word was written properly.
So, let's look at some of these near-4000 changes, from the fine folks at the Institute for Religious Research. One thing to remember is the 1830 BOM was not divided into chapters and verses.

1 Nephi 3, p. 25 — And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh

1 Nephi 11:18 — And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God.


1 Nephi 3, p. 25 — And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Eternal Father!

1 Nephi 11:21 — And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father!


At FAIR's link, it says,
Changes that would affect the authenticity of the Book of Mormon are limited to:

those that are substantive AND
could possibly change the doctrine of the book OR
could be used as evidence that the book was written by Joseph Smith.

As far as "changing doctrine," that's exactly what the above changes do. those changes that "could be used as evidence that the book was written by Joseph Smith" could be, oh, I don't know, maybe, grammar, syntax, punctuation. You know. Those things that Joseph Smith had no clue about. Well, apparently, God forgot to brush up on His grammar before He set about giving Joseph the BOM (from IRR):
Improper use of "was" in 1830 edition later changed to "were":

"… Adam and Eve, which was our first parents …" [p. 15]
"… the bands which was upon my wrists …" [p. 49]
"… the priests was not to depend …" [p. 193]
"… they was angry with me …" [p. 248]
"… there was no wild beasts …" [p. 460]

Improper use of "is" in the 1830 edition later changed to "are":

"… the words which is expedient …" [p. 67]
"… But great is the promises of the Lord …" [p. 85]
"… And whoredoms is an abomination …" [p. 127]
"… here is our weapons of war …" [p. 346]

Improper use of "a" in the 1830 edition later deleted from text:

"… As I was a journeying …" [p. 249]
"… he found Muloki a preaching …" [p. 284]
"… had been a preparing the minds …" [p. 358]
"… Moroni was a coming against them [p. 403]

Are we to believe that God would tell Joseph to write that Moroni is "a-coming"? Or that Muloki was "a-preaching"? What, do they think God couldn't make it through grammar school? The point is this: The LDS system claims that the Bible has been corrupted because
"Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 327). And LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson said, "Many insertions were made, some of them 'slanted' for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated" (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

Yet they will cling tenaciously to this Book of Mormon that was supposedly spoken by a "God" who couldn't even speak basic English.

The changes to the BOM are explained away by the mormon PR machine. Yet they will not accept the authenticity of the bible because of the supposed "careless transcribers, etc." Well, as Joseph Smith might say, "That ain't-a sowndin two rite too me."

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