Book of Mormon/Translation/The interpreters, seer stone, hat and the "gift and power of God"/Further Reading

Further reading

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles

Anthon transcript

Summary: What do we know about the Anthon transcript and the translation of the Book of Mormon? What is the current scholarly thought on the transcript? Didn't Charles Anthon deny having "validating" the characters?

Chronology of events

Summary: A chronology of events related to the Book of Mormon translation and publication.

Chronology of translation methods

Summary: We have a number of accounts of the translation process from the perspective of various contemporary second-hand witnesses who viewed the Prophet as he dictated to his scribes. The only person other than Joseph who attempted to directly translate was Oliver Cowdery. Oliver, however, did not record any details regarding the exact physical process that he employed during his attempt—we only have the spiritual aspect of the process.

Joseph's use of seer stones

Summary: What do we know about Joseph's seer stone? What is its relation to the "Urim and Thummim"? Did Joseph place his seer stone in his hat while he was translating the Book of Mormon?

Alleged biblical anachronisms in the Book of Mormon

Malachi text in the Book of Mormon

Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon cannot be an ancient work because it quotes Malachi hundreds of years before Malachi was written (i.e, they claim that Mal. 4:1 is quoted in 1 Nephi 22:15). However, the Book of Mormon claims to be a "translation." Therefore, the language used is that of Joseph Smith. Joseph could choose to render similar (or identical) material using King James Bible language if that adequately represented the text's intent. The translation language may resemble Malachi, but the work is not attributed to Malachi. Only if one presumes that the Book of Mormon is a fraud at the outset is this proof of anything. If one accepts that it is a translation, then the use of Bible language tells us merely that Joseph used biblical language.

New Testament text in the Book of Mormon?

Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon cannot be an ancient work because it contains material that is also found in the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, Jesus quotes a paraphrase of Moses' words found in Acts 3:22-26.

Deutero-Isaiah

Summary: The "Deutero-Isaiah" theory is the claim that parts of Isaiah were written later than others. This theory claims that there were three individual authors, whose works were later compiled together under the name of the first author Isaiah (referred to as "Proto Isaiah"). The critical issue raised is that the Brass Plates of Laban quote from sections of Isaiah that this theory ascribes to Deutero-Isaiah, so how could the Nephites have these writings if they weren't written until after they left Jerusalem?

Firstling sacrifices

Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon report that Nephites offered burnt offerings of the firstlings of their flocks is not consistent with Jewish law or practice. While firstlings were not used for every sacrifice, they certainly did have a role in the sacrificial practices of Israel. The critics have misunderstood the Bible on this point.

Holy Ghost

Summary: Why is the Holy Ghost mentioned so many times in the Book of Mormon prior to the time of Christ (e.g., 1 Nephi 10:17) and yet in the Old Testament there is hardly any mention of the Holy Ghost, especially with regard to his mission of bearing witness of the truth?

Jeremiah in prison

Summary: It is claimed that Nephi's mention of Jeremiah being put into prison (1 Nephi 7:14) is anachronistic, since Jeremiah would not have been in prison when Lehi left Jerusalem.

Jerusalem as site of Jesus' birth

Summary: Critics point out that Alma 7:10 says that Jesus would be born "at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers." Yet, every school child knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. They claim that this is a mistake, and evidence that Joseph Smith forged the Book of Mormon. However, it is important to note what Alma's words were. He did not claim Jesus would be born in the city of Jerusalem, but "at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers." Bethlehem is located only five miles from Jerusalem. Thus, the Book of Mormon makes a distinction here between a city and the land associated with a city.

Josephites and Jerusalem

Summary: It is claimed that the fact that Lehi was not of Judah, but of the tribe of Joseph, makes it absurd for him to have been living in Jerusalem before the Babylonian captivity: "The tribe of Joseph at Jerusalem! Go, study scripture-geography, ye ignorant fellows, before you send out another imposition, and make no more such foolish blunders."

Book of Mormon plagiarized from Bible?

Summary: Critics of the Book of Mormon claim that major portions of it are copied, without attribution, from the Bible. They present this as evidence that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing the Authorized ("King James") Version of the Bible.

Mainly altered italics in the KJV?

Summary: It is claimed that in the Book of Mormon material which parallels the KJV, Joseph Smith generally modified the italicized text.

Book of Mormon "translation errors" from KJV?

Summary: Critics wonder why many of the quotes from Isaiah in the Book of Mormon are identical to the King James version. The Book of Mormon incorporates text which seems to be taken from the King James Version, including passages which are now considered to be mistranslations in the King James Version. If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, some claim that it shouldn't contain these translational errors.

Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to the Book of Mormon

Summary: Mistranslations of the King James version of Isaiah have been corrected using the Isaiah version found with the Dead Sea scrolls. Why is it that the quotes from Isaiah contained in the Book of Mormon have the same translation errors contained in the King James version instead of matching the original ancient text?


The "Joseph Smith Translation" of the Bible

Joseph Smith Translation as a restoration of the original Bible text

Summary: If the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) is Joseph Smith's 'correction' of Biblical errors, why do these corrections not match known Biblical manuscripts?

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Use of the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible

Summary: Why don't Latter-day Saints use the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible as the "official" Bible instead of the King James Version.

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Relationship of the Joseph Smith Translation to the Book of Mormon

Summary: Some passages from the Bible (parts of Isaiah, for example) were included in the Book of Mormon text. However, the same passages were later revised for the Joseph Smith Translation of the Holy Bible. In some cases these passages are not rendered identically. It is claimed that if the JST was an accurate translation, it would match the supposedly more 'pure' Isaiah text possessed by the Nephites.

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Relationship of the Joseph Smith Translation to the Book of Abraham

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FairMormon web site

  • FairMormon Topical Guide: Book of Mormon Translation Process FairMormon link
  • FairMormon Topical Guide: Coming forth of the Book of Mormon FairMormon link

External links

Printed material

  • Matthew B. Brown, "The Translation Process," in Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth (American Fork, UT: Covenant, 2003), 185–201. ISBN 1591563704.
  • Richard L. Bushman, "The Recovery of the Book of Mormon," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997), Chapter 2. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GL direct link
  • Stephen D. Ricks, "The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon," Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1994.
  • Brigham H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 1:127–33. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  • Royal Skousen, "Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997), Chapter 4. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GL direct link
  • John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount: A Latter-day Saint Approach (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 130–144. ISBN 0875793010. ISBN 978-0875793016. off-site
  • John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, "The Translation of the Book of Mormon: Basic Historical Information," (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1986), 3–32.
  • John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, "Book of Mormon Translation by Joseph Smith," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:210–213.