Criticism of Mormonism/Books/The Changing World of Mormonism/Chapter 12

Response to claims made in "Chapter 12: Mormon Scriptures and the Bible"


A FairMormon Analysis of: The Changing World of Mormonism
A work by author: Jerald and Sandra Tanner
Claim Evaluation
The Changing World of Mormonism
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Response to claim: 365 - The Bible has secondary status in the Mormon Church

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
The Bible has secondary status in the Mormon Church.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



This claim is total nonsense.
  • Heber C. Snell, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1967, pp.56-57
  • David Bitton, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, p.113

Response to claim: 365 - Joseph Smith taught that the Bible contains errors

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
Joseph Smith taught that the Bible contains errors.Author's sources: Pearl of Great Price, p.59

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Only the most extreme fundamentalist insists that there can be no errors in a document created by humans.

Gospel Topics: "As the Bible was compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed, many errors entered the text"

"Bible, Inerrancy of," Gospel Topics on LDS.org,

The Latter-day Saints have a great reverence and love for the Bible. They study it and try to live its teachings. They treasure its witness of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith studied the Bible all his life, and he taught its precepts. He testified that a person who can “mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand [of the Lord] wherever he can see it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 56).
As the Bible was compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed, many errors entered the text. The existence of such errors becomes apparent when one considers the numerous and often conflicting translations of the Bible in existence today. Careful students of the Bible are often puzzled by apparent contradictions and omissions. Many people have also been curious about references by biblical prophets to books or scriptural passages that are not currently in the Bible.[1]


Question: Is the Bible without error?

The textual evidence before us makes an inerrant Bible text untenable

Some Christians claim the Bible texts, at least in their pristine form, were inerrant. Therefore, it is incorrect for Joseph Smith to teach that the Bible contains errors, mistakes, or omissions.

The textual evidence before us makes an inerrant Bible text untenable. Furthermore, the doctrine of inerrancy is not a Biblical doctrine, and so can only be imposed upon the text from outside, not drawn out of the teachings of the purportedly "inerrant Bible."

The Latter-day Saint stance of honoring the Bible and seeking to understand it, while appreciating that it is the Word of God only insofar as fallible humans have faithfully transmitted that Word to us, is consistent with both Biblical teaching and the evidence available to us.

Insisting on Biblical infallibility is a theological and ideological presupposition, not a natural consequence of Bible teachings.


Question: Does the Bible itself claim to be inerrant?

The Bible nowhere makes the claim that it is inerrant

As Blake Ostler observed of the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy":[2]

The doctrine of inerrancy is internally incoherent. In my opinion, numerous insuperable problems dictate the rejection of inerrancy in general and inerrancy as promulgated in the Chicago Statement in particular. First, the Chicago Statement is self-referentially incoherent. One cannot consistently assert that the Bible is the basis of his or her beliefs and then assert that one must nevertheless accept biblical inerrancy as asserted in the Chicago Statement...This statement contains a number of assertions, propositions if you will, that are not biblical. Inerrancy, at least as recently asserted by evangelicals, is not spelled out in the Bible. Nowhere do the words inerrant or infallible appear in the Bible. Such theoretical views are quite alien to the biblical writers. Further, inerrancy is not included in any of the major creeds. Such a notion is of rather recent vintage and rather peculiar to American evangelicalism. Throughout the history of Christian thought, the Bible has been a source rather than an object of beliefs. The assertion that the Bible is inerrant goes well beyond the scriptural statements that all scripture is inspired or "God-breathed." Thus inerrancy, as a faith commitment, is inconsistent with the assertion that one's beliefs are based on what the Bible says. The doctrine of inerrancy is an extrabiblical doctrine about the Bible based on nonscriptural considerations. It should be accepted only if it is reasonable and if it squares with what we know from scripture itself, and not as an article of faith... However, it is not and it does not.

The Chicago Statement can function only as a statement of belief and not as a reasonable observation of what we find in the Bible. The Chicago Statement itself acknowledges that we do not find inerrant statements in the Bible, for it is only "when all facts are known" that we will see that inerrancy is true. It is very convenient to propose a theory that cannot be assessed unless and until we are in fact omniscient. That is why the Chicago Statement is a useless proposition. It cannot be a statement of faith derived from the Bible because it is not in the Bible. It cannot be a statement about what the evidence shows because the evidence cannot be assessed until we are omniscient.[3]


Question: What evidence demonstrates that the Bible has been altered?

The current evidence of Biblical manuscripts demonstrates unequivocally that corruption and tampering with Biblical texts is the rule, not the exception

Old Testament

Emmanuel Tov[4], J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, and editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls publication project wrote:

  • "All of [the] textual witnesses [of the OT] differ from each other to a greater or lesser extent."
  • "There does not exist any one edition [of the OT] which agrees in all of its details with another."
  • "Most of the texts—ancient and modern—which have been transmitted from one generation to the next have been corrupted in one way or another." (emphasis in original)
  • "A second phenomenon pertains to corrections and changes inserted in the biblical text. . . . Such tampering with the text is evidenced in all textual witnesses."
  • "Therefore, paradoxically, the soferim [scribes] and Masoretes carefully preserved a text that was already corrupted."
  • "One of the postulates of biblical research is that the text preserved in the various representatives (manuscripts, editions) of what is commonly called the Masoretic Text, does not reflect the 'original text' of the biblical books in many details."
  • "These parallel sources [from Kings, Isaiah, Psalms, Samuel, etc.] are based on ancient texts which already differed from each other before they were incorporated into the biblical books, and which underwent changes after they were transmitted from one generation to the next as part of the biblical books."
  • "S[eptuagint] is a Jewish translation which was made mainly in Alexandria. Its Hebrew source differed greatly from the other textual witnesses (M[asoretic], T[argums], S[amaritan], V[ulgate, and many of the Qumran texts]). . . . Moreover, S[eptuagint] is important as a source for early exegesis, and this translation also forms the basis for many elements in the NT."
  • "The importance of S[eptuagint] is based on the fact that it reflects a greater variety of important variants than all the other translations put together."
  • "Textual recensions bear recognizable textual characteristics, such as an expansionistic, abbreviating, harmonizing, Judaizing, or Christianizing tendency."
  • "The theory of the division of the biblical witnesses into three recensions [Masoretic, Septuagint, and Samaritan] cannot be maintained . . . to such an extent that one can almost speak in terms of an unlimited number of texts."
  • "The question of the original text of the biblical books cannot be resolved unequivocally, since there is no solid evidence to help us to decide in either direction."
  • "We still have no knowledge of copies of biblical books that were written in the first stage of their textual transmission, nor even of texts which are close to that time. . . . Since the centuries preceding the extant evidence presumably were marked by great textual fluidity, everything that is said about the pristine state of the biblical text must necessarily remain hypothetical."
  • "M[asoretic] is but one witness of the biblical text, and its original form was far from identical with the original text of the Bible as a whole."
  • "As a rule they [concepts of the nature of the original biblical text] are formulated as 'beliefs,' that is, a scholar, as it were, believes, or does not believe, in a single original text, and such views are almost always dogmatic."
  • "During the textual transmission many complicated changes occurred, making it now almost impossible for us to reconstruct the original form of the text."
  • "many of the pervasive changes in the biblical text, pertaining to whole sentences, sections and books, should not . . . be ascribed to copyists, but to earlier generations of editors who allowed themselves such massive changes in the formative stage of the biblical literature."
  • "It is not that M[asoretic text] triumphed over the other texts, but rather, that those who fostered it probably constituted the only organized group which survived the destruction of the Second Temple [i.e., the rabbinic schools derived from the Pharisees]."

The Dead Sea Scrolls also indicate that the text differed, and this was not unique to Qumran, where they were discovered:

There is nothing in the biblical texts [found at Qumran] to suggest that they are specific to Qumran or to any particular group within Judaism. In fact, everything we know about the biblical text prior to the end of the first century C.E--for example, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, Philo, Josephus, the New Testament, Rabbinic quotations--indicates that the text was pluriform. The Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and Josephus demonstrate bountifully that there were variant literary editions of the books of Scripture in the late Second Temple period (emphasis added).[5]

New Testament

A similar situations confronts us with the New Testament. Leon Vaganay and Christian-Bernard Amphoux[6] wrote in An Introduction to New Testament Criticism:

  • "They [ancient methods of rhetorical interpretation] are used to reveal a secret code, only accessible to the learned or initiated. If the 'Western' text is seen from this perspective, it becomes less of a product of a certain theology than of a certain system of meaning. . . . But this sophisticated kind of coded writing is not suitable for general circulation. For wider distribution, the text had to be adapted to the mentality of the people who were going to receive it, it had to be revised and changed so as to make it acceptable to an audience who were not expecting to have to look for hidden meaning."
  • "The wide stylistic gap between the two main New Testament text types, the 'Western' on the one hand and all the other types on the other hand, cannot have arisen by chance."
  • "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). Origen does not deny the existence of such changes." Indeed, Origen wrote, "It is an obvious fact today [third century A.D.] that there is much diversity among the manuscripts, due either to the carelessness of the scribes, or to the perverse audacity of some people in correcting the text, or again to the fact that there are those who add or delete as they please, setting themselves up as correctors."
  • "It is therefore not possible to reconstitute with certainty the earliest text, even though there is no doubt about its having existed in written form from a very early date, without a preparatory oral stage."
  • "In the period following AD 135, the recensions proliferated with a resultant textual diversity which reached a peak before the year 200."
  • "Thus between the years 150 and 250, the text of the first recensions acquired a host of new readings. They were a mixture of accidental carelessness, deliberate scribal corrections, involuntary mistakes, a translator's conscious departure from literalness, a reviser's more systematic alterations, and, not least, contamination caused by harmonizing to an extent which varied in strength from place to place. All these things contributed to diversification of the text, to giving it, if one may so put it, a little of the local colour of each country."

Who made the changes?

Christian writers often accused heretics (such as Marcion of the second century AD) of altering the Bible text. However, there is another more disturbing finding for those who insist on an inerrant Bible text:

...recent studies have shown that the evidence of our surviving manuscripts points the finger in the opposite direction. Scribes who were associated with the orthodox tradition not infrequently changed their texts, sometimes in order to eliminate the possibility of their "misuse" by Christians affirming heretical beliefs and sometimes to make them more amenable to the doctrines being espoused by Christians of their own persuasion.[7]

Thus, the "orthodox" Christian tradition required the original texts to be reworked to support their views or oppose the views of those with whom they disagreed. It seems strange, then, to now accuse those who do not wholly accept the "orthodox" view of "violating scripture," since that very scripture was originally tampered with by those we now label 'orthodox,' which is merely another way of saying that they won the battle to define their view as the 'proper' one.

As Bruce Metzger observed:

Odd though it may seem, scribes who thought [for themselves] were more dangerous than those who wished merely to be faithful in copying what lay before them. Many of the alterations which may be classified as intentional were no doubt introduced in good faith by copyists who believed that they were correcting an error or infelicity of language which had previously crept into the sacred text and needed to be rectified. A later scribe might even reintroduce an erroneous reading that had been previously corrected. …The manuscripts of the New Testament preserve traces of two kinds of dogmatic alterations: those which involve the elimination or alteration of what was regarded as doctrinally unacceptable or inconvenient; and those which introduce into the Scriptures ‘proof’ for a favorite theological tenet or practice....[8]


Question: What did early Christians think about alterations to the scriptures?

Early Christians complained that the scriptures had been altered

Justin Martyr, a second-century Christian author, complained that the Jews had altered scripture:

And I wish you to observe, that they [the Jews] have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations....[9]

Origen, a third-century Christian author, bemoaned the problem of poor textual transmission even in his era:

The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please.[10]

Textual scholar Bruce Metzger quoted this passage, and then observed:

Origen suggests that perhaps all of the manuscripts existing in his day may have become corrupt....[11]

The Book of Mormon describes how "plain and precious things" (1 Nephi 13:28) were removed from the Bible—Origen here complains of "deletions," from the scriptures, which would be the hardest changes to detect. An alteration may be detectable, but a deletion is simply gone forever.

Corinthian bishop Dionysius complained in the second century:

When my fellow-Christians invited me to write letters to them I did so. These the devil's apostles have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others. For them the woe is reserved. Small wonder then if some have dared to tamper even with the word of the Lord himself, when they have conspired to mutilate my own humble efforts.[12]


Question: Do Mormons believe that the Bible has less value because it contains errors?

Latter-day Saints revere the Bible as Holy scripture

The 8th Article of Faith states:

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.

The proviso that the LDS believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly seems to shake some persons' confidence in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Bible-believing church. There is no reason that this should be, for it is hardly a matter of dispute that when men translate words from one language to another they can easily err, and have often done so. Simply comparing different English-language versions of the Bible should demonstrate conclusively that some people understand ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (the source languages of the Old and New Testaments) quite differently in some cases.

Latter-day Saints spend 50% of their Sunday School curriculum studying the Old and New Testaments, and the other 50% studying the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The Bible clearly receives the majority of attention.

Latter-day Saints wish to defend the Bible

While not believing that the Bible—or any book—is inerrant, the Latter-day Saints are far more concerned with defending the Bible's value than in denigrating it. Harold B. Lee observed, in 1972:

I believe that the problem of our missionaries in our day too might be not so much to prove that the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are indeed the word of the Lord, but that the Bible, which is generally accepted as the word of God, is being doubted as having been derived from the words of inspired prophets of past generations.

In this day when the Bible is being downgraded by many who have mingled philosophies of the world with Bible scriptures to nullify their true meaning, how fortunate that our Eternal Heavenly Father, who is always concerned about the spiritual well-being of His children, has given to us a companion book of scriptures, known as the Book of Mormon, as a defense for the truths of the Bible that were written and spoken by the prophets as the Lord directed....

It is only as we forsake the traditions of men and recover faith in the Bible, the truth of which has been fully established by recent discovery and fulfillment of prophecy, that we shall once again receive that inspiration which is needed by rulers and people alike.[13]


Response to claim: 365 - Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason influenced early Church leaders to criticize the Bible

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason influenced early Church leaders to criticize the Bible, and to question its translation.Author's sources:
  • Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, p.189
  • The Age of Reason, p.32

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The authors cite the book, but this book proves nothing about its influence on the Church or its leaders. The authors are merely asserting their opinion instead of evidence.

Response to claim: 366-367 - Orson Pratt attacked the accuracy of the Bible

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
Orson Pratt attacked the accuracy of the Bible.Author's sources: *Orson Pratt's Works, "The Bible Alone An Insufficient Guide," pp.44-47

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The authors fail to tell us that a speech of Brigham Young's (which they also quote, and also misrepresent) explains both Orson's purpose and the Saints' belief that the Bible is valuable as it stands. (See entry below for p. 385.)

Response to claim: 368 - A phrase concerning baptism was later added to the Book of Mormon quotation of Isaiah 48:1, quoted in 1 Nephi 20:1

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
A phrase concerning baptism was later added to the Book of Mormon quotation of Isaiah 48:1, quoted in 1 Nephi 20:1.Author's sources:
  • Book of Mormon, 1830 ed. p.52
  • 1 Nephi 20:1"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

Joseph Smith inserted an explanatory phrase to explain to modern readers what the words "the waters of Judah" meant.

Question: Why was the phrase "or out of the waters of baptism" added to 1 Nephi 20:1?

It is thought that this simply records a prophetic commentary on Joseph Smith's part

It appears that this change was made by Joseph Smith. It is thought that this simply records a prophetic commentary on Joseph Smith's part describing the proper interpretation of the phrase "waters of Judah." It is not regarded as an error, or likely part of the original Book of Mormon plates' text.

  Original manuscript Printer's manuscript 1830 edition 1840 edition
1 Nephi 20:1 hea[rken & h]ear this O house of [J]acob which [are ca]lled by the name of [Israel &] are come forth out of the waters of Judah which swear by the na[me of] the Lord & make mention of the God of Israel yet they swear not in tru[t]h nor in righteousness hearken & hear this O house of Israel Jacob which are called by the name of Israel & are come forth out of the waters of Judah which swear by the name of the Lord & make mention of the God of Israel yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel; yet they swear not in truth, nor in righteousness. Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah (or out of the waters of baptism), which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel; yet they swear not in truth, nor in righteousness.

(The [text in brackets] in the original manuscript are missing from the physical manuscript. The strikeouts and <insertions> in the printer's manuscript are in Joseph's hand.)


Response to claim: 371-373 - The authors suggest that the Dead Sea Scrolls "present serious problems" for the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith "Inspired Version" of the Bible

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
The authors suggest that the Dead Sea Scrolls "present serious problems" for the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith "Inspired Version" of the Bible, because the "Isaiah scroll" is "proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 per cent of the text." The authors also suggest that the "Isaiah scroll" should have caused "a great deal of joy" among Mormon scholars, but did not because it is not "filled with evidence to support the text of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon."Author's sources:
  • Gleason D. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p.19
  • Courage, vol. 1, no. 1, September 1970, p.20
  • Sidney B. Sperry, Progress in Archaeology, pp.52-54"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

LDS scholars are deeply involved in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. BYU professor Donald W. Parry is one of the scrolls' team of international editors.  Internal contradiction: p. 365: The authors have insisted that Joseph was wrong to say the Bible has errors. Now, they admit that at least 5% of the text is not the same between the Dead Sea Scrolls and other versions. One version must be less accurate than the other—so it seems Joseph was right after all about the text not being inerrant.


Question: Was the Joseph Smith Translation intended to be a restoration of original Bible text?

The JST is not intended primarily or solely as a restoration of lost Bible text

Two main points should be kept in mind with regards to the Joseph Smith "translation" of the Bible:

First, the JST is not intended primarily or solely as restoration of text. Unimpeachably orthodox LDS scholars who have focused on the JST (such as Robert J. Matthews and Kent Jackson) are unanimous in this regard. The assumption that it is intended primarily or solely as a restoration of text is what leads to expectations that the JST and Book of Mormon should match up in every case. At times the JST does not even match up with itself, such as when Joseph Smith translated the same passage multiple times in different ways. This does not undermine notions of revelation, but certainly challenges common assumptions about the nature and function of the JST and the Book of Mormon translation.

Second, one of the main tendencies of the JST is harmonization. You may be aware of differences in Jesus' sayings between different Gospels. For example, Jesus' statements about whether divorce is permitted and under what conditions differ significantly. Matthew offers an exception clause that Mark and Luke do not, and this has severely complicated the historical interpretation of Jesus' view of divorce.

The JST often makes changes that harmonize one gospel with another, which is what your example does. While one gospel says "judge not" (though this may not be as absolute as some make it out to be), John 7:24 has Jesus commanding to "judge righteous judgment." The JST change harmonizes the two gospels by making Matthew agree with John. If indeed there is a real difference between being commanded to "Judge righteously" and being commanded to "Judge not", then it is a problem inherently present in the differing accounts of the Gospels, which the JST resolves in a particular way.


Response to claim: 378-379 - LDS leaders claimed that "Catholics conspired to alter the Bible," but this is proven wrong by the Dead Sea Scrolls

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
LDS leaders claimed that "Catholics conspired to alter the Bible," but this is proven wrong by the Dead Sea Scrolls.Author's sources: *1 Nephi 13:26-29
  • Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., Religious Truths Defined, p.175
  • Mark E. Peterson, As Translated Correctly, p.4, 14
  • The Evening and the Morning Star (vol. 1, No. 1, p.3)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The textual alteration and suppression likely occurred before the Catholic church as such existed (the cited authors were influenced by earlier, Protestant scholarship that has since been superceded: see article in Reynolds by Dursteler, "Inheriting the "Great Apostasy": The Evolution of Latter-day Saint Views on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance." direct off-site.)
  • Important source: Noel B. Reynolds (editor), Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2005), 1–. ISBN 0934893020. off-site See especially, Gee, "Corruption of Scripture in Early Christianity." direct off-site

Response to claim: 383 - The "Inspired Version" of the Bible has been a "source of much embarrassment" for leaders of the Church

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
The "Inspired Version" of the Bible has been a "source of much embarrassment" for leaders of the Church.Author's sources: Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:116.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



This is flatly untrue. Passages from the JST are included in the footnotes of the current Latter-day Saint scriptures.

Question: Is the Church "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence

It is claimed by Jerald and Sandra Tanner in their critical work The Changing World of Mormonism, that the Church is "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. [14]

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence. The Tanners published their book in 1977. In 1978, the Church produced its new version of the KJV after years of work. Thus, the JST was the focus of serious attention by the Church long before the Tanners began to insist that leaders were ashamed of it.[15] It had multiple footnote and appendix entries from the JST.

The Church magazines also launched a concerted effort to introduce Latter-day Saints to the JST material that was now easily available, and to encourage its use. Some examples of this effort published around the time the Tanners were making their claim include:

  • Robert J. Matthews, “The Bible and Its Role in the Restoration,” Ensign, Jul 1979, 41 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Plain and Precious Things Restored,” Ensign, Jul 1982, 15 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Joseph Smith’s Efforts to Publish His Bible ‘Translation’,” Ensign, Jan 1983, 57–58. off-site
  • Monte S. Nyman, “Restoring ‘Plain and Precious Parts’: The Role of Latter-day Scriptures in Helping Us Understand the Bible,” Ensign, Dec 1981, 19–25 off-site

The Church is not, and was not, embarrassed by the JST. In its historical context, the Tanners' claim is incredibly ill-informed.


Response to claim: 383 - The Church would never allow the Inspired Version of the Bible to be printed

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
The Church would never allow the Inspired Version of the Bible to be printed because it would tend to embarrass the church and to show that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



Less than a year later, the Church did publish huge amounts of the JST in the KJV Bible version after years of work. (See above.)

Response to claim: 385 - The contents of the "Inspired Version" of the Bible contradict doctrines taught by the Mormon church

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
The contents of the "Inspired Version" of the Bible contradict doctrines taught by the Mormon church.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



The leaders and members do not seem to have noticed. Less than a year later, the Church did publish huge amounts of the JST in the KJV Bible version after years of work. (See above.) See many Ensign articles encouraging the use of, and praising, the JST here.

Response to claim: 385-386 - Joseph Fielding Smith said that the "Inspired Version" was never completed, yet Joseph Smith stated that he completed the translation of the Bible

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
Joseph Fielding Smith said that the King James Bible is "the best version translated by the power of man" and that the "Inspired Version" was never completed, yet Joseph Smith stated that he completed the translation of the Bible.Author's sources:
  • Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.191
  • History of the Church 1:324
  • History of the Church 1:368

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Response to claim: 393 - Joseph's "Inspired Version" of the Bible does not restore any of the "lost books" of the Bible

The author(s) of The Changing World of Mormonism make(s) the following claim:
Joseph's "Inspired Version" of the Bible does not restore any of the "lost books" of the Bible.Author's sources: Joseph Smith's Revision of the Bible, p. 18

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The claim is hypocritical, since the authors believe the Bible is inerrant and sufficient, and so they would not regard these "lost books" as part of scripture anyway. Indeed, if Joseph had included them, then the authors would probably complain he had been "adding" to the Bible. They also misunderstand the nature of the JST: see JST as textual restoration?

Notes

  1. "Bible, Inerrancy of," Gospel Topics on LDS.org.
  2. On the Chicago Statement, see Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, rev. and exp. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 181–185.
  3. Blake T. Ostler, "Bridging the Gulf (Review of How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation)," FARMS Review of Books 11/2 (1999): 103–177. off-site (italics in original)
  4. These examples are taken from William J. Hamblin and Daniel C. Peterson, "The Evangelical Is Our Brother (Review of How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation)," FARMS Review of Books 11/2 (1999): 178–209. off-site. References to Tov's original work may be found in footnotes 26–49.
  5. Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible (Eerdmans, and Leiden 1999) 9–10
  6. These examples are taken from William J. Hamblin and Daniel C. Peterson, "The Evangelical Is Our Brother (Review of How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation)," FARMS Review of Books 11/2 (1999): 178–209. off-site. References to Vaganay and Amphoux's original work may be found in footnotes 52–58.
  7. Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, [2005] 2007), 53. ISBN 0060859512. ISBN 0060738170.
  8. Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (second edition 1979; first edition 1964), 195, 201.
  9. Justin Martyr, "Dialogue with Trypho," in Chapter 71 Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff (Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886)1:234. ANF ToC off-site This volume
  10. Origen, Commentary on Matthew 15.14 as quoted in Bruce M. Metzger, "Explicit References in the Works of Origen to Variant Readings in New Testament manuscripts," in Biblical and Patristic Studies in Memory of Robert Pierce Casey, ed. J Neville Birdsall and Robert W. Thomson (Freiburg: Herder, 1968), 78—79; reference from Erhman, 223.
  11. Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (second edition 1979; first edition 1964), 152; citing Metzger, “Explicit references in the works of Origen to Variant Readings in New Testament Manuscripts,” in Biblical and Patristic Studies in Memory of Robert Pierce Casey, ed. J.N. Birdsall (1963): 78–95.
  12. Cited in Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, [2005] 2007), 53. ISBN 0060859512. ISBN 0060738170.
  13. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 158-159. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  14. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 385.( Index of claims )
  15. Lavina Fielding Anderson, "Church Publishes First LDS Edition of the Bible," Ensign (Oct 1979), 9.