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Changes made to the Book of Mormon

From Deseret News

Many critics of the Book of Mormon cite changes to the Book of Mormon text over time as evidence that it is not a true record. This article is not meant to dispell those claims (because that argument, frankly, is a terrible one), but it is a collection of notes I made after having gone through 'The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text' by Royal Skousen from Yale's printing press. The description of the Book is as follows:
"Over the past twenty-one years, editor Royal Skousen has pored over Joseph Smith's original manuscripts and identified more than 2,000 textual errors in the 1830 edition. Although most of these discrepancies stem from inadvertent errors in copying and typesetting the text, the Yale edition contains about 600 corrections that have never appeared in any standard edition of the Book of Mormon, and about 250 of them affect the text's meaning. Skousen's corrected text is a work of remarkable dedication and will be a landmark in American religious scholarship.
Completely redesigned and typeset by nationally award-winning typographer Jonathan Saltzman, this new edition has been reformatted in sense-lines, making the text much more logical and pleasurable to read. Featuring a lucid introduction by historian Grant Hardy, the Yale edition serves not only as the most accurate version of the Book of Mormon ever published but also as an illuminating entryway into a vital religious tradition."
The following is a quick skim over the notes I took while reading through what many scholars claim to be "the most accurate version of the Book of Mormon ever published". The format below is meant to be read after having read the scripture that proceeds each commentary.

1 Nephi 7:17 - should read 'according to my faith which is in me' according to the original manuscript. It sounds weird at first but it reminded me of this phrase by Elder McConkie, "Faith will thus dwell independently in every person who gains eternal life." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.169) It simply suggests that maybe the wording on the original manuscript wasn't a mistake. (p. 20 of BOM: Earliest Text)

1 Nephi 11:18 - should read 'mother of God' instead of 'mother of the Son of God' according to the original manuscript. This probably doesn't change much to the meaning, but I love the forthrightness of it. It reminded me how the description of the tree of life mirrors the description of Mary. It also reminded me of some interesting things in Revelation chapter 12. (p. 748 of BOM: Earliest Text)

1 Nephi 11:21 - should read 'Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father' according to the original manuscript that exists. I just used this verse as an example, but the original manuscript often uses this language instead of inserting 'the Son'. While this might be confusing for some, it suggests the original text of the Book of Mormon had a whole lot more 'divine investiture' language in it than we now have. (p. 29 of BOM: Earliest Text)

1 Nephi 14:28 - should read 'I have written but a small part of the things which I saw and heard' as written in the printer's manuscript. The phrase 'saw and heard' is a signal in the scriptures to prophetic credibility and experience with the divine council and/or the Church of the Firstborn. (p. 750 of BOM: Earliest Text)

2 Nephi 4:26 - should read “visited me” instead of “visited men,” as found in the Printer’s Manuscript (the Original Manuscript is not extant for this section of the text). This correction converts the Lord’s general ministry to men into reference to a personal visitation, further strengthening the textual references to Nephi’s divine encounter and theophany. It fits the overall context of his psalm much better I feel. (p. 753 of BOM: Earliest Text)

Jacob 6:13 - should read 'pleading bar of God' instead of using the word 'pleasing' to describe it. It fits into the idea of advocacy from the Savior and his servants. It also fits into the desperate phraseology that follows. (p. 756 of BOM: Earliest Text)

Mosiah 21:28 - Skousen chooses to change 'King Mosiah' here to 'King Benjamin' as it reads from the printer's manuscript. I am not sure if King Benjamin fits, but it is interesting. Mosiah 6:5 states that Benjamin died three years after his sermon which was given about 124 B.C.. three years later is 121 B.C. which is still in the time frame given for this chapter in the heading. So maybe it should say King Benjamin here. Which would suggest King Benjamin was still used or known for his seeric abilities even after his Kingship. (p. 759 of BOM: Earliest Text)

Alma 36:27 - the word 'prison' should be plural ('prisons') according to the original manuscript. This occurs several other times in the original manuscript. It suggests that Alma the Younger was delivered from multiple prisons which isn't surprising. Many other prophets were delivered from multiple prisons. It seems it is almost a Hallmark of prophetic proportions (p. 769).

Alma 39:13 - The original manuscript is much more plain about what true repentance entails. It adds the word 'repair' so it reads 'repair that wrong which ye have done' instead of only acknowledging the wrong you have done (p. 769).

Ether 1:41 - The word 'Families' is singular ('family') in the Printer's Manuscript that exists (p. 786). The word 'families' has been used to show that the Brother of Jared was a polygamist just like Abraham. While there is other strong evidence that he was, this change at least dismisses this piece of evidence.

Ether 4:1 - Instead of King Mosiah keeping the Jaredite record it says that King Benjamin did in the printer's manuscript (p. 786). This is consistent with Mosiah 21:28 in which the printer's manuscript also uses King Benjamin instead of King Mosiah in who would translate and keep the record.

Ether 9:22 - Instead of saying 'Son of Righteousness' Skousen changes the phrase to 'Sun of Righteousness' from contextual evidence and various manuscripts (p. 787). In every instance where this phrase occurs in the Book of Mormon that slight change is made, but it makes Ether 9:22 especially interesting. According to Dr. Margaret Barker (a popular non-LDS scholar on Temple Theology), in the Hebrew of Malachi 4:2 it says 'the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in her wings'. It is a possible stretch, but it interesting to ponder that perhaps this verse is a reference to an appearance of the Divine Feminine.

Moroni 7:26 - In speaking of ancient men who exercised Faith in Christ and 'did lay hold upon every good thing' Skousen changed the word 'become' to 'became' because of contextual and manuscript evidence (p. 788). This makes the verse consistent with the idea of the past tense. These men 'became' sons of God in the flesh (a.k.a. the fulfillment of the oath and covenant of the priesthood) and thereby were able to 'ask and receive' as the end of verse 26 explains.



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