“The Book of Mormon includes mistranslated biblical passages that were later changed in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. These Book of Mormon verses should match the inspired JST version instead of the incorrect KJV version that Joseph later fixed” (CES Letter)
Few of Joseph Smith’s changes were corrections. The purpose of the Joseph Smith translation was not to restore the bible to what it originally said. I don’t believe Joseph Smith ever called the KJV translators “uninspired” or his version “corrected.” The terms of “correct” and “incorrect” misrepresent the nature of Joseph Smith’s translation.
There is six kinds of changes:
- Lengthy additions from long-lost books
- Common sense fixes to English translation
- Clarification for confusing passages
- Harmonizing conflicting passages
- Inspired commentary on meanings
- Grammar improvements
Joseph Smith’s “translations” are often clarifying additions or commentary, which obviously would not align word for word.
Sermon On The Mount – CES Letter matches up wrong verses to make the Book of Mormon look totally different than the bible translation. Here is how the scriptures actually compare:
|Matthew 6:24-29 (JST)||3 Nephi 13:24-26||No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
And again, I say unto you, Go ye into the world and care not for the world; for the world will hate you, and will persecute you, and will turn you out of their synagogues.
Nevertheless, ye shall go forth from house to house, teaching the people; and I will go before you.
And your heavenly Father will provide for you whatsoever things ye need for food, what ye shall eat, and for raiment, what ye shall wear or put on.
Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your bodies, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not; neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? How much more will he not feed you?
|No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people.
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
It is important to note that this is not “the same identical sermon.” No, it is not. Mormon did not write down the sermon that Jesus gave in Galilee. He recorded what Jesus said to the Nephites. Different event, different people, different context.
He was talking to people on the other side of the planet. Could it be Jesus did not talk about going “door to door” with the Nephites because they did not have doors on their houses? Perhaps? My guess is the reason he did not talk about going out into the “world” is because the Nephites did not live in the center of three connected continents like the Israelites did. What would that mean to people who live in a tightly-bound geographical area? The Nephites were not commanded to preach to the Gentiles like the disciples at Israel were. Both scripture additions give direction on how to go about preaching the word of God, suited to each context.
CES Letter snips off verses that match. Dishonest and deceitful:
Why Would Joseph Smith Change This Passage? – Why would Joseph Smith make changes to the bible that contradict a book he wrote himself just a couple years earlier? Why go to that effort? He didn’t. He made a few clarifications, appropriate according to the context.
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Falsehood||CES Letter snips out parts of the JST chapter to present an incorrect premise, that Joseph Smith took verses 26-27 out of 3 Nephi 13.
CES Letter incorrectly claims that these are the “same passages” yet that the Book of Mormon “has the incorrect Sermon on the Mount passage.” No, the correct sermon is there.
|Strawman Argument||CES Letter incorrectly claims the JST “should match” what is in the Book of Mormon. But this ignores differences in contexts, and the nature of Joseph Smith’s translation of the bible, which included clarification to meaning and prophetic commentary.|
|Cherry-Picking||CES Letter (incorrectly) cherry-picks the only example they could find of a discrepency. They ignore the fact that both the Book of Mormon and JST bible claim that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount only to close disciples rather than the general public, a stunning parallel.|
Too Much Association, Too Little Association – In their opening arguments, CES Letter goes back and forth between associations with between the bible and Book of Mormon that are too weak and too strong. Earlier, it was too weak. Now, CES Letter flips their narrative and complains that the association is too strong, that it ought to match perfectly the Joseph Smith inspired translation instead.
Every little discrepancy can be cherry-picked as evidence of the same conclusion. But later on, CES Letter suggests the bible is made up like the Book of Mormon. So why did they spend all this time trying to show weaknesses from association? Why not just say “the bible is false, so the Book of Mormon is false for quoting it”? Wouldn’t that be honest?
Contradiction Strategy – To discredit the Book of Mormon, CES Letter again portrays discrepancies between books of scripture, each of which they believe to be false. This time, they set a rigid standard of “correctness” that no scripture could realistically live up to. If the Book of Mormon is “the most correct book” and Joseph Smith “corrected” the bible, then they ought to be perfectly the same, right? NO! Of course not! This logic does not reflect how things realistically turn out. I don’t think Jesus was holding a script in his hand that he read for both people, the Nephites and the Israelites.
CES Letter‘s logic reflect the simplistic idealism that we see in the Plan of Satan. This idealistic standard for “correctness” makes people bitter that God allows tragedies to happen in their lives. It makes them skeptical of any opinion that doesn’t fit their narrow preconceived view of perfection. It thus sets a narrative that destroys Mormons’ testimonies and promotes Satan’s agenda.
God As A Dictator – Followers of Satan want everything spelled out for them. Do this. Say this. Don’t even bother thinking critically or making judgement calls for yourself. This is the heart of CES Letter‘s strawman argument that scripture should be a perfect, crystalized model of truth for every word we say and movement we make. They are authoritarian personalities who want a dictator.
Then again, Satanists don’t actually have a rigid model for truth. They only have their ideology, and they follow an ever-changing narrative to suit whatever helps the Satanic ideology in that moment. So, if you can’t trust ancient scripture to be infallible truth, who can you trust? Science! Science will tell you all you need to know. Science is great for Satanist because conclusions are always changing, always updating, and are easily manipulated. The frequent shifts in science can be exploited to push Satan’s ideology, which is an ideology of universal salvation and no personal responsibility.
So if Social Justice Warriors can convince you that the Book of Mormon is not trustworthy as ancient, unchanging truth, then they can also convince you that a good alternative to scripture should be constantly edited to fit modern circumstances and push this oppressive gospel of Satan. They make the case that modern “scripture” should direct every explicit part of your life, from the way you tie your shoes in the morning to which words you are allowed to speak.