Changed LDS Scripture/Part 12

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2010
LDS historical records show that Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith compiled the Joseph Smith Translation [JST] of the Bible between June 1830 and July 2, 1833. Previous articles in this series have shown that the JST version of Genesis contains several LDS doctrines. It also contains the LDS view of when children are accountable and when they should be baptized.

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LDS historical records show that Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith compiled the Joseph Smith Translation [JST] of the Bible between June 1830 and July 2, 1833. Previous articles in this series have shown that the JST version of Genesis contains several LDS doctrines. It also contains the LDS view of when children are accountable and when they should be baptized. In Smith’s JST version of Genesis 17:5-6, he wrote, “God” said to Abram, “They have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them; But have turned from the commandment and taken unto themselves the washing of children….” The washing of children refers to the baptism of infants or young children, which Smith rejected. But, baptism was not an Old Testament doctrine and is not mentioned in any authentic ancient manuscript of Genesis, so it is out of context in the JST of Genesis.

But in Genesis 17:11 of the JST “God” told Abraham, “Children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.” Joseph Smith claimed God told him the same thing in Doctrine and Covenants 68:27 which he received as a revelation in November 1831. It said, “And their (LDS) children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of hands.” Doctrine and Covenants 68:25 also says eight year old children are accountable for their sins and should be baptized then. Since that doctrine wasn’t in any “scripture” until Smith put it in both the JST and Doctrine and Covenants 68 around 1831, could he be the author of it?

Genesis 18 through 47 of the JST is the same as the King James Version of the Bible except that Smith changed some verse numbers and added some non-essential words in various places in the JST. After Genesis 48:6 of the JST, Smith added five verses in which Jacob’s son, Joseph, and his descendents, are blessed above his brethren. That is very important to LDS because of what Genesis 50 of the JST says. Genesis 49 to Genesis 50:24 of the JST is the same as the KJV. Then in the middle of Genesis 50:24, 12 verses are added which “predict the coming of Moses and his ministry (vs. 24, 29, 34 and 35) and the coming of Joseph Smith and his ministry (vs. 25-33). Did Smith think people would more readily believe he was a prophet if his JST said the Lord told Joseph in Egypt about his coming in the latter days while it also foretold that Moses would come to lead Israel long before Moses was born?

In Genesis 50:29b of the JST, God spoke to Joseph, the son of Jacob, about

…him whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt; for a seer will I raise up to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt; and he shall be called Moses. And by this name he shall know that he is of thy house; for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter, and he shall be called her son.

Genesis 50:34-35 of the JST also says

And the Lord sware unto Joseph (son of Jacob) that he would preserve his seed forever, saying, I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand, and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod. And he shall have judgment and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of mine own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him and his name shall be called Aaron.

This “prophecy in Genesis 50 of the JST was addressed to Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham long before Moses was born. Exodus 12:40 says it was 430 years from Abraham to Moses and the Israelites became a nation when Moses led them out of Egypt. Before that, Abraham’s descendents were just family clans named after the sons of Jacob. So it is out of context when Smith’s JST of Genesis 50:29b has God speak to Joseph concerning “my people, O house of Israel” long before Israel was a nation. In the Bible, the “house of Israel” is mentioned the first time in Leviticus 10:6, which was long after Joseph died in Egypt. In Genesis 50:29, 34, 35 of the JST the Lord told Joseph about Moses and Aaron, who were born long after that, so those names were meaningless to Joseph. If those names were in any ancient document prior to the time they lived, it might be an impressive prophecy but they weren’t in Genesis until Smith wrote his JST between 1830 and 1833.

In Genesis 50:29b of the JST God told Joseph that Moses “is of thy house,” which sounds like Moses was a descendent of Joseph. But Exodus 2:1 says Moses and his wife were both of the tribe of Levi, so did God make a mistake? Smith’s JST of Genesis 50:34 says that Moses “shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.” But Exodus 14:21 says, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea” and the waters parted and Exodus 14:27 says he did the same thing when the Red Sea returned to its normal position. There is no record of Moses “smiting” the Red Sea with his rod in the Bible or even in the JST! Moses did smite the river in Egypt with his rod when it turned to blood in Exodus 7:20, so did God confuse those two events, or did Smith?

Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought has an article on the JST in the Summer 2010 issue, for those who are interested. The “prophecy” of Joseph Smith’s coming in the JST version of Genesis 50 will be our discussion next time.

Read Part 13

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