Changed LDS Scripture/Part 22 | John Ankerberg Show

Changed LDS Scripture/Part 22

By: The John Ankerberg Show
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By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2011
Even though Joseph Smith claims that his translation was revealed by God, the content he added to the text usually does nothing to clarify it. LDS claim the Bible was so badly “corrupted” before Smith wrote the Joseph Smith Translation that it needed to be re-translated. But one would expect “revelation from God” to clarify the content.

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Matthew 5:13-28

In our previous article we discussed some of the changes that Joseph Smith made in his Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are part of the Sermon on the Mount which is familiar to many people. Right after the Beatitudes in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Smith added some words before that verse, so it became Matthew 5:15 in the JST. It says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall thenceforth be good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Notice that the KJV version has 39 words while the JST has 52 words. Do the 13 words “God added” by revelation in the JST clarify that message?

Matthew 5:14-16 in the KJV says, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid; Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candle- stick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The same passage in the JST is in Matthew 5:16-18 and says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The KJV version has 67 words while the JST has 80 words. Again 13 words were added in the JST, but do they clarify the text? Many of Smith’s changes in his JST just add superfluous words but no clarity or valuable content.

In the KJV of Matthew 5:18-19 Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” The same text in Smith’s JST is in found in Matthew 5:20-21. It says, “For verily I say unto you, heaven and earth must pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so to do, he shall in no wise be saved in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach these commandments of the law until it be fulfilled, the same shall be called great, and shall be saved in the kingdom of heaven.” Notice that the KJV has 71 words while the JST has 88 words, or 17 more words than the KJV. This time the JST not only has extra words but it changes the meaning of the text so that it agrees with the Mormon doctrine of salvation by keeping laws and commandments. The original manuscript says nothing about salvation, but it deals with obedience and what it brings in contrast to what disobedience brings.

In the KJV of Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” That text is Matthew 5:29-31 in the JST. It says, “Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart, for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” This time the KJV has 41 words while the JST has 85 words. But does the JST clarify what Jesus said with all those extra words? Smith “translated” this text for his JST in 1832 or 1833 when most Mormon scholars say that he was already involved in polygamy which began as early as 1831. So, perhaps his conscience bothered him a little as he “translated” this text from the KJV and that may explain why he added words that seem to muddle the meaning of it.

We have given these examples to show that even though Smith claims that his JST was revealed by God, the content he added to the text usually does nothing to clarify it. LDS claim the Bible was so badly “corrupted” before Smith wrote the JST that it needed to be re-translated. But one would expect “revelation from God” to clarify the content, not just add a lot of extra words that don’t do anything to give a better understanding of it.

More can be read about the JST in Mormonism, Shadow or Reality by Jerald and Sandra Tanner and published by Utah Lighthouse Ministry in Salt Lake City, Utah. We will continue this study next time.

Read Part 23

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