Changed LDS Scripture/Part 23

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2011
Our last article discussed the Sermon on the Mount through Matthew 5:28 in all Bibles with the exception of the Joseph Smith Translation where the same text ended with Matthew 5:31. We will now compare Matthew 5:40-41 in the Bible with the same text in the Joseph Smith Translation where it is Matthew 5:42-43.

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The eighth LDS Article of Faith says, “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.” That brief statement by Joseph Smith shows that Mormons believe their scriptures are more accurate than the Bible. LDS Apostle James Talmage wrote The Articles of Faith, a book that explains all 13 Articles of Faith in detail. In writing about the original manuscripts of the Bible, Talmage said on page 237,

There will be, there can be, no absolutely reliable translation of these or other scriptures unless it be effected through the gift of translation as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost…. Let the Bible then be read with prayerful care, the reader ever seeking the light of the Spirit that he may discern between truth and the errors of men.

Joseph Smith claimed he translated the Book of Mormon as well as the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price by the gift and power of God. The “other scriptures” Talmage mentioned above is a direct reference to those books. After Smith’s death those books were translated into other languages by LDS translators who spoke English as well as the language into which the book was translated. They translated the same way all translators translate and no LDS translator claimed “the gift of translation by the Holy Ghost,” so are their translations also true only “as far as translated correctly?”

Some of those LDS translations have been re-translated and changed, which shows they weren’t as accurate as they could have been the first time! Smith claimed he had the “gift of translation” when he wrote his Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST) as well as his other LDS scriptures. All 15 LDS leaders who succeeded Smith as President of the LDS Church have not only had the official title of “Prophet” but have also had the title “Translator.” Thus the JST of the Bible should be completely accurate since Smith and all of his successors have had “the gift of translation from the Holy Ghost.” If the JST was not completely accurate, wouldn’t at least one of those LDS Prophets with the title of “Translator” have corrected it?

For that reason, we conclude that: 1. LDS Prophets must believe that the JST is completely accurate as it is; Or, 2. They don’t really have the gift of translation; Or, 3.They don’t care whether or not it is accurate. LDS claim that Smith intended to make further corrections in the JST, but that doesn’t make sense if God revealed it to him. Didn’t God do a good job the first time? Or, does God need to correct Himself? This series of articles has already pointed out numerous problems in the JST, so none of the above options are good for LDS Prophets.

Our last article discussed the Sermon on the Mount through Matthew 5:28 in all Bibles with the exception of the JST where the same text ended with Matthew 5:31. We will now compare Matthew 5:40-41 in the Bible with the same text in the JST where it is Matthew 5:42-43. That text in the KJV Bible says, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” But the JST says, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have it; and if he sue thee again, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him a mile; and whosoever shall compel thee to go with him twain, thou shalt go with him twain.” The difference is striking. The entire context in the Bible is about doing more than you are asked to do. But in the JST it says to do only what you are asked to do! Which is right? In this case the Book of Mormon in III Nephi 12:40-41 has exactly the same words as the KJV Bible, not the JST! So, which way did the Lord actually reveal it?

Matthew 6:24-26 in the KJV Bible says,

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. Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; not yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat [food], and the body more than raiment [clothes]? 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 [more value] than they?

That same text in the JST is in Matthew 6:24-30 which says,

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 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 more 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? Wherefore take no thought for these things, but keep my commandments wherewith I have commanded you.

While the KJV of this text has 108 words, the JST has 207 words or about twice as many as the KJV. Do all those extra words clarify anything that is not clear in the KJV? One of the reasons LDS gave for needing an “Inspired Translation” was to clarify what the Bible teaches. But the JST in this text adds a lot of unnecessary words and brings up subjects that are unrelated to the text so that it muddles it rather than clarifies it! That part of the Sermon on the Mount is also in the Book of Mormon in III Nephi 13:24-26 where it has exactly the same words as the KJV with the exception of a few words in verse 25 where Jesus addressed the 12 disciples he supposedly chose in America and told them they were to minister to “this people.” Does this text in Joseph Smith’s “revealed” JST really clarify salvation or teach truths that aren’t in the KJV? If it does, God left it out when He “revealed” the Book of Mormon to the writers, so it is just as “incomplete” as LDS say the KJV is! But IF the JST doesn’t clarify salvation better than the KJV, why did God waste His time and add all those words that do nothing to help understand this text?

For any who want it, my book, Mormon Claims Answered, has more information about Smith’s Bible. Next time we will complete our discussion of the Sermon on the Mount in the JST.

Read Part 24

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