Changed LDS Scripture/Part 27

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2011
Most of the changes in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible are additions of superfluous words that do little or nothing to explain the text where they appear. But there are some changes that have a profound effect on their text and biblical history and/or doctrine. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Gospel of John in the New Testament has several important doctrinal changes in it.

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Most of the changes in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST) are additions of superfluous words that do little or nothing to explain the text where they appear. But there are some JST changes that have a profound effect on their text and biblical history and/or doctrine. The JST of the Gospel of John in the New Testament has several important doctrinal changes in it. For example, John 1:1-2 in the King James Version (KJV) says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” But the same verses in the JST say, “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God. The same was in the beginning with God.”

Smith’s JST is inconsistent, because it says in John 1:1 “the gospel was the word” while in John 1:14 the JST says, “And the same word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Did the gospel become flesh and dwell among us or did Christ? In John 1:1 and 14 the “Word” refers to Christ just as it does in the JST of John 1:16 which says, “For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father.” When the JST of John 1:1 says the gospel was the Word, it confuses rather than clarifies what the Bible teaches.

John 1:17-18 in the KJV says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” In the JST that is John 1:17-19:

Jn 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but life and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Jn 1:18 For the law was after a carnal commandment, to the administration of death; but the gospel was after the power of an endless life, through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.
Jn 1:19 And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved.

The JST of John 1:17 changed the word “grace” to “life,” but those words are very different in the original Greek language as well as in English and couldn’t be confused, so the change was deliberate. The change in the JST may have been made because LDS salvation is not by grace alone, but by grace plus keeping LDS laws, ordinances and commandments.

John 1:18 in the JST is not even in the Gospel of John in the Bible, but is a combination of Hebrews 7:16, 2 Corinthians 3:7 and other verses. Smith often combined verses from the KJV to make new verses in his JST, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, so they sounded “scriptural” even though they are out of place. John 1:18 in the Bible says “No man hath seen God at any time.” But that is John 1:19 in the JST, because John 1:18 in the JST is the inserted verse shown above.

John 1:19 in the JST says, “No man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son.” That doctrinal change is also made in Exodus 33:20 of the Bible where God told Moses: “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.” But the JST of Exodus 33:20 says,

Thou canst not see my face at this time, lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee and thy people; for there shall no man among them see me at this time, and live, for they are exceedingly sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time that shall see my face and live.

First John 4:12 in the Bible also says, “No man hath seen God at any time”, but the JST changes it to, “No man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe.” Do believers really see God? These Bible verses contradicted Smith’s claim that he saw God and Christ in his First Vision, so he just changed the Bible! LDS claim that the changes in these texts prove that the Bible had been corrupted and that Smith restored the true translation. But nothing supports the JST except Smith’s claim, while thousands of copies of the Bible in original languages as well as translations in hundreds of languages support the content in the Bible!

John 1:19-21 in the Bible says, “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” But the JST says in John 1:20-22,

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him; Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias; but confessed, saying; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying, How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

Notice the contradiction between what the Bible says and what the JST says when John was asked if he was Elias. Joseph Smith did not know Greek or Hebrew when he “translated” the JST so he didn’t know that Elias was the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word Elijah. Therefore, he taught that Elias and Elijah were two different men! (See Doctrine and Covenants 27:6-9 for an example of this.) Smith also said that Jonah and Jonas, Isaiah and Esaias, etc., were different men. Modern Bible translations use the Hebrew names when the New Testament refers to Old Testament people which helps to avoid such confusion.

My book, Mormon Claims Answered, has more information about the Inspired Version or JST. Next time we will discuss more changes the JST made in the Gospel of John.

Read Part 28

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