Changed LDS Scripture/Part 29
|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2012|
|The Joseph Smith Translation says the Pharisees sought to kill Jesus because He and His disciples baptized more disciples than John the Baptist. But that is absurd! The Jews had no laws about baptism and never spoke against it in the Bible. Not only that, this incident, recorded in John 4 took place early in Jesus’ ministry before the Jews began to look for ways to kill Him.|
John chapter four in the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) has some strange changes in it. John 4:1-3 in the King James Version (KJV) says, “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples), He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.” That text is John 4:1-5 in the JST. It says, “(1.) When, therefore, the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (2.) They sought more diligently some means that they might put Him to death; for many received John as a prophet, but they believed not on Jesus. (3.) Now the Lord knew this, though He Himself baptized not so many as His disciples; (4.) for he suffered them for an example, preferring one another. (5.) And Jesus left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.”
The italicized words in verses 2 and 4 of the JST aren’t in the KJV or the original manuscripts. To say the Pharisees sought to kill Jesus because He and His disciples baptized more disciples than John the Baptist is absurd! The Jews had no laws about baptism and never spoke against it in the Bible. John 4:1-3 took place early in Jesus’ ministry before the Jews began to look for ways to kill Him. The first time John mentions the Jews trying to kill Jesus is in John 5:16-18. And John 5:18 says the Jews sought to kill Jesus “because He not only had broken the Sabbath (by healing the impotent man on it), but also said God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Those were serious crimes according to Jewish customs and laws, but baptism was not! John 4:4 in the JST is an additional verse that is not in the Bible. It is a vague statement that leaves the reader wondering who suffered who to be an example of what? And who preferred one another for what? When LDS have been asked to explain that verse they can’t or they give differing answers, which shows Smith’s JST clarified nothing!
The KJV of John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Most of the modern translations actually say, “God is Spirit” or “God is a Spiritual Being” because that is a more accurate translation of the original manuscripts. But Smith didn’t believe that God was a Spirit Being, since he taught that God was once a man like us and is now a resurrected, glorified man (History of the Church, vol. VI, p. 305). In Doctrine & Covenants 130:22, Smith also said that “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s….”
When Smith saw John 4:24 was in conflict with his teachings, he simply changed the Bible so it agreed with him. John 4:24 in the Bible is John 4:26 in the JST because Smith added two verses earlier in John 4. The JST of John 4:26 says, “For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him must worship him is spirit and in truth.” No original manuscripts of John 4:24 say that, so that content came from Smith.
Furthermore, the Bible says that God is invisible in Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17 and Hebrews 11:27. And those verses are exactly the same in the JST as they are in the KJV! The Bible also says God can’t be seen in 1 Timothy 6:16, John 1:18, 1 John 4:12 and Exodus 33:20! But all of those verses are changed in the JST to allow some to see God since Smith claimed he saw God in his First Vision! Smith apparently didn’t see the contradiction in his “translation,” but surely God knew that if something is invisible it can’t be seen; and if it can be seen, it is not invisible! So, if God has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s, as Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 says, He cannot be invisible!
There are other minor changes in John 4, but we will only discuss the KJV of John 4:38. It says, “I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” That became John 4:40 in the JST which adds the word “have” in two places and changes “other men” to “the prophets.” Why were the words “other men” changed to “the prophets” in the JST? Probably because Smith wanted to keep the idea of “prophets” in the minds of the LDS people since he claimed to be a prophet.
Even minor changes like this one seem to be made to support Smith’s teachings. But not one original manuscript of the Bible supports any change Smith made in his JST, but those manuscripts do support genuine Bible translations! LDS often claim such changes show that the original message of the Bible had been corrupted and Smith’s JST just restored the original message. For that LDS claim to be true, ALL of the thousands of manuscripts that were copied and handled by thousands of men on at least three continents during a period of hundreds of years, had to be changed in some kind of conspiracy so that no trace of the original was left! The absurdity of such a claim should be self-evident! Furthermore, the changes in Smith’s JST usually support what he was teaching, so they look suspicious, especially since no original manuscript supports them!
John 5:28-29 in the JST reads the same as the KJV except for the last two words. Instead of saying “the resurrection of damnation” the JST says “the resurrection of the unjust.” Smith didn’t believe in an eternal hell and taught that nearly everyone would be resurrected to one of three degrees of glory. LDS use “damned” to mean “dammed,” like a river is dammed to stop the flow of water. LDS use it is to mean one’s eternal progression is dammed or stopped before reaching “godhood.” John 5:30 in the JST is an added verse, so that chapter has one more verse than the Bible. The JST of John 5:34-35 (vs. 33-34 in the Bible) says, “Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness also unto the truth. And he received not his testimony of man but of God, and ye yourselves say that he is a prophet; therefore ye ought to receive his testimony. These things I say that ye might be saved.” John 5:34 in the Bible is about Christ, but in the JST it is John 5:35 and is about John the prophet. Since Smith claimed to be a prophet whose message came from God, he probably thought this new verse would help encourage LDS to trust him as a prophet!
More information about the JST can be found in the History of the Church. We will 0continue our discussion of the JST version of John next time.