Changed LDS Scripture/Part 36

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2012
Mormons believe in three heavens because Joseph Smith claimed God revealed that to him and he recorded it as Doctrine and Covenants Section 76. But LDS also claim that 1 Corinthians 15:40 taught three heavens until that text was corrupted during the “great apostasy” when the telestial heaven was deleted.

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Mormons believe in three heavens because Joseph Smith claimed God revealed that to him and he recorded it as Doctrine and Covenants Section 76. But LDS also claim that 1 Corinthians 15:40 taught three heavens until that text was corrupted during the “great apostasy” when the telestial heaven was deleted. Smith claimed that his Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of 1 Corinthians 15:40 “restored” the telestial heaven where it belonged. So, the JST of that verse now reads, “Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial another; and the telestial another.”

But the King James Version (KJV) says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Not one single original manuscript in the original language mentions a telestial body! If this verse in the Bible was corrupted so that the word “telestial” was deleted, did those who corrupted it find every one of the thousands of manuscripts that contained this verse and then change it in every manuscript? And if they did that, why did they do it? The obvious answer is that they did not and could not have done that!

Some things need to be noted about this verse. There is no such word as “telestial” except in Mormon writings. But both celestial and terrestrial are in almost every dictionary. Celestial means heavenly, while terrestrial means earthly. This verse is part of Paul’s answer to the question in verse 35 which asked, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” He explained the difference between this earthly body we now have and the glorified “heavenly” body that we will have when we are resurrected. The entire context is about “bodies,” not about heavens or “degrees of glory!”

But LDS also use verse 41 to support their teaching that there are three heavens or glories where people go after they die. But this text simply says there is a difference in the glory seen in the sun, moon and stars, and then verse 42 says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It [the body] is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.” And the next several verses continue to show the difference between this earthly body and the resurrected, glorified body.

The JST of 1 Corinthians 15:46 says, “Howbeit, that which is natural [physical] first, and not that which is spiritual; but afterwards, that which is spiritual.” That statement contradicts Genesis 2:5 in the JST which says, “For I, the Lord God, created all things of which I have spoken spiritually, before they were naturally [physically] upon the face of the earth; for I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth.” Mormons believe in a pre-mortal spirit world where all people were born as baby spirits before they came to earth and received a physical body. If that LDS doctrine is true, 1 Corinthians 15:46 in the JST is misleading when it says that the “natural” or physical body was first!

The JST of Galatians 4:12 says, “Brethren, I beseech you to be perfect as I am perfect; for I am persuaded as ye have a knowledge of me, ye have not injured me at all by your sayings.” But the KJV says, “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are; ye have not injured me at all.” Paul never claimed to be perfect and no original document supports the JST of this verse. The context shows that Paul was concerned because these Gentile believers were keeping special days, etc., instead of trusting in Christ’s finished work on their behalf as the verses before this one state. So Paul told them to follow his example.

He also reminded them that even though he was a Jew, he had lived as a Gentile like them. So he was not asking them to do something he had not done himself. When he said they had not injured him at all, it was in reference to how well they cared for him when he first visited them and his eyesight was very bad as verses 13 through 15 clearly show. It had nothing to do with something the Galatians said, as the JST states in verse 12.

Hebrews 13:5 in the KJV says, “Let your conversation [manner of life] be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” But the JST says, “Let your consecrations be without covetousness; and be content with giving such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Obviously the message is totally changed. The original text and all good translations caution believers to watch how they live and not allow covetousness or greed to control their lives but to be content with what they have since the Lord promised to be with them. But the JST says “Let your consecrations be without covetousness.” To consecrate something is to set it apart for a sacred purpose, so it is difficult to understand how someone could covet what they had consecrated! Then the JST says to be content in giving such things as you have. When Smith inserted consecration and giving into this verse, he must have been thinking about his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, where he claimed that God wanted the LDS people to consecrate all of their property to the Church and then the Church would give them what they needed to live on.

Mormons often quote “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20 in the KJV) to support their belief that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (II Nephi 35:23 in the Book of Mormon). The KJV of James 2:20 was rearranged in the JST so it became James 2:18 and says, “Therefore wilt thou not know O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you.” In the original text James 2:14-20 is about someone in need of clothes and food and it says that it is not enough for a believer to say “be warmed and filled.” The Christian should show his faith by what he does.

So James 2:18-20 in the original and all real translations is about how believers “show” their faith by their deeds. Faith, like love can’t be seen, but the evidence of it is seen in what people do. But the JST in James 2:18 tries to make works a requirement for spiritual salvation, which is contrary biblical texts like Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Many other biblical texts like Romans 5:6, 8, Ephesians 2:8-10, etc., also make it very clear that it is not what we do that saves us, but what Christ did for us.

Those who want to see the entire JST or Inspired Version of the Bible can “Google” either name on the internet and find it. Next time we will continue to look at other changes Smith made to the Bible.

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