Changed LDS Scripture/Part 8

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2010
Joseph Smith claimed he “translated” his Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible by “revelation” from God, without any ancient manuscripts or anything other than a copy of the King James Version of the Bible. By definition that is really a revision of the KJV rather than a translation or revelation.

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Joseph Smith Translation

Joseph Smith claimed he “translated” his Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible by “revelation” from God, without any ancient manuscripts or anything other than a copy of the King James Version of the Bible. By definition that is really a revision of the KJV rather than a translation or revelation. When the LDS Church published their official KJV Bible in 1979, they put parts of Smith’s “translation” in the margins and appendix and called it the JST. Before 1979 it was called the Inspired Version of the Bible and was published only by the Reorganized LDS Church which is now The Community of Christ Church.

Why didn’t the LDS Church publish the entire JST if they really believed it was revealed by God as Smith claimed? LDS leaders have given no clear answer to that question. But some possible answers may become obvious as we discuss the JST in these articles. The JST has many of Smith’s teachings in it. For example, Genesis 6:26b through Genesis 7:75 in the JST has 123 verses or about eight pages which are not in any other Bible, nor in any ancient manuscript. It is one of the longest additions in one place in the JST, so Smith must have had a reason for adding it. It contains a long message by Enoch with many LDS doctrines that are not in any other Bible. People are more likely to believe something if it is in the Bible, so in his JST, Smith simply added, changed, or deleted content in the KJV so that it said what he wanted to teach. Following are a few of the changes, additions and unique LDS doctrines in the JST in Genesis 6:26b through 7:75.

Genesis 6:37-38 in the JST says Enoch anointed his eyes and “beheld the spirits that God had created.” That teaches the LDS doctrine that God created people, animals and everything else spiritually first before they were created physically, an LDS doctrine also found in the JST in Genesis 2:5 and 9 and 6:52.

Genesis 6:47 in the JST says, “Because that Adam fell, we are.” LDS believe Adam and Eve had to sin in order to become mortal so they could have children. The Book of Mormon says in II Nephi 2:25, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.”

LDS believe that God gave Adam and Eve two contradictory commands when He put them in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:30 and 2:19-20 of JST they were told to multiply and replenish the earth but were also told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. LDS believe Adam and Eve were immortal in the Garden of Eden and couldn’t reproduce. In order to “multiply and replenish the earth” they had to fall so they could become mortal, and that meant they had to disobey God’s other command and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and Adam and Eve wisely chose to do that. LDS believe Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience was necessary so that all mortals could continue their eternal progression toward godhood in the celestial kingdom (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 238, 268-269, 289).

In Genesis 6:51-53 of the JST Enoch said, “God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And He called upon our father Adam, by His own voice, saying, I am God; I made the world and all men before they were in the flesh. And He said unto him, if thou wilt, turn unto Me and hearken unto my voice, believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of Mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men….”

Those who know the Bible can see that Smith has taken several New Testament teachings and put them in the Old Testament in Genesis in his JST! The doctrines mentioned in this text are not in any Old Testament manuscripts or in any other Hebrew records from Old Testament times, but they are in the New Testament.

For example, in this text God spoke to Adam and told him to “believe, repent, and be baptized” which is Peter’s message in Acts 2:38. Adam was to be baptized in the name of God’s Only Begotten Son. “Only Begotten Son” is an expression used only five times in the King James Translation of the New Testament and all five were by the Apostle John. He used it four times in the Gospel of John and once in 1 John 4:9. Other translations use the word “unique” or some equivalent instead of “Begotten.” So, Smith borrowed those words from John in the KJV. John 1:14, 18 speaks of Christ as “the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” so Smith found those words there. The JST said Christ was “full of grace and truth, whose name is Jesus Christ.” The Lord is never called “Jesus Christ” in the Old Testament, but John1:17 says, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” so Smith borrowed those New Testament words too! Then the JST says of Jesus Christ, that His name is the “only name given under heaven whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men,” which is a paraphrase of Peter’s message in Acts 4:12.

Joseph Smith claimed that the gospel of Christ was taught to Adam and all men after him except during “great apostasies.” That is why Smith put these things in Genesis in the JST. The LDS Church teaches “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins” (4th Article of Faith). However, in the JST of Genesis 6:55, “The Lord said unto Adam, Behold, I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.” That was before Adam was baptized in verse 67 of that chapter! The JST of Genesis 6:67 says, “Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water and was brought forth out of the water; and thus he was baptized.” If baptism remits sin, how were Adam’s sins forgiven before he was baptized? LDS also believe that baptisms must be performed by men with LDS Priesthood or God won’t recognize it. LDS believe that God the Father and Son have resurrected bodies but the Holy Spirit does not (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Did the Holy Spirit, without a body, have the LDS Priesthood when He baptized Adam?

More information is available about the JST in my book, Mormon Claims Answered. Next time we will continue our discussion of Enoch’s Message in the JST.

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