|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2010|
|The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is one of four LDS books of scripture that LDS have in addition to the King James Version of the Bible. But no one had ever heard of the special Mormon scriptures until Joseph Smith introduced them.|
The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible is one of four LDS books of scripture that LDS have in addition to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. But no one had ever heard of the special Mormon scriptures until Joseph Smith introduced them.
Smith said the Book of Mormon is a sacred history of the ancestors of the American Indians like the Bible is of the Israelites. There aren’t any ancient documents that support the Book of Mormon story and it is not supported by scientific evidence such as ethnology or archaeology either. Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was written in a “Reformed Egyptian language” and he translated it from that language into English. However, no such language has been discovered in the Americas and Egyptologists claim there is no such thing as a “Reformed Egyptian” language.
Smith also said that he translated the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price from ancient Egyptian documents. But facsimiles of those documents are in every copy of the Book of Abraham and Egyptologists say they are common funeral papyri and have nothing to do with Abraham. Smith’s “translation” of them contains stories of creation and other early biblical events that are very different from the Bible! Smith also claimed that the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price was written by Moses, but was lost until God restored it through a revelation to him. It also has stories of creation and other early biblical events that are different from the Bible, but no historical document or other evidence supports those stories either.
Smith said the “Sections” in The Doctrine and Covenants were revelations from God to him, so there are no historical documents for them. He also made some changes to the KJV Bible and called it the Inspired Version or the JST, but no ancient documents support the changes he made. LDS claim that Satan led some religious leaders to delete and add content to the Bible, but God led Smith to correct those errors. Thousands of ancient manuscripts support the translations of the Bible used by Christians, but not even one supports Smith’s translation! A clear pattern exists in every one of Smith’s new scriptures: no valid evidence verifies any of them! So, where did Smith get the information he put in his new scriptures?
In Genesis 6 and 7 of the JST, Enoch supposedly preached a long sermon which contains several unique LDS doctrines. Smith claimed that many things in the Bible had been distorted or were missing and that he restored them in his JST and in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. In Genesis 6:60 of the JST, Enoch spoke of the language of Adam or the “pure Adamic language” as LDS called it in their temple ceremony. LDS believe they will speak that language during the millennium (Mormon Doctrine, p. 19).
Genesis 7:9-10 in the JST says the land of “Cainan” was cursed and “a blackness came upon all the children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people.” LDS taught that those cursed with black skin (the Negroid race) were also cursed or excluded from the LDS priesthood. That exclusion also prevented them from entering Mormon temples, which in turn prevented them from entering the highest heaven where they could become gods after death here on earth.
The Negroid curse was part of the Mormon belief system until June 1978 when it was cancelled by LDS Prophet Spencer Kimball’s revelation (Official Declaration—2 in the Doctrine and Covenants). The curse of black skin is also mentioned in Genesis 7:29 of the JST concerning the seed of Cain. And it is mentioned in Moses 7:8 & 22 and Abraham 1:21-26 in the Pearl of Great Price, so it had scriptural authority for the LDS. But LDS believe their President is a Prophet who gives current revelation, so he had a “revelation” which changed it.
Genesis 5:24 in the Bible says that Enoch was translated or taken up to heaven. But in Genesis 7:23-27 of the JST the Lord showed Enoch that the City of Enoch or “Zion in the process of time was taken up into heaven.” So, LDS teach that the City of Enoch or Zion was taken up to heaven, where it will remain until the millennium begins. It will then return to earth with the New Jerusalem and be merged with the New Jerusalem or Zion the Mormons will build in Missouri where Christ will reign for 1,000 years (See JST, Genesis 7:70-71; Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5; Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:62-64).
In Genesis 7:42 of the JST God said, “Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name also.” In Doctrine and Covenants 19:10-12 God said, “For behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.” A pamphlet published by the LDS Church entitled “The Plan of Salvation” explains on page 29, “Eternal punishment is God’s punishment; everlasting punishment is God’s punishment; or in other words it is the name of the punishment God inflicts, He being eternal in His nature. Whosoever, therefore, receives God’s punishment receives eternal punishment, whether it is endured one hour, one day, one week, or an age.” So, LDS “eternal punishment” ends or is not eternal, but “eternal life” is eternal and never ends!
The Inspired Revision of the Bible by Merrill Van Wagoner was published in 1963 by Deseret News Press in Salt Lake City, UT, and is about the JST. Next time we will continue our study of the JST.