Book of Moses Changes — Rich Kelsey

Book of Moses

How We Got The Book Of Moses:

The LDS (Mormon) Church maintains that the Book of Moses is,

“An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet.” (Book of Moses introduction)

The LDS Church goes on to say,

“The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore truths to the Bible text that had become lost or changed since the original words were written. These restored truths clarified doctrine and improved scriptural understanding …  Because the Lord revealed to Joseph certain truths that the original authors had once recorded, the Joseph Smith Translation is unlike any other Bible translation in the world.” (LDS.org, The Scriptures Internet Edition: Introduction to Joseph Smith Translation)

“Beginning in June 1830, Joseph Smith began a careful reading of the Bible to revise and make corrections in accordance with the inspiration he would receive…  In a process that took about three years, the Prophet made changes, additions, and corrections as were given him by divine inspiration while he filled his calling to provide a more correct translation for the Church…” (Statement from Kent P. Jackson, who was a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, How We Got the Book of Moses, Kent P. Jackson, in Religious Educator 3, no. 1, 2002, p. 127)

Joseph Smith started off by adding an introductory revelation to Genesis.  He then added to the existing Genesis text.  Three thousand, four hundred, and twenty two words were added to Genesis up until chapter 6:13 which is where the Book of Moses ends.  That almost exactly doubles the conventional word-count of Genesis up to that point in the King James Version.  This supposed restored work of Moses is published in the Pearl of Great Price; which is LDS scripture.

Yet, can we trust that the words Joseph Smith added to the Bible were actually given to him by divine inspiration?  Changes made to the text during the writing process clearly answer this question.

Changes Made To The Book Of Moses:

The reason we know Joseph Smith changed passages in the Book of Moses after his first draft was written is because the LDS Church has two pre-publication manuscripts that clearly document the changes. These manuscripts are entitled Old Testament Manuscript One (OT1) and Old Testament Manuscript Two (OT2) respectively.  OT1 was penned by Smith’s scribes as Smith gave dictation.  OT2 started out as a copy of OT1, yet many changes were made to it after it was copied; words were crossed out, additions were made, etc.

According to LDS sources:

“The text of OT1 is one of the most significant documents of the restored gospel. In its doctrinal contributions it is on par with the greatest of revelations. But OT1 is not the complete and final text of the Book of Moses, because that is found on OT2, on which Joseph Smith made further inspired corrections and additions… The most important changes made after the original transcription were those that were inserted by Joseph Smith. Sometime after Genesis of OT2 was written, the Prophet revisited the manuscript to make further revisions. Some of those are editorial in nature and clarify and smooth out the words of the dictated text. But others are inspired additions and corrections that provide new insights or even change the meaning of what had been written before.” (History of the Book of Moses: Kent P. Jackson, The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts, Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005)

Examples Of Additions Made:

The following words are not found in OTI:

“Therefore I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your Children Saying that in as much as they were born into the World by reason of the fall which bringeth death by water and blood and the Spirit which I have made and so became of dust a living soul even so ye must be born again of water and the spirit and cleansed by blood even the blood of mine only begotten into the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven…” (Caption: Correction on a small piece of paper pinned to Old Testament Manuscript 2, page 18; handwriting of Sidney Rigdon; Moses 6:58-59)

Joseph Smith did not dictate those 85 words to his scribes as they penned the first draft of the Book of Moses.  Sometime after the first draft was written, this dialog, supposedly God speaking to Moses, was written on a separate piece of paper and pinned to the second draft.  There are strong reasons to doubt that those 85 words, which Smith added to Genesis, were words spoken to Moses by God:

●  The content of the text is unlike anything found in Moses’ accepted works.

●  It hardly resembles Old Testament prose.

●  The text in question uses the term “Born again,” which is a term found only in the New Testament.

Also,

“…and he beheld also things which were not visible…” (Moses 6:36, OT1)

Becomes:

“…and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye…” (Moses 6:36, OT2)

In Moses 6:36 four words were added:

If Moses had used the words

“to the natural eye”

in his record then why were those words omitted in Smith’s early manuscript?

Also:

“… millions of earths like this …” (Moses 7:30, OT1)

Becomes:

“… millions of such earths like this …”  (Moses 7:30, OT2)

And:

“Noah called upon men …” (Moses 8:20, OT1)

Becomes:

“Noah called upon the children of men …” (Moses 8:20, OT2)

Both of the last additions give the writing style more of an Old Testament feel; yet, why is it that the translation was not received correctly in the first place?

Example of a Deletion:

“… and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Moses 8:24, OT1)

Becomes:

 “… and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost.” (Moses 8:24, OT2)

The expression

“the gift of the Holy Ghost”

is found in Acts 2:38 and 10:45 in the King James Bible.  It is not found once in the Old Testament.  Again, the changed text gives the writing style more of an Old Testament feel; it makes the passage sound more like something Moses might say; which is noteworthy.

Examples Of Changing The Text:

“These words was spoken unto Moses in the mount …” (Moses 1:42, OT1)

Became:

“These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount …” (Moses 1:42, OT2)

Also:

“If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted?” (Moses 5:23, OT1)

Became:

“If thou doest well thou shalt be accepted.” (Moses 5:23, OT2)

The early manuscript phrased the text of Moses 5:23 as a question. The final manuscript changed the same passage into a statement.  This change had nothing to do with grammar.  It had everything to do with a change in the supposed record of what God supposedly said to Cain.

Also:

“…the people trembled, and could not stand before his presence …” (Moses 6:47, OT1)

Became:

“…the people trembled, and could not stand in his presence …”  (Moses 6:47, OT2)

Then:

“And behold, all things has its likeness …” (Moses 6:63, OT1)

Became:

“And behold, all things have their likeness …” (Moses 6:63, OT2)

The following issues point to the Book of Moses’ true origins:

● Changes in word content.[1]

● Poor grammar.

● Use of language which is out of place among supposed ancient text.

Joseph Smith attributed the Book of Moses to an ancient holy man; in reality, what Smith created is a spurious work.[2]

Other articles of interest:

Book of Moses Anachronisms — Rich Kelsey

First Vision of Joseph Smith — Rich Kelsey

■ Joseph Smith’s Stone In a Hat Routine — Rich Kelsey

LDS SERIES

Endnotes:

[1] “On many pages of the manuscripts are revisions that were made after the original dictation. … in many insertions Joseph Smith revised the writing or added words or phrases to produce new meanings not recorded in the original dictation.” (Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, Original Manuscripts, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004, Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews)

[2] Definition of spurious 3a: of falsified or erroneously attributed origin : FORGED (Merriam Webster dictionary / spurious)