LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXXV
Article 8, LDS Scripture, Bible, part 2
The eighth LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon (B. of M.) to be the word of God.”
Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS Church said, “From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 9-11). And on p. 327 he also said, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” And LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen said of the Bible, “Many insertions were made, some of them for slanted or selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p.4). Joseph Fielding Smith the tenth LDS Prophet also said, “There is not one principle pertaining to the salvation of men that is so clearly stated in the Bible, as it has come down to us, that men do not stumble over—not one thing. There is not one principle they can be united on that has been so clearly stated that they do not find their interpretations of it conflicting” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. I, p. 278). LDS Apostle, Orson Pratt wrote: “If it be admitted that the apostles and evangelists did write the books of the New Testament, that does not prove of itself that they were divinely inspired at the time they wrote…Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who in his right mind could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Number 3, pp. 45-47). The Book of Mormon also says in II Nephi 29:3 & 6: “Many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible…Thou fool, that shall say a Bible, we have got a Bible and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?”
LDS leaders have no evidence to support the above claims, but they make them because it helps them promote their other scriptures as more reliable. But those claims raise questions. What “important points touching the salvation of men were “lost out of the Bible.” Are they in LDS scripture? Who were the “ignorant, careless translators” that made “many errors” and what “errors were made?” LDS claim, “many insertions” and “deliberate falsifications were perpetrated,” so what insertions and falsifications are in the Bible? Joseph Fielding Smith said, “There is not one principle pertaining to the salvation of men that is so clearly stated in the Bible, as it has come down to us, that men do not stumble over—not one thing.” But people can stumble over their own feet! They can also choose to believe or not believe anything—even in Mormonism! But it is not true that there is “not one thing” in the Bible about salvation that men do not stumble over. In John 6:47 Jesus said, “He that believes on Me has everlasting life.” That is a clear statement that LDS reject, not because it isn’t clear, but because their Church teaches one must be a member of their Church and be baptized by them and keep their laws and ordinances and do temple work etc. in order to have everlasting life in God’s presence. John 6:47 is not a problem because it is not clearly stated. It is a problem for LDS because they choose to believe their Church instead of the Bible! Orson Pratt questioned whether the original Bible was inspired, but Jesus didn’t question it when He quoted it! Pratt said, “Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” Pratt was no expert on the original languages of the Bible, so he spoke without any evidence in order to support LDS claims.
LDS question the translation of the Bible, but not the translation of B. of M. even though Smith “translated” it. We will say more about the B. of M. translation later. LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie said “The (LDS) Church uses the King James Version of the Bible, but acceptance of the Bible coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as translated correctly. The other three (LDS books of scripture) having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 764). On p. 237 of the Articles of Faith, LDS Apostle James Talmage said, “There will be, there can be, no absolutely reliable translation of these (Biblical) or other scriptures unless it be effected through the gift of translation, as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost.” LDS scripture in Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) 107:91-92 says: “The duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole Church, and to be...a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which He bestows upon the head of the Church.” Every LDS President has had the official the titles of Prophet and “Translator,” so LDS say they have “the gift of translation.” Why hasn’t one of them translated the Bible correctly IF there is a translation problem? For nearly 200 years LDS have been saying the Bible is mistranslated. Isn’t it about time one of their “inspired Prophets” translated the Bible correctly if they really have “the gift of translation?” Is the reason they haven’t translated the Bible because they can’t or because it helps them “show the need for LDS scriptures” to say the Bible is lacking?
If LDS really believe the KJV Bible is mistranslated, why don’t they publish the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible? D. & C. 107:91-92 & 124:25 say Smith had the gift of translation when he translated the JST which Talmage said was necessary to have a reliable translation of the Bible. The Lord commanded Smith to finish translating the JST in D. & C. 73:4 and to “publish the new translation of my holy word” in D. & C. 124:89. The LDS History of the Church vol. I, pp.324 and 368 says that Smith finished “translating” his JST. So, WHY do LDS only publish a small part of it in the margins and appendix of their official King James Version of the Bible? Don’t LDS believe Smith had the gift of translation? WHO decided to publish only a small part of what Smith claimed God inspired and WHY did they make that decision? Some LDS say Smith wanted to revise the JST, but he didn’t live long enough to do that. WHY would he want to revise the JST IF God revealed it? Didn’t God reveal it right the first time? Smith “translated” the entire JST in just three years between June 1830 until July 2, 1833. He lived eleven years after completing it, so he had enough time to revise it IF it really needed to be revised. The reasons LDS give for not publishing the entire JST contradicts their scripture in the D. & C. as well as their own History of the Church! Smith only had a copy of the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) in English when he “translated” the JST. So, he translated the English KJV into the English JST!?? The JST is just the KJV with Smith’s ideas inserted in various places. But LDS scripture calls it a “translation” in D. & C. 73:3-4; 91:1-6; 124:89 etc.! Biblical scholars who know the original languages of the Bible say no original manuscript supports any of Smith’s additions to the Bible in his JST. Is that one of the reasons why LDS don’t publish all of it?
Next time we will continue our discussion of the Bible.