The Mormon Church

The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints

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Inspired translation of Nephi Plates into English

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Joseph Smith in the process of translating the golden Nephi Plates the angel Moroni gave him. This process of translation of "scripture" is the only time known to man, when God inspired the translator.

A. The Bible was inspired in its original language but is translated without inspiration by the skill of men. The Book of Mormon, was alleged to be inspired in both the original language and the translation into English.

  1. David Whitmer, one of the 3 witnesses of the B of M, "I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principle scribe, and when it was written down and reappeared to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and nor by any power of man." Address to All Believers in Christ, David Whitmer, 1887, page 12, reprinted 1960, Pacific Publishing Co., Martinez, CA.
  2. Martin Harris, one of the 3 witnesses of the B of M, "By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, 'written' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraved on the plates, precisely in the language then used.'" Myth of the manuscript found, 1883 edition p91.
  3. Oliver B. Huntington, recorded in his journal that in Joseph F. Smith said in 1881 of Joseph Smith the prophet, (Joseph F. Smith later became the sixth president of the Mormon church), "Joseph did not render the writing on the Gold plates into the English language in his own style of language as many people believe, but every word and every letter was given to him by the gift and power of God. So it was the work of God and not of Joseph Smith, and it was done in this way... The Lord caused each word spelled as it is in the book to appear on the stones in short sentences of words, and when Joseph had uttered the sentence or word before him the scribe had written it properly, that sentence would disappear and another appear. And if there was a word wrongly written or even a letter incorrect the writing on the stones would remain there. Then Joseph would require the scribe to spell the reading of the last spoken and thus find the mistake and when corrected the sentence would disappear as usual." Journal of Oliver Huntingon, p168 typed copy at Utah State Historical Society.
  4. God's own voice from heaven, "...we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying 'These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'" History of the Church, Joseph Smith, Vol 1 p54

B. Where are the original Nephi Plates from which the B of M was translated?

  1. The existence of the gold Nephi plates from which the book of Mormon was allegedly translated have never been proven. They were conveniently taken back to heaven by the angel Moroni. This is like have an English translation of the Bible with no support Greek text. With modern forensic science, it would be a simple task to confirm the authenticity of the Nephi plates if they existed. How convenient that the angel took them.
  2. Without the Nephi Plates, Mormonism resembles the myths of "Bigfoot" & "UFO's". All three are long on "personal testimony and eye-witnesses" and short on hard proof!

C. Changes to Mormon books that were inspired in their translation:

  1. Pearl of Great Price: page 14 alone of the 1st edition requires that 355 words be added, 63 words changed, and 4 words deleted to bring it into conformity with current the edition.
  2. Doctrines and Covenants: some revelations have hundreds of words added to them.
  3. Joseph Smith's History: 62,000 words added/deleted including the following deletion, Joseph Smith, "drank a glass of beer at Moessers".
  4. Book of Mormon: 3913 changes, effecting 10,000 words!

D. A sampling of the 3913 changes made to the inspired book of Mormon:


Original 1830 Edition, Book of Mormon

Editions 1837, 1888, 1920, 1964, 1978

Title page

Joseph Smith, Jr. the author and proprietor of this work

Joseph Smith, Jr. the translator of this work

Title page

now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men...

now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men...

1 Ne 13:40

the lamb of God is the Eternal Father

the lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father

Mosi 21:28

King Benjamin

King Mosiah (same change in Ether 4:1)

1 Nephi 20:1

words added

or out of the waters of Baptism

2 Nephi 12:9

the mean man boweth down

the mean man boweth not down

Alma 29:4

Yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable

words deleted

Alma 37:21,24



Alma 30:6

it is the effects of a phrensied mind

it is the effect of a frenzied mind

Throughout B of M

now there was seven churches

now there were seven churches

Throughout B of M

there were no blood to shed

there was no blood to shed

Throughout B of M

there is two churches

there are two churches

Throughout B of M

and also much horses

and also many horses

Throughout B of M

these things had not ought to be

these things ought not to be

Throughout B of M

as I was a journeying

as I was journeying ("a" removed)

Throughout B of M

They did prepare for to meet them

They did prepare to meet them ("for" removed)

Throughout B of M

some have arrested the scriptures

some have wrested the scriptures

Throughout B of M

when they had arriven

when they had arrived

Throughout B of M

having no respects to persons

having no respect to persons ("s" removed)

Throughout B of M

they had fell into great errors

they had fallen into great errors

Throughout B of M

which was wrote upon the plates

which was written upon the plates

Throughout B of M

they were exceeding fraid

they were exceedingly afraid

Throughout B of M

they had began to possess the land

they had begun to possess the land

Throughout B of M

this they done that they might provide food

this they did that they might provide food

Alma 23:1

nor neither of their brethren

nor either of their brethren

E. Is God responsible for these errors?

  1. Joseph Fielding Smith, 1961, "the printer was a man who was unfriendly" The Improvements Era, p924
  2. John Gilbert, the printer said, "I called their attention to a grammatical error, and asked whether I should correct it? Harris cunsulted with Smith a short time and turned to me and said: 'The Old Testament is ungrammatical, set it as it is written'" Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol 1, Introduction.
  3. Many early Mormons taught that the errors were on the original Gold Nephi plates.
  4. "If the translation is not such a word-for-word bringing over from the Nephi language into English, then it cannot be claimed that the Nephite original is responsible for verbal and grammatical errors." Defense of the Faith, p278, B.H. Roberts, Mormon historian.
  5. Next Mormons blamed the scribe who wrote from what was dictated by Joseph Smith.
  6. "The awkward, ungrammatical expression of the thoughts is, doubtless, the result of the translator's (Joseph Smith's) imperfect knowledge of the English language...That old theory cannot be successfully maintained; that is the Urim and Thummin did the translating." Defense of the Faith, p306, B.H. Roberts, Mormon historian.

F. We have the following questions for Mormons to answer:

  1. If the original 1830 Book of Mormon was inspired than why were there so many errors and changes and additions and deletions, when compared to current editions?
  2. Why does the B of M use old KJV type English at a time when it was not currently used.
  3. Why is about 1/8th of the B of M copied directly from the KJV (1611AD) when it was alleged to have been written some 1200-2000 years before the KJV existed?
  4. Joseph Smith deleted the italicized words in the KJV because he knew they were not in the original. "Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" Isa 6:5, The words "is & am" are deleted in the Book of Mormon.
  5. How can we be assured that the translation of the B of M into French is correct?
  6. How do you account for the stunning parallels in both content and order between the B of M and the View of the Hebrews, by Ethan Smith? Published in 1823 (7 years before the B of M) less than 100 miles from the Joseph Smith's parents home.
  7. Why did the angel take Nephi Plates back to heaven? Do they not belong with man?
  8. Mormon Article of Faith #8: "We Believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." Why do you only add the phrase, "as far as it is translated correctly" to describe the Bible and not after the book of Mormon when in fact there are far more translating errors in the Book of Mormon than the Bible?

Original language

translation process

stated accuracy

observed accuracy


Inspired Greek

skill of men

translation errors

99.9% accurate

1830 B of M

Inspired Egyptian

inspired of God

no translation errors

thousands of major errors

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