The King James Bible and the Book of Mormon

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As we have outlined in our sections on Adam and Eve, the global flood, and the Tower of Babel, the Book of Mormon (and Mormonism as a whole) depends on these stories in Genesis being literal, historical events. However, we can show through looking at science, similar myths from other civilizations, and biblical scholarship that these events were not actual, historical events.

 

The problems for the Book of Mormon go well beyond the issues with Genesis, however, when we look at the reliance on the King James Bible (KJV). During the time of the Book of Mormon translation, the King James Bible was the most accessible translation of the Bible, and one that Joseph Smith both owned and was extremely well versed in.

 

But the King James Bible was not written until 1611, which makes the inclusion of so much material from the KJV into the Book of Mormon highly problematic, especially when we look at where the King James Bible got their translations wrong, yet still were incorporated into the Book of Mormon.

This problem also calls into question the process by which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, which is a subject we will cover in much more detail coming up. When I was an investigator in the 1990s, I was told that Joseph Smith was able to read the translation directly off of the gold plates with an interpreter known as the Urim and Thummim.

 

However, the church now admits in its official Gospel Topics essay that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by placing the same stone he used for treasure digging into a hat, and read the words that appeared off of this stone which were written by his scribe, only disappearing when they were written correctly.

 

In other words, there should be no errors in the Book of Mormon as the words appeared via revelation from God, and as such should not include any language that the Book of Mormon people would not have known. Furthermore, if the Book of Mormon has errors that stem from 19th century materials, then it would be further proof that Joseph Smith was the Book of Mormon’s author.

 

Problems with the Book of Mormon's Use of the King James Bible

 

There are many problems with the language of the King James Bible being included in the Book of Mormon, but for purposes of this overview we will highlight a few issues and then include further resources at the bottom.
 

Mistranslations
 

The Book of Mormon contains language that comes directly from the King James Bible that is now considered a mistranslation of the original text. This is a problem because the Book of Mormon is taught to be the “most correct book on Earth” as well as being a direct translation off of the gold plates. If this is the case, how could the Book of Mormon contain language not written until 1611 that contains mistranslations from the original text?

For some of the following examples, we will be reference a thorough write-up on the issues that the King James Bible presents to the Book of Mormon (The Book of Mormon's dependence on the KJV):
 

Isaiah 2:16 (NRSV): against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft.

Isaiah 2:16 (KJV): And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

2 Nephi 12:16: And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures


From the write-up:
 

“One of the reasons I like this example is because it's a twofer. In the same verse, we have the Book of Mormon preserving a KJV mistranslation, while introducing a new redaction. It's difficult to argue that God is simply transmitting the KJV to Joseph, errors and all, when in the very same verse Joseph makes another incorrect redaction. (For discussion of why the added phrase is incorrect, see this discussion which has some overlap, and this BYU paper which has a similar conclusion). Another reason I like it is because the source of the mistranslation is clear (the KJV translators didn't have access to the Egyptian loan-word).”


There is another great project that highlights some other verses where mistranslations found their way directly into the Book of Mormon from the King James Bible, where the author contacted biblical scholars and asked them to address which translations were inaccurate by ranking the seriousness of the errors.

Again, these are errors that should not be in the Book of Mormon given that it is supposed to have been translated directly from the gold plates without any outside sources. So either the author of the Book of Mormon had access to a Bible translation that was not written until 1611, or Joseph Smith was using the King James Bible while composing the Book of Mormon.
 

Italicized Words and Phrases


The KJV was a translation of the Bible, taking the original text and trying to make it more readable in modern day English. In order to accomplish this, the translators would insert words in italics that were not a part of the original translation, but necessary so that the text flowed naturally for the readers.

Both the use and purpose of italics in the KJV was known during Joseph Smith’s time, and W.W. Phelps cited this in the Evening and Morning Star:
 

“As to the errors in the bible, any man possessed of common understanding, knows, that both the old and new testaments are filled with errors, obscurities, italics and contradictions, which must be the work of men.” (“Errors of the Bible,” The Evening and the Morning Star 2, no. 14 (July 1833): 106.)


W.W. Phelps made the case a few months earlier that the Book of Mormon does not use italics as a crutch as the King James Bible, which was translated by man and not God, often does:
 

“The book of Mormon, as a revelation from God, possesses some advantage over the old scripture: it has not been tinctured by the wisdom of man, with here and there an Italic word to supply deficiencies.” (“The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star 1, no. 8 (January 1833): 58.)


But what is fascinating is that as Joseph Smith incorporated parts of Isaiah into the Book of Mormon, he was much more focused on changing the italics than the rest of the text. Biblical scholar David Wright has written extensively on Joseph Smith’s use of the KJV chapters of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, and this is a great summary of the problem from the above write-up:
 

“Depending on how conservatively you judge them, between 22-38% of all differences between the Book of Mormon and KJV Isaiah text are associated with words italicized in the KJV (Wright, pg 161). Skousen (a confessional scholar) calculates it at 29%. Only 3.6% of the words in the relevant KJV passages are italicized, so the correlation is significant. Furthermore, 40% of words italicized in the KJV are missing in their corresponding Book of Mormon passages. Of the other 60%, many passages had environmental changes related to those italics. The Book of Mormon seems to be particularly concerned with KJV italics, which suggests that it's derivative of the English KJV text rather than an ancient common ancestor. These revisions often cause problems: for example, Isaiah 51:19 reads "These two things are come unto thee." The Book of Mormon changes the italicized word things to sons. This revision doesn't work in Hebrew since the phrase is formulated in the feminine, whereas the word "sons" is masculine. There are many more similar examples you can read in Wright's essay.”


Put another way, Joseph Smith is aware of the problems that the italicized words create in the KJV to the point where he’s uniquely focused on them as he copies those chapters and passages into the Book of Mormon. This should not even be an issue given that the method of translation is that Joseph Smith read the words directly off his “seer stone” that was placed in his hat, just as he claimed to do when searching for buried treasure. In other words, if Joseph Smith is reading words off of the stone in a hat as the scribes of the Book of Mormon claimed, then why are words from the KJV being pulled in at all – italicized or not?

There is no better way to illustrate how Joseph Smith began with the KJV text of Isaiah and then revised it as he saw fit, typically focusing on the italics as noted above. From Stan Larson:
 

“In 1 Nephi 20:11 the words of Isaiah 48:11 “how should my name be polluted” (notice the two words that are italicized in the KJV) were revised initially to “how should I suffer my [na]me to be polluted,” then the KJV words “how should” and the Book of Mormon “I” were crossed out and a supra-linear revision gave the final Book of Mormon declaration “I will not suffer my name to be polluted.” This revision shows that for a biblical quotation in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith used the English KJV as a base text for the revision later embodied in the Book of Mormon.” (The Historicity of the Matthean Sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi)


Again, this does not match in any possible way with the KJV text being on the gold plates or with the words appearing on Joseph Smith’s stone in his hat. This shows that Joseph Smith was pulling portions of the KJV into the Book of Mormon as he produced it, and then made alterations to the text just as he would do in his translation of the Bible following the completion of the Book of Mormon.
 

Use of the New Testament in the Book of Mormon


Let’s be clear about this upfront: Any use of the New Testament phrasing from the KJV is anachronistic to the Book of Mormon. There is no possible way the Book of Mormon writers had access to the New Testament in the Americas before Jesus lived, and the idea from apologists that they could’ve received it as revelation makes even less sense considering the phrasing is in the KJV, not written until 1611.

While there are a few topics here that we will go into in more depth in upcoming sections, I want to highlight a few issues here briefly because this is a huge problem for the Book of Mormon’s authenticity that go beyond using the KJV as the source text.

In addition to using KJV language in the Book of Mormon, the writer of the Book of Mormon is using language that was added to the New Testament books well after the original text was written. Take this verse as a good example from Stan Larson’s essay cited above:
 

Matthew 5:27 (NRSV): You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Matthew 5:27 (KJV): You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

3 Nephi 12:27: Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery;


The phrase “by them of old time” was a late addition to the text of Matthew, which is a problem by itself, but compounding this problem is that it was also a mistranslation of the later manuscripts that included this addition. Instead of “by them of old time,” it would read “unto [or “to”] them of old time.”

When you look at the Book of Mormon, the writer includes not just the late addition of “unto them of old time,” but the mistranslation from the KJV which says “by them of old time.” If Jesus was truly speaking the same words to the Americas as he did during his lifetime as many apologists argue in order to provide plausibility, why is Jesus speaking to the Book of Mormon people in words that were not in the original texts as well as the improper translation of those words?

These problems with using late additions are not just isolated to one passage. In the use of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, the writer of the Book of Mormon includes the later addition of “Deutero-Isaiah” which was not written until after Lehi left Jerusalem, and even includes references to what is known as “Trito-Isaiah” in 2 Nephi 9:14, written even later.

Furthermore, the ending of Mark in the Bible has a later addition known as the “long ending of Mark.” We will cover this in more depth in an upcoming section, but the original manuscripts of Mark end at 16:8:

 

“So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)


Mark 16:9-20 was a later addition that most scholars believe was attached as the ‘original ending’ of Mark felt very unsatisfying to readers. This should not be a problem for the Book of Mormon as none of this material would have been available to the Book of Mormon people, but the Book of Mormon actually quotes directly from these additional verses from Mark 16:15-18:
 

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.


Compare to Mormon 9:22-24
 

“For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
 

Again, please keep in mind that any New Testament text from the King James Bible is already anachronistic, but in this case it becomes even more problematic as the longer ending was not even in the original text and was thus highly unlikely to be authentic to Jesus’ teachings.

There are some biblical scholars that believe that the “long ending of Mark” is authentic and was merely lost from the earliest manuscripts, and we will cover that in an upcoming section in more detail, but even if there was another ending that had been lost, it would never have been worded as it appears in the King James Bible, which is a very difficult problem for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon as ancient history.
 

The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple


In the Book of Mormon when Jesus visits the Americas we have what is arguably the crowning moment of Jesus giving what is referred to as the “Sermon at the Temple” in 3 Nephi. This sermon by Jesus is taken from Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” and not from Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain,” and that is crucial to looking at how dependent it is on the King James Bible.

We will cover the “Sermon on the Mount” in more detail in an upcoming post, but for purposes of this section we just want to show how the text tells us this is a 19th century work that uses the King James Bible as a source text.

The easiest way to show that the writer of the Book of Mormon was beginning with the KJV version of the Sermon on the Mount is to look at the changes that were made against the changes that were not made.

When the writer of the Book of Mormon came across Matthew 5:26 and saw the phrase “thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,” they knew farthing was an English currency and would have no meaning in the Americas. Thus, the writer changes this to “until thou hast paid the uttermost senine” in 3 Nephi 12:26. Senine is the Nephite coinage that is mentioned in Alma (written just two books earlier) and then never mentioned again after this one passing mention.

On the other hand, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus refers to the Roman law of going a mile in 5:41 (KJV):

 

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."


This is a reference to a roman practice where “Roman soldiers could grab any Jewish citizen they chose and force that person to carry luggage or other items for a standard mile. That kind of oppressive, invasive act would naturally inspire a hunger for revenge.” (Bible Ref) Jesus’ teaching is to say that if you’re forced to go a mile with these soldiers, go with them two instead of seeking revenge.

However in the Book of Mormon it is used in 3 Nephi 12:41 exactly as in the KJV:
 

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”
 

This would have absolutely no meaning to people in the Americas as this is referencing a Roman law. Now the reference to a farthing is very obvious when copying in the Sermon on the Mount as British currency, but this Roman law would not have been clear to the writer without knowing the history behind it.

And just as the Isaiah example above, this is how you can see how the writer of the Book of Mormon is beginning with the King James Bible and then making revisions in order to fit it more cleanly into the Book of Mormon story.

A final example from the Sermon at the Temple is that the Book of Mormon retains the word “raca:”

Matthew 5:22: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

3 Nephi 12:22: “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”


Again, using New Testament language is anachronistic because it would not have been known or available to Book of Mormon people, but was available in the 19th century to someone writing the Book of Mormon under the premise of translating an ancient record. But more importantly, the word Raca is Aramaic, which is what Jesus spoke in his lifetime, but not what anyone in the Americas would understand. It would make no sense for Jesus to use a word like Raca to an audience who could not possibly understand what it means as it's a completely different language.

In other words, even if we are to believe the apologetic argument that Jesus was merely repeating his exact Sermon on the Mount (from the Matthean tradition) similar to how politicians repeat stump speeches during a campaign, which is highly problematic from a historical standpoint, we would then need to believe that Jesus changed one term that would mean nothing to the people of the Americas (farthing), yet neglected to change/remove references to a Roman practice or an insult in Aramaic that they would not have known or spoke.

Yet these are the exact kinds of errors you would expect from a 19th century writer who is using the KJV to create their story, and would remove the obvious error of farthing yet leave in the Roman practice and Aramaic word because those problems would not haven been widely known in his worldview.
 

Other Errors From the King James Bible


In addition to problems with mistranslations, italics, New Testament phrasing, and the Sermon on the Mount, there are other problems that arise from using the KJV as the foundation for much of the text in the Book of Mormon.

In the write-up we cited at the beginning of this section, there are other crucial examples of where the writer of the Book of Mormon brings it words from the KJV that hold a different meaning in the way they are used. A good example of this is from 2 Nephi:
 

Isaiah 5:4 (KJV): Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

2 Nephi 15:4: Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes it brought forth wild grapes.


From the write-up:
 

“The distinction is subtle, but important. "Wherefore" in the KJV version is an interrogation - it means "why?" The NRSV translates 2it: "When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?" The Book of Mormon turns it into a conjunction instead. "Wherefore" carries this dual meaning in English, but not in Hebrew.”


Again, these are all issues that make it clear to biblical scholars that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work that is simply not historical.

Apologetic Response to the King James Bible Problems


We covered a large range of issues in this section, but I still want to cover the overall use of the KJV in the Book of Mormon from an apologetic perspective.

From the FAIR Mormon response to the CES Letter on the use of the KJV:
 

“The Book of Mormon incorporates text which seems to be taken from the Bible, including passages which are now considered to be mistranslations in the King James Version… We do not know the specific mechanism by which the biblical passages were included in the translation, therefore we cannot answer this question definitively based upon current historical information. The only description of the translation process that Joseph Smith ever gave was that it was performed by the "gift and power of God," and that the translation was performed using the "Urim and Thummim."”


It is important to note that these mistranslations are not disputed, and that the Book of Mormon should not include mistranslations from a Bible that was created in 1611. FAIR acknowledges the mistranslations in this statement, which is important. More from FAIR:
 

“Witnesses to the translation process never reported that a Bible or any other book was present during the translation. Given this evidence, we could assume that the Biblical passages were revealed to Joseph during the translation process in a format almost identical with similar passages in the King James Bible. Joseph performed most of the translation in the open using the stone and the hat. Thus how do we get the language from the King James version of the Bible?”


This is not an answer, but a deflection. By the very premise, we could assume anything we want, because there really is not much information that we know beyond Joseph Smith using the same stone he searched for buried treasure with to translate the Book of Mormon in a hat.

If you want to take the approach that God revealed to Joseph Smith incorrect text from the Book of Mormon, it really opens up a lot of other issues. For example, if the Book of Mormon is a revelation from God, why did they need to make changes to it as Joseph Smith’s theology on the godhead evolved? Did God really choose the phrase “white and delightsome” via revelation on the stone in a hat only to have it changed later to “pure and delightsome” once the racism of that theology was noted?

Put another way, this is the apologetic way of saying “we can’t know everything,” so throw out everything we do know. If we look at the evidence above, it is clear that the writer of the Book of Mormon began with the KJV and then edited the passages to fit into the Book of Mormon. We don’t need to make assumptions if we look at the evidence, and that is where apologetics tries to steer us away from what we do know to what we don’t know. More from FAIR:
 

“When considering the the data, Skousen proposes that, instead of Joseph or Oliver looking at a Bible, that God was simply able to provide the page of text from the King James Bible to Joseph's mind and then Joseph was free to alter the text as he pleased. In those cases where the Book of Mormon simply alludes to or echoes KJV language, perhaps the Lord allowed these portions of the text to be revealed in such a way that they would be more comprehensible/comfortable to his 19th century, Northeastern, frontier audience.”


Again, this implies a loose translation where Joseph Smith is allowed to edit the text as he sees fit. This does not fit with the witnesses who claim that Joseph Smith read words off the stone in a hat, and that the words did not change until they were recorded exactly as they appeared. Consider these two statements from David Whitmer and Martin Harris – two of the three witnesses:
 

David Whitmer wrote the following about the translation: “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 principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear." (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)

Martin Harris described the translation process to Edward Stevenson, a member of the LDS First Council of Seventy: "Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: 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 engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used." ("One of the Three Witnesses," Millennial Star, Volume 44, p 86-87)
 

The point is that these accounts are impossible to reconcile with Skousen’s idea that Joseph Smith had the King James Bible pages appear to him in the hat with the ability to alter them as he saw fit. If that were the case, either Whitmer or Harris would have made some note of that, but instead both are clear that the words did not change until they were written down exactly as they appeared. Martin Harris even implies that the reason the text preserved the "language then used," which we now know is not possible since the language of the Book of Mormon is a 19th century fronteir language blended with the King James Bible.

This is another instance where Occam’s Razor comes in, which tells us that the most obvious answer is that Joseph Smith was using the KJV as the foundation for much of the Book of Mormon because Joseph himself wrote the Book of Mormon and was using ideas familiar to him, and not that God commanded a record to be preserved for thousands of years only to allow Joseph Smith change it as he saw fit, using a Bible translation that is riddled with errors and problems.

We won’t highlight every one of FAIR’s rebuttals as this section is already getting long, but you can read their entire response on their site. I do want to highlight two more points they make because I think they are important for this topic.

First is a quote from Richard Lloyd Anderson in the September 1977 issue of Ensign:
 

“Summarizing the view taken by Latter-day Saint scholars on this point, Daniel H. Ludlow emphasizes the inherent variety of independent translation and concludes: “There appears to be only one answer to explain the word-for-word similarities between the verses of Isaiah in the Bible and the same verses in the Book of Mormon.” That is simply that Joseph Smith must have opened Isaiah and tested each mentioned verse by the Spirit: “If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible.” [4] Thus the Old Testament passages from Isaiah display a particular choice of phraseology that suggests Joseph Smith’s general freedom throughout the Book of Mormon for optional wording.”


This quote is making an apologetic version of the same case that scholars make, which is that there is no other explanation besides Joseph Smith using the King James Bible during the production of the Book of Mormon. Clearly Joseph Smith was consulting the King James Bible as the text is identical in many areas and would not match any other Bible translation in the same way.

As we explained above, it’s pretty clear that Joseph Smith was changing the text of the KJV as he produced the text into the Book of Mormon, paying special attention to the italicized words that scholars at the time knew were additions to help the text read more smoothly to modern readers. Stan Larson’s explanation above as to how Joseph Smith began with the KJV wording and then made changes from there on the original manuscript is inescapable proof of this process.

In other words, Ludlow’s assertion here is that the evidence is too overwhelming to deny that Joseph Smith used the King James Bible during the production, but his apologetic spin is that God allowed him to copy directly from the KJV instead of simply dictating what appeared on the stone in a hat. It’s a really specious argument and goes against all common sense when you look at what the witness accounts of Whitmer and Harris said about the translation process. If Joseph was reading directly off the stone, why would he set the hat and stone down to copy from the King James Bible, which was an imperfect text? This is a problem with no good answers for the church's truth claims.

One final note I want to highlight from FAIR’s response is about the problems with the King James Bible errors appearing in the Book of Mormon when we now know that earlier manuscripts of the Bible do not contain such errors. From FAIR:
 

“It is not the case that the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa[a]) is the original text of Isaiah. It is an earlier witness to the text than we previously had before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), but it itself is centuries removed from the original(s).”


This argument is a deflection that attempts to keep members from thinking about the problem at hand. There are almost certainly earlier manuscripts before the Dead Sea Scrolls, but the idea that the earlier scrolls contain the King James Bible errors is so ridiculous that it would only ever be made out of necessity in an attempt to give plausibility to the problems that Joseph Smith created by copying KJV language into the Book of Mormon.

FAIR is effectively again saying “we can’t know everything” here, and implying that earlier manuscripts might revert back to the errors that came with the King James Bible. It is stunning that they would make this argument, but it is made by muddying the waters with the idea that scribes made copies of copies and we can’t possibly know which one is the authentic text, which is the point they outline here:
 

“Even the Book of Mormon text would have been far removed from Isaiah. The brass plates version would have been at least a century after the fact (with many copies intervening), and that was copied and recopied into Book of Mormon records, which was translated not in a scholarly fashion but instead by the gift and power of God through Joseph Smith. Therefore, it is a fallacy to assume that the Book of Mormon text ought to be the exact equivalent to the original text.”


Again, this argument is nonsensical because we know that Joseph Smith included text from the King James Bible, written in 1611, in the Book of Mormon. No one is saying that the Book of Mormon should match the original text, because no one can say definitively what the original text looks like. What we’re saying, however, is that the Book of Mormon, claimed to have been written thousands of years earlier, should not match a translation written in 1611 that just happened to be in Joseph Smith’s possession when he produced the Book of Mormon.
 

Conclusion


In the previous sections we have already looked at how the Book of Mormon relies on events in Genesis as literal, historical events, which is a problem as we have since learned that they cannot be true, historical events.


The use of those accounts throughout the Book of Mormon make clear that the Bible is a source material for the Book of Mormon, but the extensive use of the King James Bible shows that a specific translation not completed until 1611 is a foundational text of the Book of Mormon.

As outlined above, the Book of Mormon includes not just passages from the King James Bible, which would be anachronistic by itself, but also includes mistranslations, late additions, and quotes from Jesus that would make no sense to the people of the ancient Americas.

The Book of Mormon’s reliance on the stories in Genesis as literal, historical events make clear that the Book of Mormon is not historical, but the heavy reliance on the King James Bible throughout the text make clear that the Book of Mormon is not ancient, but a 19th century work produced by someone with access to the King James Bible. This is why church historian Richard Bushman sums up the problems with the Book of Mormon in this way:
 

“And then there is the fact that there is phrasing everywhere–long phrases that if you google them you will find them in 19th century writings. The theology of the Book of Mormon is very much 19th century theology, and it reads like a 19th century understanding of the Hebrew Bible as an Old Testament. That is, it has Christ in it the way Protestants saw Christ everywhere in the Old Testament. That’s why we now call it “Hebrew Bible” because the Jews never saw it quite that way. So, these are all problems we have to deal with.” (Mormon Discussions Podcast Interview)


This is a problem that simply cannot be brushed aside, and as we continue to look through the other problems with not just the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, but Joseph Smith’s other productions of the Book of Moses and Abraham, it becomes unavoidable that these are 19th century writings that use the King James Bible as a foundation to create a sense of authority for the theology that Joseph Smith was creating.

I know this is a difficult process and I how crushing it is to learn a religion you were raised with or converted to is not true. But if the church is true, then you should be able to read through our materials without any fear. As Apostle James Talmage said, "The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding." I don't think I could say it better myself, and no amount of apologetic parallels will change that.

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