By Luther W. Martin
During the few years between the publication of the Book of Mormon (1830), and the death of its “Author and Proprietor,” Joseph Smith (1844), much effort was put forth to convince the doubtful world of the truth, accuracy and integrity of the Book of Mormon. In the Journal of Discourses, published by the Utah Mormons (Vol. 11, p. 293), we copy:
Before this was offered to the world, the Lord confirmed it by opening the heavens in broad day light, and sending down an holy angel, who descended in the presence of four individuals, three besides Mr. Smith, and the angel took the plates, and turned them over leaf after leaf, while, at the same time, the voice of the Lord out of the heavens told them it had been translated correctly, commanding them to send forth their testimony to all nations, kingdoms, tongues, and people. They accordingly attached their printed testimony in connection with the Book of Mormon.
At the conclusion of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, we copy the following excerpt:
. . . and we also know that they (the golden plates, LWM) have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. . . . Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris.
In a work entitled A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel, by Richards & Little (p. 273) also of the Utah Mormons the following appears:
In council with the Twelve Apostles, Joseph Smith said, “I told brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
So, Joseph Smith and his three friends serve as the 41witnesses” and give testimony, that: (1) An angel came down in broad day light. (2) The voice of God from heaven spoke. (3) The Book of Mormon is “the most correct book in the world.” And (4) it will get a man closer to God than any other book!
All three of Smith’s witnesses became apostates by 1838, some eight years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. On page 236 of The Myth of Mormon Inspiration by William Brodie Crouch, we copy as follows:
In 1838, while confined to Liberty Jail in Missouri, Smith wrote of these men, and others:
” . . . ill bred and the ignorant, such as Hinkle, Covill, Phelps, Avard, Reed, Peck, Cleminson, and various others, who are so very ignorant, that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized society, and whose eyes are full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin. Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, D. Whitmer, O. Cowdery, and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention, and we had like to have forgotten them ” (Crouch states that this came from photostated papers in the possession of Dr. James D. Bales, Searcy, Arkansas).
Notice that the last three men named were Smith’s “three witnesses” to his Book of Mormon. Whitmer and Cowdery were excommunicated from the Mormon Church, on April 6, 1938. . . . eight years to the day, from the beginning of the first Mormon congregation. Martin Harris had already been “kicked out” earlier.
Some Examples of the First Edition
In his book, Mormonism and Inspiration, Jack Free calls attention to the fact that from the first edition of the Book of Mormon to the present, some 6,593 changes have been made in punctuation, and some 5,256 changes in spelling, wording and phraseology, have occurred. These demonstrate the falsehood of Smith’s statement, that the Book of Mormon was “the most correct book on earth. “
We copy some examples showing the lack of correct grammar.
“And it had came to pass. . . ” (1 Nephi, p. 14).
“And all these things of which I have spoken was done . . .” (p. 23).
” . . . Nephi, did make bellowses wherewith to blow the fire. . . ” (p. 43).
” . . . the law had ought to be done away . . . (2 Nephi, p. 106).
” . . . there is no works of darkness. . . ” (p. 118). the wild branches have grown, and have overran the roots thereof. . . ” (Book of Jacob, p. 134).
“. . . that many of you have began to search for gold. . ” (p. 125).
” . . . and this he done, that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ. . . ” (p. 140).
“. . . according to his judgments, which is just. . .”(Book of Omni, p. 150).
” . . . in all things which is good. . .”(p. 150).
” . . . many things . . . has been fulfilled. . .” (Words of Mormon, p. 152).
“. . A should have wore these bands. (Book of Mosiah, p. 169).
” . . . and this he done. . .” (p. 216).
” . . . that they was expressly repugnant to the commandments of God” (p. 220).
” . . . I have wrote unto you. . .” (Book of Alma, p. 377).
“. . . and the curse of God had fell upon them. . .” (p. 270).
” . . . I would that ye should adhear to the word of God. (p. 398). (Notice the spelling of adhear.)
” . . . they were exceeding fraid. . . ” (p. 392).
“. . . even back by the same way which they had came. . ” (p. 392)
” . . . declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher had ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their own hands, but that they had ought to be supported by the people. (Book of Alma, p. 221).
“. . . and this he done. . .” (p. 225).
” . . . Alma had came to the city. . . ” (p. 243).
“. . . And after he had eat and was filled. . . ” (p. 244).
“. . . our first parents could have went forth. . . ” (p. 257).
“. . . for he had slew many of them. . .”(p. 273).
” . . . even until they had arriven to the land of Middoni. . .” (p. 282).
“. . . that there might not be no more sorrow. (p. 303).
“. . . the Devil would never have no power. . . ” (p. 359).
There are scores, even hundreds of similar mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. But the ones given above serve to show the language used “in the most correct book in the world” . . according to Joe Smith.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 4, pp. 117, 120
February 20, 1986