Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reformed English

Mormons: Did Joseph Smith have access to a Bible before he "translated" the Book of Mormon? —whats up

It's no secret that the Smith family owned a bible. What's so mind-boggling about the Book of Mormon's success is that it so blatantly does borrow from the KJV bible. For me as a kid growing up in Mormonism, this wasn't so obvious. For all I knew, people still spoke that way in 1830. (They didn't of course.)

But for the early Mormon converts, it must have been apparent. Why didn't anyone call him on it? "Hey Joseph, why does Nephi quote the gospel of Mark in 1 Nephi 18:21? That makes no sense." I guess the answer is that anyone who would ask such a question was unlikely to join the Mormons anyway.

Nowadays, the church is established and most members were born into it. So when a member today is confronted with the obvious contradiction of KJV bible passages, it's probably easy to ignore simply because it's so blatant. I mean it's not like the church is hiding this fact; many of the plagiarized verses are cross-referenced for you right in the book.

So let me spell it out for anyone who's never considered this before: plagiarized bible verses in the Book of Mormon are a major anachronism for what is supposed to be an ancient American story. Not surprisingly, apologists have their own way of seeing this, from Blake Ostler's expansion theory to overwrought explanations of Hebrew word origins, but who are you kidding?

Take a look at these verse pairs and decide for yourself. These are all from the first five chapters of 1 Nephi and yet-to-be-written (let alone translated to King James English) New Testament verses. You can find similar pairs on almost every page of the book.

1 Nephi 1:14; Revelations 15:3: "Great and marvelous are thy works ... Lord God Almighty!"

1 Nephi 2:18; Mark 3:5: "being grieved [because of] the hardness of their hearts"

1 Nephi 2:24; 2 Peter 1:13: "to stir [them] up in [the ways of] remembrance"

1 Nephi 3:20; Acts 3:21: "which [have been] spoken by the mouths of all [the] holy prophets ... since the world began"

1 Nephi 4:13; John 11:50: "that one man should [perish than] that [a] nation ... perish"

1 Nephi 5:8; Acts 12:11: "Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath [commanded] ... and ... hath [protected ... and] delivered [them] out of the hands of"

1 Nephi 5:18; Revelations 7:9: "all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people"

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