Join us as we explore the intriguing viewpoints of Professor Thomas Wayment and podcaster Rick Bennett, who present perspectives that deviate from past LDS theology regarding the King James Bible (KJV) and the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). We analyze their claims, examining the ways in which their perspectives challenge traditional understandings of these revered texts within the context of Latter-Day Saint belief. Through this exploration, we uncover the complex interplay between scholarship, personal interpretations, and the evolving landscape of Mormon theology.
Synopsis of the JST Issue
The Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible has held a significant place within the beliefs and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Until the present moment, the JST was commonly understood as an effort by Joseph Smith to restore the Bible to its original form, with the belief that Smith received divine guidance and inspiration during the translation process.
In recent years, there have been discussions among scholars and within some segments of the LDS community regarding the nature and purpose of the JST. Most scholars and critics have argued that the JST does not align with modern biblical scholarship or textual criticism, challenging the notion of it being a restoration of the original Bible.
As a result of these scholarly discussions and changing perspectives, Scholars and even unofficial LDS Church Channels are shifting their perspective to downplaying and reducing the JST to a flawed Bible commentary rather than a true restoration to its ancient form via revelation.
Quotes that Show how the JST was previously defined
Book Of Mormon 1st Nephi 13: 26-36“26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. 27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. 28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. 29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. 30 Nevertheless, thou beholdest that the Gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity, and have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations, upon the face of the land which is choice above all other lands, which is the land that the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance; wherefore, thou seest that the Lord God will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed, which are among thy brethren. 31 Neither will he suffer that the Gentiles shall destroy the seed of thy brethren. 32 Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen. 33 Wherefore saith the Lamb of God: I will be merciful unto the Gentiles, unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of Israel in great judgment. 34 And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb. 35 For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb. 36 And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
More than once, the Book of Mormon text indicated that “many plain and precious parts” of the Bible had been lost. In the summer of 1830, just a few short months after the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph Smith began a new translation of the Bible intended to restore some of those plain and precious parts. This effort defied the prevailing opinion of the day that the Bible contained the inerrant word of God as contained in the revered text of the King James Version…But the translation also had a significant influence on the Church in the way it shaped the content of the Doctrine and Covenants. More than half of the current Doctrine and Covenants consists of revelations received during the three-year period in which Joseph Smith labored over the Bible translation. Many revelations were received as direct answers to questions Joseph was inspired to ask as his understanding of the gospel expanded during the effort to restore plain and precious parts of the Bible. – https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/revelations-in-context/joseph-smiths-bible-translation?lang=eng
“Upon my return from Amherst conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures. From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled. It appeared self-evident from what truths were left, that if God rewarded every one according to the deeds done in the body the term “Heaven,” as intended for the Saints’ eternal home must include more kingdoms than one.” – Joseph SmithHistory of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I, 245 https://byustudies.byu.edu/?post_type=online_chapters&p=74762
“I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” – Joseph Smith (TPJS, p. 327)
This is substantially beyond the usual meaning of “translation“. When he said the Bible was not translated correctly, he not only was referring to the difficulties of rendering the Bible into another language but he was also observing that the manuscripts containing the text of the Bible have suffered at the hands of editors, copyists, and revisionists through centuries of transmission. Thus, the available texts of the Bible are neither as complete nor as accurate as when first written. When he began his work in 1830, Joseph Smith did not have a knowledge of biblical languages. His translation was not done in the usual manner of a scholar, but was a revelatory experience using only an English text. He did not leave a description of the translating process, but it appears that he would read from the KJV and dictate revisions to a scribe.– Encyclopedia of Mormonismhttps://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Joseph_Smith_Translation_of_the_Bible_(JST)
May I be pardoned if I say that negative attitudes and feelings about the Joseph Smith Translation are simply part of the devil’s program to keep the word of truth from the children of men. – Bruce R. McConkie – BYU Religious Studies Center, 1985
Of course the revealed changes made by Joseph Smith are true—as much so as anything in the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants. Of course we have adequate and authentic original sources showing the changes—as much so as are the sources for the Book of Mormon or the revelations. Of course we should use the Joseph Smith Translation in our study and teaching. Since when do any of us have the right to place bounds on the Almighty and say we will believe these revelations but not those? – Bruce R McConkie
“I believe that as a divinely called translator and restorer, Joseph Smith also (1) restored that which was once recorded but later removed intentionally; or perhaps even (2) reconstituted that which occurred or was said anciently but never recorded by the ancient arbiters. To doubt either the Prophet’s intentions or abilities with regards to the Bible is to open the door unnecessarily to other questions relative to the books in the canon of scripture, Joseph the translator of the Book of Mormon and the recipient of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants was the same man called and empowered as a translator of the Bible.” – Robert Millet
“The plain and precious missing parts (of the bible) have not yet been made known through manuscripts and scholars, but are available only through the Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith Translation, and modern revelation through the instrumentality of a prophet.” – Robert Millet
“…as the angel pointed out to Nephi, that the Bible has not come to us in its original completeness, and some things are lost from it we should take special note, however, that not only do the scriptures speak of a loss, they also promise a return, a restoration of the lost material because it is so vital to salvation.” – Robert Mathews
Book of Mormon Institute Manual
From Joseph Smith:
“I completed the TRANSLATION and review of the New Testament, on the 2nd of July, 1833, and sealed it up; no more to be opened till it arrived in Zion”
(History of the Church, vol. 1, p.324).
“We this day finished the TRANSLATION of the SCRIPTURES, for which we return gratitude to our Heavenly Father …” (History of the Church, vol. 1, p.368; letter dated July 2, 1833, signed by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and F. G. Williams).
From the Mormon god:
“Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to TRANSLATE again;
And, inasmuch as it is practicable, to preach in the regions round about until conference; and after that it is expedient to continue the work of TRANSLATION until it be finished.”(Doctrine & Covenants, 73:3-4)
“… I have commanded you to organize yourselves, even to shinelah [print] my words, the fulness of my SCRIPTURES …” (Doctrine & Covenants, 104:58)
“…. the second lot … shall be dedicated unto me for the building of a house unto me, for the work of the printing of the TRANSLATION of my SCRIPTURES … “
(Doctine & Covenants 94:10)
“…. let him [William Law] from henceforth hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph,… and publish the new TRANSLATION of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth”
(Doctrine & Covenants 124:89)
CONCLUSION: The Joseph Smith Translation was considered to be BOTH a translation and scripture (that is the Bible) by Joseph Smith and his collaborators.
The clips from this show were used from The Gospel Tangents Podcast Episode titled
“Thomas Wayment Responds to Adam Clarke Controversy (1 of 2)”
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