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Posted by: Joseph_Smith_Jr. ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 12:36AM

My theory is because it's so difficult to understand they'll never question the church on anything. If they read one of the more contemporary versions, it might actually cause them to have some serious doubts about what the LDS church teaches versus mainstream Christianity.

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Posted by: presbyterian ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:47AM

The Bible was originally written in many languages and translated many times. Among Christians, there is a lot of discussion about the accuracy of various translations. The most accurate, it would seem, are based on the ancient writings in the original languages.

Making a Mormon think too much about ancient languages and translations might make them think too much about Joseph Smith's ignorance of ancient languages. By approving only one translation, they don't have to think about it.

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Posted by: deco ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:53AM

LDS Inc should avoid any scripture in writing since not only do their executive managers keep changing it and trumping the old scripture, but people can compare the new to the old- such as the new and everlasting covenant of polygamy.

It is also evidence when LDS Inc was attempting to round up family journals to whitewash their history.

We are also seeing evidence of their scripture changed -like the white and delightsome thing- in their web scriptures so no one will notice.

Again, none of this goes well with modern technology, where deep word searches and comparisons make the ruse quite apparent.

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Posted by: jan ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 03:17AM

They have to. The BoM and the JS translation of the Bible are written in Elizabethan English. Recognizing a modern Bible translation would point out how bogus they are.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 03:57AM

It is indeed written in Elizabethan English.

The difference between the Elizabethan English of the KJV and that in the BOM is that the translators of the KJV were using the vibrant language of their age, whereas the BOM 'came to pass' 200 years later...

I love the KJV as a literary text. It's one of the greatest poetic texts in the English language. Conversely, the BOM is a literary fraud written by the semi-literate...

I'm not a Christian, but I AM a translator ;-)

Tom in Paris

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Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 09:10AM

"It's one of the greatest poetic texts in the English language"

I would agree, though not every Biblical passage would qualify.

Is _any_ translation of the KJV its equal? The Vulgate (Latin) bible certainly is not: the language is completely pedestrian, and hence accessible to first-year Latin students.

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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:29PM

Did you catch that bit in the Swedish fireside?

"and by translation we mean revelation".

JSJ's translation skills aren't holding up.

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Posted by: stillburned ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 02:04PM

The BoM is NOT written in Elizabethan English. It is a piss-poor imitation of Elizabethan English. I'm with the OP... being that the KJV is now so old as it's not really the language of present-day Americans (or 1830s Americans) you have a lot room to twist it around people who don't understand WTF it's talking about. Plus, it sounded all authoritative, so any new scripture--especially in the 1830s--needed that authoritative ring to it.

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Posted by: Gazelam ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 05:44AM

Several unique doctrines in Mormonism are derived from 'mistranslations' in the King James Bible. For example, the KJV uses the Hebrew derived name 'Elijah' in the OT, but the Greek derived'Elias' in the NT. Mormonism sees these as two different persons, and J Smith expressly stated he was visited by both Elijah AND Elias. Now if a more modern translation were used this distinction would disappear.

Richard Packham wrote a great article about linguistic non-sense in Mormonism.

Much of this nonsense comes from 19th and 20th century misunderstandings of 16th and 17th century English.

Also, the BOM, the most correct book perpetuates several glaring translation errors in the KJV.

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:07PM

I'm not clear on how anyone, including Packham, who is wonderful in all things exmormon, answers the question concerning the continued use of the KJV, about how Smith's "mis-translations" in the BOM or JS version of the Bible, are simply there because that was the only language he had, that his own copy of the KJV, with its typos, etc., was all he had to help him render what came to him in revelation, through seer stones, or by peeping in a hat. So the apologist can just answer that of course those errors in the LDS sacred texts are there because that's the only language and rendering that Smith had available to him.

Now, none of that answers how the BOM is supposed to be the most correct book on Earth, despite the fact that the institutional LDS church keeps making changes and adjustments, and not just to the grammar or printer's mistakes of the original.

Anyone read the Editor's Preface to the Book of Mormon, The Earliest Text (Ed. Roiyal Skousen, Yale UP, 2009)? Fascinating stuff if you like to read Mormon apologia.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2013 02:07PM by derrida.

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Posted by: celeste ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 01:45PM

I agree with Jan, plus in more contemporary, context-based translations (like the NIV or NLT), the theology gets too muddy for TSCC.

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:09PM

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Posted by: kenc ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:21PM

Mormon religious studies professor Phillip Barlowe wrote a great book called "Mormons and the Bible." It was not apologetic in nature - just factual.

One of the chapters in the book was called, "Why the King James Version?" It was also reproduced in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

It gives an excellent overview of Smith's use of the KJV, the church's use of it and the First Presidency's dictum in 1993? (I think) that the KJV is the most correct version and the official version of the LDS. He offers many reasons why the KJV, long known to Bible scholars, why the KJV is anything but the most correct version of the Bible we have today.

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Posted by: TW-RM ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 02:20PM

I've always amazed at how little people know because the language used in the KJV is confusing for most people. It's not how we say things today.

It's funny that we'll hear in Sunday School about how the Catholics didn't want the Bible printed in everyone's native language, yet don't use anything other than the KJV! It's been watered down!

I asked one of the smartest guys in my ward if he knew was a Publican was and he had no idea. Same thing with a "scribe"

If we used a different translation people might start to see that the 15 Big Boys are the exact opposite of the type of people who Jesus chose as his 12. That would result in a drop in tithing receipts which is the basis for everything.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 04:21PM

I think you're onto something there. It keeps things mysterious and churchy.

I think the same applies to Shakespeare - we're just not attuned to that sort of language any more, even though phrases from both the KJV and Shakespeare have 'passed into the language'.

It was a revelation to me when I first saw Shakespeare in French. At last I understood everything, even though I'm a Brit born and bred and educated (including in Shakespeare...).

By the way, it's still fantastic, whatever language it's in.

Tom in Paris

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Posted by: sanitationengineer ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 04:28PM

I was always taught in seminary, ss, etc. that the KJV was the "most correct translation" available and that is the reason tscc used it exclusively. Now this was back in the 70s and early 80s.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2013 04:29PM by sanitationengineer.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 04:33PM

I think Mormons continue to use the KJV because 25% of the BoM is copied and pasted from the 1769 edition. I think that that's why they feel uncomfortable when some blighter brings the "wrong translation" to church, because the wording doesn't match up to the BoM and thus makes the plagiarized verses seem out of kilter.

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Posted by: mormonnomore ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 06:46PM

The KJV is a good translation (it does have several errors), but difficult to understand because we don't speak Elizabethan English. There have been many discoveries of bible manuscripts since the KJV and better understanding in general of the original Hebrew/Greek that allow for a slightly more accurate translation.

I believe Mormon leadership doesn't want to use a better translation that is easier to understand because they want members to understand as little as possible. This would not be "faith-promoting".

For what it's worth, I prefer the NASB, which is a more literal yet readable translation.

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Posted by: stillburned ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 02:11PM

Yes, I agree. The KJV was probably the best English translation to its date, and I enjoy the sound. But textual criticism has improved, older manuscripts have showed up, and 400 years of linguistic evolution has rendered KJV essentially a Bible that is NOT in the language of the people. And yeah, there's mistakes and poor translations in the KJV...far from the most correct available today. NASB is a great translation, as is the ESV--and both are from the Koine Greek. Obviously, in translating a language, there is more than one way to say it in English. Reading in modern English might force some TBMs to think about what they read and not just believe it was what they were told it meant. I don't know--but even some KJV-only, non-LDS Christians have the same problem.

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Posted by: StoneInHat ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:18PM

Reading the Contemporary English Version of the New Testament was the last nail in my personal Mormon coffin. I read about grace being all that's needed, not works, so many times that I realized that there was no way they could have mistranslated it that often. I defy all Mormons to read the CEV, ESV, NASB, or NIV version of the New Testament, especially John and Romans, with an open mind. It will really get you questioning what you've been taught about grace, priesthood, heaven, and eternal families.

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Posted by: BadGirl ( )
Date: July 26, 2013 07:11PM

for the Book of Mormon.
They want to keep a consistent style ;-)

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Posted by: Byron ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 01:34PM

I don't need to read ' thee's and thuo's ' in the Bible. I have no interest in such words of that time. The Mormon's down play the Bible. The Bible is thee only inspired WORD of GOD regardless of versions or translations.

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Posted by: INFO ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 01:40PM

If the KJV is the "most correct translation", then why is it ***not*** the only bible used by TSCC, like they like to lie about? Because my brother came back from his mission in Germany with a Luther bible, & continues to use it.

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Posted by: Alpiner ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 01:54PM

Because the KJV is an English translation, by definition. If you want to read the KJV in German, you're going to have to find a German translation.

My understanding was that the KJV was preferred because English lacks a 'high language' or 'formal' manner of speaking (like German, all the Romance languages, and many other languages do as well), and the Elizabethan English present in the KJV was a suitable substitute; thus, the formality present engenders a greater deal of respect and introspection in the person reading.

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Posted by: Heartless ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:10PM

The answer is Money!

After Joseph died, Emma and Brigham entred a brutal battle over his estate. She kept Joseph's manuscript with his "correction" to the KJV of the Bible.

The Reorganized Church, under Joseph Smith III published the manuscript under the title "The Holy Scriptures" and they own the copyright.

The LDS church publishes an annotated KJV with excerpts and footnotes reflecting Joseph Smith's "corrections"

Technically LDS folks should use the LDS annotated version and not a generic version.

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Posted by: stillburned ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:17PM

Interesting thoughts. I want to agree with you, but seems like certainly the Community of Christ--despite of owning the copyright--is certainly backing away from the JST (and BoM, for that matter)...affirming it as scripture, but not prescribing any degree of belief or adherence. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the CoC even approves the use of the Revised Standard Version in their church.

If the LDS wanted to, they could publish a modern language version of all their "Scriptures," complete with with the "corrections" Old Joe made. The average Morgbot would wag their head approvingly, and gush about how "inspired" the Brethren really are.

So I go back to my original proposition: if modern English speaking Mormons read the Bible in modern English, they might have their doubts about what, for years, someone has told them it means.

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Posted by: exrldsgirl ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:27PM

Yes, they are really backing off from it now, but for a long time, it was very important to them. They used to be very big on the whole "one true church" idea and a big part of their claim to being the true church was that they had Joseph Smith Jr.'s family and his scriptures and so on.

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Posted by: exrldsgirl ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:13PM

Because Emma got to keep Joseph Smith Jr's "Inspired Version" for the RLDS church.

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Posted by: left4good ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:14PM

Because it is another opportunity to control another aspect of their members' lives.

Every time they exert control over the membership, it becomes easier the next time.

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Posted by: D ubTeach ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:19PM

Purely financial- The copyright on the KJV expired centuries ago. Anyone can produce and publish an edition of it,(just the basic text mind) and include their own introduction, footnotes, glossary, Bible Dictionary etc and have that element copyrighted-Not so with newer NIV, American Bible, even Gideon Bible, this would mean they would have to ask owners of copyright for permission and possibly be asked in turn to pay a fee- No way, Jose. Everything comes down to money in TSCC.

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Posted by: StoneInHat ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:22PM

I'd have to look, but I believe the copyright on the NIV says that if you're a church you can publish your own NIV if you include the licensing agreement (sort of like open-source software). Being that mainstream Christians don't accept Mormons as being true Christians, however, they may take issue with this. My pastor's personal feeling is that the NASB is the best translation because it is the best translation of the Koine Greek.

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Posted by: stillburned ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:32PM

You get into an interesting line of thought here that Bible translation committees deal with. There is the idea of "functional equivalence" versus "dynamic equivalence," or "word for word," versus "thought for thought."

NASB is quite far to the "word for word" equivalence...very "literal" translation philosophy. ESV is almost as far, and the KJV itself was almost as far on that spectrum. Of course, if you ever read Koine Greek or Hebrew, you'll see it's impossible to be exactly word for word (not and have an English speaker understand it). NIV tries to balance the two schools. NLT and several other are more "thought for thought." The Message is not a translation, but a paraphrase. I tend to prefer the NASB and ESV. Theologically, I think most of them are all okay.

The Jay-Dubs' have their own version ("New World Translation") which, like the "Inspired Version" of Joe Smith, they pulled out of their arses. Theologically, these would obviously be a load of crap.

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Posted by: stillburned ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 04:25PM

Or, God forbid, they'd have to pay money to have their own modern translation done, after which serious scholars would stack it up to the oldest Greek and Hebrew manuscripts available and see how TSCC's translators faired.

You know, it strikes me as really ballsy that Joe would "correct" the Old Testament--and of course, he certainly did. They've found OT manuscripts in Hebrew and Aramaic that pre-date Christ, and these, essentially, agree with what we have today. So, we have the OT of that Christ had...with some minor errors, not anything like all of Smith's JST Genesis and such. And so, if Christ was okay with the OT--and taught from it, as he did, and never hinted anything was wrong with it--why would JS presume to think God told him to change it?

Oh, that's right...because he was a con man.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 05:30PM

The Book of Mormon is biblical fan fiction based on the KJV. It even contains plagiarized material lifted directly from the KJV. The BoM would lose its moorings in the absence of its parent text.

All the Mormon protestations about a "correct" Bible are simply a smokescreen to obscure this fact.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: September 22, 2013 07:27PM

Well, my take is that since 25% of the BoM is taken word for word from the 1769 edition of the King James Bible (errors and all), they have to keep the KJV in order to make the BoM line up with the Bible. And that may be it, full-stop. Any other Bible is better than the KJV.

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