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Response to "Difficult Questions for Mormons: Influenced by the KJV of the Bible"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Difficult Questions for Mormons, a work by author: The Interactive Bible
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Difficult Questions for Mormons
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Response to claim: "Why does the B of M use old KJV type English at a time when it was not currently used"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why does the B of M use old KJV type English at a time when it was not currently used."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

The Book of Mormon emulates the language and style of the King James Bible because that is the scriptural style Joseph Smith, translator of the Book of Mormon, was familiar with.


Question: Does the Book of Mormon plagiarize the King James Bible?

The Book of Mormon emulates the language and style of the King James Bible because that is the scriptural style Joseph Smith, translator of the Book of Mormon, was familiar with

Critics of the Book of Mormon claim that major portions of it are copied, without attribution, from the Bible. They present this as evidence that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing the Authorized ("King James") Version of the Bible.

Quotations from the Bible in the Book of Mormon are sometimes uncited quotes from Old Testament prophets on the brass plates, similar to the many unattributed Old Testament quotes in the New Testament; others are simply similar phrasing emulated by Joseph Smith during his translation.

Critics also fail to mention that even if all the Biblical passages were removed from the Book of Mormon, there would be a great deal of text remaining. Joseph Smith was able to produce long, intricate religious texts without using the Bible; if he was trying to deceive people, why did he "plagiarize" from the one book—the Bible—which his readership was sure to recognize?


Response to claim: "Why is about 1/8th of the B of M copied directly from the KJV (1611AD) when it was alleged to have been written some 1200-2000 years before the KJV existed?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why is about 1/8th of the B of M copied directly from the KJV (1611AD) when it was alleged to have been written some 1200-2000 years before the KJV existed?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

When Joseph encountered a relevant passage, it is possible that he simple duplicated the known Bible passage. However, there is not evidence to support this, and it is entirely possible that these passages were simply revealed to him in a manner which duplicated the existing King James Bible verses.


Question: Could Joseph have used a Bible during and simply dictated from it during Book of Mormon translation?

Nobody ever reported seeing a Bible, because Joseph was looking at the stone in the hat in full view of witnesses

The witnesses of the translation are unanimous that Joseph did not have a book or papers, and could not have concealed them if he did have. Since much of the translation was done via Joseph's seer stone placed into his hat to exclude the light, it is not clear how the critics believe Joseph concealed a Bible or notes in the hat, and then read them in the dark.

Emma Smith described this portion of the translation:

Q — [Joseph Smith III]. What is the truth of Mormonism?
A — [Emma]. I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.
Q —. Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you?
A —. He had neither manuscript or book to read from.
Q —. Could he not have had, and you not know it?
A. — If he had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.
Q. — Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?
A. — Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and wellworded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, . . . it is marvelous to me, “a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to any one else.[1]

NOTE: Some Mormon scholars believe that the passages in the Book of Mormon which match, for the most part, the wording of similar passages in the King James Bible, indicate that Joseph Smith simply used the wording from the Bible as he dictated. If this is the case, he clearly received that wording as part of the revelatory process, since the witnesses confirm that there was no book or Bible present at the time. For more information see Ensign (Sept. 1977): "If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible"


Ensign (Sept. 1977): "If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible"

Richard Lloyd Anderson (Ensign, September 1977):

In fact, the language in the sections of the Book of Mormon that correspond to parts of the Bible is quite regularly selected by Joseph Smith, rather than obtained through independent translation. For instance, there are over 400 verses in which the Nephite prophets quote from Isaiah, and half of these appear precisely as the King James version renders them. 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.” [2] 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. [3]

NOTE: Witnesses to the translation process, including Joseph's wife Emma, state that Joseph Smith never consulted a Bible or any other book as he was dictating. If Joseph did indeed quote passages from the Bible word-for-word, as Richard Lloyd Anderson suggests, he did it without the aid of having a physical Bible present during the translation. For details, see Question: Could Joseph have used a Bible during and simply dictated from it during Book of Mormon translation?.


Question: Did Joseph own a Bible at the time of the Book of Mormon translation?

There is no evidence that Joseph owned a Bible during the Book of Mormon translation

The difficult financial circumstances of Joseph's family during the Book of Mormon translation are well known.[4] There is no evidence that Joseph owned a Bible during the Book of Mormon translation.[5] In fact, Oliver would later purchase a Bible for Joseph, who used it in producing his revision of the Bible (which became known as the Joseph Smith Translation). This purchase occurred on 8 October 1829, from the same printer that was then setting the type for the already-translated Book of Mormon.[6] Why would Joseph, poor as he was, get a Bible if he already owned one?


Response to claim: "How do you explain the fact that Joseph Smith copied from the KJV but deleted the italicized words in the KJV because he figured they were not in the original?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "How do you explain the fact that Joseph Smith copied from the KJV but deleted the italicized words in the KJV because he figured they were not in the original? 'Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips' Isa 6:5, The words 'is & am' are deleted in the Book of Mormon."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

There is no explanation for why Joseph omitted italicized words,despite the authors' speculation. Some members accept the possibility that the italicized words are often altered "intentionally," but disagree with what this means about the translation. They do not see it as threatening Joseph's inspiration, the divine nature of the translation, or the reality of an ancient text on the plates. Others hold that there is no evidence that Joseph even had access to a Bible, nor that he was aware of the italics' meaning.


Question: What do the italicized words in the Bible represent, and why is it relevant to the Book of Mormon?

Italicized text is used in some Bible translations to indicate when a word has been "added" because of necessity of English grammar

Often, the italicized word is a word which is implied in the original Greek or Hebrew text, but must be explicitly used in English. It is claimed by some that Joseph Smith was aware of this, and while copying the KJV passages, tended to alter the italicized words to make it look more like a translation.

Some members accept the possibility that the italicized words are often altered "intentionally," but disagree with what this means about the translation. They do not see it as threatening Joseph's inspiration, the divine nature of the translation, or the reality of an ancient text on the plates. Others hold that there is no evidence that Joseph even had access to a Bible, nor that he was aware of the italics' meaning. (It should be noted that the Bible that Joseph had access to at age 14 in which he read James 1:5 prior to the First Vision belonged to his parents. At the time of the translation, Joseph did not have access to that Bible).

Either option is a viable response, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully more data will be forthcoming to help resolve the issue, that we might better understand the translation process of the Book of Mormon.


Question: Did Joseph know what the italics in the Bible meant?

Joseph didn't even know that Jerusalem had walls around it. His basic knowledge of the Bible was limited

Just as there is no evidence that Joseph owned a Bible, there is even less that he had any knowledge of what the italicized words in the translation meant. Emma made Joseph's early ignorance crystal clear:

When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, ‘Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?’ When I answered, ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘Oh! [I didn’t know.] I was afraid I had been deceived.’ He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.[7]

If Joseph didn't know this, how do the critics expect that he knew what the italics in a Bible (which he likely did not own) meant? This is something which many modern Bible readers do not know. However, one cannot conclude with certainty that Joseph did not understand what the italicized words meant. Some LDS scholars believe that he did.

Furthermore, italicization patterns varied between Bibles, and an analysis of Joseph's Book of Mormon "changes" to the KJV concluded that changes to the italics were not a determining factor.[8]


Barney: "three types of evidence favoring the conclusion that Joseph understood the meaning of the italicized words"

Some LDS scholars do believe that Joseph may have understood the meaning italicized words. Kevin Barney: [9]

I think there are basically three types of evidence favoring the conclusion that Joseph understood the meaning of the italicized words. First, and most importantly, is the distribution of the variants in Joseph’s inspired translations, which show a clear (though by no means absolute) tendency to revolve around the italicized words. Skousen and Wright agree roughly on this distribution, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30%, give or take, but they draw different conclusions from it. My experience spending a fair amount of time examining variants is that the italics were a significant factor.

Second is the practice of often crossing out italicized words in the “marked Bible” used as an aid in preparing the JST. Anyone with access to the critical text can see this phenomenon for herself, since they have actual pictures of the marked Bible text.

Third are near-contemporary statements from Joseph’s milieu evincing a familiarity with the purpose of the italics. A prominent example is this from a W.W. Phelps editorial in the Evening and Morning Star (January 1833):

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.—It was translated by the gift and power of God.[10]


Response to claim: "Why are portions of Isaiah quoted off of the plates of brass when these items weren't written until after Nephi supposedly got the plates out of Laban's treasury?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why are portions of Isaiah quoted off of the plates of brass when these items weren't written until after Nephi supposedly got the plates out of Laban's treasury?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Isaiah lived prior to the time that Nephi got the plates out of Laban's treasury.


Question: Were the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon simply plagiarized from the King James Bible?

Nephi and Jacob generally make it clear when they are quoting from Isaiah

If a Christian is making an accusation of plagiarism, then they are, by the same logic, indicting the Bible which they share with us. Close examination of the Old Testament reveals many passages which are copied nearly word for word including grammatical errors. Micah, who lived hundreds of years after Isaiah, copies word for word in Micah 4:1-3 from Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 2:2-4 without once giving him credit.[11] We also find the genealogy from Genesis 5:10-11,36 repeated in 1 Chronicles, much of the history in Samuel and Kings is repeated in Chronicles, and Isaiah 36:2 through Isaiah 38:5 is the same as 2 Kings 18:17 through 2 Kings 20:6.

Although Old Testament scripture was often quoted by Old and New Testament writers without giving credit, Nephi and Jacob generally make it clear when they are quoting from Isaiah. Indeed, much of 2 Nephi may be seen as an Isaiah commentary. Of course, Nephi and Jacob do not specify chapter and verse, because these are modern additions to the text (as Joseph Smith somehow knew). It is ironic that critics of the Book of Mormon find fault with its "plagiarism," even though its authors typically mention their sources, while they do not condemn the Bible's authors when they do not.

Finally, it is obvious that the use of King James language for passages shared by the Bible and the Book of Mormon allows the Book of Mormon to highlight those areas in which the Book of Mormon's original texts were genuinely different from the textual tradition of the Old World which gave us the Holy Bible.

A closer look at these duplicate Isaiah texts actually provides us an additional witness of the Book of Mormon's authenticity

Some question the presence of verses from Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, and assert that many Book of Mormon verses were copied from the King James Bible, which in their view, makes the Book of Mormon a fraud. While this might appear to be true to the casual Book of Mormon reader, a closer look at these duplicate texts actually provides us an additional witness of the Book of Mormon's authenticity.[12]

The 21 chapters of Isaiah which are quoted (Chapters 2-14, 29, and 48-54) either partially or completely, represent about one-third of the book of Isaiah, but less than two and one-half percent of the total Book of Mormon. We also find that more than half of all verses quoted from Isaiah (234 of 433) differ from the King James version available to Joseph Smith.[13] The Book of Mormon apparently follows the King James (Masoretic) text when it conveys the original meaning.

We often find differences in Book of Mormon Isaiah texts where modern texts disagree.[14] One verse (2 Nephi 12:16), is not only different but adds a completely new phrase: "And upon all the ships of the sea." This non-King James addition agrees with the Greek (Septuagint) version of the Bible, which was first translated into English in 1808 by Charles Thomson. [15] Such a translation was "rare for its time."[16]

The chapters of Isaiah actually quoted in the Book of Mormon (chapters 2-14 and 48-54) are those which would have been the most likely to have existed in Lehi's day

It is also significant that the chapters of Isaiah actually quoted in the Book of Mormon (chapters 2-14 and 48-54) are those which modern scholars widely agree correspond closely to the original Isaiah collection and therefore would have been the most likely to have existed in Lehi's day.[17] Could Joseph Smith have known this? If Joseph or anyone else actually tried to plagiarize the Book of Mormon, critics have failed to show the source of the remaining 93% (when all similar texts are removed). A 100% non-biblical book of scripture wouldn't have been much more difficult to produce.


Response to claim: "Why was Paul referred to before his time? (Paul said, "Death where is thy sting")"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why was Paul referred to before his time? (Paul said, "Death where is thy sting")"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Apostle Paul was not referred to in the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Mormon does not use the phrase "Death where is thy sting?" The Book of Mormon uses the phrase "that death should have no sting." The reference to death having a "sting" was common in books other than the Bible. Google Books shows over 1000 books using both "death" and "sting" before June 1830, and over 20 of these references were in Methodist works.


Response to claim: "Why is it that of the 350 names in the Book of Mormon, 100 are found in the Bible, others are place names found on early 19th century maps, and the rest are derivatives of Bible names?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why is it that of the 350 names in the Book of Mormon, 100 are found in the Bible, others are place names found on early 19th century maps, and the rest are derivatives of Bible names?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The names aren't so striking when you realize just how many of them didn't exist at the time that Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, or how many don't show up on contemporary maps.

}}

Logical Fallacy: Texas Sharpshooter—The author located some pattern in the data that he or she believes was the cause of something else, despite the lack of any supporting connection, and asserted that this was, in fact, the actual cause.

The author uses the work of Vernal Holley, who searched a large area using modern maps to find a few names which are similar. They then select those names as proof that there is a relationship to the Book of Mormon.

Question: Could Joseph Smith have utilized place names and locations from the region in which he lived to create the Book of Mormon?

It is claimed that Joseph borrowed names from the surrounding regions

It is claimed that Joseph Smith is clearly the author of the Book of Mormon because many Book of Mormon place names supposedly have clear evidence of "borrowing" from geographic locations in the United States and Canada.

Examples of this include:

Book of Mormon City Claimed Source Book of Mormon City Claimed Source
Teancum Tecumseh Ramah Rama
Moron Morin Ogath Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec
Morianton Moraviantown Angola Angola
Onidah Oneida Kishkumen Kiskiminetas
Jacobugath Jacobsburg Jerusalem Jerusalem
Alma Alma Land of Lehi-Nephi Lehigh
Shilom Shiloh Ripliancum Ripple Lake, Ontario

Many of the names and places didn't exist in the late 1820s, and they are in the wrong locations relative to one another

The original idea behind this proposal was that Joseph picked up these place names and locations from a map in order to create his Book of Mormon geography. However, once it becomes apparent that the locations are in the wrong place, critics who support this proposal then fall back to the claim that the locations of the names are actually unimportant.

After the geography is thrown out, we are simply left with a list of names that Joseph supposedly found on a 19th-century map. However, once it also becomes obvious that many of the place names that were allegedly located on a 19th century map did not exist at the time that Joseph was dictating the Book of Mormon, the entire theory falls apart. Of the few that actually did exist, some of these names represent extremely small, distant sites about which Joseph almost certainly could have had no knowledge.

So critics rely on names which are in the wrong place, which didn't exist during Joseph's time, and which were too small and distant for him to be aware of. The final blow to this theory is that they also overlook the Biblical source for their American "parallels," which are far more likely and plausible than giving Joseph an encyclopedic knowledge of North American place names. Even if critics insist that Joseph forged the Book of Mormon, isn't the Bible a far more likely source for these names than obscure hamlets hundreds of miles away, which did not appear on a map, and most of which didn't even exist with those names at that time?


Question: How valid are the names used in the Holley Map?

When a comparison is made to maps available in the 1800s, it becomes evident that Holley has included names of places which didn't even exist in Joseph Smith's time

The Book of Mormon contains 345 names. The theory, proposed by Vernal Holley and posted by Mazeministries, is that 28 of these names were derived by Joseph Smith by looking at the names of places in the surrounding region, then altering the names slightly to create a map of Book of Mormon lands.

Rather than compare to "modern maps" and "modern place names" as Holley indicated that he did, we have made an attempt to locate these places on maps from the 1800s, which could have been available to Joseph Smith. When such a comparison is made, it becomes evident that Holley has included names of places which didn't even exist in Joseph Smith's time.

The following correspondences are listed. In order to obtain this list of parallels, a huge geographical area must be scanned: Five states and two Canadian provinces yield this list of parallels, and it gets even smaller when one actually tries to locate many of these places on a map. In the list below,

  • Names in red indicate places which either did not have that name until after 1830, or cannot be found on a map or in the Book of Mormon.
  • Names in blue indicate names that are found in the Bible.
  • Names in green indicate names that could potentially be a valid match.
  • Actual Place Names = Book of Mormon Place Names

Alma = Alma, Valley of (did not exist)

In the area indicated on the Holley map, modern maps show that there is a small, unincorporated community called Centerville, also known as Alma, in Tyler County, West Virginia, United States. Coordinates: 39°25′55″N 80°50′24″W. However, when we view the 1822 map of Virginia, we cannot find the name "Alma" anywhere.

Location.of.alma.jpg
Vernal.holley.name.list.jpg

Antrim = Antum (existed)

"Antrim Township" is located in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. It was named after County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The township was organized in 1741.

Antioch = Anti-Anti (did not exist)

The name "Anti-Anti" doesn't even appear in the Book of Mormon, nor does the biblical name "Antioch."

Boaz = Boaz

The name "Boaz" is from the Bible. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places.

Conner = Comner (did not exist)

The name "Comner" doesn't appear in the Book of Mormon. The name "Comnor" does, in Ether 14:28. Of course, "Comnor" doesn't match "Conner" quite as closely in spelling. We cannot find "Connor" in either New York or Pennsylvania.

Ephrem, Saint = Ephraim, Hill (did not exist, biblical)

The actual name is "Saint-Éphrem-de-Beauce, Quebec." Wikipedia shows the town being established with that name in 1866. This is 36 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon name "Ephraim," of course, is easily found in the Bible.

Hellam = Helam (existed)

According to their website, Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, was established in 1739.

Jacobsburg = Jacobugath (did not exist)

Jacobsburg, Belmont Co., Ohio does not even show up on a 1822 map of Ohio. According to Wikipedia: "Jacobsburg was laid out in 1815. It was probably named for its founder, Jacob Calvert." Therefore, the town definitely existed prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon, but was apparently too small to appear on the 1822 map seven years later. By 1833, three years after the publication of the Book of Mormon, Jacobsberg had grown to include "one tavern, two stores, a physician, sundry mechanics, and about 120 inhabitants." [18] Jacobsburg does indeed appear on an 1831 map of Ohio (one year after the Book of Mormon was published).

By 1831, Jacobsburg appeared on a map of Ohio

Jerusalem = Jerusalem (did not exist); Jerusalem = Jerusalem (biblical)

Jerusalem, Monroe Co., Ohio does not even show up on a 1822 map of Ohio, nor does it show up on a 1831 map of Ohio (one year after the Book of Mormon was published). Even today the village of Jerusalem occupies only 0.2 square miles. The Holley map shows "Jerusalem" in Ohio, but we went ahead and searched for other towns named "Jerusalem." It turns out that there is a Jerusalem, New York that was established in 1789, however, it does not appear on either the 1822 map or the 1831 maps of the state of New York. The town was named after the Biblical city of Jerusalem. Besides, the name "Jerusalem" is from the Bible. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places.

The town of Jerusalem, Ohio does not show up on a 1831 map of Ohio. According to Wikipedia, "Jerusalem is located at 39°51′8″N 81°5′43″W" " [19]
The town of Jerusalem, New York, although it was established in 1789, does not appear on the 1822 or the 1831 maps of the state of New York.

Jordan = Jordan (existed); Jordan = Jordan (biblical)

The village of Jordan, New York existed prior to 1819 and became an incorporated village in 1835. [20] The town of Jordan, New York was established prior to 1819, but does not appear on the 1822 map of New York. It does appear on the 1827 map (three years prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon) and the 1831 map of New York (one year after the publication of the Book of Mormon). The name "Jordan" is from the Bible. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places.

The town of Jordan, New York was established prior to 1819, but does not appear on the 1822 map of New York. It does appear on the 1827 and 1831 maps of New York.

Kishkiminetas = Kishkumen (did not exist)

Vernal Holley states in his book Book of Mormon Authorship, that he relies upon "modern maps" when he speculates on the name Kishkumen,

The location of the Book of Mormon city of Kishkumen is not given in the text. However. there are names similar to Kishkumen, on modern maps, in the location of Spaulding's Manuscript Story setting. [21]

Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania was given that name in 1832, two years after the Book of Mormon was published. From History of Armstrong County Pennsylvania, written in 1883 by Robert Walter Smith, "The petition of sundry inhabitants of Allegheny township was presented December 22, 1831, to the court of quarter sessions of this county, asking that a new township be formed out of the upper end of Allegheny township, to be called Kiskiminetas. Philip Klingensmith, John Lafferty and John McKissen were appointed viewers, who, after one continuance of their order, presented their report recommending the organization of the new township, which was approved by the court June 19, 1832." off-site Kiskiminetas River in Pennsylvania does exist prior to the town, and one would assume that it would show up on a map. In addition, the name appears as a place name on page 40 of the 1776 publication A Topographical Description of Such Parts of North America as are Contained in the (Annexed) Map of the Middle British Colonies, &c. in North America, by T. Pownhall.[22]

Place description of Kiskiminetas from T. Pownhall, A Topographical Description of Such Parts of North America as are Contained in the (Annexed) Map of the Middle British Colonies, &c. in North America, p. 40. (1776)

Lehigh = Lehi (existed)

There is indeed a "Lehigh Valley" located in Pennsylvania.

Mantua = Manti (did not exist)

According to their website, Mantua Village, Ohio, was incorporated in 1898. This is 68 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Monroe = Moroni (existed)

There is a town "Monroe, New York" which was named in 1808. The town does not appear on either the 1822 or the 1831 maps of New York.

The town of Monroe, New York, named in 1808, does not appear on either the 1822 or the 1831 maps of New York.

Minoa = Minon (did not exist)

According to the Minoa town website, the town of Minoa, New York received that name in 1895. That is 60 years after the Book of Mormon was published.

Moraviantown = Morianton (existed)

Moravian Indian Reserve No. 47, Ontario, appears to have been established in 1782.

Morin = Moron (did not exist)

According to Wikipedia, Morin Township, Quebec, was formed in 1852. This would be 22 years after the Book of Mormon was published.

(Click to enlarge) Geography as proposed by Vernal Holley (1983). Z = proposed city of Zarahemla site. Bright blue line is the model's "River Sidon." Names in red represent towns not in existence at the time of the Book of Mormon's publication. Note that the maps available at Mazeministries contain the following errors: 1) Jerusalem and Jacobsburg are too far apart; 2) Alma is too far to the east; 3) Mount Ephrim should be north-east, not north-west of Sherbrooke.
(Click to enlarge) An illustration of some of the geographical errors present in the version of the Holley geography that is used in "A Letter to a CES Director"

Noah Lakes = Noah, Land of

The name "Noah" is from the Bible. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places.

Oneida = Onidah (existed)

See "Oneida Castle".

Oneida Castle = Onidah, Hill (existed)

Oneida Castle, New York is located at 43°4′42″N 75°38′0″W. The town has existed since the 18th century.

Omer = Omner (did not exist)

We cannot find "Omer" on any modern map of Pennsylvania, New York or Canada.

Rama = Ramah (did not exist)

Holley speculates that Joseph obtained the name "Rama" from the Rama Indian Reservation or Rama Township, noting that

"Today, south by southeast from Lake Superior (Waters of Ripliancum?), near Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada, is the Rama Indian Reservation, [61] located within the boundaries of Rama Township. [62] The Book of Mormon Ramah was [relatively near] the Waters of Ripliancum in the "land northward," and, similarly, the modern day Rama Indian Reservation is located [relatively near] several place names with a "Ripple" designation, in Canada (the north country)."[23]

However, the Rama Indian Reservation did not exist as such until 1836, when the Chippewas of Lake Simcoe and Huron were forced to move and purchased the land in Rama Township in 1836.

Known as the Chippewas of Lake Simcoe and Huron, our people are part of the Chippewa Tri-Council, an alliance of three First Nation communities now known as Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island, the Chippewas of Georgina Island on Georgina Island, and Rama First Nation. Under the leadership of our hereditary Chief, Chief Musquakie(Yellowhead) who served his community from 1818 to 1844, the Chippewa Tri-Council First Nations continue their alliance today.

Well known for our hospitality, we shared our knowledge and medicines with early settlers which enabled them to survive their first difficult years in a sometimes harsh land.

Around 1830, our community was moved to the Coldwater Narrows area by the Crown, part of an “experiment” which shaped “Indian Reserves”. We continued on as industrious people, building a road for commerce which is known today as Highway 12, establishing farms, mills, and markets for selling produce, fish and game to settlers and travelers.

Forced to move again after our land was taken in what is now being termed an “illegal surrender”, we purchased land in Rama Township in 1836 and made a new beginning for our people. [24]

This is six years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. Moreover, the Rama Township, Ontario, itself was only "first surveyed in 1834." [25], four years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. [26]

Ripple Lake = Ripliancum, Waters of

Holley speculated that "Waters of Ripliancum may have been Lake Superior, the largest of the five Great Lakes. On or near the north shore of Lake Superior are Ripple Bay, Ripple Creek, Ripple Reef, and Ripple Lake -- names surprisingly similar to the "Waters of Ripliancum." [27] However, Ripple Lake is so small that it is difficult to locate on modern day maps, and it is one of more than 250,000 lakes in Ontario. Are we to assume that Joseph selected this one location amongst many, and then converted the name "Ripple Lake" to "Ripliancum?"

Sodom = Sidom

The name "Sodom," of course, is well known from the Bible. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places.

Shiloh = Shilom (did not exist); Shiloh = Shilom (biblical)

There is a Shiloh, Pennsylvania on modern maps (which Holley claimed to have relied on), however, it is a Census Designated Place (CDP) consisting of 4.2 square miles [28] that was established only for statistical purposes. As such, a town named "Shiloh" does not appear on any maps in Pennsylvania either now or on maps contemporary with Joseph Smith's time. It also should be noted that the name "Shiloh" is a biblical name.

Land of Midian = Land of Midian

The name "Land of Midian" is from the Bible and it is located in Egypt. Joseph would not have needed to look at a map for this one, unless one accepts Holley's assertion that the Holley map is supposed to show the geographical locations of Book of Mormon places. We are unable to locate a "Midian" or "Land of Midian" on any modern map of Pennsylvania.


Question: Are the names on the Holley Map in the correct locations relative to one another?

Not only are the names claimed to be similar to those in the Book of Mormon, but also that the locations of those names are similar. In addition, since some of these names could have easily been taken from the Bible instead of the surrounding region, one must assume that their inclusion on the map also implies that their geographical locations relative to one another are important.

Looking at the geography, it is clear from Holley's map that a number of locations have been selected to make the names match the existing geography. Some examples:

  • The map places Jacobugath, site of "King Jacob's" dissenters far in the land southward, when the Book of Mormon has it far in the land northward (3 Nephi 7:9-12; see also 3 Nephi 9:9).
  • The map places the land of first inheritance [land of Lehi-Nephi] is on the eastern coast of the United States, while the Book of Mormon is clear that Lehi and his group landed on the western coast.
  • The City of Morianton should be by the eastern seashore, near the city of Lehi (Alma 50:25).
  • "Ramah" is the Jaredite name for the Hill Cumorah (Ether 15:11). The Hill Cumorah is not in Canada.


Response to claim: "Why didn't Joseph Smith ever acknowledge using the KJV of the Bible to 'translate'?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why didn't Joseph Smith ever acknowledge using the KJV of the Bible to 'translate'?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Joseph said very little about the translation process, which he stated was performed by the "gift and power of God.


Response to claim: "Why were the following phrases used out of the New Testament supposedly before the New Testament was even thought of--much less written?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why were the following phrases used out of the New Testament supposedly before the New Testament was even thought of--much less written?
  • 1. "oh wretched man that I am" Romans 7:24 / 2 Nephi 4:17
  • 2. "earthquake, rocks rent" Matt 27:51 / 1 Nephi 12:14
  • 3. "old serpent, which is the devil" Rev 20:2 / 2 Nephi 2:18
  • 4. "one faith, one baptism" Ephesians 4:5 / Mosiah 18:21
  • 5. "One man perish" Jesus/Laban / John 11:50 / 1 Nephi 4:13"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Such phrases were in the preaching, writing, and speaking of Joseph's day, and were not unique to the New Testament.


Question: Why do some New Testament phrases appear in the Book of Mormon?

Critics who suggest that Joseph Smith copied phrases from the New Testament do nothing to explore how common such phrases were in the preaching, writing, and speaking of Joseph's day

Critics Jerald and Sandra Tanner present many examples of supposed "borrowing" of New Testament phrases by the Book of Mormon. When lined up in a list (without the text to compare) these can seem impressive. When the small amount of text which some have in common is seen, however, they become less convincing.

Furthermore, the Tanners do nothing to explore how common such phrases were in the preaching, writing, and speaking of Joseph's day. As discussed on the main page, many modern speakers use Shakespearean terms every day without realizing it. Some biblical phrases were simply part of the vocabulary of Joseph's day.

Google Books allows us to search many publications from the 19th century. It provides an estimate of how common these phrases were in religious and other discussion. This analysis is not to claim that Joseph read these books, but simply that these phrases were in common, frequent use for religious discussions. Since he had attended many sermons and meetings, it seems unlikely that he would not have been exposed to them over and over again. Furthermore, they were likely part of the "common language" of his era--some approach the status of cliches that one would use almost without thinking, or even knowing its source.

Analysis of specific examples

List New Testament Book of Mormon Comments

1

1 John 1:3

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi 1:18

18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

  • This is a fairly trivial phrase; there are multiple examples in 19th century and modern works of the phrase "I have seen and heard":
  • Candice Player and Susan Eaton, "Things I Have Seen and Heard: How Educators, Youth Workers and Elected Leaders Can Help Reduce the Damage of Childhood Exposure to Violence in Communities," off-site
  • Minnie Myrtle, "Strange Things I Have Seen and Heard" and other pieces from The Myrtle Wreath or Stray Leaves Recalled (N.Y.: Charles Scribner, 1854). off-site
  • "...now that I have seen and heard, I am in a hurry to get back, and tell my relatives the straight of it." - Isaac V. D. Heard, Henry Benjamin Whipple, History of the Sious War and Massacres of 1862 and 1863 (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square, 1865), 165. off-site
  • "Because of that which I have seen and heard since my return..." - General Douglas MacArthur; cited in Edward T. Imparato, General MacArthur Speeches and Reports 1908–1964 (Turner Publishing Company, 2000), 205. off-site
  • "...things that can be both seen and heard....it will be open to us to say that the 'common thing' can be both seen and heard...." David Bostock, Plato's Theaetetus (Oxford University Press, 1991), 112.

2

John 11:50

Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

1 Nephi 4:13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

  • Google Books shows:
    • even though "one man should perish" is not the biblical phrase, 6 works used it before June 1830. off-site This includes a translation of Dante's Inferno.
    • nearly 250 works use "perish" in close association with "one man should." off-site

3

 [ATTENTION!] – WHAT REFERENCE?

1 Nephi 11:22

And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

 [needs work]

4

Rev 7:14

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

1 Nephi 12:11

And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him.

  • This was an exceedingly well-known phrase in the religious discussion of Joseph's day.
  • Google Books shows:
    • over 600 books or magazines published before June 1830 are available on Google Books. off-site

5

1 Cor 3:15

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Nephi 22:17

Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.

  • Google books shows:
    • 55 works using the phrase "saved as by fire" before June 1830 off-site
    • over 550 works using the phrase "as by fire" and "saved" before June 1830 off-site
    • 10 Methodist works alone used the phrase "as by fire" before June 1830–and we know that Joseph was initially attracted to Methodism. This phrase was likely a frequent part of Methodist preaching at the time. off-site

6

Romans 7:24

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

2 Nephi 4:17

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

  • Google Books shows:
    • over 650 uses of "wretched man that I am" before June 1830 off-site
    • 11 of these uses are in Methodist publications off-site

7

Rev 20:13

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

2 Nephi 9:12

And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.

  • Google Books shows:
    • nearly 400 uses of "delivered up the dead" before June 1830 off-site

8

Rev 22:11

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

2 Nephi 9:16

And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.

  • Google Books shows:
    • 250 works used "righteous still" and "filthy still" before June 1830 off-site

9

Heb 12:2

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Nephi 9:18

But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

  • Google Books shows:
    • over 600 uses of "despised the shame" before June 1830 off-site
    • 6 uses in Methodist publications off-site

10

Romans 8:6

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

2 Nephi 9:39

O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.

  • Google Books shows:
    • over 600 uses of "carnally minded is death" before June 1830 off-site
    • 4 uses are in Methodist publications off-site

11

Gal 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

2 Nephi 10:16

Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.

  • Note that instead of "nor," "and" is used; thus only a few contrasting words are in common.
  • Despite differing in this way from the Bible text, Google Books still finds
    • over 50 examples before June 1830 which mention both phrases "bond and free" and "male and female" off-site
    • there are even 7 hits for all of "bond and free," "male and female," and "Jew." off-site

12

Acts 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

2 Nephi 25:2

And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.

  • Google Books shows:
    • even a search of the Book of Mormon's phrase "none other name given under heaven" (which is not found in the Bible) finds over 60 works that use this version of it before June 1830. off-site

13

John 1:29

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

1 Nephi 10:10

And after he had baptized the Messiah with water, he should behold and bear record that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world.

2 Nephi 31:4

Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.

  • This is a classic scriptural text, probably known to most Christians.
  • Google Books shows:
    • 2 uses of the exact Book of Mormon phrase in books published before 1830. off-site Clearly, this is a typical way of talking about such things, even when the text is not quoted exactly.
    • nearly 200 use the phrases "lamb of God" and "take away the sins of the world." off-site

14

1 Cor 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Mosiah 5:15

Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

  • Google Books shows:
    • 27 uses of "steadfast and immovable always abounding" in pre-June 1830 works. off-site

15

1 Cor 15:55

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Mosiah 16:7

And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

  • That death has a sting is a commonplace; it is and was a frequent expression which hardly requires direct borrowing from the Bible.
  • Google Books shows:
    • over 1000 books using both "death" and "sting" before June 1830 off-site
    • over 20 of these references were in Methodist works off-site

16

John 5:29

And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Mosiah 16:11

If they be good, to the resurrection of' endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—

  • This is a trivial example—one hardly needs to copy from the Bible to compare the ideas of the good being resurrected to life and the evil to damnation. The phraseology is not even that close.

17

Gal 5:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Alma 58:40

But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.

  • This is another exceedingly common expression.
  • Google Books shows:
    • over 150 uses of the biblical phrase "stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith." off-site
    • over 350 uses of the altered phrase (missing "therefore") "stand fast in the liberty wherewith." off-site
    • even the altered Book of Mormon phrase "stand fast in that liberty wherewith" has nearly 50 hits. off-site
    • Together, these make up at least 550 separate uses.

17

John 3:7

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Mosiah 27:25

And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

  • Once again, this is a very common pairing in the writing of the time.
  • Google books shows:
    • over 580 works use the terms "marvel not" and "born again" together. off-site

18

2 Cor 6:17

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Alma 5:57

And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;

  • The critics fail to point out that both 2 Corinthians and Alma are may be alluding to an Isaiah text or similar Old Testament-era idea:
Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD (Isaiah 52:11).
  • Google Books shows:
    • Even though the precise phrases "wicked" and "come ye out from" are not in the biblical verse, they are still used together in 10 pre-June 1830 works off-site

19


Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Alma 7:15

Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.

  • Google Books shows:
    • nearly 450 entries before June 1830 use the phrases "lay aside every" and "easily doth beset" off-site
    • almost all (432) of the above also use the phrase "sin" in conjunction with the other two phrases off-site
    • the non-biblical construction "lay aside every sin" is still used 9 times. off-site

20


Luke 7:9

When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Alma 19:10

And Ammon said unto her: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.

  • This example is trivial—it consists only in saying that the speaker has not found such "great faith" among a certain group. It is difficult to know how else one would translate this without intentionally trying to avoid the biblical usage or something close to it.

21


John 3:14

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Helaman 8:14

Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up who should come.

  • This phrasing is, once again, incredibly common.
  • Google Books shows:
    • over 480 items use "lifted up" and "serpent in the wilderness even so" before June 1830. off-site


Response to claim: "Why is a Greek word like "Christ" used throughout the Book of Mormon?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why is a Greek word like "Christ" used throughout the Book of Mormon?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Book of Mormon is a translation. Joseph Smith translated it into words that he was familiar with. The word "Christ" did not appear on the plates. Joseph translated whatever was there into these words.


Question: Is the Book of Mormon not an ancient work because it contains "Greek words" such as "alpha and omega" or "Christ"?

The words "alpha and omega" or "Christ" are as unlikely to be on the plates as the English word "sword" or "house"—these are translations.

The Book of Mormon claims to be a translation. Therefore, the language used is that of Joseph Smith. Joseph could choose to render similar (or identical) material using King James Bible language if that adequately represented the text's intent.

The words "alpha and omega" are as unlikely to be on the plates as the English word "sword" or "house"—these are translations.

All "alpha and omega" tells us is that there was some expression on the plates similar to "from A to Z," or "from first to last."

The word "Christ" is a Greek translation of the Hebrew messiah, which means “the anointed one.” The word "Christ" was used by the translator, Joseph Smith, to describe the messiah.

Only if we presume that the Book of Mormon is a fraud at the outset is this proof of anything. If we assume that it is a translation, then the use of Bible language tells us merely that Joseph used biblical language.

This unconvincing complaint is similar to another anti-Mormon favorite, the issue of the "French word" adieu in the Book of Mormon.


Response to claim: "Why does the Book of Mormon always follow KJV errors?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why does the Book of Mormon always follow KJV errors?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

Some of the Book of Mormon Isaiah passages generally match the version of Isaiah found in the Bible of the time, however, not all of them do.


Question: If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, why would it contain translational errors that exist in the King James Bible?

The only description of the translation process that Joseph Smith ever gave was that it was performed by the "gift and power of God"

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. If the Book of Mormon is an accurate translation, why would it contain translational errors that exist in the King James Bible? [29]

We do not know the specific mechanism by which the biblical passages were included in the translation, therefore we cannot answer this question 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." Joseph Smith stated the following in July 1838:

Question 4th. How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon? Answer. Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from whence the book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them and the Urim and Thummim with them; by the means of which I translated the plates and thus came the book of Mormon. (Joseph Smith, (July 1838) Elders Journal 1:42-43.)

Witnesses to the translation process never reported that a Bible or any other book was present during the translation

Joseph performed most of the translation in the open using the stone and the hat. The stone, in addition to the Nephite interpreters, was also referred to as the "Urim and Thummim" several years after the translation was complete (See Church essay "Book of Mormon Translation' on LDS.org [30]). 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.

Some Latter-day Saint scholars believe that Joseph may have simply consulted a Bible when these passages were translated

Although there is not a single witness that saw Joseph consult any books during the translation process, some scholars believe that it is still a possibility that he did consult a Bible. If so, then he could have copied the relevant passages whenever he reached a point in the translation which he knew matched material in the Bible.


Response to claim: "Why don't the Book of Mormon quotes from out of the Old Testament agree to earlier Latin, Syriac, Coptic, or Patristic texts?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why don't the Book of Mormon quotes from out of the Old Testament agree to earlier Latin, Syriac, Coptic, or Patristic texts? Example: Matthew 5:27 and 3 Nephi 12:27 "by them of old time" not included in earliest Greek (should have said "to them of old") Matthew 6:4, 6, 18 and 3 Nephi :4, 6, 18 "openly" added later. Matt 6:13 and 3 Nephi 13:13 "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" should have said, "and do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one"."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

When Joseph translated the portions of the Book of Mormon that corresponded to Biblical passages, he used the King James text. We do not know whether this text was revealed to him during translation or whether he copied the relevant passages from the Bible. What is know, however, is that Joseph was never seen utilizing a Bible or any other book during the translation process.


Response to claim: "Why does the phrase 'the lamb of God' appear only in the New Testament portion of the Bible yet it appears in the Book of Mormon over 30 times--28 times in 1 Nephi alone?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why does the phrase "the lamb of God" appear only in the New Testament portion of the Bible yet it appears in the Book of Mormon over 30 times--28 times in 1 Nephi alone?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Book of Mormon is a translation. The words "the lamb of God" did not appear on the Nephite plates. Joseph translated whatever was on the plates into the language that he was familiar with.


Response to claim: "Why do the words of Malachi 4:1 appear in 1 Nephi 22:15 over a hundred years before Malachi wrote them?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why do the words of Malachi 4:1 appear in 1 Nephi 22:15 over a hundred years before Malachi wrote them?"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The words are not attributed to Malachi in the Book of Mormon.


Question: How can 1 Nephi 22:15 in the Book of Mormon quote Malachi 4:1 hundreds of years before Malachi was written?

Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #218: Why Did Jesus Give The Nephites Malachi's Prophecies? (Video)

The translation language may resemble Malachi, but the work is not attributed to Malachi

If Joseph was a fraud, why would he plagiarize the one text—the King James Bible—which his readers would be sure to know, and sure to react negatively if they noticed it? The Book of Mormon contains much original material—Joseph didn't "need" to use the KJV; he is obviously capable of producing original material.

The Book of Mormon claims to be a "translation." Therefore, the language used is that of Joseph Smith. Joseph could choose to render similar (or identical) material using King James Bible language if that adequately represented the text's intent.

The translation language may resemble Malachi, but the work is not attributed to Malachi. Only if we presume that the Book of Mormon is a fraud at the outset is this proof of anything. If we assume that it is a translation, then the use of Bible language tells us merely that Joseph used biblical language.

Joseph used entire chapters (e.g., 3 Nephi 12-14: based on biblical texts that he did not claim were quotations from original texts (even Malachi is treated this way by Jesus in 3 Nephi 24-25:. If these are not a problem, then a resemblance to biblical language elsewhere is not either, since that is simply how Joseph translated.


Response to claim: "Why do so many stories seem like exaggerated borrowings from the Bible?"

The author(s) of Difficult Questions for Mormons make(s) the following claim:

Response to claim: "Why do so many stories seem like exaggerated borrowings from the Bible? Examples:o Ammon killed six sheep rustlers with a sling (Alma 17:36) vs. David's killing of Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:50)
  • Pillar of Fire. (Exodus 13:21) vs. (1 Nephi 1:6)
  • Lord instructs Noah to build the Ark (Genesis 6:14) / Lord instructs Nephi to build ship (1 Nephi 17:8) / Lord instructs Jaredites to build barges (Ether 2:16)
  • Jaredites brought flocks, two of a kind, seeds. (Ether 2:1) vs. Noah doing the same in (Genesis 7:9)
  • Raising dead. (Matthew 10:8) vs. (3 Nephi 19:4)
  • Temple of Solomon supposedly took 180,000 people seven and a half years to build (1 Kings 5, 6) / The few in number Nephites supposedly did it in less than 20 years after arriving (2 Nephi 5).
  • Calming Storm (1 Nephi 18:8-21) vs. (Matthew 8:23-27).
  • Men in Fire (Helaman 5:22-24) vs. (Daniel 3).
  • Feeding Multitude (3 Nephi 20:3-7) out of nothing / In Bible, Christ multiplied existing food (Matthew 14).
  • Christ heals masses in Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 17:9) / in Bible Jesus healed as he encountered (Luke 9:42).
  • Multitude feels wounds in Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11:13) / In Bible, Thomas felt wounds (John 20:27).
  • Book of Mormon prophecies of Christ specific / Bible prophecies veiled (actually non-existent unless scripture misquoted or "prophecies" stretched to have two meanings).
  • Book of Mormon Christ is completely accepted / In Bible he is rejected.
  • Aminadi deciphered writing on the wall (Alma 10:2-3) like Daniel (Daniel 5).
  • Daughter of Jared danced before the king (Ether 8) like the daughter of Herodias (Matthew 14) (decapitation followed in both cases).
  • Daughters of Lamanites abducted like the daughters of Shiloh.
  • Jews of Old Testament were monotheists / Pre-Christ Jews of Book of Mormon were not."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is simply the authors' speculation.


Notes

  1. Edmund C. Briggs, “A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856,” Journal of History (Jan. 1916): 454; cited in Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament," Ensign 23 no. 7 (July 1993), 62.
  2. Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), p. 141.
  3. Richard Lloyd Anderson, "By the Gift and Power of God," Ensign (September 1977).
  4. Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press; Reprint edition, 1987), 95–100. ISBN 0252060121.
  5. Matthew Roper, "A Black Hole That's Not So Black (Review of Answering Mormon Scholars: A Response to Criticism of the Book, vol. 1 by Jerald and Sandra Tanner)," FARMS Review of Books 6/2 (1994): 156–203. off-site See also John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha: Shadow or Reality? (Review of Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha by Jerald and Sandra Tanner)," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 326–372. off-site
  6. Robert J. Matthews, A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1985), 26; cited in footnote 165 of John Gee, "La Trahison des Clercs: On the Language and Translation of the Book of Mormon (Review of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology by Brent Lee Metcalfe)," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 51–120. off-site
  7. Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Advocate 2 (Oct. 1879): 51.
  8. See "Italics in the King James Bible," in Royal Skousen, "Critical Methodology and the Text of the Book of Mormon (Review of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology by Brent Lee Metcalfe)," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 121–144. off-site
  9. Kevin Barney, "KJV Italics," bycommonconsent.com (13 October 2007)
  10. W.W. Phelps, The Evening and the Morning Star (January 1833)
  11. See A. Melvin McDonald, Day of Defense (Sounds of Zion Inc., 2004[1986]), 49. ISBN 188647253X.
  12. See Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Horizon Publishers & Distributors, 1995) (now published by Cedar Fort Publisher: Springville, UT, 2004),193–196. ISBN 0882905368. ISBN 0882907786. ISBN 0882907786. (Key source)
  13. See Book of Mormon note to 2 Nephi 12:2
  14. See also Kirk Holland Vestal and Arthur Wallace, The Firm Foundation of Mormonism (Los Angeles, CA: The L. L. Company, 1981), 70–72. ISBN 0937892068.
  15. The implications of this change represent a more complicated textual history than previously thought. See discussion in Dana M. Pike and David R. Seely, "'Upon All the Ships of the Sea, and Upon All the Ships of Tarshish': Revisiting 2 Nephi 12:16 and Isaiah 2:16," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/2 (2005): 12–25. off-site wiki For earlier discussions, see Gilbert W. Scharffs, The Truth about ‘The God Makers’ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994), 172. Full text FairMormon link ISBN 088494963X.; see also Milton R. Hunter and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Ancient America and the Book of Mormon (Kolob Book Company, 1964),100–102.; Hugh W. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd edition, (Vol. 7 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988),129–143. ISBN 0875791395.
  16. "Thomson's Translation," Wikipedia (accessed 11 Feb 2015) off-site
  17. Hugh W. Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd edition, (Vol. 7 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988),142–143. ISBN 0875791395.
  18. Wikipedia article "Jacobsburg, Ohio".
  19. Wikipedia, "Jerusalem, Ohio" off-site Image taken from the David Rumsey Map Collection.
  20. Wikipedia, "Jordan, New York." off-site
  21. Vernal Holley, Book of Mormon Authorship (self-published, 1989)
  22. T. Pownhall, A Topographical Description of Such Parts of North America as are Contained in the (Annexed) Map of the Middle British Colonies, &c. in North America, p. 40. (1776)
  23. Vernal Holley, Book of Mormon Authorship
  24. Chippewas of Rama First Nation, "About Us"
  25. Reflections of the Past : the story of Rama Township : a joint project of the Township of Rama and the Orillia Public Library, off-site
  26. Holley has two footnotes in his book Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look related to the name "Rama": [61] According to G.H. Armstrong, in his The Origin and Meanings of Place Names in Canada, Toronto, 1972, "Rama is the Greek form of Ramah of the Bible, which is said to mean 'high place'"; [62] J.G. Farewell, History of the County of Ontario, 1907.
  27. Vernal Holley, Book of Mormon Authorship, 62.
  28. Wikipedia, "Shiloh, York County, Pennsylvania" off-site
  29. Grant H. Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002) 10, 83. ( Index of claims ); Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), 205. ( Index of claims ); La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 7 (17 February 1838) off-site
  30. "Book of Mormon Translation," Gospel Topics, LDS.org. off-site