Question: Is the Church "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?

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Question: Is the Church "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence

It is claimed by Jerald and Sandra Tanner in their critical work The Changing World of Mormonism, that the Church is "embarrassed" by the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. [1]

This claim is contradicted by an enormous amount of historical evidence. The Tanners published their book in 1977. In 1978, the Church produced its new version of the KJV after years of work. Thus, the JST was the focus of serious attention by the Church long before the Tanners began to insist that leaders were ashamed of it.[2] It had multiple footnote and appendix entries from the JST.

The Church magazines also launched a concerted effort to introduce Latter-day Saints to the JST material that was now easily available, and to encourage its use. Some examples of this effort published around the time the Tanners were making their claim include:

  • Robert J. Matthews, “The Bible and Its Role in the Restoration,” Ensign, Jul 1979, 41 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Plain and Precious Things Restored,” Ensign, Jul 1982, 15 off-site
  • Robert J. Matthews, “Joseph Smith’s Efforts to Publish His Bible ‘Translation’,” Ensign, Jan 1983, 57–58. off-site
  • Monte S. Nyman, “Restoring ‘Plain and Precious Parts’: The Role of Latter-day Scriptures in Helping Us Understand the Bible,” Ensign, Dec 1981, 19–25 off-site

The Church is not, and was not, embarrassed by the JST. In its historical context, the Tanners' claim is incredibly ill-informed.

Notes

  1. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 385.( Index of claims )
  2. Lavina Fielding Anderson, "Church Publishes First LDS Edition of the Bible," Ensign (Oct 1979), 9.