From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
Dr. Daniel Peterson and Dr. Royal Skousen recently discovered that the Book of Mormon contains odd sentence structures utilizing the conditions if and and. In the original Book of Mormon manuscript, as dictated by Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery we find several examples, such as the following:
…yea and if he saith unto the earth move and it is moved…
…yea if he say unto the earth thou shalt go back that it lengthen out the day for many hours and it is done…
…and behold also if he saith unto the waters of the great deep be thou dried up and it is done…
In modern editions of the Book of Mormon, these phrases were edited to sound more grammatically correct to English readers.
The if/and conditional sentence structure is also found in ancient Hebrew and biblical Hebrew. It is not surprising that the if/and sentences in the King James Version of the Bible, were also modified to make it sound more palatable to English readers.
As far as the research of Skousen and Peterson have shown, this authentic Hebrew sentence structure was not available in any other English text in Joseph Smith’s lifetime, but is a strong evidence for the Hebraic background of the Book of Mormon text.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.