In Alma 46 we read that Captain Moroni made a “banner of liberty” from his rent coat. In the original edition of the Book of Mormon we read: “And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had wrote upon the rent, and crying with a loud voice…” (italics added).
For clarification and to improve the grammar, the current edition of the Book of Mormon reads: And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice…” (Alma 46:19; italics added).
Critics have laughed at the original version for more than a century. To them, this was one more proof that the unsophisticated Joseph Smith wrote –rather than translated –the Book of Mormon. How can a “rent” be written upon?
In Hebrew, the word qera’ –which is translated as a noun for a “rent part” –derives from the Hebrew qara’ which is the verb form and means “he rent, tore”. This word also translates in a manner that makes “rent” a noun –just as we find in Alma 46.
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.