From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
When Christ visited the Book of Mormon people in the ancient New World he gave a discourse that is nearly identical to the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. Critics claim that Joseph Smith simply plagiarized the New Testament sermon, however there are differences between what we find in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. For example, in Matthew 5:22 Christ said: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment”. In 3 Nephi 12:22 Christ said: “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment”. The astute reader will notice that in 3 Nephi the words “without a cause” are absent. When we examine the earliest Greek copies of the New Testament –documents that were discovered after Joseph Smith had died –we find that the phrase “without a cause” is also generally absent. As Professor John Welch notes, the verse in 3 Nephi discourages all anger whereas the verse in Matthew permits justifiable anger. Some non-LDS scholars believe that “without a cause” was added to Matthew 5:22 during the translation process, while the Book of Mormon more accurately reflects the likely original intention of the passage. The fact that Joseph Smith got it right, when no scholars in his world would have been aware of the later Greek insertion shouldn’t be amazing –but it is.
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.