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El Libro de Mormón/Cambios en el texto/"Benjamin" ha cambiado a "Mosíah"
En el texto en la actualidad encontrar en Mosíah 21:28 del Libro de Mormón, la edición de 1830 dice: "Benjamin", mientras que todas las ediciones posteriores leen "Mosíah." Del mismo modo, una referencia a Benjamin en lo que hoy Éter 04:01 fue cambiado a "Mosíah" en 1849. Se afirma que "o Dios se equivocó cuando inspiró el registro o José cometió un error cuando lo tradujo."
El uso del nombre propio "Benjamin" en los dos casos descritos puede representar ya sea un error compendio de parte de Mormón y Moroni, o puede ser una descripción de lo legítimo Ammon dijo realmente al rey Limhi en base a su conocimiento actual de la situación en Zarahemla. El Profeta aparentemente observó una posible discrepancia en base a su lectura del texto, y se cambió el nombre de "Benjamin" a "Mosíah." Tanto Mormón y Moroni reconocieron que el expediente que ellos habían creado no era perfecto.
Una de las críticas más comunes del Libro de Mormón se refiere a los cambios que se han producido en el texto a través de los años. Y dentro de esta categoría de las críticas, una de las más interesantes implica un cambio textual que implica un nombre propio, en el que el nombre de Benjamin fue impreso en la edición de 1830, pero fue cambiado al nombre Mosíah en ediciones posteriores. Esto ocurre en realidad en dos pasos separados en el Libro de Mormón.
Could the Book of Mormon contain mistakes?
It should first be noted that the Book of Mormon itself does not claim to be free of errors. As Mormon himself stated in the introduction to the Book of Mormon:
- And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men: wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ. (1830 Book of Mormon title page)
Mormon's son Moroni also acknowledges that the record that has been created is imperfect:
- And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you. Mormon 8:12
When Joseph Smith referred to the Book of Mormon as the "most correct book" on earth, he was referring to the principles that it teaches, not the accuracy of its textual structure.
What changes were made?
The first notable change is in what is now Mosiah 21:28:
- And now Limhi was again filled with joy on learning from the mouth of Ammon that king Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings; yea, and Ammon also did rejoice.  (énfasis añadido)
- And now Limhi was again filled with joy on learning from the mouth of Ammon that king Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings; yea, and Ammon also did rejoice. (énfasis añadido)
The change of the proper name "Benjamin" to "Mosiah" in what is now Mosiah 21:28 was made in the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. This change is present in all editions since that time. The change to Ether 4:1 was made in the 1849 edition, after the Prophet's death.
The text of what is now Ether 4:1, which was an abridgment of the record of the Jaredites by Moroni, was changed in a similar manner:
- ...and for this cause did king Benjamin keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ should shew himself unto his people." (énfasis añadido)
- ...and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ should show himself unto his people. Ether 4:1(énfasis añadido)
The reason for both of these changes was never recorded.
What does the Book of Mormon actually say about the event being discussed?
The people of King Limhi were living under domination of the Lamanites, and had been separated for a number of years from the main body of the Nephites located in Zarahemla. Limhi's group sent out a "a small number of men" to search for the city of Zarahemla. These men became lost, but they did locate "a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled, and which had been destroyed." Amongst the ruins they located a record "engraven on plates of ore." Assuming this land to be the land of Zarahemla, the search party returned to report to Limhi, bringing the plates with them. Limhi did not have the ability to translate this record and was therefore unable to determine what was contained upon these plates.
Ammon, while exploring, encountered the people of Limhi "not many days" after the plates were obtained. The 1830 Book of Mormon reports that "Limhi was again filled with joy, on learning from the mouth of Ammon that King Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings; yea, and Ammon did also rejoice." However, a number of chapters prior to the description of this event, King Benjamin is reported to have died after turning over the kingship to his son Mosiah.
L. Ara Norwood notes that the Book of Mormon itself gives two parallel descriptions of the event. One of these descriptions is found in Mosiah 8:13-14, which states:
- 13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.
- 14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God. Mosiah 8:13-14(énfasis añadido)
This appears to be a first-person account of what Ammon actually said to King Limhi. Note that Ammon refers to "the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla," without mentioning the name of that king.
The other description (the one that was modified) is found in Mosiah 21:25-28. Note that this passage is written in the third person by Mormon, and that it does not quote the words of Ammon directly. This indicates the possibility that Mormon may actually have written the name "Benjamin" during his abridgment of the record.
- 25 Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness.
- 26 Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon.
- 27 And they brought a record with them, even a record of the people whose bones they had found; and it was engraven on plates of ore.
- 28 And now Limhi was again filled with joy on learning from the mouth of Ammon that king Mosiah [changed from "Benjamin" as printed in the 1830 edition] had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings; yea, and Ammon also did rejoice. Mosiah 21:25-28 (énfasis añadido)
Norwood also notes the possibility that Ammon left Zarahemla prior to King Benjamin's death:
- In other words, if Ammon told Limhi that the person who had this gift to translate was "the king over the land of Zarahemla" without mentioning who that king was by name, we have no idea whether Ammon was thinking of Benjamin, Mosiah, or either. If this is how it occurred, then it is likely that either Mormon, or an unnamed Zeniffite scribe, interpolated the passage at Mosiah 21:28 and inserted the name Benjamin. Likewise, Moroni, following the lead of his father, would have interpolated the passage at Ether 4:1 and inserted Benjamin as well.20 This would have constituted an historical error by Moroni, but an understandable one.
- [back] Book of Mormon, 1830 edition, p. 200.
- [back] George A. Horton, Jr., "The Book of Mormon-Transmission from Translator to Printed Text," from The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture, edited by Paul R. Cheesman (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1988), pp. 249-250.
- [back] Book of Mormon, 1830 edition, p. 546.
- [back] L. Ara Norwood, Benjamin or Mosiah? Resolving an Anomaly in Mosiah 21:28
- [back] Ibid.