Discussion Questions (from a Christian to a Mormon)
1) There have been thousands of minor and major changes made to the original 1830-edition of The Book of Mormon when compared to the current edition. If the records of how Joseph Smith reportedly translated The Book of Mormon are to be believed, then would errors exist that would need to be corrected in later editions? Why or why not?
2) If one edition has errors that are corrected in a later edition, which one do (you) Mormons accept as “official” and/or “binding”?
3) Where is the “official Mormon doctrine” which supports your answer to question 2 above?
4) Why does The Book of Mormon contain massive sections copied word-for-word out of the 1611 edition of the King James Bible?
5) On the title page of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith is credited as “author and proprietor”. (It was changed to “translated by” in all subsequent editions.) Mormon apologists state that the reason for the original 1830 credits is copyright regulations of the time. However, why does Joseph Smith call himself “The Author” on page IV of the very odd “Preface” (see below) in the same 1830 edition?
6) I have a replica of the 1830 edition (for research purposes only) and it contains a copy of the copyright notice as the first page. (A bizarre thing to file in any genuine attempt at “restoration,” if you ask me.) Is this in the original?
Constructive replies related to the cartoon or the questions are welcomed and appreciated!
Preface to 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon:
TO THE READER—
As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by the evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New-York.
Noteworthy about the Preface:
1) Remember: The 1830 edition was the first edition. Yet “the author” complains that even before the first edition has reached print “many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work”.
2) “The author” then goes on to say “some person or persons have stolen and kept from me” the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. (It was Lucy Harris, wife of the first scribe and “patron” of Joseph Smith who mortgaged his farm to pay for the publishing of The Book of Mormon. The whole ordeal cost him his farm and his wife.)
Now, you know you’ve got a problem when people are already slamming your book before it’s even published and you’ve lost the first 116 pages of it.
Something to think about…