The Joseph Smith Translation: Inspired by Whom?
By Bill McKeever
A commendable student of the Bible tries hard to understand a text in the way the author meant his words to be understood. His desire is to comprehend with as much precision as possible, the intent of the author. False teachers have no such intentions. Instead, they want to read into a passage ideas they feel already support their currently held positions. However, only the worst of false teachers would dare to be so bold as to actually change the verse or verses in order to promote their heretical viewpoints. Joseph Smith certainly falls into the latter category.
Joseph Smith’s 1833 version of the Bible has also been called the “Inspired Version.” Mormon apologists don’t even try to hide the fact that Smith needed neither manuscripts to be translated from, nor knowledge of the languages spoken by the ancient writers themselves. For many proponents of Smith, it is enough that he was inspired of God and was enabled with modern revelation to make the necessary “corrections” to the Bible. BYU Professor Robert L. Millet stated,
“The Prophet translated the King James Bible by the same means he translated the Book of Mormon—through revelation. His knowledge of Hebrew or Greek or his acquaintance with ancient documents was no more essential in making the JST than a previous knowledge of Reformed Egyptian or an access to more primitive Nephite records was essential to the translation of the Book of Mormon” (The Joseph Smith Translation: The Restoration of Plain and Precious Things, pp.26–27).
On October 15, 1843, Joseph Smith delivered a sermon in which he declared, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (History of the Church 6:57). As we can see, he breaks down his complaint into three categories, 1) ignorant translators, 2) careless transcribers, and 3) corrupt priests. Let us briefly examine this claim.
Continue reading at Mormonism Research Ministry — but you’ll love the conclusion:
The irony in Smith’s accusation is that he seems to be describing himself! When he took it upon himself to revise the Bible in 1830 he had no expertise in ancient languages. Would this not make him an “ignorant translator?” And if we find a pattern of Smith making alterations that conflicted with ancient texts, while at the same time supporting his presently held views, would that not also make him both designing and corrupt? . . .