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I was wondering about all the grammatical errors in the first published Book of
Mormon. If this book is truly inspired by the Holy Spirt, then why the errors. Our HF is
perfect why would there be errors in it, if JS indeed was transcribing by the HG?
JOEL - The Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. Heavenly Father is perfect,
however, the translation was written down and printed through the brains of imperfect men. The
Book of Mormon, like all the scriptures, has undergone a certain amount of grammatical
improvement and textual change in successive editions. The majority of such changes are
conceptually insignificant. Since the young Joseph Smith was not a trained and polished writer,
some of the language of his translation of this ancient document needed refinement and
When you have a mortal man trying to translate scripture using immortal means, there are bound to
be discrepancies and occaisional errors. On various occasions Joseph Smith said he saw and heard
things he could not communicate in the language he had:
“Great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed
unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;
“Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful
for man to utter;
“Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the
power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before
him.” (D&C 76:114-16.)
According to these scriptures, it can be difficult to put into words or be able to adequately
communicate the things that are revealed to the spirit of man under these conditions. This may
have been the source of some error during translation of the Book of Mormon.
There may have been occasions when Joseph was not perfectly in tune with the Spirit during every
second of the translation process. And when you consider how quickly he was able to finish the
work, there is no doubt that he spent long nights, working under sleep-deprived conditions, which
could also have resulted in some errors.
Speaking of the translation process, David Whitmer is quoted as saying that "frequently one
character would make two lines of manuscript while others made but a word or two words". Two
lines of manuscript are a lot of words to get out of one character.
Noone is really certin of the exact mechanics of the translation process. At times there may have
only been ideas or visions revealed to Joseph Smith of what was written on the plates, and he
wrote down what he saw using his own style of grammer and spelling ability.
Most of these explanations are of course the opinions of myself and others. However, even though
some discrepancies and errors do exist, God was careful to be sure that they were not serious
enough to result in the missunderstanding of esential gospel concepts and doctrine. It is still
the "most correct" book in terms of explaining the gospel and doctrine of Jesus Christ, compared
to any other book or cannon of scripture.