Book of Mormon Comparative

If Joseph Smith revealed the most correct book on Earth, why would it need to be changed?

Please join the discussion in the comments section of each chapter. Learn more about the significance of these edits, and possible source texts on the “About” page.

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  1. Eric

    I appreciate what you’re doing here, and to have these comparisons available. And I’m convinced for many reasons that the BoM is not true.

    But I have to play the Apologist’s Advocate and raise an eyebrow when you make a big statement on each page that says “If Joseph Smith revealed the most correct book on Earth, why would it need to be changed?” Especially with “changed” in red. And then we see the actual changes in red, with 99.9% of them things like “&” being changed to “and” or “neverless” changed to “nevertheless.” I don’t think you’re going to convince anyone of your point that way, and it kind of reeks of the bad criticisms that I could easily write-off in order to remain a faithful member. When you speak of tens of thousands of changes, and most of them are “& to and,” it gives it all a bad sensationalist vibe.

    I know there are some, if not a huge number, of more significant changes to the BoM. I would suggest keeping those in red, and changing all of the “& to and” type stuff to blue, or vice versa. To me, “& to and” and “neverless to nevertheless” are totally understandable and expected changes to make, and don’t carry any negative connotations at all. So don’t paint them that way.

    Otherwise, it’s a good resource, and I’m looking forward to more connections as far as possible plagiarized sources. That’s always interesting to see and consider.

    • Dan Wees

      Thanks for visiting the site Eric! We have big plans for it, and are eager to showcase the possible sources for plagiarism in the near future.

      I feel that your concerns about the items in red have merit, when viewed simply from the “Apologist’s Advocate” standpoint; however, they are tainted with the misunderstanding that follows the apologist line of thinking.

      I began this project many years ago, while I was still a member of the church. My goal then, as it is now, is to show every single change in the BOM. It really is as simple as that. My motivation was not to use it as a tool to show it is false (that is just a nice by-product of it).

      Because of the fact that the BOM is the largest text in modern history to be defined as coming directly from god, and given the fact that the ‘translation’ method described by Martin Harris was so strict and unforgiving, we can make this accurate assumption: Since it is purported to be a divinely inspired translation (which was always double checked for verification of accuracy prior to the words disappearing from the stone), we should feel convinced that god himself would not allow such sacred writings to be translated without absolute perfection in every way. Yes, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and (IMHO) even as much as writing the word “and” instead of using an ampersand. After all, would not god be the ultimate authority in respect to the English language? Wouldn’t an absolutely perfect text be further proof to the world that it was divine, as opposed to the translation hiccups it was actually riddled with?

      Is this too hard of a line to take? The apologist would most likely say so. But if we’re to take the BOM at face value as being the absolute word of god, then our expectations should be higher than what we were delivered.

      One could also argue, “Where do we draw the line in ‘forgiving’ the imperfections of the text?” Forgiving an ampersand seems harmless, but what about bad grammar? What about misspellings? The apologist would have us follow their line of thinking until not only would we be able to justify every error, but we’d be inclined to ultimately admit that it is, in fact, the word of god.

      My approach is different. Show every modification, and allow the reader to determine for themselves personal justifications for the changes. If the TBM is emboldened with the false notion that 99.9% of the differences are “&/and” changes (my guess is that ‘change-per-change’ it is only around 10%), then they are perfectly welcome to dismiss the evidence based on their bias. This simple concept is how all religion flourishes.

      Once again, my goal in presenting the BOMC is to simply show the differences. I’m not naïve enough to think that a TBM is going to apostatize because of an ampersand. Ultimately, I’m uncertain that TBM’s will visit the site much, and that our market is more for the disenchanted (like you, Eric), and the curious.

      • Eric Herman

        It’s a big strawman, then. You’re making the translation something it never claimed to be; words from the stone direct to the page. Joseph Smith saying “and” and Oliver writing “&” is not an error. It is a valid shorthand replacement for someone taking dictation. Joseph saying “nevertheless” and Oliver writing “neverless” is a mistake, but not one that has any significance to God, who Mormons never claim doesn’t allow for mistakes of men (heck, the BoM text even says that). So again, your response is a strawman.

        If you want to “simply show the differences” and include them all, that would be great, but you don’t just do that, with the editorial comments as they are. It is bad sensationalism to emphasize how many mistakes and changes there are (10’s of thousands, my word!!), when thousands of those changes are “and/&.”

        • Dan Wees

          Thank you Eric. Your comments are noted. As the author of the BOMC it has always been my intent to just show the differences from the OM/PM to the current version. Period. We’re all convinced that & = and; that is never a question. I think what we really need to do is re-think our presentation of introducing the work, so it has a broader appeal to the TBM. Great insight Eric!

          • Dan Wees

            Having never done so before, I decided to count all of the differences in just one chapter (1 Nephi 1) to see where the percentages fell. This was almost as difficult to do manually as the actual editing itself! I hope it’s accurate:

            Total Instances of Change= 447

            Types of Changes…
            Ampersand to And= 72 (16.1%)
            Missing Punctuation= 147 (33.8%)
            Misspellings= 38 (8.5%)
            Verse Numbers Added= 20 (4.4%)
            Chapter Heading Words/Symbols= 53 (11.8%)
            Format Changes= 31 (6.9%)
            Capitalization Changes= 49 (10.9%)
            Misplaced/Added Hyphens= 15 (3.3%)
            Word Changes= 11 (2.4%)
            Insertions= 11 (2.4%)

            Possible total changes based on 1 Nephi 1 (as the average) for the entire Book of Mormon (239 x 447)= 106,833.

    • Steve

      I like the goal that you stated: “Show every modification, and allow the reader to determine for themselves personal justifications for the changes”

      Something to consider: Your intro “If Joseph Smith revealed the most correct book on Earth, why would it need to be changed?” makes the reader feel your bias and steers them toward drawing the same conclusion as you. It might be even more persuasive if you just present the info in a purely factual/objective way and let everyone draw their own conclusions. I personally find the objective sharing of information/news to be far more appealing to me as a reader/consumer.

      Thanks again for this awesome reference!

      • Dan Wees

        Thank you Steve. That intro message has been there from the beginning, and I’ve always seen it as showing a bias, even though I agree with the premise. It’s something I’d like to have modified in the future, and I’ll take it up with our I.T. guys.

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