The Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith published in 1830 is not the same book that is published over 170 years later. The Book of Mormon has undergone many revisions since the 1830 ed. was published. None of them are foonoted in the current edition.
* Changes in the Book of Mormon (Google Video), by Living Hope Ministries
Non textual changes
Interestingly, in addition to the changes in the actual text of the Book of Mormon, there are changes that have taken place in the introductory material as well. Certainly the introduction of the current Book of Mormon is not there by mistake or accident. In fact, some of these revisions show us that the leaders of the early LDS Church viewed Joseph's role much differently than the current leaders do.
Author or Translator?
The first published edition of the Book of Mormon, on the very first page, reads thus, "THE BOOK OF MORMON:... BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR, AUTHOR AND PROPRIETOR." It is startling to think that these few words, when altered, actually alter the reader's view of the entire Book of Mormon. The current reading has been changed to read "Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun." When reading the Book of Mormon, it must be determined whether Joseph Smith authored or translated it. If he was the author then the Book is purely fiction, it takes place long before Smith's life. If he translated it the door is open to view it as a work of non-fiction, and possibly even an accurate account of history.
Certainly the former seems to be the case as the LDS leaders who have followed Joseph's example have continued to alter the text changing it's grammar, spelling, and in a number of instances it's meaning as well.
In newer editions of the Book of Mormon the LDS Church has entirely omitted a letter which was originally on page two (1830 ed.) between the title page and the preface. The letter states that Smith, as of 1829, claimed to be the author of the Book of Mormon.
In addition to the missing letter, the original preface contained an explaination, in Smiths own words, of the supposedly false reports which had been in circulation regarding Smith's involvement with the Book of Mormon. In the preface he assures the reader that he translated the Book of Mormon from the infamous plates after having lost the first 116 pages which he claimed to have translated from the "plates of Lehi". He assures the reader that the supposedly false reports originated with "evil designing persons" in whose hearts Satan was working his "evil design." He assures his readers that God had told him that His wisdom was superior to the Devil's.
It is interesting to note that after going to such lengths to explain that he translated the Book of Mormon from the plates he signs the preface as "THE AUTHOR".
Examples of doctrinal changes
1 Nephi 11:18
The current reading of this verse is "And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh." The phrase "the Son of" is a later addition from the Printer's Manuscript and the printed 1830 ed. One must note that the two readings are not complimentary.
1 Nephi 11:21
Similarly, in verse 21 the current reading identifies the Lamb of God as "the Son of the Eternal Father!" The 1830 ed and Printer's Manuscript omit the phrase "the Son of" shifting the identiy of the Lamb of God from the Son to the Eternal Father Himself.
Politically Correct, yet still racist changes
2 Nephi 30:6 "And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people." It is interesting to find out what the Book of Mormon considers to be a "pure" people. The Printer's Manuscript and 1830 ed both say "a white and delightsome people."
see also Racism
- 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon, by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
- Significant Changes in the Book of Mormon (Saints Alive in Jesus)
- Some of the Many Changes in the Book of Mormon, by Matt Slick
- The changes in the Book of Mormon (MormonInformation.com)
- Substantial Changes to the Book of Mormon in Subsequent Editions
- Changes to Latter-day Scripture (Institute for Religous Research)