Mormon (LDS): Email Defense of the Gospel

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I occasionally receive questions about the church via email. I am posting the questions and my answers here as an educational resource for Latter-day Saints who answer questions about the Church. I have omitted names to preserve privacy.

>>>My questions are related to fraudulent verses being included in the text of the Book of Mormon. 1st John 5:7 is considered a later interpolation as it has no Greek manuscript support. How come the verse is present in the Book of Mormon (i.e. Mormon 7:7 and 2nd Nephi 31:21)

You’ve introduced the problem that plagues all who study the various translations of the Bible: The various records, from which translations are made, differ. The concept in 1 John 5:7 is that there are three members of the Godhead and that they are one (how they are one is the subject for another discussion). That concept appears in some records but not in other records. And so, you have the dilemma of trying to decide which records are the most accurate. It’s likely that you’ll never have a good answer to that dilemma, because a good answer would have to explain, from historical documents, (a) why some records have the concept of three members in the Godhead, and (b) why other records do not have the concept. Just deciding, for technical reasons, that this set of records will be accepted as the most accurate while that set of records will not be accepted as the most accurate is insufficient.

With the Book of Mormon, we have a better situation. When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, the Lord did not dictate it word for word. He inspired Joseph Smith with concepts and meaning, and Joseph chose the particular words to use. Joseph did what was natural, he used the words he was familiar with, i.e. the King James Version (KJV). The Lord inspired Joseph with the concept of three members of the Godhead, which are one, and Joseph recorded that concept as part of his translation of the plates. Thus, in our study of the Book of Mormon, we aren’t concerned about differences between various Biblical records.

>>>How come the Book of Mormon fails to quote Latin, Syriac Coptic or Patristic versions of the old/New testament? e.g. Matthew 6:4,6,18= “openly” added later Matthew 6:13 should read “and do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one”?

As I explained above, the Book of Mormon was revealed in meaning to Joseph Smith, and he followed the style and in some cases the wording of the KJV. Had Joseph Smith studied the Latin, Syriac, Coptic, or Patristic manuscripts, he probably would have used wording from them when appropriate to the meaning he received from the Lord. But, he wasn’t familiar with them and was familiar with the KJV.

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