First 116 Pages of Modern English Book of Mormon

First Impressions of a Familiar Book

No, the 116 lost pages have not been found. That just happens to be how far I have read in the new Modern English version of the Book of Mormon, now given the title “Covenant of Christ” by the Lord. It also happens to coincide with Mosiah chapter one, meaning everything I’ve read over the past couple of days since receiving the book is from the small plates of Nephi. I now have a slightly different vision of Nephi in my mind’s eye.

As I suspected, reading this modern English version has both a new feel and yet a familiar spirit to it. To me, the reading is easier. It flows. I get a bigger picture right away. I notice more where Nephi or Jacob wrote something like, “Now I’m going to tell you this or that,” then proceeds to do so, and often concludes by writing (I’m paraphrasing), “I’ve told you what I said I was going to share, now on to the next point.” That’s how I define “flow.”

Nephi Cracked Laban’s Skull

This was already addressed in the FAQ, but I had to smile when I read it as I thought of the multiple occasions when I brought this up in Sunday School, Seminary or Gospel Doctrine lessons, usually in a smart-ass kind of way, “Wow. If I were Nephi, I would have had a hard time putting on Laban’s bloody clothes. Surely Zoram would have spotted all the blood.” This makes so much more sense and helps me understand the scene better.

In case you didn’t read it, here is the short explanation: “In our modern vernacular, ‘he delivered a blow off of his head with his sword’ is better rendered as ‘cracked his head with his sword‘, suggesting only the hilt of the sword may have been used.” The FAQ mentions another favorite discussion point among seminary boys about Coriantumr smiting off the head of Shiz. Decapitation is not a good translation in either place.

Jacob 2:30 is not in the Covenant of Christ

I have only one other item I want to bring up as part of my reading of the first 116 pages of the Covenant of Christ over the weekend. In the LDS version, the reference is Jacob 2:30. Anybody who has studied the early history of the LDS Church knows that this verse if often used to justify polygamy. It reads “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

And of course, Jacob is quoting the Lord in the previous verses, “For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.” Or, as it reads in the modern English version, “No man among you is to have more than one wife — and he is not to have any concubines.” We then read this: “For in My Wisdom I will have covenant people, says the Lord of Hosts, whom I’ll command and lead, and they will hearken to this commandment to have only one wife.”

Polygamy is Not Justified by the Lord

This is huge. Just as Sections 110 and 132 of the D&C have been replaced, this makes it crystal clear, at least in my mind, that Jacob 2:30 is not a part of the Covenant of Christ for our day (see clarifying comment from Vaughn Hughes below). I’ve looked at the facsimile of the 1830 edition on the Joseph Smith papers website, and yes, Jacob 2:30 is in there, but it’s not in the Covenant of Christ (correction noted below). I know many LDS folks are descended from ancestors who participated in polygamy. Carol has a couple of great-grandfathers who did so.

There have been hundreds of stories and books written about this practice among the Mormons. There are said to be over 30,000 people practicing polygamy in Utah, Idaho, Montana and Arizona, who regard themselves as preserving the original Mormon beliefs and customs. The LDS Church today does not sanction or encourage polygamy, and excommunicates anyone found to be practicing it. Those who accept the Covenant of Christ also reject this practice.

Covenant of Christ - the book

Provide Support for Your Families

However, those who have entered into this practice and desire to participate in the Covenant of Christ are counseled to not leave their families, but to continue to provide support, as taught by Denver in lecture nine delivered at St George in July of 2014. Marriage and family are high on my priority list. I love my family. I personally don’t believe in the idea of plural marriage in heaven. I know this is a controversial topic with lots of passionate arguments all around.

I look forward to reading more of the modern English version of the Book of Mormon and hope to finish it this week. I am reading from the hardcover edition but expect to receive the softbound edition tonight. I intend to use that one for a second reading next week and will mark it up as I go. So far, I have found only one punctuation mistake – a missing question mark. I’d say a lot of people did a lot of proof reading of this book. I am enjoying reading it as if for the first time.

Side-by-side Comparison of Jacob 2:30
From LDS Edition of the Scriptures From Covenant of Christ: Jacob 2:VII
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

 

27 So, my people, listen to me and hearken to the Lord’s word: No man among you is to have more than one wife – and he is not to have any concubines.

28 I the Lord God delight in women’s chastity and prostitution is an abomination to Me – says the Lord of Hosts.

29 Therefore this people must keep My commandments, says the Lord of Hosts, or the land will be cursed on their account.

30 For in My Wisdom I will have covenant people, says the Lord of Hosts, whom I’ll command and lead, and they will hearken to this commandment to have only one wife.

 

3 thoughts on “First 116 Pages of Modern English Book of Mormon”

  1. Vaughn Hughes

    Your quote from Covenant of Christ literally *is* the new translation of Jacob 2:30. It is not missing or absent. It now reads: “For in My Wisdom I will have covenant people, says the Lord of Hosts, whom I’ll command and lead, and they will hearken to this commandment to have only one wife.” The originally intended, correct understanding of what Joseph gave us in Jacob 2:30 is now abundantly clear in this rendering. All the same meaning is there. There is zero room for “wresting” this scriptural passage any longer, however. “Seed” are clearly the Lord’s covenant people. The Lord intends to command and lead them. They are expected to heed the commandment to have only one wife. Part of the reason it’s been so easy to twist the original is that the context of Jacob 2:30 had been removed by Orson Pratt’s chopping the book up into tiny verses. It made it so easy to take things out of context, that L-dSs have been able to wrest the meaning of that short statement now for generations.

  2. Adding to what Vaughn is saying, I love what Mosiah 8:8 RE says about what it means to be seed unto the Lord:

    “Behold, I say unto you that when his soul has been made an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed? Behold, I say unto you that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord, I say unto you that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you that these are his seed, or they are heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he hath borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy that has not fallen into transgression? (I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began.) I say unto you that they are his seed. And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation and said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. And oh how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet. And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that art still publishing peace. And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and for ever!”

    In the Covenant of Christ edition, “seed” above is rendered “children”.

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