The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism – How the Arrogance of Joseph Smith Jr. Eventually Destroyed Mormonism

The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism – How the Arrogance of Joseph Smith Jr. Eventually Destroyed Mormonism

A detailed analysis of the Joseph Smith Jr. translation of the Holy Bible – Book of Genesis  Chapter 17 – The Covenant of Circumcision between God and Abraham

Purchase Ex-Mormon Bishop Lee Baker's Book: The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism on Amazon.com
Purchase Ex-Mormon Bishop Lee Baker’s Book: The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism on Amazon.com

Written by Lee B. Baker                                                                           Former Mormon Bishop

Copyright © 2016 Author Lee B. Baker

All rights reserved.

Cover Art used by Permission – Utah State Historical Society

ISBN-10:  1533054347

ISBN-13:  978015 33054340

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to the several Mormon Leaders, Scholars and Teachers listed below, who have arrogantly refused to explain or even provide a single comment specific to the Joseph Smith Jr. translation of the Book of Genesis, Chapter 17.

Their rejection to do so has served as the primary motivation for this uniquely focused study of the personal motives, biblical skills and questionable character of Joseph Smith Jr. and the “translation” Smith wrote between 1830 – 1833, which was in fact an irrelevant and self-aggrandizing version of The Holy Bible, King James Version

__________________________________

In  Special Acknowledgement of the Arrogance and Conceit of:

Mr. David E. Premont of Olney, Maryland Of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Church Education System – Baltimore Seminary and Institute Coordinator; Baltimore, Columbia, Seneca Maryland and Wilmington Delaware Stakes

Mr. Robert B. Vukich of South Jordan, Utah

Church Historian, Instructor and Scholar Of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIRMormon.org)

All profits from the sales of this book will be used in support of Christian outreach opportunities to the Mormon people and activities that promote and protect the First Amendment of The Constitution of the United States of America.

For additional information on the history, beliefs, practices and doctrines of The Mormon Church, Read:

“Mormonism – A Life Under False Pretenses,  2nd Edition                             The True Story of a Mormon Bishop’s Journey of Discovery ”                                       By Lee B. Baker

CONTENTS

1 The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism – A Synopsis of the Issues in Context 1
2 The Purpose and Authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible – The Authoritative Mormon Perspective 14
3 Epilogue and Conclusions 19
4 About the Author 24
5 Appendix A – On the Grammar of Genesis 17:11 as Translated by Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, by Ken G. Marks

 

25

Special Thanks to:

__________________

The Utah State Historical Society, Records and Photographs Departments, Salt Lake City, Utah

Church History Department, Research Center and Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus Campus and the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies

Bible Institute of Los Angeles, BIOLA  – Division of Biblical and Theological Studies, Old Testament – Professor David Talley

Professor Camille Frank Olson, Department Chair, Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University

Professor Richard E. Bennett, Department Chair, Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University

Rabbi Aaron Naka, Rabbi Elyakir Cevanon and Rabbi Miguel Icekson Fassler

Edited by Kenneth G. Marks

The Most Ridiculous and Revealing Claim of Mormonism  –  A Synopsis of the Issues in Context

About an hour before sunset, at the base of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, I was perilously balanced on the razor thin threshold between an enormous intellectual embarrassment and a major religious offense.  Within the most sacred Jewish location on earth, I had just asked Rabbi Miguel Icekson Fassler[1], “Did Abraham, as the Father and Patriarch of all Jews, fail to follow God’s very clear and simple Covenant of Circumcision?”

The distinguished Rabbi slowly closed the Torah, held it to his chest, squinted his eyes and said, “Mr. Baker, you apparently have no concept whatsoever of who Abraham is, not who Abraham was… but who he is.”  I then explained that the question specific to Abraham’s competency was not rhetorical or allegorical, nor was it actually mine.  I provided Rabbi Fassler with a five-minute overview of Mormonism and the purpose, function and authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, as used by the Mormon Church today.

The Mormon Church, through Joseph Smith Jr.’s “Inspired Translation” of the Bible, proclaims to the world that Abraham, the Father and revered Patriarch of the Jews, Christians and Muslims was acutely incompetent or, at the very least, slightly unreliable with some very important instructions from God.   According to Mormonism, Abraham completely failed at his very first covenant with “YHWH”, Yahweh or Elohim.

It was not a complicated task[2], not at all.  Specifically and clearly, all Abraham was asked to do was, “circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.”  Painful, certainly, but not overly complicated.  The requirement continues with, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations”.  Again, not overly complicated and very explicit on the age requirement, or so it seemed.

Abraham had failed, Moses had failed and I had brought that devastating news to a Hasidic (Orthodox) Jewish Rabbi in the shadow of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, over 4,000 years after each and every one of the great patriarchs of Judaism had fallen short of God’s simple covenant.  It is very possible that Abraham himself did it right, and that it was Moses who had failed and just written it wrong in Genesis.  In any case, according to the Mormon Church, Rabbi Fassler, his sons and many of millions of Jews had bungled it, or more politely had ignorantly failed at this very simple covenant with God.

For us Christians, it is also possible that Mary and Joseph were simply uneducated or ill-informed Jews and they mistakenly let “The Son of God” be circumcised on the 8th day, instead of in His 8th year, according to Joseph Smith Jr.  It would seem, to the non-Mormon, like a very unfortunate and somewhat depressing start to the nearly perfect life of the exclusively sovereign, universal and eternal Messiah of all Mankind.

When the true gravity and immense potential of this mistake was fully realized, Rabbi Fassler sat back, looked up at the walls of Jerusalem and said,

Who can change the Word of God, who can change the Torah? The suggestion that Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Isaiah or Ezra would NOT know the will of God in this matter is ridiculous and offensive to all Jews.”

Without further embarrassment to me or the Rabbi, I thought quietly of the many Mormon efforts in their short history to align themselves with the Jews.  They have been relentless in the past to consider themselves the literal descendants of Abraham and refer to all others as  “Gentiles” as if the Mormons were Hebrews. The Mormon Church has attempted on every front to draw closer to the Jewish Faith.  I would suspect that no representative from the Mormon Church has ever informed any representative from the Jewish Community that they “The Jews” have been doing that Circumcision thing… well, wrong for just over 4,000 years.   But luckily for the Jews, Joseph Smith Jr. has heard from God in 1832 and if they “The Jews” want to get it right from here on, the fix is now crystal clear and divinely documented[3], it is really to be done at 8 years not 8 days.

Official Mormon doctrine states that under the faulty leadership of Abraham or the deceptive hand of Moses, a major ceremonial mistake had been made that would cause all of God’s Jewish Prophets and all of God’s Jewish People to fail at the very same simple task of circumcision.  If only, if only God’s Thoughts or God’s Words could have been clearly communicated to any one of His approximately one hundred recognized Jewish Prophets, then His Son, His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, would have been saved from the humiliation of an early circumcision.

In any case, the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that, according to Mormonism[4], the Word of God had been corrupted very early on.  And that much in the Bible has been distorted and should not be considered as valid.  It should be noted here that the Mormon Church stands alone in their self-indulgent and outrageous criticism of the Dead Sea Scrolls without example, evidence, data or support of any kind.  This is yet another “Mormon Revelation” from God that has most likely not been provided to the Jewish Community for fear of appearing arrogant.

The several very distinctive and profane religious claims of Mormonism, a uniquely American Religion, have enjoyed nearly 100 years of immunity without a truly acutely and focused public examination.  Those days are over.  The remarkable and ridiculous religious claims as well as the previously hidden history of Mormonism are beginning to unravel to confirm that the Latter-day Saint organization is more closely linked to a worldwide Fraud than a worldwide Faith.

The Mormon Church was formally established on April 6th of 1830 with a very small collection of family and friends who either participated in the foundational fraud or genuinely believed that Joseph Smith Jr. had prophetic powers and sacred skills.  They freely gave of their time, their money and very soon they would give their wives and their daughters to the “Prophet” of the “Restoration” of God’s only “True Church” on the earth.

As the fledging congregation grew, it began as The Church of Christ, then it was The Church of the Latter Day Saints, then The Church of Jesus Christ, then The Church of God, then The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, and finally The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The doctrines, scriptures, practices and policies of the Mormon faith have remained in a constant state of theological, ceremonial and administrative transformation or revision for the total of its 186 years history.

Prior to the full translation and analysis of the Rosetta Stone[5], Joseph Smith Jr. “claimed,” through a gift from God, that he was able to read both Egyptian Hieroglyphs[6] and “Reformed” Egyptian[7] to create the Book of Mormon.  Prior to the development of the astonishing science of mitochondrial DNA, Joseph Smith also claimed that the Book of Mormon people (allegedly of Hebrew origin) were actually, “The principal ancestors of the American Indians[8].”  Additionally, prior to the 1967 rediscovery of the original Egyptian documents used by Joseph Smith to invent the Book of Abraham, the Mormon Church could and did safely baffle both the early 19th Century Scholars and its financial backers with relative impunity.  After 1967 the fraud of the Book of Abraham, a pivotal Mormon Scripture, has been professionally[9] and completely exposed.  Similarly and prior to the age of the computer, the senior Mormon leadership could safely claim that the Book of Mormon itself was “translated” from ancient gold plates.

A highly developed computer program generated to support advanced statistical analysis has recently established beyond a reasonable doubt that Smith heavily plagiarized a small collection of earlier manuscripts[10] to fabricate the Book of Mormon.  Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Smith could comfortably overextend his charisma and authority to claim that the Bible itself had suffered major corruption, which fortunately for the early Mormons he could both identify and correct under the direction of God Himself.

To the Mormon faithful, the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible corrects and restores the original words and lost doctrine of the Bible.  As will be documented within this study, the Mormon leadership have used the JST version of the Bible to establish, explain and expound on doctrine previously unknown to the Christian world.  Additionally, the JST has been used to reduce or eliminate core Christian teaching specific to the nature, character and deity of both God and Jesus Christ.

So charismatic was the new American Prophet, that in his lifetime, Joseph Smith Jr. persuaded many of his associates that Polyandry[11] (the taking of another man’s wife) was actually part of an authorized Biblical adaptation of Polygamy.  He also converted hundreds to the incredibly offensive and polytheistic concept that God was once just a man like all of us and that all men can become Gods[12] themselves.  His legacy and his genius was the near-flawless union of an incontestable story in the early 19th century American frontier, with his overpowering self-confidence to genuinely believe the complex deception himself.

His core message to the world was that the Christian Church had gone hopelessly astray, and he was God’s new Prophet to bring it back.  He alone was called by God to restore the authority of the Priesthood of God and restore the accuracy of the Holy Bible.  The Bible, he and his followers taught, was severely corrupted over the many centuries by countless evil priests and assisted by wicked or at least ignorant monks and scribes.  To the uneducated this assertion sounded very plausible.

And yet, concealed deep within the arrogant and thorough overreach of this suspicious and implausible Biblical interpretation, is the rock-solid evidence that Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, is and was a complete fraud.

To my knowledge there has never been a detailed critical review of this seemingly trivial correction to the Bible by Joseph Smith Jr., and yet, if true, its impact would be enormous to Jews and overwhelming to Christians around the world.  If my analysis is correct, then Mormonism, will be reduced to a relatively small collection of pioneer families that will continue to endure the many lies of Joseph Smith Jr., solely for the distinctively Mormon social and financial benefits of membership.

If Joseph Smith Jr., the founding Prophet of Mormonism, is correct about his one very significant adjustment to the Abrahamic Covenant of Circumcision, then we are to believe that God permitted all of His Prophets from Abraham and Moses down to Jesus Christ Himself, to fall short of His divine conditions and requirements.  According to the Official History of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith Jr., in the year 1832, restored important sections of the Old Testament to their original script and context.   It is claimed that through divine authority and inspiration[13] from God, Joseph Smith Jr., without the aid of any Hebrew manuscripts[14] or scrolls, corrected[15] the age of Circumcision from the “incorrect” 8 days old to the “proper” Covenant age of 8 years old.

With that simple adjustment, we are to believe that Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jacob, Ezekiel, Daniel, David and even Jesus Christ (The Son of the living God) all did it wrong, under the watchful eye of God Himself.

Additionally, the Mormon Church would have us believe that the Prophets not only did it wrong, they also continued to receive direct and detailed personal guidance, clear revelation and understandable communication directly from God on a multitude of subjects over two millennia.  Yet not a single word would come from God concerning the exceptionally obvious mistake regarding the very First and Foundational Covenant of Circumcision?  Rather a strange behavior from an all-powerful Creator of the Universe who regularly kills His own people for not worshiping Him in His very specific, unique and officially prescribed method, mode and manner.

This short book will review both the prospect of Joseph Smith’s functional “translation” skills, and the practical impact of every Jew who has ever lived, doing the Brit Milah or circumcision completely wrong.

Mormonism may have been able to confuse the Biblically ignorant (myself[16] included) on the subjects of the Mormon priesthood, the Mormon baptism for the dead, the Mormon history of polygamy or even the Mormon pre-existence of mankind.  However, no rationally thinking adult could be so irresponsible as to teach his or her children and grandchildren that The God of All Creation, could be either so theologically detached or emotionally smitten with Joseph Smith Jr., as to withhold such a massively important correction of His own doctrine for nearly 4,000 years.  The thought itself is the very definition of ridiculous and possibly the most enlightening illustration and demonstration of Mormonism’s deception upon the world.

As time, education, information and science march forward, the total number of fraudulent claims that Joseph Smith Jr. has deceived us with now serve to prove the arrogant statements that were once sarcastically flaunted by the Mormon Prophets and Mormon Apostles themselves:

It’s either true or false.  If it’s false, we’re engaged in a great fraud.”  Mormon Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley – 2007

He (Joseph Smith Jr.) never would have dared to contradict the doctrines of the whole Christian world, had his story been a fraud!Mormon Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith – 1944

If this is not a fact, he (Joseph Smith Jr.)was the greatest religious fraud this world has ever seen. Between these two positions-prophet or fraud-there is no middle ground.”

   Mormon Apostle, Joseph F. Merrill – 1948

“(Joseph Smith Jr.) who has been branded as the greatest fraud that ever lived on the American continent.”

Mormon Apostle, Matthew Cowley – 1953

This book will examine in convincing detail every possible aspect and explanation of this absurd correction to the Bible by the Mormon “Prophet” Joseph Smith Jr.  The official position of the Mormon Church is, no position at all.  The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is presented within the canonized set of Mormon Scriptures, without any explanations, without any qualifications and without any uncertainties.  The new translations to the Bible, provided by the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., are to be used precisely for what they have been reported to be: “A new translation of the Bible intended to restore some of those plain and precious parts[17].

Without question, the senior leadership of the Mormon Church has never once been indecisive or hesitant concerning the accuracy or authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.  To be more precise, the Senior Leadership of the Mormon Church, essentially will not tolerate or consider any questions concerning the accuracy or authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.  As such, the question is left to the general membership of the Latter-day Saint faith, your Mormon neighbors and Mormon coworkers to improvise and invent answers to any questions concerning the accuracy or authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

The two most common, if admittedly impractical explanations are:

  • Joseph Smith’s correction here in the Book of Genesis deals with the age of accountability (8 years of age), and not with the actual date of Circumcision.” or,

2)                     “Joseph Smith was not finished with his translation work on the Bible before his death, and thus any section or individual passage cannot be considered complete or final.”

On the surface, both of these positions sound credible and would most likely deflect the initial question from the uninformed Christian with the sincere desire to bring the Mormon to the Biblical Jesus Christ. The position of this book is to assume the Mormon perspectives and indoctrination, and yet still empower the Christian with the required Mormon insight and background to enlarge the conversation and promote a legitimate examination of the true impact of these simple questions:

If you claim that Joseph Smith Jr. was not finished with the translation of the Bible, why then would the Official History of the Mormon Church record this statement from Joseph Smith himself? – “We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father[18].”

Did Joseph Smith Jr. in reality modify, correct or change the actual Covenant of Circumcision, nearly 4,000 years after God Himself provided the specific requirements directly to Abraham?”

“If Joseph Smith Jr. was addressing the age of accountability and not the age of circumcision, then why did he not remove the word “circumcision” as the very subject of the passage[19]?”

“If Joseph Smith Jr. was not finished with his translation, why then does the Mormon Church itself publish the claim that he did finish his translation, within the Official document[20] that is dedicated to the “Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation”?

“If Joseph Smith Jr. was actually addressing a modification to the age of accountability within the context of the time of Abraham, what new ritual, rite or ceremony was to be accomplished at the age of 8 years old, and not 8 days, if not circumcision?”

“If as claimed by Mormon Doctrine, the functional change intended by Joseph Smith Jr. was not only the age but also the observance of Baptism, then why did Joseph Smith Jr. not use the word Baptism  in its place of Circumcision within his supposed correction of the Bible?”

“If as claimed by Mormon Doctrine, the functional change intended by Joseph Smith Jr. was the observance of Baptism (at 8 years old), then why is this Baptism never again referenced, directed, accomplished or described by any of God’s Prophets or People within the Old Testament, New Testament or even the Book of Mormon?”

“Is it not true that standard semicolon, as used by both Joseph Smith Jr. and the other transcribers and translators of the Bible, has both consistently and correctly been used to bring two related statements closer together, not further apart?”    

This short book will give the Christian reader an opportunity to discuss a specific theological point with the Mormon, which has a very limited set of possible responses.  Unlike the subjects of Mormon Polygamy, Mormon Prophets, Mormon Scriptures or the Mormon Priesthood, this is a very explicit and focused subject that is either a valid correction to the Bible or a clear example of fraud.

At the very core of this simple and clear Biblical question, is the potential to drive a theological wedge between straightforward intellectual reason and fanatical loyalty within the life of the Mormon.  Loyalty will drive the Mormon to an irrational defense of Joseph Smith and honesty will drive the Mormon to safeguard his or her own personal integrity.  This internal struggle may be the spiritual catalyst required to openly question many other uniquely Mormon moral, ethical and religious dilemmas.

It has been said, “When an honest man realizes that he has been mistaken, he suddenly, either becomes… no longer mistaken or no longer honest.

My experience as both a Mormon Bishop and a member of that faith for over three decades, tells me that there is a third and uniquely “Mormon” alternative that can and will apply.  The option that most Mormons take is “Neutral,” simply and entirely “Neutral.”  The active Latter-day Saint may choose to place such issues and questions on the Mormon “shelf” to deal with later or not at all.  I believe that this is a very popular option among the Mormons because there is so much recently exposed[21] about their religion that requires both blind faith and deliberate ignorance.  Whereas the orthodox Christian faiths encourage questions, personal knowledge and faith, Mormonism has so efficiently hidden, altered and misrepresented its own history, that faith in Mormonism actually requires the careful and deliberate limitation of any objective knowledge of the Mormon Church History or a moral review of the Mormon senior leadership.

The Purpose and Authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible – The Authoritative Mormon Perspective

The very foundation of this examination is framed by the official and authorized doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, specific to the purpose and authority of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

To maintain the highest possible credibility regarding the identification of the actual Mormon value and use of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, I will use the statements and testimonies of the Mormon leadership themselves specific to this point.

If the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is useless or insignificant to the Mormon Faith, then my presentation of this subject is equally useless and insignificant.  On the other hand, if my representation of the value and importance of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is an accurate reflection of the official and authorized Mormon doctrine, then an opposing view from the average or uneducated Mormon stands in contrast to the Leadership of their own Church.

As with so much in Mormonism, what is formally stated, printed or established as the official position or doctrine of the faith, is often not accepted or at the very least not repeated by the general membership of the faith.  Mormonism is an exceptional religious sanctuary for those who conveniently become “independent” thinkers when the Bishop or other Mormons authorities are not in the area.

A personal strategy of evasion reflects an individual’s desire to maintain some degree of integrity rather than an outright demonstration of disloyalty to the Mormon Church.  The fact is that the Senior Leadership of the Mormon Church, which is totally sequestered from the real world is never questioned about some of the more bizarre or ridiculous statements that the general membership must deal with on a daily basis.  This then leaves the average Mormon to invent an explanation for events or episodes in Mormon history that are not fully discussed by the untouchable leadership.

Accepting the reality that it is the senior leadership of the Mormon Church and not the general membership that establishes the official doctrine, authorized polices and formal tenants, views and positions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; I will use their teachings and their statements to determine the validity, authority and legitimacy of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible as contained within the canonized set of official Scriptures published by and for the Mormon Church.

Based on a wide-ranging data search of the Official Mormon Publication[22], LDS Collectors Library 2005TM, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible has been cited as the preferred Biblical reference within the Worldwide General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by its Prophets, Apostles and senior leadership over 1,000 times.  The vast majority of the times that the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is used by the leadership of the Mormon Faith within these special meetings, the references are both presented and celebrated as the “corrected”, “inspired” or “precise” version of the Bible.

According to Mormon doctrine[23], the instructions and references given to the Church in a “General Conference” are to be taken as “Scripture” to the body of the Church.  The often repeated and authorized use of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible by the leadership of the Mormon Church within their formal meetings, manuals and magazines testifies as to the value and validity of the document within the Mormon set of Scriptures.

Following are a few of the more substantial and authoritative statements from the Mormon Leadership specific to the validity of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible:

“The words of the Savior, given to the world in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible, have renewed significance[24].”

“As guided by the Spirit, Joseph spent about three years going through the Bible, making thousands of corrections to the text and restoring information that had been lost. This restored information sheds marvelous light on many doctrines that are not clearly presented in the Bible as it exists today. These inspired revisions to the text of the Bible are known as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Hundreds of passages from the Joseph Smith Translation are now included in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible[25].”

“The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is a member of the royal family of scripture.  It should be noticed and honored on any occasion when it is present[26].”

“The Lord commanded Joseph Smith to prepare a translation of the Bible that would restore the correct teachings.  The Bible is a sacred book that contains the word of God but mistakes were made as it was copied and translated into different languages.   Words were left out, changed, or added, changing the meaning of some of the scriptures[27].”

“However, I do not think that I should have ever discerned it in that book had it not been for the New [Joseph Smith]  Translation of the Scriptures[28] [Bible].”

“The Prophet Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible is one of the greatest tangible evidences of his spiritual insight and divine calling.”   and  “Joseph Smith began a new translation of the Bible intended to restore some of those plain and precious parts.  This effort defied the prevailing opinion of the day: that the Bible contained the inerrant word of God as contained in the revered text of the King James Version[29].”

“Save Jesus Christ only, the world has never known a more competent scriptural authority than Joseph Smith.  It is one thing to read a book of scripture and quite another to be personally instructed by its authors.  Who among the world’s scholars and religious leaders can lay claim to having stood face to face with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John?”

“I can tell our beloved brother Christians… that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.[30]

“Add all this imperfection to the uncertainly of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide?  Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?[31]

With the credibility and validity of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible now firmly established, the only other diversionary tactic available to the Mormon, to avoid the obvious fraudulent “Inspired Translation” of the Bible, is with the construction or destruction of the linguistic skills of Joseph Smith Jr.

I will defer to a professional analysis and explanation[32] of this single sentence or “translation” of Joseph Smith Jr. to my associate and English Teacher, Mr. Kenneth G. Marks.

Please see Appendix A.

Epilogue and Conclusions

This week on the Provo, Utah Campus of Brigham Young University, a brilliant and nationally recognized Professor[33] of Applied and Computational Mathematics will teach Algorithm Design and Optimization in support of real-world applications in software and advance computer engineering.  But he will not be able to comment on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

With a PhD from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he, like most of his BYU Associates, can pontificate with ease on Bayesian statistics, Kalman filtering and the finer points of complex mathematical analysis of variance.   But not one of them, not a single one of them, has demonstrated the ability to understand, explain or instruct from a single perfectly valid English sentence written by the exceptionally uneducated Joseph Smith Jr. in the summer of 1832.

This exceptionally common and supremely graphic Mormon demonstration of a pure academic fraud on a personal level is the universal implementation of religious thought-compliance. When so employed, this action renders all Mormons logically level with each other and intellectually identical.  To put it another way, under such a cultish mind-control, the highly-educated Mormon lawyer will offer no more of a thoughtful religious insight than the Mormon lumberjack.

As a Mormon High Priest and a senior Intelligence Analyst[34] for over 36 years, I saw many examples of how firmly the leadership of the Mormon Church could communicate the necessity to “check your brain at the door” during special Priesthood meetings and Temple instructional seminars.  We were continually trained to know and repeat back the “Church Answer”, without comment, independent thought or rationale.   Ask a Mormon, ask any Mormon in any profession and within any social-class or economic-stratum, the simple question posed by this book.  Ask them about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible and the Covenant of Circumcision.  If you do, you will see the Mormon judge become tongue-tied, the Mormon business owner become perplexed and the distinguished BYU Professor become confounded beyond recovery before your very eyes.

It is not that they do not comprehend the English language or that they do not understand the essential elements of the issue before them.  They simply cannot state what is rational, coherent or logical.  For that would be equivalent to an acknowledgment that Joseph Smith Jr. did not really “translate” the Bible nor did he “translate” the Book of Mormon and he most certainly did not “translate” the Book of Abraham[35].

The very simple, if somewhat ridiculous position of the Mormon Church is that Abraham, the Patriarch of Judaism, Islam and Christianity actually did the Covenant of Circumcision completely wrong.   Even more ridiculous, is the inconceivable supposition that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, also completed the Covenant totally wrong under the watchful eye of God, the Father of all Creation and the author of the Covenant that no one had yet done right!

From the very beginning the Jewish People were bound to God by a distinctive and sacred Covenant (B’rit)[36].  As Norman F. Cantor[37] explains it,

The covenant was not a negotiated contract – the Jews had not entered voluntarily into a compact with Yahweh, nor could they withdraw from their obligations to God.  Of his own inscrutable will, Yahweh had chosen this obscure people as his own.  The B’rit is not the outcome of a deal between two free parties.  It is an act of providence unilaterally imposed by divine majesty upon the Jews. The Jews had no choice but to maintain God’s covenant – this was their burden and their glory.”

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is rejected or abandoned by the general membership of the Mormon Church only when and if the “Mormon Translation” is clearly un-Christian or unreasonable in both context or application.

The probability that Jesus Christ, in addition to every Major prophet of God, was incorrectly circumcised because a simple clerical error in the ancient region of Canaan about 2000 B.C that fortunately for the Jewish Faith, was fixed by Joseph Smith Jr. in A. D. 1832, in upper New York State is absolutely the most revealing and ridiculous claim of Mormonism.

As a heartfelt plea to all members of the Mormon Faith, I would ask that you seriously consider the validity and power of the information you have been exposed to within this study.  My wife and I know the personal heartache and pain of questioning the motives of leadership of the Mormon Church, yet your very Salvation and that of your Family will hang in the balance.

With the publication of the thirteen official LDS Gospel Topic Essays[38], the Mormon Church has confidently shifted the responsibility of knowing the facts about the past religious deceptions, from them to you.  The Mormon Church with the approval of The First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has acknowledged the following six facts that you are now responsible to accept or reject, as you lead your children into or out of the continued deception of Mormonism:

  1. Joseph Smith Jr. placed a small rock (that he found while digging a well) in his hat, then buried his face in that hat to “translate” the Book of Mormon[39]. The Gold Plates of Moroni were not used and not needed at all, in fact Joseph stated that it was Nephi not Moroni that visited him in his room as a young man.   The bringing forth of the Book of Mormon was NOT done as the many tender paintings and stories of Mormonism represent as a divine, scholarly or solemn event.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.
  1. Joseph Smith Jr. lied about the “translation” of the Book of Abraham[40] and the Church continues to print and reprint the Facsimiles and Hieroglyphs within the Book of Abraham. Incredibly, the official statement from the Mormon Church specific to the Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Characters and Vignettes now printed within the Book of Abraham is, “None of the characters on the papyrus fragment mentioned Abraham’s name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham.” Yet, the Mormon Church continues to print those fake characters with the totally falsified explanations year after year to send with the Missionaries to swindle the world.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.
  1. Joseph Smith Jr. secretly and illegally took nearly 40 wives[41], eleven were the wives of other men and had sex with some of them. Further, he deceived his first wife (Emma), his Church and his other wives about his actions, his intent and his authorization from God to do so. At the age of 38, Joseph Smith took a 14 year-old bride with the intent to secure Salvation for her entire family at the direction of God.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.
  1. Joseph Smith Jr. lied about his “First Vision”. He never told anyone, not a single person, about his chat with God and Jesus Christ for just over 12 years.  Even then, he changed his account of the event in 1832, then it was different in 1835, and 1838 and again in 1842.  Not a single original member of the Mormon Church had ever heard of the “First Vision”, which is now considered the foundational event of Mormonism.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.
  1. The Mormon Church has admitted that there is not a single thread of DNA evidence to support the Book of Mormon claim that the native American Indians[42] are ancestors of the Jewish people. The Mormon Church several times places the blame of such a misunderstanding at the feet of the Mormons themselves with the phrase that they have “assumed” such.  Even the Introduction of the Book of Mormon has been changed to reflect this past lie, and the Mormon people are oblivious as to the fact.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.
  1. The Mormon Church has admitted that the “Manifesto[43]” to end Plural Marriage in the year 1890 was only a diversionary lie to the United States government. Incredibly, the Mormon Church actually acknowledges that the 1904 Manifesto to stop Plural Marriage was the real deal, and that the authorized and canonized version of 1890, which is carried to Church by every Mormon today, was just a carefully crafted lie.  It was and is deception to teach otherwise.

I pray that you will accept personal responsibility for your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, apart and independent from the many deceptions of Joseph Smith Jr. and the Mormon Church.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a member of the Mormon faith for 32 years, I have honorably held many leadership positions at the Branch, Ward and Stake level. The most demanding of these “callings” was as the Bishop of the Mililani Second Ward, Mililani Stake in Hawaii. The most rewarding position was with my wife as the Young Single Adult Leaders of the Columbia Maryland Stake.   Our youth group (unmarried ages 18-30) drew its membership from as far north as Baltimore and south to Washington D.C.

As a retired Military Intelligence Officer, I found that the key principles of authority and organization within the Mormon Church provided me with a degree of confidence. I was ordained a Mormon High Priest by Charles P. Warnick, who was ordained by the current Prophet of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson.  This relatively short “Priesthood Authority Line” was also a Mormon source of confidence and pride.

As a Bishop and an Assistant Seminary Instructor, I was more responsive than others to the written History of the Church and the subjects of polygamy and polyandry. When sensitive or delicate questions were presented to us from the Mormon and non-Mormon youth, I pledged my utmost support.  Often the Christian visitors to our group knew more facts specific to the more distinctively Mormon Doctrine than we did, although the majority of these valid subjects would be considered as anti-Mormon.

I forced my own excommunication in 2008 after several painful years of meetings and letters to the highest levels of the Mormon Church concerning questions of deceit, doctrine and history.

Sincerely,

Lee B. Baker

Former Mormon Bishop and High Priest LeeBaker.4Mormon.org

Appendix A

On the Grammar of Genesis 17:11 as Translated by Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, by Ken Marks

“And I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations; that thou mayest know forever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.”[i]

Joseph Smith’s curious translation of Genesis 17:11 (Gen17:11/JST) does just fine with its English grammar, and being absent any troublesome words, its meaning seems clear. It is one long sentence, not unusual for sentences modeled after 17th-century English, and is divided by that sometimes-puzzling marker, the semi-colon. At the end of this article, I will examine the semi-colon’s role in the verse. Suffice it here to observe that dividing a sentence by semi-colon does not create two sentences, according to the conventional understanding of a sentence. 

Grammar has to do with the structure of a sentence. Grammar analysis typically includes identifying the type of sentence; examining relationships among the sentence’s phrases and clauses; and, within phrases and clauses, examining relationships among its words. So let’s start at the beginning. We all remember something like this: a sentence is a set of words that expresses a complete thought as a statement, question, request, or exclamation; and that has both subject and predicate.[ii]

THE TYPE OF SENTENCE

Gen17:11/JST is a declarative sentence, that is, it makes a statement. Its structure is also defined as compound-complex: a sentence containing two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

A clause is simply a phrase (i.e., a group of words) with subject and predicate.  Gen17:11/JST consists of five clauses: two independent and three dependent.

An independent clause[iii] can stand alone to render a meaningful sentence.  Stripped to their simple subjects and predicates, the independent clauses in Gen17:11/JST are “I will establish” and “it shall be.” The two clauses are joined by a comma and the coordinating conjunction “and.”[iv]  Were the sentence to end after “in their generations,” Gen17:11/JST would be just a compound sentence. Following the semi-colon, however, are three dependent clauses that make this sentence compound-complex.

A dependent clause[v] depends upon (or is grammatically subordinate to) another clause in the sentence. Though dependent clauses contain subject and predicate, they cannot stand alone: their function in the sentence would be unclear without a connection to the rest of the sentence. In Gen17:11/JST, the three clauses (“that thou mayest know forever” and “that children are not accountable before me” and “until they are eight years old”) would all be fragments if capitalized and punctuated as complete sentences. They must have, and in Gen17:11/JST do have, grammatical connection to an independent clause ¾ or to another dependent clause that is itself connected to an independent clause in the sentence.  A dependent clause is connected to the rest of the sentence by means of a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun at the beginning of the clause.

Furthermore, dependent clauses may function as either adverbs, adjectives, or nouns within their sentences.[vi]  In Gen17:11/JST we will see that two of the dependent clauses function as adverbs, one as a noun. Let’s examine the three dependent clauses to learn how each functions and affects the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

FIRST DEPENDENT CLAUSE:  “that thou mayest know forever . . . “

While “that” could be the connecting, introductory word for any of the three types of dependent clauses (adverb, adjective, or noun), the clause in question has meaning only if it is adverbial. If adjectival, the clause must modify the noun preceding (“generations”), but such a usage here would render the rest of the sentence unintelligible, and, by grammatical convention, there would not be a semi-colon or comma between the noun and “that.”[vii]

Nor does this clause function as a noun. Standing at the beginning of a series of clauses, a noun clause serves as subject and needs a predicate following; but  there is no predicate here to tell  what “that thou mayest know forever” will do or be.[viii]

The sense that we get at first reading is also the grammatically-correct sense: this is a causal adverbial clause, answering the question why? of the predicate in one or both of the independent clauses.  Indeed, when we look at a complete list of subordinating conjunctions in English, we find the word “that” can be such a conjunction, in the sense of so that.  The first dependent clause then, when placed with its independent clauses, clearly means this:

“I will establish a covenant of circumcision with you and it shall last as our covenant through all your family’s generations, so that you may know [something] forever . . .”

SECOND DEPENDENT CLAUSE:  “that children are not accountable before me . . .”

Here is a grammatically-correct noun clause beginning with “that.” The whole clause is the direct object of the verb “may know” in the previous clause. Thus we learn what it is that Abraham will know, as result of God establishing His lasting covenant:

I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee . . . so that you may know forever that children are not accountable in my eyes [for their behavior, presumably] . . . “

THIRD DEPENDENT CLAUSE: “until they are eight years old.” 

Keep in mind that this verse is one long sentence. And here the thought of the sentence is given completion with an adverbial dependent clause, connected by the subordinating conjunction “until” and showing a time relationship to the dependent noun clause preceding: how long are children not accountable in God’s eyes? Until they are eight years old.

We may now paraphrase Smith’s complete sentence, grammatically-correct and unambiguous, alleging what the Lord God said to Abraham. For simplicity let us use three shorter sentences.

“I will establish with you a covenant signified by[ix] circumcision. My covenant will be between me and you, and between me and all your descendants. This I will do so that you may know, and your descendants may know forever, that children are not accountable in my eyes until they reach the age of eight.”

ABOUT THAT SEMI-COLON

We must start with a caveat: it’s sometimes tricky in English to base interpretation on punctuation. We should recall that the ancient languages of the Bible had no punctuation at all. This does not mean that scholars of ancient Hebrew or Greek are just making their best guesses regarding punctuation when dealing with ancient  texts. In the structure of the ancient languages, there are indicators of the places English translations ought to put punctuation to facilitate meaning and reading.

The main point to be made about the semi-colon in Gen17:11/JST is that it conforms to common usage in the King James Bible. Thus to Smith’s readers from the 19th century to the 21st, there was and is no reason to assign some obscure use of the semi-colon that would change the meaning of the passage from what it appears to be, as paraphrased above.

The primary use of the semi-colon in Shakespeare’s and Smith’s days was ¾  and in our day is ¾ to separate independent clauses without the use of the comma and coordinating conjunction (semi-colon = comma + coordinating conjunction). “I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee” could be punctuated, therefore, as follows, with no change of meaning: “I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee; it shall be my covenant between me and thee.”

A secondary yet not rare use of the semi-colon is to substitute for a comma alone (semi-colon = comma), frequently employed in sentences that are long or that already have other commas serving varying purposes. Both the King James Bible and modern writers often utilize the semi-colon in this way to separate dependent clauses from their independent clauses, just as Gen17:11/JST does. In a shorter sentence, or one that did not already have three commas within the independent clauses, commas before the three dependent clauses would have served equally well. The semi-colon in Gen17:11/JST merely helps the reader track the progress of a long sentence with its two independent clauses, three dependent clauses, and multiple commas.

To conclude: If we wish to follow Joseph Smith’s revelations as being the faithful Word of God, the language and grammar of Gen17:11/JST compels us to believe that God instituted the covenant of circumcision explicitly to let Abraham and us know that He does not hold children accountable until their eighth year.

 

Endnotes

[1] House of Judah, Tribe of Levi (Documented Biblical Family Genealogy), Rabbi of B’nei Israel Synagogue, Santiago, Chile.  Member – The World Arabian Horse Organization, Breeder of the Stables of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar.

[2] The Holy Bible, Book of Genesis, Chapter 17, Verses 11-12, KJV, Page 23, Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Copyright 2013, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

[3] See the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 17: 11-12, page 798 within the Canonized Set of LDS Scriptures, following the Bible Dictionary.

[4] Mormon Bible Dictionary:  Bible – Preservation of the Text of the O.T., page 632, Canonized Set of LDS Scriptures, “The Dead Sea Scrolls, some of which are believed to be as early and the 2nd century B.C., give evidence that the O.T. text was corrupted at least by that time.”  Additionally, the irrational but Official Mormon statement found on page 69 of the current LDS Old Testament Student Manual (Genesis to 2 Samuel) Religion 301, claims, “Baptism was one ordinance being incorrectly observed.”   This statement, in relationship to Genesis 17:2-14, and the Covenant of Circumcision is patently absurd as nowhere within the Old Testament is Baptism mentioned.

[5] The Rosetta Stone is a rock stele, found in 1799, inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 B.C., on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion is Demotic script, and the lowest is Ancient Greek.

[6] As used with his “translation” of the Book of Abraham, which has been found to be a total fraud.

[7] “Reformed Egyptian” is a completely fictitious language without example, history or reference in any context anywhere in the world other than by Joseph Smith Jr. specific to the invention of the Book of Mormon.

[8] Introduction of the Book of Mormon: Wording changed from “the principal ancestors” to “among the ancestors of the American Indians” this has been credited to the fact that no DNA of any Native American Tribe has ever shown any trace of Hebrew linage.

[9] See Examples: Non-LDS, The Lost Book of Abraham – Documentary Film by The Institute for Religious Research, and Utah Lighthouse Ministry: Online Resources.  LDS, Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham, lds.org, Gospel Topic Essays.

[10] View of the Hebrews, 1825; The First Book of Napoleon, The Tyrant of the Earth, 1809; Late War, Between the United States and Great Britain, 1819; The King James Bible with Apocrypha, 1611.

[11] Joseph Smith, according to Mormon records, secretly took the wives of between 12 and 14 other men and had the opportunity of sex with a number of them, without the knowledge of his first wife (Emma) and all this is reportedly under a set of commandments from God Himself.

[12] The Mormon doctrine that all men and women can become Gods of their own worlds, remains a very active and valid goal in 2016 of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See lds.org Gospel Topic Essay “Becoming Like God.”

[13] “We know he read the Bible in English, but by the standards of the world, Joseph was neither a scholar nor a theologian, much less a professional translator of holy scriptures.” April 1995, General Conference, Elder Robert K. Dellenbach of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

[14] The Dead Sea Scrolls (circa 150 B.C.) confirm the King James Version (A.D. 1611) as does the Septuagint (circa 285 B.C.), the Samaritan Pentateuch (circa 150 B.C.), the Hebrew Talmud (circa 350 B.C. to A.D. 200),  the Masoretic Bible (circa A.D. 950), and the Hebrew Tanakh (circa A.D. 1150), specific to the circumcision date clearly recorded in Genesis, Chapter 17, and required by God as 8 days old.

[15] Genesis 17:11-12 KJV (original – 1611) and Genesis 17:11 JST of KJV (as corrected by Joseph Smith Jr., 1832) The Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham from 8 days old to 8 years old.

[16] Born and raised Roman Catholic in west Denver, CO., converted to the LDS Faith in 1977, with no functional Biblical foundation.

[17] Lds.org, Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation, Authorized by the Mormon First Presidency, Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[18] History of the Church, Vol. 1, page 368, Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[19] Additionally, examples of the Biblical phrase “that thou mayest know” which follows the use of a semicolon can be seen in Exodus 8:10, 9:14, 9:29 and 10:2.  In each usage the intent is rational and descriptive of the previous action or event, as in the JST Genesis 17:11, which is “circumcision”.

[20] See lds.org – Completion of the New Testament translation is reported on page 4, and completion of the translation of the Old Testament is documented on page 5 of the Official Statement: “Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation” issued under the Authority of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These claims are substantiated by links to the Joseph Smith Papers, wherein the reader can view these statements in the actual hand of Joseph Smith, in an original letter to the Church, signed by Joseph Smith himself on 31 July 1832 and 2 July 1833 respectively for the completion date of the Old and New Testament.

[21] The Mormon Church has recently published 13 powerful officially sanctioned documents known as “The Gospel Topic Essays”, which can be viewed on lds.org.   These essays address some of the more controversial doctrines and offensive historical facts of Mormonism.  Many of these documents have confirmed the existence of wide-spread deception and deceit among the early Leadership of the Mormon Church and an organizational effort to hide the immoral activity of Joseph Smith Jr.   Many view these documents as a way for the current leadership of the Mormon Church to be seen as more honest about their past lies to avoid any legal responsibilities in the future, if claims of fraud arise. Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[22] Primary Source – LDS Scriptures – Official Sermons and Publications of the LDS Church and Leadership, LDS Collectors Library 2005TM, contains over 30,000 documents. Purchased from Deseret Book, owned by the LDS Church, © 2004 and 2005 LDS Media,  ISBN:  978-0-974708-04-1, Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

[23] Mormon Scripture – Doctrine and Covenants 68:4, “And whatsoever they [the Mormon Leadership] shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”

[24] Lds.org, October General Conference, 1985, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, Spirituality.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[25] Lds.org, Chapter 17: The Great Plan of Salvation, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2011.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[26] Lds.org, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Gospel Scholars Series, page 128.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

[27] Lds.org, Lesson 20: Joseph Smith Translates the Bible and Other Scriptures, Primary Lesson for the Children of the Mormon Faith.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[28] Lds.org, October General Conference, 1985, Apostle Neal A. Maxwell, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Premortality, a Glorious Reality.  A quote from Orson Pratt.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[29] Lds.org, history, revelations-in-context, Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation, page 1.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[30] Lds Ensign Magazine, June 1994, Joseph Smith among the Prophets, by Robert L. Millet.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[31] Lds Apostle Orson Pratt, December 1,1850.  Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., owned and operated by President of the Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[32] See Appendix A, On the Grammar of Genesis 17:11 as Translated by Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, by Ken G. Marks

[33] Professor Sean C. Warnick, son of Charles P. Warnick, the Mormon High Priest who Ordained Lee B. Baker in May of 1987 to the Office of High Priest within the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood.  Additionally, the BYU Department Chair of Ancient Scripture, Ms. Camille Frank Olson, and the BYU Department Chair of Church History and Doctrine, Mr. Richard E. Bennett, have been invited to provide any comment or analysis.  After six months of repeated requests for an academic or ecclesiastical comment, no statement was provided.

[34] National Security Agency, Russian Linguist, Counter-terrorism Instructor, SIGINT Systems Engineer, and Covert Communications Specialist supporting the CIA.

[35]The Book of Abraham is a very close second to The Most Revealing and Ridiculous Claim of Mormonism and should be reviewed at: The Lost Book of Abraham – Investigating a Remarkable Mormon Claim. Institute for Religious Research, irr.org

[36] The B’rit or Brit Milah, which means “covenant of circumcision,” is a Jewish ritual performed on a baby boy eight days after he is born. It involves the removal of the foreskin from the penis by a Mohel, who is a person that has been trained to safely perform the procedure.

[37] Author, The Sacred Chain – The History of the Jews, Harper Collins Publishers, ISBN: 0-06016746-7, Copyright 1994, Chapter 2, pages 19-20.

[38] Found on the official LDS Website: https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng

[39] Lds.org, Book of Mormon Translation, page 3, The Mechanics of Translation, Quote from Emma Smith.

[40] Lds.org, Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham, page 4, The Papyri.

[41] Lds.org, Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo, page 3-5.

[42] Lds.org, Book of Mormon and DNA Studies, pages 1-3.

[43] Lds.org, The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage, page 6.

[i]   Smith’s translation of Gen 17:11 contains several important words and phrases in common with the King James Version of Genesis 17:10-12A.  The KJV reads as follows: “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you …” I know of no significant variations from the KJV among English versions. (I’ve consulted a score of so of them, from Tyndale to 21st century translations).

[ii]   Conventionally, a sentence also requires first-word capitalization and ending punctuation: period, question mark, or exclamation point.

[iii]   Also called a main clause.

[iv]   A coordinating conjunction joins words or phrases of grammatically equal value; the following seven are commonly regarded as the only coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

[v]   Also called a subordinate clause.

[vi]   When functioning as an adverb, a dependent clause modifies the predicate in the independent clause (or other dependent clause in the sentence), and a subordinating conjunction begins the dependent clause. There are about 50 subordinating conjunctions in English. Most are one word, though some are a two-word phrase. Subordinating conjunctions indicate one of several possible relationships between the independent clause and the adverbial dependent clause. The conjunction may, for example, show cause (as do the conjunctions because and so that), concession or comparison (although; just as), condition (if; unless), place (where; wherever), or time (after; until).

    When functioning as an adjective, the dependent clause is usually called a relative clause. It modifies a noun, noun phrase or pronoun. The connecting word is a relative pronoun (e.g., that, who, which), and it immediately follows the word or phrase the relative clause is modifying.

    Adverb and adjective clauses modify some word or phrase in an independent clause or in another dependent clause in the sentence. When functioning as a noun, however, the dependent clause is a sentence part ¾ subject, complement, or object ¾ within an independent (or another dependent) clause.  Noun clauses sometimes begin with relative pronouns, sometimes with subordinating conjunctions.

[vii]   Here is a hypothetical example of an adjective clause following and modifying a noun: “…in the generations that are yet to come.”

[viii]   Here is a hypothetical example of a predicate following such a noun clause: “that thou mayest know the truth forever is my desire.”

[ix]   Admittedly I’ve stepped outside the grammar of the text here to interpret that complex preposition “of.” Fortunately, however, we have plenty of clarification throughout Genesis to leave no doubt that circumcision was symbolic of or signified something important in God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

Kenneth G. Marks is a credentialed educator of 42 years experience, over 20 of them learning more about English  grammar while he helped honors English and creative writing students wrestle with its complexities. This analysis of Joseph Smith’s sentence is not perfect. It can, however, be confirmed in its essence (or refined in its particulars) by those with better understanding of certain points or by consulting basic English rules found in any good grammar website or standard textbook. Ken is not a scholar of the ancient languages though he has enough coursework in Latin and New Testament Greek to respect the value of various study helps and to know how to use them. Questions or comments will be answered: [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Lee Baker

As a former Mormon Bishop and member of the Church for over 32 years, my wife Kathy and I have spent many years in various Leadership positions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, documenting, verifying and studying, specifically, the original teachings of the Church. I have found many of the most fundamental of these teachings to be completely out of harmony with the Lord’s teachings in the Bible.