Book of Mormon – textual corruption

Let me assume for a minute that the Book of Mormon is true. A few questions:

Why was the BOM preserved intact when the Bible was corrupted? What was the difference?

How do you *know* that the BOM is any more uncorrupted than the Bible? What if the same processes that corrupted the Bible worked on the BOM? How do you prove or disprove this?

How do we know that the narrators of the BOM are honest? What if Nephi, Alma, Moroni, or anyone was dishonest and recorded legends and fables that never happened? How do you verify any of thi

I am asking a methodological question: why is one text “pure” and the other “tainted?”

What processes caused this to not happen to the BOM?

8 thoughts on “Book of Mormon – textual corruption”

  1. Well, we believe that Mormon was a faithful editor. That is an article of faith, and of course he didn’t touch the small plates. It reminds me of reading–I think it’s in Clement–of how the phoenix is a type of Christ’s resurrection. Obviously he’s off base there, but the NT is surprisingly free from what we might consider colorful falsifications. I do think that, in any case, the BoM teaches us that the prophets were fallible men who taught according to the best of their ability. Mormon and Moroni warn us again and again to pray that we don’t make the same mistakes and fall victim to the same shortcomings that they did.

    I digress. Probably the most orthodox answer (and the simplest) is Moroni 10:3-5: if it’s true, it’s true–or, at least what needs to be true, what matters, is true. Interesting thought.

  2. OK, but how would you know that Mormon and Moronoi existed at all and were not inserted by later editors?

    I suppose I should ask you what you think is corrupted in the Biblical text first?

  3. I actually hold to a fairly liberal (for a Mormon!) view of the textual transmission of the Bible–most of the books of Moses composed/collated by the Priestly source, etc. The New Testament I hold to be free of any major corruption, and the textual variants to be of minor importance. (For what it’s worth, I don’t really consider the Bible to be tainted, and feel this to be a lamentable state of affairs all too common in the LDS church.)

    Now, as Mormon and Moroni claim to be the final editors of the text, by ‘later editors’ do you mean some unknown Nephite figures or perhaps Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? Well, if one holds to an OT model of transmission, where Moses is not the editor of the Pentateuch, then I suppose that you could consider them as either falsified or reconstructed from internal evidence. By an NT model, their existence would be more explicitly in the text (which we see–there are continual interpolations by Mormon throughout the edited books).

    Are there any passages in particular which seem ‘out of place’ to you, or like fables or legends? From what I recall, I don’t see anything more fantastic than, say, the Book of Daniel in the BoM.

  4. Let me just toss out other probabal situations in which you are not suggesting:
    1. they both are true and correct. In reality I have not found anything to suggest the Bible and the Book of Mormon cannot both be fully true and accurate at the same time.
    2. they are both corrupt. This is the more likely as with subtle changes in Language (modern Language) over time the original context becomes distorted and the meaning is corrupted, even if the text remains exactly the same and precisley accurate in the original translation into the current Language of the time of Translation.

    Let me now state to my best knowledge and understanding that neither the Book of Mormon nor the bible has been corrupted beyond the understand of the original translators.


  5. Mr. Davis, I am really talking about people who claim the Bible is corrupt and that the BOM does not suffer from similar corruption. Your views seem quite different from that.

  6. I have for many years tried to get a handle on just how Mormons deal with the BOM. I have read it through several times. I have been to the hill Camorah.
    Can you imagine how as an amateur archeologist living near the hill Camorah and an exFreemason, I have some issues?
    In a live and let live attitude you can believe what you will, but for readers of the BOM to think the Bible is corrupt, that is just too much. A book with no provable base in geography and notable historic inconsistency[horses, steel ] is not a great basis for factual criticism.
    ditchu, The Bible has been proven over and over, from the dead sea scrolls to archeology in Israel. the bible has proven its accuracy and historicity all 66 books 40 different authors over 2000 years. How different from the BOM
    Neal Davis, Yes here are some things that are very fantastic from the BOM.
    Horses. Barley, Steel or iron. 10’s of thousands of warriors in a temperate forest area surviving .[what would they eat?] a complete lack of archeological evidence. No linguistic evidence of Hebrew in the New World. Black people punished with color. stop and chat at my blog, I have very much more. How the nicest ,best behaved people in the world got tied up, what a mystery.

  7. Willohroots, to be fair, the LDS have a lot of attempts at answering these questions. Look at the websites of FARMS and FAIR. I think those answers fail, but we do need to interact with the best of their scholarship.

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