Questions to Gospel Answers
Do you find the JST a disappointment?
I have been most disappointed in my study of the Joseph Smith "Translation" of the Bible. The minor
and often incorrect changes to the KJV convinces me that the church will never fully adopt this version of the Bible
to replace the KJV. Changes appear to have been made more to support evolving church doctrine (and very
inconsistently in this regard) than to correct mistakes in the KJV. I am of the opinion that more has been done to
"change" the Bible in the Joseph Smith "translation" than all the misguided scribes through
the ages have done.
Joseph Smith certainly reflected the frustration of his time with the KJV. He was not the only one who wanted to see
a new translation. The late 1800's saw several revisionist projects come to completion. We are blessed to live in this
day when so many new discoveries have been made. We now have sources that were not available in the 1600's,
1700's, or 1800's. Our own century has produced several completely new translations, some benefiting from
discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek and other ancient manuscripts.
I tried to use the Joseph Smith Inspired version of the Bible in my lessons and purchased a full copy
of the translation from the RLDS church that my home teacher had recommended to me.
(As you may know, the LDS only have a portion of this "inspired translation" in the marginal notes and sections in the
"new" scriptures). I was very disappointed with this work and stopped using
it when I found one example where Joseph Smith "translated" the word "contemn" into the sound alike word "condemn"
showing no understanding of the original word or context. Psalm 10:13 in the KJV uses the word "contemn" which means
to treat or think of with contempt. Joseph Smith "translated" this word in to "condemn" which sounds like "contemn"
but has a different and a less specific meaning including to judge, to convict, to take property from, and to declare
unfit for service. In this verse, the Psalmist is saying that the wicked have contempt for God or despise God not that
the wicked condemn God.
(The Hebrew verb [na'ats] that the KJV translators rendered as "contemn" also could have been translated as to spurn,
to despise, or to abhor but not to condemn).
Joseph Smith's work on the Psalms in general was very disappointing,
missing the essence of the poetic nature of these verses, replacing poetic structures with doctrinal commentary
(e.g., Psalm 11:1-5, 14:1-5, 17:9, 82:2, 125:1). The "New Translation" appears to be more the work of an editor
rather than the work of a translator.
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