I know people who would like to trap LDS people by asking questions that they might not know the answers to. One man said he had an original Book of Mormon. He asked a sister if there had been any changes in the Book of Mormon over the years. She answered no, and of course he stated that he was comparing it to a current version and found 1,2000 changes. How would you answer his question?
Joan, from Montana
I also have a first edition of the Book of Mormon, and a Liverpool edition printed in Liverpool, England in 1878 from the first edition, and indeed there were changes. Perhaps those changes can best be explained by Joseph Fielding Smith, in his “Answers to Gospel Questions,” Vol.2, p.200
“In the case of the Book of Mormon, your attention is called to the fact that the publisher of it was unfriendly to the Church. It required the utmost care on that account. Being unfriendly, it would have been a natural thing for him to permit some errors to appear. A careful check of the list of changes submitted by these critics shows there is not one change or addition that is not in full harmony with the original text. Changes have been made in punctuation and a few other minor matters that needed correction, but never has any alteration or addition changed a single original thought. As it appears to us, the changes mentioned are such that make the text clearer and indicate that they were omitted. I am sure that the mistakes or omissions in the first edition were in large measure the fault of the compositor or the printer. Many of these mistakes which were in the first proofs were caught by the Prophet Joseph Smith himself, and he made the corrections.”
My studies concur that the corrections that were made corrected the grammar rather than the content. You might want to ask your critical friend if could find anything at all in the book that did not concur with the doctrine available in the Bible, that did not elevate and ennoble the reader, or that did not demonstrate the Divinity of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Perhaps you could help him to understand the meaning of the passage found in 3 Nephi 11:29-30,
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.