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Dear Gramps,

I understand the official (or only) version of the Bible used by the LDS Church is the King James version and only if it has been interpreted correctly. Where is the line drawn for correct interpretation of the Bible? Could you please address the places that Joseph Smith corrected it or began to correct it? (Did he die before he could complete all the corrections?)

Jeanne

 

Answer

 

Dear Jeanne,

We read in the bible that

what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

or, by the Spirit of God, if you will. The correct interpretation of the bible is given by the Spirit to those who search diligently. Let me share with you an experience I once had that bears on this subject. In 1962 a stake was organized in the Columbus, Ohio area and I was called to be a member of the stake presidency. One of my assignments was with what was then called the Adult Aaronic Priesthood, later changed to Senior Aaronic Priesthood, and still later to Prospective Elders. When we conducted ward conferences I met during the priesthood meetings with the Adult Aaronic Priesthood. Most of the brethren in that group were recent converts to the church, so I asked them, “Before you became members of the LDS Church did you used to read the Bible?” Most responded in the affirmative. I then asked, “Since joining the Church have you noticed any difference in your interpretation of the Bible?” There was always a moment of reflection, and then the universal response, “Before I was a member, I was confused about the meaning of numbers of passages, but now it is all clear to me!”

That to me was a confirmation of the revelatory gift of the Holy Ghost, “the things of God are understood by the Spirit of God.” So, as you read the bible and come across passages that may be difficult to interpret or to understand, I would suggest that you ask the Father in humble, sincere, faithful prayer to enlighten your mind to the understanding of the scriptures, and “line upon line, precept upon precept” the meanings will be unfolded to you.

Concerning Joseph Smith’s translation of the bible, he was martyred before it was completed, but much had been done. In the copies of the Bible published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever the Joseph Smith translation varies from the King James Version, and the passages are short, they are included as footnotes at the bottom of the page on which they occur. The longer passages are printed in full after the section called “Bible Dictionary” under the title “Joseph Smith Translation, Excerpts Too Lengthy For Inclusion In Footnotes.”

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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