I have been reading the “Book of Mormon” almost everyday lately. I was pondering as I read. My question is as follows: I find so many chapters that are exactly the same as those in the Bible. A lot of “Isaiah” chapters especially. Please explain this to me in a way that someone not well versed in the scriptures can understand. I am trying to find a way to strengthen my faith. You see Sir I stopped going to church as a child. A product of a broken and abusive childhood. When I should’ve been learning about God and such I was learning about the ungodly and such things, although I turned my back on them. I have always believed in God-one God. I have faith in Jesus Christ. And so many times has the Holy Ghost shone his presence in my life. I started to straighten up my life about 10 years ago.
Perhaps we can help a bit. I have made a detailed study of the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon, and am of the opinion that both the similarities to the King James Version and the differences are quite significant. and represent a powerful evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The King James Version of the Bible was completed in the year 1611 by 47 scholars associated with three major universities in England. The Bishop’s Bible, completed in 1560, was used as a base for the King James Version, and in addition, both early Hebrew and Greek texts were consulted. Any word or passage in the KVJ that all 47 scholars could not agree upon was set off by brackets, as is found, for instance, in Matthew 1:6—
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her [that had been the wife] of Urias.
However, not all printings of the KJV include the brackets. The very close adherence of the KJV to the Book of Mormon is very significant. The Book of Mormon was translated into English from Egyptian hieroglyphs that had been inscribed on plates of gold by the Nephite prophets, covering a 1000-year period, from 600 BC to 400 AD. The process of translation of this 531-page book took only a few months, which was an astounding accomplishment. At the time of translation, no one could decipher the Egyptian language. The translator, Joseph Smith, was an unschooled lad with only three years of formal education, and his skills in the English language were quite limited. However, the angel from God who delivered the gold plates to Joseph Smith also placed in his possession the Urim and Thummim, anciently prepared by the Lord for the translation of unknown languages. The translation process was more of a dictation than a translation. Joseph would look into the Urim and Thummim and an Egyptian hieroglyph would appear, along with the English translation. Joseph would announce to his scribe the word or phrase that would appear in the Urim and Thummim. The scribe would write down the word or phrase and repeat it back to Joseph. If the word or phrase was written correctly by the scribe, the translation in the Urim and Thummim would disappear and be replaced by the next phrase. Thus, the Book of Mormon, for all intents and purposes, was dictated by God to Joseph Smith. Therefore, the translation is perfectly correct, and any differences between the Book of Mormon Isaiah and the KJV Isaiah, represent errors in the KJV.
With that understanding, we can examine the differences between the two Isaiahs, and learn something of the accuracy of the KJV. There are a total of 348 words or phrases that are different in the two versions. We call one group of differences stylistic, since the meaning of the passage is not changed and the difference represents only a matter of grammar. For instance in 1 Nephi 20/Isaiah 40, in verse 8
KJV— Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea from that time [that] thine ear was not opened:….
BM— Yea, and thou heardest no; yea, thou knewest not; Yea, from that time thine ear was not opened;…….
The KJV does not have the word and following Yea at the beginning of the sentence; and the KJV has added the word that before thine ear, which does not appear in the Book of Mormon version. Neither of these differences change the meaning of the passage, and so they are labeled as stylist changes. However, it is significant to note that the added word that in the KJV is enclosed in brackets, meaning that all the King James scholars could not agree on the use of the word that, and indeed it was not used in the Book of Mormon version.
We call the other group of changes substantive, because they actually change the meaning of the passage. As an example—
1 Ne 20:14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; who among them hath declared these things unto them? The Lord hath loved him; yea, and he will fulfil his word which he hath declared by them; and he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall come upon the Chaldeans.
Isa 48:14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these [things]? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm [shall be on] the Chaldeans.
The declaration of “these things” in the first sentence in verse 14 refers to the marvelous works of the Lord mentioned in verses 3, 5, 6 and 7, and also verse 13; and they are declared “unto them,” the apostate Israelites. In verse 13 the Lord adds to the aforementioned marvelous works by declaring, “My hand hath also laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens.” The object of the first sentence in verse 14 in the BM, unto them, has been deleted in the KJ, removing the Israelites as those to whom these things were declared, thus continuing the deceptive changes made earlier in the chapter. The statement in the BM that “The Lord hath loved him” refers to the foretelling prophets who have announced the marvelous works. The Lord then declares that “he will fulfill his word which he hath declared by them,” which fulfillment will be the destruction of Babylon and Chaldea, under whose domination Israel is struggling. The KJ leaves out any reference to the prophetic declaration.
We have found 233 stylistic changes in the 20 chapters of Isaiah found in the Book of Mormon, and 115 substantive changes. The substantive changes, typical of one above, are not merely random scribal errors, but without exception appear to be intentional changes made by the apostate scribes who copied the scriptures. Such changes tend to excuse Israel for its recreant behavior, change the judgments of God from condemned Israel to people in general, or lessen the degree of chastisement by the Lord against Israel. When such changes are considered as a whole, they demonstrate that the Book of Mormon is the original document, and the King James Version is the altered document.
If you would be interested is a complete review of all the changes in the Isaiah chapters between the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible, they may be found in the book, “The Legacy of the Brass Plates of Laban; A Comparison of Biblical and Book of Mormon Texts,” H. Clay Gorton, Horizon Publishers, Bountiful, Utah, 1994.