Major Changes in the Book of Mormon

Comparing Versions 1830, 1837, 1840, 1842, 1879, 1920, 1981

View PDF Tract  / The Older The Bolder – Marshall Almarode 

“I am sure that the mistakes or omissions in the first edition were in large measure the fault of the compositor or the printer.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 2, p. 200

Just how did the Book of Mormon come about? Joseph Smith said that an Angel told him where to dig in the Hill Cumorah in order to find the gold plates. He then claimed to translate them into English “by the gift and power of God” (Title page, “The Book of Mormon – An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon”). Joseph Smith and his Three Witnesses testified: “We knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, ‘David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;’ when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.’” (History of the Church, Vol. 1, Ch. 6, p. 55)

This is the historical record recorded by the Mormon Church in their seven-volume official history commonly called “The Documentary History of the Church.” This is the only official record of the event that the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon are testifying about in their “Testimony of the Three Witnesses.” In Mormonism, this establishes from the voice in the light that the translation is correct. At this time the only thing they “have seen” that was translated was the manuscript. The Book of Mormon had not been printed yet. Later, this voice was identified as the Lord’s voice. So according to the best witnesses we have today, the Lord stated that the Book of Mormon was correct and commanded the three witnesses to bear record of that fact.

The problem is the Book of Mormon has been changed drastically since the very first edition. The following dates are the official dates of the versions: 1830, 1837, 1840, 1842, by Joseph Smith; 1879, by Apostle Orson Pratt; 1920, by Apostle James Talmage; and 1981, by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie. Count them – there are seven versions in just over 150 years. You have to ask yourself, “Why so many versions to a book that was 100% correct in the first place?” How many mistakes does the Mormon Church need to make in a book that was supposedly perfect the first time? All that is necessary for perfection according to Jesus and the three witnesses is go back and match every word with the Printer Manuscript and voila, you have perfection!

The 1830 first edition was the closest to the Printer Manuscript of any other subsequent editions. The Printer’s Manuscript itself has been changed over the years with words scratched out, deleted, and added. In most cases the original words are still detectable, especially if compared to the first edition printed. If the original words were correct according to the Lord’s voice, then why did any words need to be fixed? Does God need our help to correct His scriptures?

Over 4 thousand words have been changed in the Book of Mormon since its first printing in 1830. Most of them are grammatical in nature. I will show you some that I believe are very significant, and they deal with three things: (1) the name of the king, (2) the skin color of the ungodly, and most importantly, (3) the identity of God and Jesus.

One kind of change in the Book of Mormon is the king’s proper name. On page 200 and 546 of the original Book of Mormon, the king’s name was King Benjamin.

1981                  1830 page  Printer MS. pg

Mosiah 21:28        200                  151

Ether 4:1               546                  434

These instances of the name were changed in the second edition to Mosiah because King Benjamin had died some time earlier and wasn’t alive to be doing things. The problem gets larger with the fact that Joseph Smith didn’t find the second mistake and fix it until the third edition in 1840. This means it was wrong for ten years. What is very significant is that the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon matches the original “Printer’s Manuscript in every instance above.” This is strong evidence against the Mormon Church’s honesty, as they have historically blamed the printer for the mistakes in the Book of Mormon.

The second set of change has to do with the skin color of the ungodly and is unusual in that the Church does not seem to be able to make up its mind which word is the inspired one. The verse is II Nephi 30:6: “And their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a (white) (pure) and a delightsome people.”

Some who are not careful will think that the two words “white” and “pure” mean the same. Not so. One is a color and the other is a condition. Pure is not a color. You cannot get a can of pure at the paint store. You can say pure white or pure black, but you can’t say white pure or black pure. For years, Mormon prophets and apostles have referred to “white and delightsome” as the skin color of the righteous and “dark and loathsome” as the skin color of the ungodly. Changing “white” to “pure” drastically changes the meaning.

The following is a list of the changes and the dates:

Edition          Page number    Word Used

The Printer          MS  91          White

1830                   117               White

1837                   125               White

1840                   115               Pure

1842                   115               Pure

1879                   122               White

1920                   102               White

1981                   112               Pure

The Printer’s Manuscript matches the first edition. The printer didn’t make this mistake.

The third, and most important, kind of change deals with the identity of God and Jesus. The first four changes deal with the nature of who Jesus is. It is a dangerous thing to change who Jesus is, and this fact alone makes these major changes. In the following verses, Jesus is “God,” “The Eternal Father,” and “The Everlasting God.” Joseph fixed these verses by inserting three words, “The Son of” in the middle of the sentence.

  • 1 Nephi 11:18: “And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of (the Son of) God, after the manner of the flesh.”
  • 1 Nephi 11:21: “And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even (the Son of) the Eternal Father!”
  • 1 Nephi 11:32: “And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, (the Son of) the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.”
  • 1 Nephi 13:40: “And shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is (the Son of) the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.”

These are four places where the Printer Manuscript and the original 1830 first printing clearly agree. They stated something the Mormon Church no longer believes, “that Jesus is the Eternal Father.”

1830 1st edition page      Printer MS. page

25                         16 & 17

26                         17

32                         22

Here are seven more places in the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith and the rest of the Mormon prophets missed and never fixed:

  • II Nephi 26:12: “It must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”
  • Mosiah 7:27: “And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things.”
  • Mosiah 13:34: “Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?”
  • Mosiah 15:1-5: “AND now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son— The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son– And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.”
  • Mosiah 16:15: “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.”
  • Mosiah 17:8: “For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men; and now, for this cause thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.”
  • Alma 42:15: “And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”

More verses: Ether 3:14, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son,”  4:7, “Even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth,” and 4:12, “For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world,”  2:12, “The God of the land who is Jesus Christ.”

Surprisingly, the Joseph Smith Inspired version, also known as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible has a change in it that looks just like the original Book of Mormon verses that were changed. Luke 10:22 in the normal Bible is now Luke 10:23 in the Inspired version. “All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.”

This change is the wrong direction! Here Joseph Smith takes “The Son of” meaning out of the original and changes it into Jesus is the very Eternal Father. It appears that Joseph Smith initially believed that Jesus was the Very Eternal Father and later changed his belief but failed to get all the verses changed in his lifetime.


Joseph Smith stated, “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p. 345). Any true modern-day prophet must know who Jesus is. Changing the identity of Jesus guarantees teaching at least one false Jesus.

The very first printed edition in 1830 matched the Printer Manuscript in all of the previous changes in this brochure. This means that these errors were not caused by the printer. These errors are either from God or Joseph Smith. Most people do not wish to blame God for mistakes. This means these mistakes must be directly from Joseph Smith. The problem is the testimony of three witnesses (Joseph Smith was there also) state, the voice of the Lord declared that the translation was correct prior to the first printing.

If the Book of Mormon was correct as the Lord’s voice supposedly stated, anyone who dared to change a single word would be subject to God’s wrath. Joseph Smith himself is the one who introduced most of the changes. This means that Joseph Smith lied or the current Book of Mormon is incorrect because it doesn’t match the inspired manuscript and the testimony of three witnesses. It must be changed back to match the 1830 first edition or it will be inaccurate according to Joseph Smith and his three witnesses. Of course, the Mormon Church is not going to return to the original version with all its mistakes.  Who has inferior scriptures??? Who is the liar???

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