Could Joseph Smith, Jr., accurately translate?

Observations and discussion by Dr. Edmond W. Holroyd, III; Arvada, Colorado, USA
Based on publications by others.

The title page of the 1830 edition (first) of the Book of Mormon has this documentation:

Note in particular the wording "AUTHOR AND PROPRIETOR." Joseph Smith was claiming the text to be his own creation and that the book was written to make money. He actually plagiarized about a third of its content from the King James version of the Bible and scattered such contents about his work achronologically. He also suffered from a background of poverty, and so the financial interest in publishing a book was great.

The title page of the 1977 edition of the Book of Mormon has this documentation:

Note in particular the wording change to "TRANSLATED BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUN." After he and his friends and followers discovered that the book could be the basis for a new religion, it was strongly claimed that Smith actually translated the book from some supposed gold plates that he allegedly found on a hill in Palmyra, New York. The first manuscript that Smith sent to a publisher was lost. So he had to avoid rewriting his initial version. Someone might have thereafter produced the original manuscript and discredited him with obvious changes. The supposed gold plates were not actually examined during the dictation of the Book of Mormon contents to the scribes. Smith had his face buried in his hat that contained some stones. The plates then vanished and so are not available for independent verification of their contents.

We are therefore left with a very important question: Could Joseph Smith, Jr., actually translate accurately from ancient records? Many years later he left several items suitable for such verification. His writing of the Book of Abraham, now contained in the Pearl of Great Price, has enabled an answer to that question. The documentation follows on these subsequent pages.

All original materials illustrated here were distributed from what is now Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P.O. Box 1884, Salt Lake City, UT 84110, USA, though some items are no longer available.


Intro, Book of Abraham, Creation, Origin, Papyrus, Meanings, Facsimile-1, Facsimile-2, Facsimile-3, other errors, summary