Mormon History

The Author of the BOM - 1879

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune June 25, 1879


The unblushing effrontery of the Mormon priesthood in assuming that their sham theology is a religious system, is perhaps best shown in a work not much known or read in Utah, it never having received the approval of Brigham Young. It is a work entitled, "The Holy Scriptures, Translated and Corrected by the Spirit of Revelation; by Joseph Smith, jr., the Seer." This astonishing production was copyrighted in the year 1867, by Joseph Smith, I. L. Rogers, and E. Robinson, and was issued by them as a publishing committee in Plano, Illinois, the same year.

I make the following extracts from the preface to this Mormonized Bible.

This work is given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to the public in pursuance of the commandment of God. As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, from the manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts, that it was done by direct revelation from God. * * * Joseph Smith was born in Dec., 1805, and was, at the finishing of the manuscripts of this work, in the 28th year of his age. The manuscripts, at his death, in 1844, were left in the hands of his widow, where they remained until the spring of 1866, when they were delivered to Wm. Marks, I. L. Rogers, and Wm. W. Blair, a Committee appointed by the Annual Conference, of April, 1866, to procure them for publication; and were, by them, delivered to the Committee of Publication consisting of Joseph Smith, Israel L. Rogers, and Ebenezer Robinson, and are now presented as they came into our hands.

The preface says that this work "was begun in June, 1830, and was finished in July, 1833."

Orson Pratt, senior, is understood to have vouched for the correctness of "this work" as published, having been familiar with the manuscript. The reason why it did not receive the august approval of the late Brigham is known, but though involving a spicy bit of sharp practice inside the Mormon Church, Brighamite and Josephite, as a major point [it] is here omitted. Sufficeth that in the most devout and best circles of Mormondom this work is held up to be just as canonical as any publication of the Mormon Church.

"This work" is a preposterous and shameless perversion of the Bible, evidently in the main the handiwork of Sidney Rigdon.

"It was begun in June, 1830." Was it, though?

The Book of Mormon, which was begun to be translated from Egyptian hieroglyphics sometime toward the close of 1827 or the beginning of 1828, shortly after their discovery "through the ministrations of an holy angel," contains whole pages of this inspired translation and correction of the Bible.

Isiah was plainly a pet prophet with those ancient Mormon Nephites. They fairly devour him. They revel in Isaiah. They twist; they stupify; they lavish words and ideas upon him by the cartload. The New Translation does the same thing. The Prophet Isaiah chanced to use the figure of a book -- a sealed book. It was a mere accidental comparison, but Isaiah does use the words "a book, a sealed book." On this wise: "The vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed," etc. Argd [sic] Isaiah prophesies of the coming forth, A. D., 1827, in the hill Cumorah, Wayne county, New York, of certain brass plates, having the appearance of gold, and containing an authentic history of primeval America. Inscribed in reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics, namely, the Book of Mormon. To be sure Isaiah does not say all this, in so many words, in our version of the Scriptures, but the before-mentioned preface to the inspired translation (and Correction) says: "It is declared in the Book of Mormon that 'many plain and precious parts have been taken away from the Bible.'" These plain and precious parts are now restored through the new translation, "evidently," in the language of the preface, "done by direct revelation from God." Says Isaiah, new-Translated and Corrected (chap. xxix):

And it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book; and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold, the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof. Wherefore because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered. etc., etc.

Continuing in this lively strain about "the book" and "witnesses" and "words of the book;" all this, bear in mind, in the Bible, new-Translated and Corrected, it is evident by direct revelation from God!

And the day cometh, that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house-tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ, * * * Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it, save it be that three witnesses shall behold it by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said, that the words of the faithful should speak as it were from the dead. Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and woe be unto him that rejecteth the word of God. (Whoa!) For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men, save it be according to their faith.

Thus for a page or more, of entirely fresh matter, these being some of the many plain and precious parts of Isaiah's prophecies which have been taken away from the Bible, and now for the first time restored; and "evidently all done by direct revelation from God."

For behold they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb (referring to the Bible) many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have been taken away; and all this have they done, that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord; that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men; Wherefore, thou seest that after the book (Bible) hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church (Roman Catholic), that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book of the Lamb of God (Bible); and after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles -- Book of Nephi, III, 40, Book of Mormon.

Is it to be wondered at that the wary and wily Mormon elder hated the sectarian minister as the devil hates holy water? It is the special business of this same sectarian minister to know something pertaining to the Bible and religion, which other classes meet and handle only occasionally and superficially.

So much for the book, and the words of the book. Now for the Seer, "the cjoice Seer" appointed to bring them them forth; and having seen what the Prophet Isaiah was capable of, we need not be greatly astonished to find away back in the book of Genesis the prediction, by name, of Joseph Smith, jr. Here some very plain and most precious parts are restored to the Bible; another page of entirely new matter here in Genesis! This time it is Joseph, son of old Jacob, who predicts. It appears from this inspired translation and correction of the Bible that, before being embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt, Joseph foretold the coming forth of a great Mormon Seer, Joseph Smith, jr., in the Latter-days. Says Joseph of old (Genesis, last chapter):

A Seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me, A choice Seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, and unto him will I give commandments that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins * * * and I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work * * * And out of weakness shall he be made strong in that day when my work shall restore them who are of the house of Israel, in the last days. And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation, etc.

However bungling and absurdly transparant the fraud, a belief that, young and almost totally unlettered as he was, Joe Smith was principal in this audacious and impious hodge podge, is simply out of the question. No. The same half crazed and monstrous genius which contrived the Book of Mormon and its attendant and subsequent revelations, likewise contrived this "inspired translation and correction" of the Bible. That genius was Sidney Rigdon.

Note: The above article is quite likely yet another Tribune piecemeal printing of paragraphs out of the missing anti-Mormon book of James T. Cobb. The writer accuses Rigdon of being the evil genius behind the production of the so-called Joseph Smith translation of the Bible -- going so far as to question whether the preparation of the manuscript texts for that latter day "translation" actually commenced among the Mormons "in June, 1830." The implication is that Rigdon altered the biblical text in a major way at some other point in time, and that his going to work as a purported "scribe" for Joseph Smith, Jr. in the production of this new biblical text was merely a screen for Rigdon's continuing his clandestine work of manufacturing new scriptures, albeit in Smith's presence and with his concurrence. At least the Tribune writer does not attribute the major Rigdon-Smith additions to Genesis as having been copied out of some secretly consulted manuscript originating from the pen of Solomon Spalding. Presumably Cobb would have argued that Rigdon's redaction of and interpolations into Spalding's "Manuscript Found" would have provided him with sufficient practice in fabricating new scriptures, so as to be able to produce the Mormons' new Bible without a core document from Spalding or from anybody else.