An Amazon.com comment from a Michael Tweedy, in response to my comment “A Spiritual Book of Scripture, nonfiction” (May 29, 2011). Much of Tweedy’s writing is critical to policies and beliefs and biases of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with only limited relevance to the main question: “Is the Book of Mormon of Divine origin?” I will not, therefore, provide a link to his comments, for they are entirely negative and without an adequately objective perspective.
He starts with the following:
“Stories for children is, at best, all the Book of Mormon is good for. But far better-written stories are to be found in any Caldecott or Newbery award-winning books.”
Tweedy seems, in the first sentence, to be friendly (offering it to children), but in the second sentence offers a way for us to keep it away from children. He wants everybody to avoid the Book of Mormon. He devotes many lines of writing to try to discredit the “Mormon church” and the idea that there is anything special about the Book of Mormon. To summarize his apparent point: Don’t even begin to read it.
I suggest a far different approach: Read the book. At least examine some part of it by opening the cover and turning a few pages.
Tweedy mentions “4,000 corrections, many of them significant,” but does not mention even one of them. Nor does he mention what he means by “significant.” To mention one correction and its significance, of course, he would need to go into detail, subjecting his reasoning to scrutiny. I continue to give examples of corrections in the Book of Mormon, for looking at the details makes it obvious that there was never any program to fix up a non-Divine origin: It is a translation from ancient records, and has stood the test of time: almost two centuries of testing.
Let’s look at one passage, and see the significance of the changes:
From 1830 version, according to “Uplifting Publications”
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice, as if it came out of Heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice, it did pierce them that did hear, to the centre, insomuch that there were no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake;
From the newest edition of the Book of Mormon:
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake . . .
Where is any significant change in the above text? I have compared other verses of the 1830 version with the newest edition of the Book of Mormon and have found mostly similar variations: spelling and capitalization and grammar corrections. Even the uncommon exceptions have obvious (or not-so-obvious, on occasion) explanations that fit perfectly with a Divine origin of the book.
We must be objective in examining the passages, searching for the truth.
Changes in the Book of Mormon
Of the more than 1,000 changes made in the Book of Mormon in the 1837 (by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey), many were grammatical. In Third Nephi, an example is “Our Father which art . . .” being revised to “Our Father who art . . .”