The purpose of this page is twofold:
The original edition wasn't separated into verses, so for convenience's sake only, verse numbers aren't marked as changes. Chapter headings and footnotes are recent additions not found in the 1830 edition, therefore they are not included in this analysis.
- Note how Joseph Smith was originally just the "author and proprietor," and how "translator" was added later.
- I Nephi
- Be sure to check out 12:18, where Joseph makes the mistake of having Nephi mention the name "Jesus Christ" a generation before that name was actually revealed, and 10:3 and 19:13, where he mistakenly prophesies future events in the past tense. Also not to be missed are 11:18, 11:21, 11:32, and 13:40, which are the classic verses that display Joseph's initial acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity.
- II Nephi
- See 30:6, which contains the infamous change from "white" to the politically correct "pure," and 25:10, wherein Joseph Smith mistakes Lehi's prophecy for Nephi's. Of further interest is the fact that, sure enough, the passages copied straight from Isaiah didn't seem to need as many changes as the surrounding text.
- Words of Mormon
- III Nephi
- IV Nephi
The Book of Mormon was dictated and transcribed without any chapter breaks, paragraph breaks, sentence breaks, or punctuation. All of those items were added by the publisher, thus the changes in chapterization or punctuation cannot be ascribed to a faulty translation process.
Regarding the words themselves, David Whitmer and Martin Harris (two of the three Book of Mormon witnesses) described an "iron-clad" control of the translation process, claiming that the actual text was given word-for-word from God himself. In spite of their observations, however, recent research by Royal Skousen at Brigham Young University has proven that there were a few errors on the original manuscript due to transcription mistakes (such as writing the word "and" instead of the phonetically similar word "an"). Therefore, all textual errors beyond those (such as the ambiguities, anachronisms, and grammatical errors) ought to be problematic to those who believe, as Whitmer and Harris did, that the original text of the Book of Mormon came directly from God. Click here to see what other prominent Mormon leaders had to say about this issue.
There are those who, on the other hand, would excuse all the errors in the 1830 edition by stating that Joseph Smith simply dictated, in his own local dialect, the concepts which God merely inspired him to say while a scribe wrote his words. Unfortunately, this theory is fundamentally flawed since its proponents must entirely dismiss the Urim & Thummim or "seer stone" and its function in the translation process.