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Mormon Church

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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This entry provides a brief look at the Mormon Church. For in-depth information we refer you to our collection of research resources.

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The Pearl of Great Price

[...Continued from...]

The third inspired scripture of the Mormon Church is The Pearl of Great Price. The Church also maintains this book has not undergone changes. And yet there are literally thousands of words deleted and hundreds of words added. The Tanner's text Changes in The Pearl of Great Price: A Photo Reprint of the Original 1851 Edition of The Pearl of Great Price With All the Changes Marked proves this beyond doubt.138

Further, a portion of The Pearl of Great Price, "The Book of Abraham," has recently been proven a forgery. It is simply a copy of a pagan text - the Egyptian Book of Breathings, an extension of the occultic Egyptian Book of the Dead relating to the alleged journeys of the soul after death.139

The Mormon Church refuses to acknowledge its fabrication because to do so is to confess that Joseph Smith cannot be trusted in the most vital area of all, his alleged ability to reveal the Word of God.

Smith claimed that he translated both "The Book of Abraham" and the Book of Mormon under the power of God. But if "The Book of Abraham" is now a proven forgery, merely a pagan text with an entirely false translation, how then can any Mormon know that the Book of Mormon is not a similar fabrication?140
Source: The Facts On The Mormon Church by John Ankerberg and John Weldon (1981 edition, p. 32)

One of the problems relating to the Pearl of Great Price is the serious changes that have appeared in the text since it was published in 1851. Like Paul Dunn's stories, new elements have been added to the text which were not in the original handwritten manuscript when it was first dictated. The portion of the Pearl of Great Price which has had the most drastic alterations made in it is the "Book of Moses." The Book of Moses is actually only a part of a far larger work known as the "Inspired Version" of the Bible. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie stressed that the Inspired Version was given to Joseph Smith by revelation:

    "In consequence, at the command of the Lord and while acting under the spirit of revelation, the Prophet corrected, revised, altered, added to, and deleted from the King James Version of the Bible to form what is now commonly referred to as the Inspired Version of the Bible.... The first 151 verses of the Old Testament, down to Genesis 6:13, are published as the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. But as restored by the Prophet the true rendition contains about 400 verses and a wealth of new doctrinal knowledge and historical data.... the marvelous flood of light and knowledge revealed through the Inspired Version of the Bible is one of the great evidences of the divine mission of Joseph Smith." (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p. 383-84)

    Actually, the Inspired Version of the Bible has been the source of much embarrassment for the Mormon Church leaders. It was never published during Joseph Smith's lifetime. In fact, his wife, Emma, retained the manuscript and would not give it to Willard Richards, who had been sent by Brigham Young to obtain it (see History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 260). Mormon Church leaders were never able to obtain the original manuscripts of the Inspired Version from Joseph Smith's widow. She, in fact, turned them over to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—an offshoot of the Mormon Church. This was a great blow to the Mormon leaders because they considered the Reorganized Church to be an "apostate" organization.

    To the chagrin of the Mormon leaders, in 1867 the Reorganized Church published Joseph Smith's Inspired Version of the Bible. Brigham Young was very opposed to the idea of members of his church receiving the Revision from an "apostate" organization. Apostle Orson Pratt, on the other hand, wanted to accept it, and this caused some conflict with President Young.

    After the Inspired Version was published by the Reorganized Church, it became obvious that there were serious discrepancies between it and the chapters the Mormon Church had published in 1851 in the Pearl of Great Price. According to James R. Harris, of the Mormon Church's Brigham Young University, Brigham Young felt that the Reorganized Church's publication was fraudulent: "The minutes of the School of the Prophets indicate that President Brigham Young regarded the Revision 'spurious' and that he brought Elder Pratt to some level of agreement with his position." (Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1968, p. 374, n. 23) President Young, on the other hand, had "high regard" for the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price (see The Story of the Pearl of Great Price, by James R. Clark, p. 205). After President Young passed away, the church leaders completely repudiated his ideas concerning the accuracy of these books, for they changed the text of the Pearl of Great Price to agree with the Reorganized Church's printing of the Inspired Version. In his M. A. thesis, written at Brigham Young University in 1958, James R. Harris acknowledged that "every major change in the American edition [i.e., the 1878 edition of the Pearl of Great Price] appears in identical form in the Inspired Revision." ("A Study of the Changes in the Contents of the Book of Moses From the Earliest Available Sources to the Current Edition," typed copy, page 225)

    The fact that the Mormon Church leaders changed the text of the Pearl of Great Price to agree with the Inspired Version indicates that they felt the "apostate"' Reorganized Church had a more accurate version of the scriptures than they did! They, therefore, put more trust in the publication by the Reorganized Church than they did in the word of President Brigham Young, the 2nd Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the church. It is rather interesting to note that Brigham Young died in 1877, and before a year had passed the new altered edition of the Pearl of Great Price was published. It is also significant that Orson Pratt, the apostle who disagreed with President Young over the accuracy of the Inspired Revision, was the editor of the 1878 edition.

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About This Page:

• Subject: Mormon Church
• First posted: Nov. 19, 1996
• Last Updated: Aug. 9, 2004
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

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