This article and book are written about the book of Mormon Church Doctrine that was written and complied by Joseph Smith the “Founder” of the Mormon Church. It points out the plagiarism of his supposed revelations, glaring contradictions and the rejection of the Mormon Church of Joseph Smith’s writings and the continual rewriting of “His “ corrupt writings
Flaws In the Pearl of Great Price
By Jerald & Sandra Tanner
(This article originally appeared in The Salt Lake City Messenger, Issue No. 78, June, 1991)
In our new book, Flaws in the Pearl of Great Price, we have compiled some very important information concerning (Joseph Smith’s book of Doctrine called) the Pearl of Great Price, a book accepted by members of the Mormon Church (The LDS, and the FLDS but not the RLDS) as inspired scripture. It is, in fact, one of the four standard works of the church. Since most of the material contained in the Pearl of Great Price was supposed to have been given to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith by divine revelation, it is considered more accurate than the Bible.
The "Book of Moses," contained in the first part of the Pearl of Great Price, purports to give an account of the Creation which God originally gave to Moses and later revealed to Joseph Smith. In the 1965 printing of Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, page xi, we read: "we need go no further in our research than to compare the story of the Creation of the earth and Man, and the history thereof down to the time of the Flood as it appears in the Book of Genesis (Old Testament) with these same writings, unimpaired or unmarred by the incidents of time, contained in the Pearl of Great Price, the Writings of Moses. At first they both were the same; the one (Genesis) effaced by the wisdom and carelessness of men, the other as it was revealed by God through the Prophet Joseph Smith."
The second part of the Pearl of Great Price contains The "Book of Abraham." It was supposed to have been written on papyrus by Abraham himself about 4,000 years ago! According to Mormon officials, this same papyrus fell into Joseph Smith's hands and he began translating it in 1835.
The Pearl of Great Price also contains Joseph Smith's "inspired translation of a portion of the book of Matthew, his own story concerning how God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to him, and how an angel from God revealed that it some gold plates were buried near his home. Smith "translated" these plates and published the contents under the title, the Book of Mormon.
The Pearl of Great Price concludes with Joseph Smith's "Articles of Faith." The Pearl of Great Price was first published in book form in 1851 by Apostle Franklin D. Richards. Prior to Richard's compilation, portions of the text he used had been published in early Mormon publications. In 1880, the Pearl of Great Price was canonized and at that time became one of the four standard works of the church.
One of the problems (The writer is soft peddling the nature of these heretical writings.) relating to the Pearl of Great Price is the serious changes (See if the tripe written by Joseph Smith were “Inspired” the Mormon leaders would have been terrified to alter a single word but by the fact that they have time and again alters major portions of this “Revelation” shows that they themselves do not believe for one minute these words are inspired , rather they believe that this book is their organizations charter that can be and needs to be amended from time t time) 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 ARE 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 (Joseph Smith) 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 (This is not the book of Mormon this is a separate Bible Translation written by a man who in court was proven to have no knowledge of Greek Hebrew much less Egyptian).... 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 (Not what is in the bible – this text is purported to have been) restored by the Prophet (Joseph Smith) the true (Smith inspired) 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, pp. 383-84)
Actually, the Inspired Version of the Bible has been the (a continual) 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 (She with many of the early leaders stayed in Mo. And formed the
RLDS – rejecting Brigham Young and the LDS as Heretics)(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 (RLDS)--an offshoot of the Mormon Church. This was a great blow to
the Mormon leaders because they considered the Reorganized Church to be an
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 Revelation 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 (The LDS version) 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 (Despite them having the original notes which threatened the LDS’s legitimacy): "The minutes of the School of the Prophets indicate that President Brigham Young regarded the Revision 'spurious' and that he brought Elder (Orsen) 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 (Brigham Young’s) ideas concerning the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of these books, for they (The LDS) changed the text of the Pearl of Great Price (Their made up version) to agree with the Reorganized Church's (RLDS version or the Pearl and the Joseph Smith’s bible translation) 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.
In any case, in his M. A. thesis, James R. Harris freely admitted that the text of the Pearl of Great Price was "drastically" altered in 1878:
"Orson Pratt was the Editor of the first American edition of the Pearl of Great Price... The American edition was more drastically changed than any previous publication by a member of the Church." ("A Study of the Changes in the Contents of the Book of Moses typed copy, p. 226)
"From the standpoint of omissions and additions of words, the American Edition is the most spectacular rendition.... Some of tire words added to the American edition had impressive doctrinal implications." (Ibid., pp. 224-25)
Although James R. Harris admits that serious changes were made in the Pearl of Great Price, he feels that Joseph Smith himself made the changes in manuscripts he worked on before his death. In other words, he believes that when the Mormon leaders changed the text of the Pearl of Great Price in 1878, they were bringing it into conformity with changes Joseph Smith made in the manuscripts during his lifetime. Richard P. Howard, Church Historian for the Reorganized Church, has released information which gives support to Dr. Harris' idea. Howard, who has had access to the original manuscripts, shows that there were a number of different manuscripts involved in the production of the Inspired Version of the Bible and that Joseph Smith often revised his own revisions and left the manuscripts in a very confused state: "Many texts reveal that the process was not some kind of automatic verbal or visual revelatory experience on the part of Joseph Smith. He often caused a text to be written in one form and later reworded his initial revision. The manuscripts in some cases show a considerable time lapse between such reconsiderations...
"A considerable number of places in NT #2 [as Mr. Howard now numbers the manuscripts] show that initially Joseph Smith considered certain texts in the King James Version to be either correct or in need of slight revision, but that on later consideration he decided to amend them further. Since the manuscript pages were already written and filled to the extent that the later corrections could not be included, the problem was solved by writing the text out on a scrap of paper and pinning or sewing it to the appropriate manuscript page." (Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development, 1969, pp. 93, 96)
"Therefore OT #13 represents a third draft manuscript of... Genesis 1-7, a second draft manuscript of Genesis 8-24:42a, and a first draft manuscript of the remainder of the Old Testament, although revised considerably by interpolations written in later years between the lines and on separate scraps of paper pinned to the manuscript pages." (Ibid., p. 106) "...the manuscripts indicate rather clearly that Joseph Smith, Jr., by his continued practice of revising his earlier texts as many as three times, demonstrats that he (Joseph Smith) did not believe that at any of those points of rerevision he had dictated a perfectly inerrant text by the power or voice of God.... It is thus unnecessary and could be misleading to appear to claim 'direct' revelation in the determination of the entire text of the Inspired Version as the preface written for the 1867 edition apparently implied." (page 151)
Richard P. Howard's admission that Joseph Smith rerevised his earlier text "as many as three times" is certainly a serious indictment against Joseph Smith's work and plainly shows that his "Inspired Version" is anything but inspired. The fact that he could not make up his mind shows that he was tampering with the Scriptures according to his own imagination rather than receiving revelation from God. Mormon writer Truman G. Madsen also admitted that Joseph Smith "often revised a passage, later added to or amended it, and then, in a third attempt, clarified it further." (Improvement Era, March 1970, p. 70)
The many changes that had to be made in the "inspired" renderings found in the Pearl of Great Price tend to undermine confidence in Joseph Smith's work. As we indicated earlier, the most drastic revision of the Pearl of Great Price was made in 1878. In our new book, Flaws in the Pearl of Great Price, we have photographically reproduced the original 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price and carefully compared it with the church's official 1989 printing. All of the changes that have been made have been noted in handwriting. The reader, therefore, can plainly see all of the words that were added, deleted or changed.
As one reads the first section of the Pearl of Great Price (the "Book of Moses") the question arises as to whether the words were actually spoken to Moses by God over 3,000 years ago or if they came from the fertile imagination of someone who lived in the 19th century. To those familiar with the Bible, the phraseology of the document has the ring of ancient scripture. Unfortunately, however, it sounds just too much like the King James Version, which was first published in 1611. Many of the verses, in fact, have been plagiarized from the book of Genesis. We have used the Mormon Church's own computer program, The Computerized Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to help us locate the verses which have been borrowed from the Bible. In Flaws in The Pearl of Great Price, Appendix 2, we show a large number of verses that have obviously been taken from Genesis. The most serious problem, however, is that material has also been taken from the New Testament. In our book, Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book Of Mormon, we have dealt with the presence of New Testament quotations in Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon, and since the situation is analogous to that found in the Book of Moses, we quote the following from our book:
"It is very clear from the contents of the Book of Mormon that while the author was not a trained Bible scholar, he was rather familiar with the contents of the King James Version of the Bible. Although Mormon apologists are reluctant to face the facts, the evidence shows that Joseph Smith had the ability and the Biblical knowledge required to write the Book of Mormon. According to Smith's earliest account of his life, written in 1832, he claimed he began studying the Bible when he was only about 12 years old....9 (This is utterly incorrect Smith did not write the Book of Mormon Smith originally was hired on as a circus hand to work his sleight of hand for a scheme created by Judge Solomon Spaulding who also was a Lawyer, and Oliver Cowdery a prolific writer and newspaper editor of a half-dozen upstate New York Newspapers. The presence of these two men alone who become Joseph Smith’s “two witnesses” and his chief “two prophets” alone should raise one’s eyebrows. Judge Spaulding a lawyer appears to be the mastermind of the entire scam, and it appears that the man had spent quite some time combing federal and state law of the day to see how for he could go with a religious con without he or his prophet Smith being able to be arrested. And Cowdery was not only the scribe that was needed to pen the book of Mormon but this man was a publicist. he was the scheme’s Madison Avenue machine of his day to see to it that 1) their prophet got all the good press he could get with his connections. 2) he was also the man that dreamed up many of Smith’s early photo-ops.)
"From letters and comments we have received, it is obvious that many believers in the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon do not have a correct understanding of the plagiarism issue with regard to that book. They often point out that some portions of the Bible are similar or even identical to other portions and feel that this demonstrates there is no problem with the Book of Mormon using parts of the Bible. It is true, of course, that such similarities do occur. For instance, many of the words of Jesus are taken from the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 8:3 the following words of Moses are given: '...man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth he live.' In Matthew 4:4 these words are attributed to Jesus: 'But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' Since we have evidence that the book of Deuteronomy was in existence before the time of Christ from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint translation of the Bible made in [the] third century B. C., it is obvious that Jesus could have quoted from it. There are, in fact, many quotations from it in the New Testament, and this is the very thing we should expect to find.... in the examples we have cited from the Bible, all of the cases of copying can be explained by simply stating the obvious fact that the authors used some known and available work. The problem with regard to the Book of Mormon, however, is that it (Purports to contain the words of) ancient Nephites making extensive quotations from works (Old Testament and New Testament books) that were not even in existence at that time (that these supposed Nephites of the book of mormon lived) . In fact, in the 1st and 2nd books of Nephi, the writings of the New Testament are cited 600 years before they were written!...
"To those who really consider the matter, it should be obvious that the presence of many portions of the New Testament in the Book of Mormon is more (than a little) out of place --These (New Testament Passages) words alone would be enough to prove the speech (The entire book or Mormon) a forgery.
Further in the Book of Mormon we have also have Lehi quoting from
the New Testament book of Revelation
almost seven centuries before it was written! (The
first quotation appears on the second page of the Book of Mormon and is dated
'About 600 B. C.' The book of Revelation is believed to have been written about
"It is clear that the author (Spaulding Cowdery and Smith) of the Book of Mormon was holding a King James Version of the Bible in his hand when he (They) produced it. (The problem with these three men is try as they might they were not men of Scripture – so when they first got out of the box they needed some bible preachers to mark their teachings and they hit the jackpot with Parley Pratt, Simon Rigdon and Orsen who wrote their restorative gospel – it is interesting to note that their early bible preachers did not quote the book of mormon in their sermons or writings they stuck to the bible – they only spoke or the Prophet the golden bible and the restoration of tongues prophecy and gifts in their meetings)
He (The modern author fancying himself to be Lehi), therefore, could not have lived in 600 B.C.. When all the evidence is examined, it is evident that he actually lived in 1830 (the writer is referring to Smith)--some 2,430 years after Lehi was supposed to have fled from Jerusalem." (Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon, pages 75, 79-81)
As we have already pointed out, Joseph Smith's Book of Moses is also filled with material that has been plagiarized from the New Testament. Moses 6:52, for example, has quotations from a number of New Testament passages. Below we have set this verse in regular type and added similar material found in New Testament verses in bold type inside brackets:
"52 And he also said unto him [Adam]: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized [and be baptized--Acts 2:38], even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth [only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth-John 1:14], which is Jesus Christ [which is Jesus Christ--I Corinthians 3:11], the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come [there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved--Acts 4:12] unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost--Acts 2:38], asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you [Whatsoever ye shall ask... he will give it you--John 16:23]." (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 6:52)
In Flaws in the Pearl of Great Price, Appendix 1, the reader will find over 150 parallels (quotes and references) between the New Testament (And even far more damning is the quotes in the book or Mormon are not from the ancient Greek texts but from the modern King James Bible translation.) and the Book of Moses. There are undoubtedly other parallels that could be pointed out, but this should be sufficient to convince the reader of the modern origin of "Book of Moses." All of the evidence points to the inescapable conclusion that the Mormon prophet was not working with an ancient text dating back to the time of Moses; instead he was borrowing from the King James Version of the Bible. Joseph Smith's "Book of Moses" clearly bears all the earmarks of a spurious document and reminds us of the works of Paul Dunn. Like Dunn, Smith combined elements from more than one source to create his story of the early history of the world. He appropriated a large number of verses from the Old Testament, modified them to serve his own purposes and then added elements from a number of books in the New Testament.
In Mormonism--Shadow or Reality? we have a chart showing that there is a great deal of manuscript evidence for the Bible. Some of it, in fact, dates back even before the time of Christ! Joseph Smith's Book of Moses, on the other hand, is without documentary support. The only handwritten manuscripts for the Book of Moses are those dictated by Joseph Smith in the early 1830's.
As we have noted earlier, the Reorganized LDS Church has the original manuscripts of the Inspired Revision. Richard Howard, RLDS Church Historian, spent a great deal of time examining these manuscripts and seems to have concluded that the "Christian" material and the idea of putting the narrative into the first person came from the mind of Joseph Smith:
"Viewing these subjects as he did from the vantage point of his own Christian background, Joseph Smith quite naturally would have tended to read into the symbolic pre-Christian language of the Old Testament certain uniquely Christian meanings. Therefore the content of all three of the documents comprising OT #1... reflects the nineteenth century theological terminology of (Judge Spaulding Oliver Cowdery and) the prophet Joseph Smith. For example, references to the Holy Ghost and to the Only Begotten--terms arising from the early Christian community--help one to see that even at this early stage of development the text in a sense represents Joseph Smith's studied theological commentary on the King James Version of the early Genesis chapters of the Bible.
"This has been most difficult for students to perceive because of his practice, throughout the first... and the second... documents of OT #1, of phrasing the language in the first person singular, portraying God himself speaking to Moses the very words which, in turn, were apparently being apprehended verbally by Joseph Smith and dictated to his scribe in 1830, nearly three thousand years later. However, Joseph's heavy reliance on the early seventeenth century Elizabethan English language and style of the King James Version throughout this second document makes this verbal inspiration approach to the language of the early Genesis chapters of his New Translation untenable. This becomes even more apparent when one considers the very complex, centuries-long process culminating in the King James text of 1611." (Restoration Scriptures, page 77)
As we have indicated earlier,
the second part of the Pearl of Great Price contains the "Book of
Abraham." It was supposed to have been written on Egyptian papyrus by
Abraham himself about 4,000 years ago! According to Mormon officials, this same
papyrus fell into Joseph Smith's hands and he began translating it in 1835. If the papyrus were really written by
Abraham, its discovery was probably one of the most important finds in the
history of the world. To say that the papyrus would be worth a million dollars
would be greatly underestimating its value, for it would be older than any
portion of the Bible.
For many years Joseph Smith's collection of papyri was lost and there was not way to check the accuracy of his translation. However on Nov. 27, 1967, the Mormon-owned Deseret News made a startling announcement that the collection had been rediscovered in the (New York) Metropolitan Museum of Art. The article went on to say: "Included in the papyri is a manuscript identified as the original document from which Joseph Smith had copied the drawing which he called 'Facsimile No. 1' and published with the Book of Abraham." The importance of this find cannot be overemphasized; it, in fact, made it possible to put to Joseph Smith's ability as a translator of ancient Egyptian writing to an absolute test.
Although the Mormon Church tried to slow down the dissemination of material with regard to the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri, within six months from the time the (New York) Metropolitan Museum gave the papyri to the (LDS) church, the Book of Abraham had been proven (to be) untrue! The fall of the Book of Abraham was brought about by the identification of the actual piece of papyrus from which Joseph Smith claimed to "translate" the book.
The identification of this fragment as the original from which Joseph Smith claimed to translate the Book of Abraham has been made possible by a comparison with Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar--handwritten documents by Joseph Smith's scribes which we photographically reproduced in 1966. Noted Egyptologists Richard A. Parker and Klaus Baer have translated this papyrus fragment and found that it is in reality the Egyptian Book of Breathings. (And Subsequently) other Egyptologists have (also) confirmed that It (Joseph Smith’s Papyri that the prophets claimed to be the book or Abraham) was nothing (of the sort) but the Book of Breathings. Even Mormon apologist Hugh Nibley has admitted this identification. In fact, he has even made his own re-translation of the text (ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics) (see The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, p. 18-45).
It is obvious, therefore, that the papyrus Joseph Smith claimed was the "Book of Abraham" is (and at all times was) in reality an Egyptain funerary text (Papyri) known as the "Book of Breathings." (This Papyrus) is a pagan document, which is filled with magical practices and the names of Egyptian gods and goddesses. It has absolutely nothing to do with,(and never had a single word in it about) either Abraham or his religion.
As in the case of the "Book of Moses," Joseph Smith (simply) plagiarized extensively from the Old Testament in creating his "Book of Abraham." He modified many of the verses which he lifted from the King James Version of the Bible.
The RDLS or as they now call themselves the “Community of Christ” reject the writings of Joseph Smith that are embodied in the Pearl of Great Price. One would believe that that is somehow related to this glaring admission that the “Sacred Scroll that Joseph Smith Had received from an Angel and he only had a sketch of had been in fact hanging decade after decade in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Apparently Smith and his henchmen had seen a photo of the scroll of
sent someone in person down to New York City to make a copy of it. Then they set to work gleaning bible
passages and manufacturing a new book of the bible.
The question comes if the RDLS can see that Joseph Smith lied in his reception of this text, if the RLDS can see that Joseph Smith and his cronies manufactured an entire book of “the bible” and palmed it off to his followers for the remainder of his life real books of the bible that were a show piece for his divine laws that were to govern all of the Mormon Church – then how can they still with a straight face say they believe Joseph Smith’s tale of how he obtained and came to translate the “Golden Bible” which he later hailed as the Book of Mormon?
The answer is that the leadership is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they admit that the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith was an utter fraud they stand to lose the entire ranch. And if they don’t confess the truth before God and Men they have accepted eternal damnation for the fake hollow church that they seek to shroud themselves with. In truth these men are seven-fold the merchants and hirelings of the denominations that they falsely railed against for 175 years. And they are just as evil and corrupt as their father Joseph Smith.
If these men and women had any love for God or their fellow-Mormons that are riding this ship down they would confess the whole thing – call for a week of fasting and prayer and say look we have a church we have really faithful and great people let us try to take this ship and do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord – they could site Jeroboam the son of Nebat
Strange as it may seem, he used
quite a number of the same verses he had previously incorporated into his
"Book of Moses." In many cases, however, he altered them in
a different way than he had in his earlier work. Some of these
changes were made because of his study of the Hebrew language, but a
significant number were made because he had changed his views of the Godhead.
Toward the end of his life (June 16, 1844), Joseph Smith gave a speech in which he publicly taught that "the [Hebrew] word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the was through--Gods." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 476). The word Elohim is used many times in Genesis. It is found, for example in Genesis 1:3. It is interesting to compare this verse from the King James Version of the Bible with Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible with Joseph Smith's "translation" in the books of Moses and Abraham. In the Bible we read: "And God said, Let there be light..." Joseph Smith changed this to read as follows in Moses 2:3: "And I, God, said: Let there be light..." Notice that Joseph has added the word "I," thus making it even more apparent that the verse is referring to only one God. In the Book of Abraham, however, Joseph Smith completely reversed his position with regard to this matter, for in Abraham 4:3 we read: "And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light..." In our book, Flaws in the Pearl of Great Price, we photographically demonstrate how Joseph Smith continued to cast doubt on his earlier work (the Book of Moses) throughout the 31 verses of Abraham, Chapter 4. In this chapter Joseph Smith consistently translated the word Elohim as "the Gods." In the same book we also show that Smith added elements from other sources into his Book of Abraham. A good example is the fact that he put the "anti-black" doctrine, which was commonly held in his day, into the mouth of Abraham! Until 1978 the Mormon leaders banned blacks from the priesthood and would not let them be married in their temples. The Book of Abraham 1:21-27 was often used to support this discriminatory doctrine. The Book of Moses was also cited because it states that blacks were put under a curse.
While the Pearl of Great Price is filled with problems, the other two books of scripture which Joseph Smith produced are also laced with serious errors. Mormon apologists, of course, would like us to believe otherwise. Milton R. Hunter, for example, made this fantastic claim concerning Joseph Smith's works:
"The Prophet Joseph Smith produced for the world three new
volumes of holy scriptures... and, in addition, he revised the Bible. No
prophet who has ever lived has accomplished such a tremendous feat.
There are only 177 pages in the old Testament attributed to Moses, while Joseph
Smith either translated through the gift and power of God or received as direct
revelation from Jehovah 835 [pages]." (Deseret News, Church
Section, July 18, 1970, p. 14)
While we must agree that Joseph Smith produced a great deal of material that purports to be scripture, it does not appear that this material bears any evidence of divine inspiration. For those who would like to learn more about problems in Joseph Smith's "scriptures," the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, we recommend our books, Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon and Major Problems of Mormonism. For a very detailed study of the changes, plagiarism and other problems found in the Pearl of Great Price the reader should have our new publication, FLAWS IN THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE....