An Embarrassment . . . of Riches in the Book of Mormon Text–And a Surprise from “Them Days”

When I first opened up my newly purchased blue-bound volume from Royal Skousen containing the details of the surviving original text of the Book of Mormon, I was immediately disappointed. Yikes, hick grammar! Not just archaic KJV language, but genuinely bad grammar, like “he found Muloki a preaching the word.” I was chagrinned and wondered why we couldn’t get more up-to-date English in the divine text. Having the beautifully printed summation of Royal Skousen’s work, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), hereafter The Earliest Text, lessens the impact of the awkward grammar, but the discomfort is still there.

As I read more about the process, I came to terms with the idea that God could give revelation to people in their own language, even their own dialect. I guess that was OK–except now there’s growing evidence that many of these “errors” weren’t necessarily the result of Joseph’s New England dialect and aren’t as much bad English as much as they are legitimate older English, namely, Early Modern English, often slightly predating the era of the King James Bible, in spite of heavy quotations therefrom. Puzzling, strange, weird, and controversial–but with detailed data that shouldn’t be ignored.

While I saw some grammar that bothered me, I’m glad the first few pages I looked at did not contain what may be the most jarring grammatical oddity in the text: “in them days,” with two painful occurrences in the Earliest Text of the Book of Mormon at Helaman 7:8 and 13:37, which Joseph mercifully exterminated in the 1837 edition. It’s not just quaint or archaic to my ears, but immediately evokes a visceral reaction in me because it sounds so uneducated. Please, I can handle someone a preaching as they are a going, but not if it happens “in them days.”

Naturally, it came as a relief and a surprise to see that “them days” did occur occasionally in formal EModE, as Stanford Carmack demonstrates in “A Look at Some ‘Nonstandard’ Book of Mormon Grammar,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 11 (2014): 209-262.

As I wondered about those two occurrences, it seemed strange that they were so close together in the Book of Mormon, both in the Book of Helaman. I wondered if there might be other factors that their usage had in common. Interestingly, I discovered that both occur within quotations of public laments from prophets, quotations rich in parallelism, with apparent elements of Hebrew poetry such as paired bicola.

Here’s the first occurrence in Helaman 7:

6. … And he did exclaim in the agony of his soul:

7. Oh, that I could have had my days in the days

when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem,

that I could have joyed with him in the promised land.

Then were his people easy to be entreated,

firm to keep the commandments of God,

and slow to be led to do iniquity.

And they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord.

8. Yea, if my days could have been in them days,

then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.

9. But behold, I am consigned that these are my days

and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow

because of this the wickedness of my brethren.

Look at the nice grouping of parallel elements in couplets (paired bicola):

A. Nephi in Jerusalem / him [Nephi] in the promised land

B. easy to be entreated / firm to keep the commandments

C. slow to do iniquity / quick to hearken

D. them days, soul have had joy in righteousness of brethren / these days,
soul shall filled with sorrow [from] wickedness of my brethren.

In addition to this series of four paired bicola, there may be a small chiastic structure as well in verses 7-9:

A. Past days: joy with my father Nephi

   B. easy to be entreated

      C. firm to keep the commandments

      C’. slow to do iniquity.

   B’. quick to hearken.

A’. Current days: sorrow with my wicked brethren.

Here’s the passage from Helaman 13, taken from the Earliest Text prepared by Royal Skousen:

32 … And then [in the days of your poverty] shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, and then shall ye lament, and say:

33. O that I had repented

and had not killed the prophets and stoned them and cast them out.

Yea, in that day ye shall say:

O that we had remembered the Lord our God

in the day that he gave us our riches,

and then they would not have become slippery,

that we should lose them.

For behold, our riches are gone from us.

34. Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone.

And behold, our swords are taken from us

in the day we have sought them for battle.

35. Yea, we have hid up our treasures,

and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land.

36. O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us.

For behold the land is cursed;

and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.

37. Behold, we are surrounded by demons;

yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him

who hath sought to destroy our souls.

Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us?

And this shall be your language in them days.

Parallelism also abounds in this lament of the prophet, Samuel the Lamanite:

A. then shall ye weep and howl / then shall ye lament,

B. repented and not killed the prophets / stoned them and cast them out, had remembered the Lord

C. our riches, become slippery / our riches are gone from us.

D. tool … on the morrow it is gone / swords are taken in the day of battle.

E. hid up our treasures / they have slipped away from us

F. curse of the land, repented [turned toward God] / word of the Lord , the land is cursed;

G. all things slippery / we cannot hold them.

H. surrounded by demons / encircled by Satan’s angels

I. destroy our souls / our iniquities are great.

And there may be a chiastic structure:

A. then shall ye weep and howl in that day,

 B. O that I had repented

  C. killed the prophets and stoned them and cast them out [destroy the prophets, great sins listed]

   D. remembered the Lord our God

    E. Riches have become slippery, that we should lose them [BIG SLIPPERY SECTION]

     F. the curse of the land.

      G/G’: O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us.

     F’. the land is cursed;

    E’. all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.

   D’. surrounded by demons of Satan

  C’. destroy our souls / our iniquities are great.

 B’. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us?

A’. And this shall be your language in them days.

Section E comprises several lines introducing the theme of slippery riches. Above it is collapsed to its key phrasing, but it may actually be a chiasmus within a chiasmus:

A. our riches have become slippery

  B. our riches are gone

    C. a tool here and on the morrow it is gone.

    C’. our swords are taken from us in the day of battle.

  B’. hid up our treasures

A’. they have slipped away from us

Reference to “days” (including “the morrow”) occur in the middle of the slippery chiasmus, and in the middle and outer ends of the large chiasmus. Days is a unifying feature, and the jarring “in them days” at the end almost seems to invite us to look at these often-overlooked words in new ways to understand the structure and poetry that is there. Poetry marked with an ironic instance of hick grammar (albeit acceptable EModE)–strange, I know. Yes, perhaps it’s another example of the many ironies found in the Book of Mormon, where weak and foolish things start getting a little stronger and smarter over time.

Or is it just an overactive imagination on my part? Intended Hebraic poetry? Actual EModE? All just the result of Joseph’s natural lack of education in the frontier spewing out bad grammar? I think there’s more than lucky accidents going on in the sophisticated text that Joseph Smith dictated rapidly to his scribes back in them days.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

78 thoughts on “An Embarrassment . . . of Riches in the Book of Mormon Text–And a Surprise from “Them Days”

  1. "it came as a relief and a surprise to see that "them days" did occur occasionally in formal EModE"

    It's incredible how the "occasional" bits of EModE have become the ace up the sleeve proving the BoM.
    Exactly What does occasional EModE have to do with the book of Mormon?? What's the point? That God revealed His word in various forms of EModE, Mid and ModE?
    Is the entire book EModE? No, it's a mix of several styles. Occurrences here and there. So what's the point?

  2. It is far more than bits and pieces, but rather the dominant voice of the Book of Mormon. Way over 50%. it is persistent from beginning to end and brings a great deal of unity and consistency to the text, in spite of measurably distinct styles from different authors being present. Understanding the language it was dictated in is an important step toward understanding the book and its origins, whatever they are, IMO.

  3. The next "important step toward understanding the book and its origins" is genuine peer review by non-LDS academic linguists.

    Jeff, I don't think you're primarily interested in understanding the book. I think you're primarily interested in maintaining your testimony.

    No peer review, no respect.

  4. It just doesn't make sense. Why would the Book of Mormon not be translated into the modern language of 1829 except the need to sound ancient and biblical?
    And why would the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants appear in the same archaic English? They do not purport to be ancient documents, but modern.

    Did God simply decide 16th and 17th century English as the best fit for MODERN revelations?

  5. When you write fan-fic, you do your best to sound like the original author. Maybe you'll have your friend Oliver help out a bit. But between the two of you, you can't erase your inherent writing styles. Throw in the stuff you lift directly from other sources, and you got yourself a stew of semi-traceable styles and influences that people will be straining at for almost 200 years.

  6. Flying Fig, are you so sure that the Doctrine and Covenants is in the same style of language as the Book of Mormon? That's what many of us thought, but look at again. E.g., consider my previous post on the issue of ADP did. The difference really surprised me. But there's more to explore there.

    Orbiting, the details of the dictated text aren't relevant to maintaining my testimony. Whether it was in Joseph's dialect, straight KJV lingo, or EMod, the method poses no problem. I do want to understand what the original text is about and how it was given, and find the data to be genuinely fascinating. They pose new questions and puzzles worth exploring. If EModE is a fluke, that's fine. I'm interesting in finding out.

  7. If nothing else, the chaotic mix of styles suggests that Joseph, at least, believed it was divine translation/revelation.

    You can't argue he was a mastermind set to deceive the masses while overlooking a simple concept like consistency. Which was it, a genius or a rube?

    I'd be mildly curious in analyzing contemporary literary works with similar claims to Joseph's claim of divine origin. See how patterns differ or are the same.

  8. If nothing else, the chaotic mix of styles suggests that Joseph, at least, believed it was divine translation/revelation.

    You can't argue he was a mastermind set to deceive the masses while overlooking a simple concept like consistency. Which was it, a genius or a rube?

    I'd be mildly curious in analyzing contemporary literary works with similar claims to Joseph's claim of divine origin. See how patterns differ or are the same.

  9. Jeff,
    "are you so sure that the Doctrine and Covenants is in the same style of language as the Book of Mormon?"

    There may be some differences between the BoM and D&C but overall they're both still written in an archaic KJV style.

    My question then is Why would the Book of Mormon not be translated into the modern language of 1829 except the need to sound ancient and biblical?
    And why would the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants appear in a similar archaic English? They do not purport to be ancient documents, but modern.

  10. Just how strong is this claim that 50% of the "voice" of the Book of Mormon is EModE? Its vocabulary and spelling look nothing at all like the EModE texts I saw quoted in Carmack's article. In fact the vocabulary of the BofM has always sounded very suspiciously 19th century-ish to me. And does 50% EModE only mean that 50% of the BofM syntax is consistent with EModE syntax? That might not be a strong claim at all, it seems to me, because EModE is not actually that much earlier than KJV. How thoroughly can English grammar have changed in the interval? I bet the frequency changes were only big for a few constructions. In which case even the KJV itself might easily be 50% consistent with EModE syntax.

    The persistent interest in parallelism and chiasmus just baffles me, though. Mormon apologists seem to rely on the implicit assumption that these simple rhetorical structures would have been tremendously difficult for anyone like Smith to have noticed in the Bible and imitated. And yet the very appeal of pointing out these structures is because they stick out like sore thumbs. Parts of the Bible are so full of them that every smart-alecky kid making a Bible parody includes them automatically.

    And they are very convenient if you're trying to spin a tale, because they are so repetitive. While you're methodically ringing the changes on this chapter's handful of thoughts, you can be thinking of the two or three thoughts you'll be needing for the next chapter's long repetitions. If I were faking a Bible-ish text, you betcha I'd be packing it full of chiasmus and parallelism.

    If Mormons were really serious about finding out the truth about the Book of Mormon's origin, I think the first thing to do would be to grab a dozen glibly fluent non-Mormon writers familiar with the Bible — Madison Avenue would probably turn up a that many Bible-raised copy-writers on a lunch break — and pay them to produce fake ancient texts about Hebrew tribes in the Americas. Then analyze the language they produce, and compare that to the Book of Mormon. If you could notice significant limitations in even the glibbest fraudsters' texts, and see that the Book of Mormon was clearly more ancient-like than their best efforts, then you'd have a real basis for saying that either Joseph Smith was a genius or else he was a prophet.

    As it is, to me it really just seems that the Book of Mormon could easily have been produced by a merely competent con artist, and none of the things I've seen about parallelism or EModE grammar seem at all inconsistent with that view. Honestly and seriously, I really see nothing in these arguments but a persistent wild exaggeration of how unlikely it would be to produce these structures by fraud. That's the point for a serious Mormon apologist to tackle — with evidence and not just with rhetoric.

  11. This is funny. There are critics here who remind me so much of the little band of dwarfs in CS Lewis' The Last Battle:
    "they all said: ‘Well, at any rate, there’s no Humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs!’

    ‘You see,’ said Aslan. ‘ They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they can not be taken out."

  12. Lots of opinions and hypotheses. What do other books written in the early 1800's time period that try to imitate KJV bible look like? Does View of the Hebrews contain the same elements of missing the mark to sound like KJV to end up sounding like EModE? I think that there is enough material from the 1800's so that we wouldn't have to find "glibly fluent" Bible thumpers from Madison Avenue to produce the texts. Just use the early 1800's texts that are already available.

    I know, it's easier to pound diatribes on your keyboards rather than investigate your own ideas.

    Steve

  13. shokupanmanbo

    Yes, that is funny to me, too, but for entirely different reasons.

    You seem to have enshrined "belief" as one of the primary virtues. Well, since we are quoting C. S. Lewis, let's see what he says about this:

    "Roughly speaking, the word faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels, and I will take them in turn. In the first sense it means simply belief–accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people–at least it used to puzzle me–is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue. I used to ask how on Earth it can be a virtue–what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad. If he were mistaken about the goodness or badness of the evidence, that would not mean he was a bad man, but only that he was not very clever. And if he thought the evidence bad but tried to force himself to believe in spite of it, that would be merely stupid. Well, I think I still take that view."

  14. Does View of the Hebrews contain the same elements of missing the mark to sound like KJV to end up sounding like EModE?

    Just FYI, Steve, in View of the Hebrews Ethan Smith did not try to "sound like KJV." He wrote in the standard English of his time and place.

    Also, I think it bears repeating that the Book of Mormon — at least the great majority of it — does not sound like EModE. I've read plenty of EModE, and I can assure you, the BoM does not sound like it at all. It sounds like the KJV with some more modern English thrown in.

    Think about this for a second. If the BoM really did "sound like EModE," Carmack's "discovery" would not have come as a surprise, eh?

    At best what we have here is not a text that "sounds like EModE," but a text that, when subjected to some subtle and sophisticated linguistic analysis, can be shown to share some features of EModE that the reader would otherwise not notice.

  15. Well, Orbiting Kolob: If the Book of Mormon is so easy to produce with all that chiasmus and parallelism and EModE syntax and Hebraic stuff; and you are so smart, it sounds like you are just the guy to finally do what no one else has done: write your own text and pass it off as a revelation.

    Surely if that simpleton Joseph could do it, a sophisticated modern learned intellectual like yourself can do it. Should be a piece of cake, right?

    The best part is: you shouldn't have any trouble at all putting in Hebraic language structures that no one knows about yet, just like no one really knew about Chiasmus in the early 1800's, (yet the BofM is drenched in the stuff; and sophisticated chiasmus at that, spanning entire chapters and books, even).

    Come on, Orbiting. You've boasted numerous times about how educated, smart, and brilliant you are and you are always mocking the Book of Mormon. Let's see you replicate that idiot Joseph's works. You're just the type to do it! One caveat: it must duplicate the Book of Mormon's features; including all that mundane stuff that fits in to whatever early civilization you plan on setting your text in. Stuff like warfare, ceremony; etc. Without research, mind –as much research as was available to Joseph Smith. But still, for someone of your staggering intellect and astonishing hubris, it shouldn't be an issue– it should be easy!

  16. After he's done writing it, if the geography doesn't fit the real world setting can we move it to another part of the world? Also can he copy large portions of the BoM (errors included) but claim he never owned a BoM?

    One more thing, can be write it in 60% 14th century English for no real reason except that it'll sound really old??

  17. … and finally, if Anon 4:40 doesn't agree with me that my writing is the epitome of religious truth and a masterpiece of literary art, can I tell him it's because he hasn't prayed about it sincerely enough?

    Seriously, I'd like to ask Anon 4:40 just where anyone on this blog has ever seen me "boast[ing] numerous times about how educated, smart, and brilliant" I am? (Feel free to quote these boasts if you can find them.)

    And where have I ever said that Joseph Smith was an "idiot"? For the record, I think Smith was a kind of genius.

    Anyway, that tired old "Book of Mormon Challenge" is just silly. It's amazing to me that people still repeat it as if it might prove something. It doesn't. I suppose I could issue some challenge to you, Anon 4:40 — a challenge predicated on a gross misunderstanding of your position, and that would waste so much of your time you would never take me up on it — and then consider you to be refuted because you declined to give up a big chunk of your life in meeting it. I suppose I could issue you such a chalenge, but I'm not going to bother because it would prove nothing at all.

    The fact is that I have already written a few books — this is nothing special, merely part of my job as a professor — and I'm currently working on another one. I find writing a good book to be hard work. But the Book of Mormon is not a very good book. It reads very much like a smart but inexperienced writer's first effort. It reads very much like something written by someone who did not have a lot of formal education but was steeped in the KJV and deeply interested in early 19th-century debates about Christian theology and Native American origins. There's nothing strange about the idea that Smith could have written it himself.

    As for chiasmus, it is a very basic biblical literary technique, and anyone trying to imitate the biblical style would naturally pick up on it. Its presence proves nothing whatsoever.

    The chiasmus argument is one of a larger group of arguments hinging on the idea that Joseph (nor anyone else in his circle) could have done it, therefore Goddidit, therefore the Book of Mormon is true. The claim is that in Joseph's time no one had yet explicitly identified chiasmus as a rhetorical form, so therefore Joseph could not have known about it. But this argument confuses two senses of the word know (basically, it's guilty of the fallacy of equivocation).

    That is, most users of a language do not "know" that language in the sense of consciously being able to describe its grammar (and its common rhetorical forms), but they do "know" the language in the sense of being able to produce grammatically correct (and rhetorically effective) utterances. Any competent speaker of English can say "I hate Obama," even if they've never been told about subjects, verbs, and objects.

    Many competent users of English can say things like "I love my Jeep more than I love Jesus," even if they can't tell you that the sentence uses hyperbole, alliteration, and assonance. Can people use such devices successfully without formally studying rhetoric and literary technique? Of course they can. They do it all the time.

    In the same vein, could Joseph Smith have used chiasmus without formally "knowing" what it is? Of course he could have done so. (As for Welch's purported 36-level chiasmus, that's a fake construct produced by ignoring large blocks of the text of Alma 36, as Earl Wunderli demonstrated long ago in Dialogue.)

    The chiasmus argument is a zombie. It's dead. It gets killed again and again, but it keeps getting up out of the grave to lurch around in the twilight world of LDS apologetics, where you just can't keep a bad argument down.

  18. You're being dishonest in your approach, Orbiting. Address the other chiasms, the compact 4- to 6-level ones, some intricate. It doesn't work here to take on one example which might be weak and ignore the strong ones. We're smarter than that. Also, against what you wrote, people don't just pick up on chiastic structure, as Welch showed when he addressed an educated Jewish audience and showed them the blasphemer chiasm in Leviticus. Though they had read it more than once they didn't know anything about it. This is also shown by the fact that it wasn't till the late 1960s that Welch noticed it in the Book of Mormon, after he had attended a German seminar on the subject. The various compact chiastic passages present in the Book of Mormon are almost certainly there consciously (which has been shown statistically), and the probability of Smith constructing them all is very low. You can keep lying to yourself about it if it makes you feel better.

  19. Orbiting writes, "If the BoM really did "sound like EModE," Carmack's "discovery" would not have come as a surprise, eh?"

    The current LDS text has had a lot of the EModE stripped out of it. You have to study the dictation, the earliest text, to get the full picture. Still, there's tons of stuff in the current text which is totally like EModE. So you must be letting your bias get in the way.

    You do know, Orbiting, that Skousen wasn't looking for EModE in the text, he just noticed old, extrabiblical meaning because he was performing critical text work, and making thorough intratextual and extratextual comparisons when he came upon unusual, interesting, and difficult readings. He didn't look for it to make an apologetic point, but since it's there, he doesn't ignore it. You apparently do not want there to be any.

  20. What's your take on the following, Orbiting?

    2 Nephi 12:16
    and upon every high tower and upon every fenced wall,
    and upon all the ships of the sea
    and upon all the ships of Tarshish,
    and upon all the pleasant pictures.

    KJV Isaiah 2:16
    And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
    And upon all the ships of Tarshish,
    and upon all pleasant pictures.

    1535 Coverdale Bible
    upon all costly towres, and upon all stronge walles,
    upon all shippes of the see,
    and upon every thinge that is glorious and pleasaunt to loke upon.

  21. Anon 10:58

    This is a strange redundancy that actually throws doubt on Joseph Smith's work, rather than supports it.

    Tarshish is to be interpreted as meaning "any trading vessels or merchant ships." So, the KJV is saying the same thing as the Coverdale Bible. The line is just translated differently. The original Hebrew text does not include both "ships of the sea," and "ships of Tarshish."

    So, why Joseph Smith puts both of the lines in his rendering is really the big question here.

    Bible commentaries leading up to the publication of the Book of Mormon, at least one written by Wesley (the Methodist,…hmmm) dealt with this passage of scripture. So, even if Joseph SMith didn't have the Coverdale Bible, it was very likely he would've been introduced to the common interpretation of "Tarshish."

    This isn't a challenge at all for the critics. But it is a problem for the believers.

  22. It's interesting to see how the twisted mind works. Tarshish is a place, land, not the sea. But you're working hard.

  23. If Chiasmus is an ancient Hebraic language structure, why would it also appear in the "Modern" revelations of the Doctrines & Covenants? And why would the "modern" Doctrines & Covenants be written in an archaic English style anyway?

    Does God speak only in archaic English?

    The fact is Smith was very familiar with the KJV which is full of Chiasmus. The BoM contains the exact same translation errors and italicized words of the KJV, proving Smith had a KJV during the writing of the BoM. Smith and the witnesses lied when they said he didn't have a Bible, thus calling into question any Chiasmus found in the BoM anyway

  24. anon 1:34

    I didn't say Tarshish was the sea. I said that Tarshish, the ships of Tarshish, is used to refer to merchant ships. Because of the way "ships of Tarshish" is used throughout the Old Testament, some Bible commentators have stated that it is referring to merchant ships, any merchant ship. This is not my commentary. This is from quite a few sources from the late-1700's to early 1800's.

    A long paper about this very topic written by Dana Pike and David Seely and published by the Maxwell Institute states that it is possible Smith's contribution to this scripture (adding the additional line) could've come from his familiarity with Methodist commentaries. The article goes on to say that ultimately, it is……….(wait for it)………a matter of faith! And if you accept the Book of Mormon as divine, then you can believe that Joseph Smith was actually tapping into an original rendering of this verse, even if he was familiar with the commentaries.

    The Maxwell Institute is clearly not interested in truly scholarly work. Not with stuff like that!

    Here is the gem of a quote: "Any conclusion about the relationship between Isaiah 2:16 and 2 Nephi 12:16 is for most people a matter of faith—as is acceptance of the Book of Mormon in general—not just a matter of textual analysis. People who accept the authenticity of the
    Book of Mormon typically favor an explanation for the form of 2 Nephi 12:16 that other people reject, although Latter-day Saint explanations regarding this matter cannot now be substantiated by the available comparative biblical textual evidence alone. People who do not accept the authenticity of the Book of Mormon will likely accept the primacy of the synonymous couplet found in the Masoretic Text and Septuagint over the three-line form of
    2 Nephi 12:16 and will suggest that Joseph Smith erred or accepted outside influences when he “composed” this verse. Huggins, for example, asserted that “Joseph could not have avoided coming into contact with Methodist books,” especially Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible.62 This may be true. But even if Joseph Smith did have such contact, this does not
    prove he rendered 2 Nephi 12:16 under the influence of Clarke or anyone else other than the Holy Spirit."

    So, there you have it. In other words, "there is a perfectly good explanation for this, but since we have faith, we are going to go with the explanation that cannot be substantiated." Nice work…..

  25. Just as a point of clarification, the BoM does not contain "the exact same italicized words" as the KJV. So far I have compared all of the Isaiah Chapters through 2 Nephi 15 to their biblical counterparts, as well as the Sermon at the Temple compared to Matthew 5-7. Of the 174 italicized phrases that I counted in Isaiah/Matthew, 63 of them (or ~37%) were present in the corresponding BoM verses. Maybe that's "good enough," maybe it isn't. But let's at least get the facts straight.

  26. "Of the 174 italicized phrases that I counted in Isaiah/Matthew, 63 of them (or ~37%) were present in the corresponding BoM verses"

    Okay, not 100% but yeah, its "good enough"
    Good enough to explain the archaic KJV-sounding language of the BoM.
    Good enough to explain BoM Chiasmus.
    And good enough to cast doubt on the unanimous witness testimony that Smith did not have any papers or text with him while "translating" the BoM