Golden “Or” in the Book of Mormon

One popular anti-Mormon site cites Alma 24:19 as an example of a really strange blunder in the Book of Mormon. It has this confusing passage: “…they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war for peace.” The authors point out that “weapon of peace” just seems crazy. They think it’s a mistake. And I suspect they are right.

What, a mistake? Sure – there are plenty. Any text that passes through human hands is going to have mistakes introduced somewhere. But in this case, I suspect the mistake may have been Mormon’s, not Joseph’s, Oliver Cowdery’s, or a printer’s. Remember, Mormon was writing on golden plates. Once you engraved a word, it wasn’t easy to erase. So if you’re working on the phrase “weapons of war, for peace” and make the error, “weapons of peace,” without an eraser you might just have to continue writing to add the correction, using “or” to introduce it. A few LDS writers have pointed to a variety of passages that are consistent with this “no eraser” theory. I think the primary online reference on the topic is No Erasers” by Mary Lee Treat. Mary lists a number of passages where an engraving error may have been corrected by restating what was meant, just the way we do it when speaking, but not like what you would expect for a book being composed by someone working on paper where it’s easy to strike out a passage and revise it on the spot. I believe later authors noted the significance of the word “or” in such passages, and pointed out a variety of interesting passages that Mary missed.

One passage not listed in Mary’s article is Mosiah 7:8 [correction: it’s mislabeled in that article as Mosiah 5:11], which my family encountered recently as we were reading through Mosiah. Here we read about a man named Ammon and some other Nephites from Zarahemla who came down to search for the people that went back to Lamanite territory to settle the original land of Nephi. Ammon and some others are seized by King Limhi’s guards, who mistook them for some other trouble makers. Mosiah 7:8 tells us that “when they had been in prison two days they were again brought before the king, and their bands were loosed; and they stood before the king, and were permitted, or rather commanded, that they should answer the questions which he should ask them.” Why use “permitted, or rather commanded”? If they were commanded, just say so.

If Mormon were preparing gold plates reciting this story and wrote “permitted” first by mistake, not having an eraser, he could have corrected it by adding “or rather, commanded” after the error. But why would there be such an error in the first place? Read the rest of Mosiah 7 for a clue. In verse , the king concludes some remarks with, “Ye are permitted to speak.” And in verse 12, Ammon rejoices that he is yet alive and that he is “permitted to speak.” So I think that Mormon, being familiar with the text that he was about to copy, had “permitted to speak” on his mind from the later conversation, and very naturally engraved “permitted” in Mosiah 7:8, when the record actually had “commanded.” The mistake is perfectly natural given the text that follows, and the use of the “or” to correct the scribal error makes sense for someone engraving on gold. But for someone crafting and revising a text on paper, “permitted, or rather commanded” seems out of place.

One of many interesting little textual issues in the Book of Mormon that seem strange or awkward until the context is considered – in this case, the context of an authentic, ancient document engraved on golden plates.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

48 thoughts on “Golden “Or” in the Book of Mormon

  1. FYI, Mary actually did list the scripture you discovered, but it seems she mislabeled the reference as Mosiah 5:11.


    Who knows for sure? Perhaps to avoid confusion, the mistake was left intact and corrected in the manner it was so that it wouldn’t look as though someone else came along and made unauthorized deletions. In essence, the record would be able to maintain its integrity in that regard. Just a thought.

  2. Maybe it was more trouble to scratch something out. Lots of strokes. Perhaps it was done sometimes when “or” wouldn’t do.

  3. The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit (which my family visited last week at Winter Quarters) says there was a method Hebrew scribes used to “cross out” words that they goofed on — they put little dots under the mess-up, and then put in what they meant to say. Shouldn’t that work on an engraving just as easily as anything else?

    BTW, scribes introducing errors is ridiculously common. The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit has a copy of a scroll of Isaiah where the very first mention of Isaiah is misspelled. I think it’s pretty funny, myself, though I’d feel terrible realizing my brilliant, just-finished 25-foot-long scroll has a misspelling of a prophet’s name on the first line.

  4. Anyone who thinks the point is silly hasn’t thought much about the mechanics of engraving very small characters on metal plates, two sided at that.

    If you’re working on the first side of a plate, you could probably just smooth it out by pounding on it, and re-do. But if you make a mistake on the second side, you’d ruin the first side by doing that.

    The plates had to be very thin, and therefore probably had a little flexibility to them.

    In the Bible (and Book of Mormon) the Lord said he will reveal all things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world. So I imagine that both the gold plates of the Book of Mormon, and the original “Large Plates of Nephi,” of which the Book of Mormon is an abridgement, will be revealed and on display in a museum during the millenium.

  5. Dear Bookslinger,

    Doesn’t your comment more simply point to the fact that we all need to return to the actual principals as instructed by God’s own hand in the 10 commandments – the direct transcript of His Loving Character?

    God doesn’t make mistakes in engraving text – or does he considering LDS prefer not to pay precise attention to them (see LDS idolatry post entry)?

    One other question, why didn’t Moroni supernaturally change the text if this was such an important issue, before giving the plates to Joseph Smith. To be honest, the whole discussion smacks of error, confusion and deception which IS the work of the devil.

    My suggestion – stick to the Bible, written under Divine inspiration by numerous reliable authors, which will only point you to our dear Saviour Jesus Christ.


  6. The idea of human error in the scriptures is far outside the paradigm of many people, I understand, but failure to recognize the impact of numerous human hands on our scriptures puts people on dangerously thin ice when they later encounter the realities of texts and translations.

    For example, Terrano, what are the correct numbers that should be in 1 Samuel 13:1? Since you appear to be using an inerrant Bible free of human errors, unlike the old beat up copies I have, I would like to know the correct answer. So, how old was Saul, according to 1 Sam. 13:1, when he became king, and how many years did he reign over Israel in that passage?

  7. Teranno: I think your point is made moot by the fact that the oldest extant manuscripts of the Bible, both OT and NT don’t all agree with one another.

    In other words, there are similar, if not more, copying errors in the Bible, as evidenced by the differing versions of manuscripts.

    Even Bible scholars can’t point to one version of an ancient Bible manuscript and say that that one is “God’s official” version of the OT or NT.

    You seem to be demanding something of the BoM, that Bible scholars who study in the original languages don’t even demand of the Bible.

    Bible scholars can’t even agree on what is the official English translation. I have at least 10 English translations of the Bible. There are plenty of places where everyone now agrees that the King James translation was just plain wrong.

    The NIV is good, in that it points out some things that are different between the main manuscript versions.

    But the modern English translations differ in more than just vernacular and modern usage. Human judgement has to be used in translating because one must understand both the writer’s context and his intentions.

    Another factor is that some Hebrew and Greek words actually changed meaning from ancient times to when Hebrew/English and Greek/English lexicons were made.

    The bottom line is that God allowed men to make and perpetuate mistakes in the Bible. Which is what Moroni also said about the Book of Mormon in the title page: “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men;…”

    Joseph Smith probably made some mistakes in translating the Book of Mormon. Oliver Cowdery probably made some mistakes in writing it as Joseph dictated it. Oliver Cowerdery definitely made some mistakes when he created the printer’s copy. The typesetter at Grandin’s press definitely made some mistakes in typesetting it.

    Again, if there were faults in that process, they are the mistakes of men.

    Joseph didn’t say the Book of Mormon was a “perfect” book. He said it was the “most correct” book.

  8. Dear Jeff / Mormanity & Bookslinger,

    I will re-iterate my comment to you since maybe you didn’t fully grasp the concept completely.

    I was not disputing the errors that seemingly CAN be found when studying the Bible in a nitpicking way. More importantly I was singling out the MOST PERFECT words ever written by engraving in stone and they were NOT ENGRAVED BY MAN !!!

    The 10 commandments were and still are the MOST PERFECT direct written record ever given to us all. They were immediately copied faultlessly by Moses for the people, with the original transcript then placed INSIDE the Ark of the Covenant. If you do not agree with this fundamental basis for the whole of Christianity then you are on shaky ground indeed.

    I rewrite for you… “Doesn’t your comment more simply point to the fact that we all need to return to the ACTUAL PRINCIPALS as instructed by God’s own hand in the 10 commandments – the direct transcript of His Loving Character?

    God DOESN’T make mistakes in engraving text – or does he, considering LDS prefer not to pay precise attention to them (see LDS idolatry post entry – as an example)? ”

    I will happily answer both your comments on the claimed errata that you comment on from Biblical text along with your reasoning in a second message, but neither one of your comments gets anywhere close in response to my original question!

    How many times does God tell His people to repent, turn from their wicked ways, worship Him, keeping His commandments and statutes ? Doesn’t this still apply for each one of us today ?

    The real errors are with your claimed book of etchings – not the 10 commandments ! No moot points found in Exodus 20:2-17, sorry!


  9. Teranno4x4,

    I don’t think you get the point that has already been made. No one is disputing that God made wrote the 10 Commandments Himself. The dispute is over whether error crept into scripture (10 Commandments or any other scripture). What God writes is indeed perfect. What worries those of us who do not believe in Bible inerrancy is the intervening 3500 years of copying and translating.

    How do you know that the 10 Commandments as we have them now are identical to what Moses received? How do you know that God didn’t carve out an exception to HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER for those who have jerks for parents? Or add a footnote to THOU SHALT NOT KILL for all of the Canaanites that were to be obliterated on the arrival into Israel? How do you even know that the 10 Commandments stop at 10?

    As you say, the originals were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. But that’s useless because we don’t know where the Ark is (the most plausible explanation I’ve seen is that it was found by the Nazis in Eqypt and somehow ended up in a big US government warehouse). If we can’t compare what we have now to what God Himself wrote, how is a claim of inerrancy possible?

    On another note, I think that you would find people more willing to engage your dialogue if you didn’t accuse every doctrine, practice, or opinion that doesn’t jive with your worldview as idol worship and deceptions of Satan. You claimed on an earlier thread that you have been studying the Mormon faith, but real study of a religion requires an open mind, even if you disagree. Failing to see why another person believes the way that they do leaves you vulnerable to the same treatment.

  10. Dear Erelis,

    I was actually going to add a second comment to answer Bookslinger / Jeff in more detail from the questions that they left for me.

    That will have to be placed on hold to once again get past the bitterness that you seem to have, just because I voice a disagreement with you that is Biblically based and supported, but not in keeping with your traditions, doctrines or covenants.

    In answer to the reference that you make – here is one glorious identification for you from one of your own likeminded ‘believers’:
    “At 2:22 PM, August 29, 2007, Anonymous said…
    If this is not original pagan Sun worship – then I don’t know what is! This is nothing Biblically stimulated regarding this kind of instruction from Jesus.

    I get the points that are being made regarding human handling of Biblical translation, but I was preferring to refer to those in a completely seperate comment. I choose to seperate my comments on God’s own Words, from those comments on the inspired Word of God. From this, I do insist on a difference.

    When looking at the 10 commandments – if you consider them to be the very transcript of God’s own character and you have ‘jerks for parents’, then in Christ-like humility ‘Honour your Father and your Mother’. If the Israelites had obeyed God’s every command then the possibility may have been that every war-like confrontation may have been Divinely fought as with the battle of Jericho, when the ‘walls came tumbling down’. Don’t forget that the pagan inhabitants of jericho had seven days to witness the truth outside and surrender to the Israelites before any action occurred (only Rahab and her family escaped the destruction). After that the Israelites totally abandoned God’s guidance and under Joshua went directly to attack Ai with weapons. Would you have done that if you had just witnessed the miracle at Jericho ?

    If you really do have your doubt – then my natural challenge to you would be to learn Hebrew, become a scholar and try to gain access to the most originally dated manuscripts that we have in the world today – which I am pretty sure are confirmed as the dead sea scrolls ? Isn’t it then amazing to know that these were pretty accurate when comparing them to the Torah as used by most Jews today ? I find that an inspiring comfort, but I have no doubts – I do believe.

    Don’t suck in all that you are being told regarding Biblical Scripture – check it out for yourself first before jumping in head first into confrontation. There are two ways to the English translations that we have today. Bookslinger is partly right in some of his claims, but not entirely accurately so. What about the oldest Hebrew originals versus Hebrew text today covering some 3000 to 4000 years of history. What about the Greek / Aramaic originals most of which are preserved in their original contexts versus the Greek of today? Have those languages changed over the last 2000 years?

    The real question is this – if there are such great similarities between the original manuscripts and the parallel langauges of today, why is there such variety when translated into a western tongue. Is it because so many people want to fit a huge square peg into a small round hole for their own docrine or understanding? Are you one of those people (I am not – even though you accuse) or will you listen out for the still small voice of calm that is still at work in the world today?


  11. Geesh here we go again. Look, if I remember correctly, wasn’t like the original ten commandments written by the Finger of God on Stone, and then Moses destroyed them and had to go back and ask for another copy, where God made him write them out himself. I cannot remember the whole story. And wasn’t the “Thou shalt not commit murder” really “Thou shalt not shed innocent blood.” originally? And if so, why all the killing of pagans and such by the Israelites? Weren’t they innocent? Anyways, it seems I am not the only one that thinks the Bible has many, many errors in it. Perhaps that’s why there’s so many different sects of Christianity out there? It’s almost one sect for each mistake? If we should just stick to the Ten Commandments, why all the fuss Terrano with the rest of the Bible? Let’s just discard it then and stick to the Stone Tablets….you uh…did bring them with you right? I mean I have the paper version, but wouldn’t the Stone Ones be better?

  12. “If this is not original pagan Sun worship – then I don’t know what is!”

    And Paul, the pagan he was, even talked about how the glory celestial is the glory of the SUN!

    Burn the Bibles, boys. We’ve learned Paul’s true colors.

    Actually, come on people. I don’t even need to think to refute this accusation. If you’re going to be half decent at attacking Mormonism, you really need to get your game on.


  13. Teranno4x4,
    I am not ‘bitter’ about anything. I am pointing out that your posts are dripping with condescension towards anyone offering an opinion that differs from yours.

    I’m going to differ from your interpretation of what my “like-minded ‘believer'” stated. He is not worshipping anything pagan. He is merely pointing out the symbolism of the statue of Moroni on top of many of our temples. The statue is symbolic of the day of our Lord’s return. It is not something to be worshipped, but something that directs our attention to preparing for the ‘great and terrible day of the coming of the Lord.’ His point about the symbolism of the Sun/Son is one that I had not contemplated, but I find it interesting. The history of Christian worship is full of parallels and symbols between Christ and objects like the sun. Have a close look at Christian art. A strong example is the halo, a direct symbol of the sun. You say that there is no instruction on this in the Bible. I am sorry if you feel that every form of devotion must conform exclusively to texts that are 2000 years old. I am sorry that literalists such as yourself cannot appreciate the differences between idolatry and symbolism.

    I am not attacking the 10 Commandments, as you seem to think. I am merely pointing out the flaw in your logic that we know exactly what God wrote on the tablets because we have modern translations. Even the earliest extant manuscripts that we have of the Hebrew texts date centuries after Moses. The significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls is that they contain different translations of many Judaic texts than the ones biblical scholars previously had. The are fascinating not because they contain identical translations of what we already had, but because of their differences.

    I simply cannot accept the word of biblical inerrantists that the Bible is perfect as it is now. There are more differences in translations between the many thousands of ancient early Christian texts and fragments than there are verses in the New Testament (see Bart Erhman, “Misquoting Jesus”).

    Some versesare sometimes used against Mormons for adding to the traditional canon: Revelation 22:18-19. Now even most of our critics concede that these verses apply to the text of Revelation, which was written long before the Bible as we know it came to be, and indeed written before many of the other books in the New Testament. But I think that something here gets overlooked; why was the author of Revelation so concerned about the idea people adding or taking away from this text? Why put in a curse that condemns anyone who does so? Such a curse would only be necessary if there was a possibility that it would happen.

    Look over some of the comments of early church fathers, who bemoaned the fact that there were so many variations of scripture floating around. Read the debates over what books should be considered authentic, and which versions of those books could be considered the most accurate (speaking of the Book of Revelation, there were many who were opposed to accepting this as scripture. I believe that Greek or Syrian Orthodox Church still does not include it in their Bibles). Learn why some books were considered canon, why others were discarded, and why some books were considered outright forgeries. I don’t need to learn Aramaic or Greek, notwithstanding your suggestion — I am quite happy with my capacity for Lithuanian, Latin, and French. I can read the work of scholars who have devoted their lives to study of ancient languages.

    I think you may be surprised at what biblical scholarship and textual criticism has to say about the Bible, which did not assume its final form until the 4th Century (and even now, there are different books in the Bible among different Christian sects). For example, most scholars now consider that the story of the woman taken in adultery is a late addition to John, chapter 8. It is not found in the earliest translations that we have. This pains me, because it is one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible. Perhaps it was a true story based on an oral tradition that later a later copyist added. Perhaps it never happened at all. But don’t you think it is important to understand what the Savior actually said and did, as opposed to what our Bibles may mistakenly attribute to him? And having discerned that there is probable error in the Bible, how do we know what is true, and what is not? “What is truth?” snorted Pilate; as cynical as he was, it’s a question that we must ask ourselves when examining the various biblical texts.

    That is why the Lord has given us the power of revelation, why it is necessary to restore lost things, why we need modern prophets with proper priesthood authority. Christianity was plagued for centuries — from almost the beginning — by debates over doctrine, often settled by bloodshed. If the Bible is so clear and perfect, why are Christ’s followers torn apart by such divisions? You have offered us your opinions. But we differ in our interpretations. Understand that people can interpret the same texts in different ways. That’s why Christianity splintered into thousands of sects over the centuries.

    You accuse us of paganism and idolatry, yet to me it seems to be that you worship the text of a book. It is a wonderful book. It is the record of our Savior’s mortal life. It tells us of the issues that faced his disciples after He ascended to His Father. But it is not perfect. How can it be after being in the hands of fallible men for so long? That is why we believe in a restored Gospel, and why we prefer the words of the Lord in these latter-days to the inevitable distortions and errors that have crept into a centuries’ old book. We invite you to examine our Church further, in an open attitude of genuine understanding.

  14. Teranno may be right: “If this is not original pagan Sun worship – then I don’t know what is!” Well, the last part of that statement is right, anyway.

    A statue facing east is now pagan sun worship??

    Teranno, your repetitive condemnation of others is getting obnoxious, and your harping about the use of statue as idolatry is just silly. Silly. And non-biblical. No one worships Moroni, just as Jews did not worship the cherubim/angel statues in their temple and tabernacle. Neither one is idolatry. If you refuse to understand the plain meaning of the Word of God, wresting the scriptures to point your self-righteous finger of scorn at others, so be it, but it’s really getting annoying.

  15. Dear Anonymous,
    If I am not blatantly attacked so much for comments that I made in another topic, this is why I referred to this in defence – why can’t you just let it drop? Be pleased that you believe what you believe and I see it as pagan sun worship – that is how it was described. How does the sun affect anything of Heavenly origin for you in symbolism? I thought that it was the other way around personally, that God placed the Sun, moon and stars in their place. Facing east / recognising the east in their worship setting is what the Israelites were condemned for in their apostacy against God. I personally have chosen to learn from this and will avoid it – thanks!

    Dear Erelis,

    The majority of pagan religions have sun worship at the core, either disguided or as a blatant named god – surely I don’t have to name them systematically ? Maybe Mormaity can give you the history lesson… you could get fact from a different source and not one that you incorrectly consider polluted.

    The ‘Vulgate’ was translated Latin from the Greek. This was done hurredly it seems to fit in with the early mix of paganism with Christianity that you mention so well – this formed the basis for the beliefs of the early church of Rome.

    Surely in that instance there is a call for a version (such as KJV) which has stemmed from the original Greek manuscripts known as Textus Receptus. This version is more readily adopted as more accurate in it’s origin and is obviously closer to truth and meaning than any translation of Vulgate origin for the reasons that you specify well.

    You say that Pilate asked ‘what is truth?’ ? Well Truth was standing right in front of him and he was so blinded by his own self that he could not see it. True today, seeing as there are so many accusations and twisting my comments completely out of context ?

    I NEVER stated that the Bible is totally without error or could be literally taken as perfect. Read my comments again. In actual fact when you read them, I think that I stated the opposite.

    But I will end with this – however you feel that you want to attack Biblical truth, there is absolutely no where or no way that you can accuse the Gospel message of an individual’s salvation from Genesis to Revelation of being diluted, imperfect or missing important aspects of translation; in any way whatsoever.

    The dead sea scrolls were tested for the ancient Hebrew against the most recent manuscripts for various books inluding the whole of Isaiah. Only very minor typographical errors were recorded, none that actually changed or altered the meaning of the text in any way – how’s that for accuracy over 3000 to 4000 years ?

    And you have doubts……?


  16. Teranno4x4,

    No one is trying to distort what you have said. We’re trying to understand it, but you’re bouncing all over the place.

    Nor are we trying to attack what you say. We are trying to communicates with each other. That means that you tell us your position and the evidence that you have to support it. In return, we tell you why you’re wrong. j/k 🙂

  17. I’m with Erelis: Teranno loses credibility by calling every other opinion Satanic. And after Erelis’s thoughtful suggestion, Teranno’s response was to say that the statue Moroni represents pagan sun worship. Earth to Teranno – that is silly.

    I think we should put Teranno on ignore. Can that be done? Or turn comments off for a while. What he does isn’t dialog – it’s incessant condemnation of others. Extremely annoying.

  18. “I think we should put Teranno on ignore. Can that be done? Or turn comments off for a while. What he does isn’t dialog – it’s incessant condemnation of others. Extremely annoying.”

    But that’s what makes it so addictingly fun!

  19. Dear Anon and Erelis,

    Do as you like, believe as you like and scorn as you like. The evidence that I present is fact not fiction.

    It’s hard to get away from and digest – that’s why you find it so difficult to accept – it’s alien to what you have been told to be true. Unfortunately for you – I do live in the real world and I can reason, but again please read the history of these posts. You claim I am ‘bouncing around’ – I only answer the questions and criticism that you raise yourselves. Look at the bigger picture in the Bible by actually venturing there – not just observing from an ‘ivory tower’!

    Christian greetings,


  20. teranno4x4

    You couldn’t have made my point more clearly (even if it was liturgical). You accuse MOrmonism of being Pagan-like for worshipping the sun. Using your criteria, I could vilify every Biblical prophet who uses the sun as any kind of analogy.

    Context and meaning indeed.

  21. Teranno4x4,

    Sorry, but throwing an argument about sun worship at me that a third commenter raised in a different thread is indeed ‘bouncing around.’ Nor, might I add, did you address the response I gave you.

    Since you do not appear interested in genuine dialogue and call differences of opinion ‘attacks’ and ‘scorn,’ I don’t think this conversation has much further use. You accuse us of being incapable of thinking critically about our beliefs, yet I see no evidence that you have done so regarding your own. Good day.

  22. I am also truly surprised to hear you say the Dead Sea Scrolls have only minor typographical differences relative to the Masoretic Text. The reality is that there are many substantial changes – dramatic changes – although a large number of verses in the Masoretic Text agree with those in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Scholars, aware of how rapidly texts can be changed, were surprised at the apparent high degree of integrity, and their comments in this regard apparently have been misinterpreted by some of the inerrant Bible folks to bolster their belief that everything has been well preserved. While the changes have not been as dramatic as expected, there are still substantial differences that go far beyond your claim.

    For an overview of the scope of the differences between the DSS and the MT, see this page from

    You’re welcome to believe that everything of importance has been perfectly preserved, but that is simply a belief without any logical basis. Comparison of the many different ancient texts shows significant doctrinal issues have been affected. There is simply no question about that. Fortunately, we have a second witness for many key Biblical issues in the Book of Mormon.

  23. Teranno, this post was about the use of “or” in the Book of Mormon, but you are back harping on crazy notion that we are practicing idolatrous sun worship. I really think you need to get your own blog rather than living here. Off-topic, lengthy posts are simply going to be deleted.

  24. Dear Jeff / Mormanity,

    I am pleased to be able to converse with you all and I do find it of particular benefit personally. Can I take it from your tone that because I am not of the LDS pursuasion that you are inviting me not to partcipate any further ? Is this a closed shop only for LDS believers then ?

    You have written without pulling any punches about skepticism, idolatry and now accuracy in presentation, but it seems ever increasing to me that you (and most commenters) just want to receive a whole heap of back-slapping for a ‘feel good’ factor in your belief.

    ‘Feel good’ plays no part in true Spirituality reflecting Jesus. ‘Feel good’ leads to pride and self exaltation, both of which tend to place oneself before one’s own thoughts of almighty God. Empty self and esk Him to fill us completely – this is the way to go!

    I only made the reference ‘off topic’ about your ‘idolatry’ post in that I was referring to comments made there about the Absolute Truth of the 10 Commandments. This is why I personally see a golden ‘or’ as irrelevant and contradictory ‘as written from God’.

    If you or commenters don’t agree then that’s your perogative, but leave the back-slapping encouragement of deception alone please.

    Still with respect to all,


  25. Dear All,

    I will also state clearly for you…

    I have never said that the Bible as a whole was ‘inerrant’. I acknowledge the potential for translational errors / misinterpretations.

    What I have stated is that if Moses received the 10 Commandments and copied them into the pentateuch under the watchful eye of Aaron and the other nominted priests, it is highly unlikely that any errors were made at all. In this instance the 10 Commandments as written by God’s finger (twice) on stone are just as important (and accurate) today as when they were first presented to Moses.

    If you doubt this accuracy – then you doubt Moses record. If you doubt Moses record, then many of the beliefs of Creation and the Flood – for two examples – become nothing more than an erroneous fable. Your Biblical faith of salvation will be built on shifting sand and eventually blown away. Where does the questioning doubt about error in the Bible actually stop – and do you personally believe the BOM to be the ‘most correct’ book, held in a higher level of accuracy than the Bible as quoted by Bookslinger ?



  26. Look, I don’t doubt the accuracy of the 10 Commandments. That’s not the issue. But I would like to ask you why there are differences between the way they are expressed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. If they are so carefully and perfectly preserved, why shouldn’t the second giving of the law establish them verbatim? And are you sure that every letter in the Ten Commandments has been preserved in all the Hebrew manuscripts we have?

    And I don’t expect back slapping. I do expect dialog – listening, reasoning, seeking to understand – not monotonous reiteration of off-topic points or constant criticism of other faiths (Cahtolic, LDS, whatever) without seeking to understand or respond to defenses that are offered. Just calling everyone idolaters and Satanists who don’t agree with an easily-refuted fundamentalist interpretation doesn’t make for very interesting reading. It gets old.

  27. Dear Jeff / Mormanity,

    There is no need to be short-tempered and rude about it! Where is your Christ-like spirit in your communications ?

    I am not ‘anti’ any faith. I simply ask ‘possibility’ questions. If you personally think that I am fundamentalist, then you too are mistaken and easily refuted. But for the final time, please wake up to the world outside the LDS bubble. If not then your bubble will be burst in no uncertain terms – it has been prophecied! And stop calling me ‘anti’ – I am not! I am one of the most tolerant men that you could wish to meet. But I will stand up for Biblical verse when necessary.

    In answer to your question, Moses recorded the Exodus 20 Commandments as a copy of the original – this MUST have been audited by Aaron for accuracy! The texts in Deuteronomy are clearly given by mouth to the people. Question – when you personally preach – do you just read your notes – or do you let the Spirit guide you? It was the same with Moses at this time – the people needed the message not individual words – they are preserved for all mankind. It’s funny your comments, because the principals between the two records still are identical and in that I don’t see your point.

    Thank you,


  28. Teranno, you have insisted that the Ten Commandments has been perfectly preserved. I think the key concepts have been, certainly, but it’s important to recognize that we don’t have the original text from Moses, but copies of copies of copies – and there are variations among the many manuscripts. Your previous statements on its supremacy and perfection are open to some questions – minor questions, though, compared to the bigger question of how we apply them today (calling people idolaters for using artistic images reflects the intolerant attitude that I called “fundamentalist” – but that was unfair to fundamentalists).

    To understand the type of questions that must be considered in dealing with biblical texts, consider the earliest document we have with the Ten Commandments: the Nash Papyrus. You can read about it at THe Jewish Quarterly Review, 1903. This ancient manuscript has elements from both the Exodus and Deuteronomy versions, and some other changes. So which version for each of the verses with changes is the correct one? And how do you know?

  29. Dear Jeff / Mormanity,

    I personally believe that you are being unfair all around.

    1. By using your own rules for engagement you highlight your post about idolatry – which you advised against above….

    2. I never called you or anyone else an idolater – you wrote your post – I responded with Biblical verse and reasonings – in fact I even stated that most LDS would be apalled at the concept. However it doesn’t change the actual fact that a golden graven image of an angel (carved by man’s hand) is in situ on a place of worship. It was always the concept that I have questioned – not the practice of your worship! Personally, it is not something that sits well with me.

    3. God significantly wrote three times with His finger as recorded in the Bible. Do you question each occasion based on the fact that you have no evidence of the original writings ? Did Creation or the Tower of Babel actually happen ? Have you NO faith at all that God has allowed all the events to be recorded this way for us today ? Doesn’t faith play a major part ? Or maybe the capital letters, the puntuation and grammar is more important for you to criticise and question? For me I refuse to question God on this by just accepting His Divine Law in the most pure record available in the English language approved by Hebrew scholars (to whom I have access). Whichever way you read into it the message, precepts and way to salvation remains the same. That can not be under any question.
    The 10 Commandments were perfect in their purity when written. Wherever they are today the purity is forever recorded on stone. Fact not fiction. Maybe one day they will be found and you can reconsider this absurd electronic conversation.

    4. I am not a fundamentalist – so it is unfair to me (and rude again).

    Jeff you have a brilliant mind. Why do you choose to fight God with it over an ‘or’ that he could have inspired a change over, if it was His mistake ?


  30. Teranno, with this statement you show that you don’t really read/listen well.

    “The 10 Commandments were perfect in their purity when written. Wherever they are today the purity is forever recorded on stone. Fact not fiction. Maybe one day they will be found and you can reconsider this absurd electronic conversation.”

    We all know this. But what we don’t know is where they are or what they actually say. Like Jeff already said, we have copies of copies of copies.

  31. Dear LD James,

    Nor do you read too well either. Unless your name is also Jeff / Mormanity, my last comment is awaiting his reply and was inttended for him.

    Since you obviously have ‘cherry picked’ out of context yet again one minor point I made, please take the whole of point 3 , in context and answer me again on the whole point – with specific answers to my questions please. Not criticisms of the Law that you claim are ‘copies of copies’. This is the part which I find ludicrously absurd in the extreme. Reason – Jesus himself referred to many of the Commandments Himself and yet all of them can be found in the NT if you choose to look for yourself! Again an unfounded remark, by someone who personally prefers not to believe in God’s own word. In this comment I do not assert this to all LDS in general and to you LD James it is NOT a condemnation – only an observation before you get touhy about it.

    To you LD James – if you dearly want to comment – I refer you to answer my previously unanswered comments :
    “If you doubt this accuracy – then you doubt Moses record. If you doubt Moses record, then many of the beliefs of Creation and the Flood – for two examples – become nothing more than an erroneous fable. Your Biblical faith of salvation will be built on shifting sand and eventually blown away. Where does the questioning doubt about error in the Bible actually stop – and do you personally believe the BOM to be the ‘most correct’ book, held in a higher level of accuracy than the Bible as quoted by Bookslinger ? “

    Questioningly again,


  32. Teranno:

    Lets go through your point 3 from just above.

    “God significantly wrote three times with His finger as recorded in the Bible.”
    I agree.

    “Do you question each occasion based on the fact that you have no evidence of the original writings ?”

    I don’t question the general teachings found, for example the 10 commandments. Like Jeff said earlier, I am sure they are still pretty close. But we don’t have the original writings so we don’t KNOW for sure anything. What do we have? Copies of copies of copies like stated by Jeff earlier.

    “Did Creation or the Tower of Babel actually happen ?”

    Well, I know Jesus Christ as the Creator of this Earth and everything on it. So yes for the first part. Tower of Babel, I would say yes. Book of Ether in the Book of Mormon confirms this. Isn’t modern revelation fantastic?

    “Have you NO faith at all that God has allowed all the events to be recorded this way for us today ?”

    I do have faith. I believe that God does love us so very much and allowed all events to be recorded in ancient writing upon plates of brass, of gold, of stone, and on paper, etc and have come forth in the form of the Bible and Book of Mormon. After Man has gotten hold of these and translated them over and over and copied over and over again I doubt the full perfectness of the Bible. This does not mean I do not think that God and/or His prophets got it wrong. Especially God, He is perfect, but men are not.

    “Doesn’t faith play a major part ?”

    I believe so. I have faith in God. Not in Man. I also have faith and a testimony that other scriptures along with the Bible have been brought forth.

    “Or maybe the capital letters, the punctuation and grammar is more important for you to criticize and question?”

    If incorrect essential principles and concepts are not merely grammar and punctuation.

    “For me I refuse to question God on this by just accepting His Divine Law in the most pure record available in the English language approved by Hebrew scholars (to whom I have access).”

    Once again we are not questioning God but the men that translated and copied.
    What is saying these Hebrew scholars are correct?

    “Whichever way you read into it the message, precepts and way to salvation remains the same. That can not be under any question.”

    Only when they are translated correctly, copied correctly, or interpreted correctly.

    “The 10 Commandments were perfect in their purity when written. Wherever they are today the purity is forever recorded on stone. Fact not fiction. Maybe one day they will be found and you can reconsider this absurd electronic conversation.”

    Yes when they were written by the hand of God they were pure and wherever they are now I am sure they are perfect. And when they are found lets take a gander but until then there is only speculation on both sides and only personal conviction to ride on.

    “I am not a fundamentalist – so it is unfair to me (and rude again).”

    Well, now you know how it feels to be called something you don’t feel as though you represent.

    I find it rude of you to belittle the religion I believe in but I guess that doesn’t matter and you will continue to do so. No matter how many time you say you don’t mean to, you still are.

    Finally to the last question posed to me.

    “Where does the questioning doubt about error in the Bible actually stop – and do you personally believe the BOM to be the ‘most correct’ book, held in a higher level of accuracy than the Bible as quoted by Bookslinger ? “

    Yes I believe it to be more accurate because only one person has translated it. There were prophets that wrote upon the Golden Plates which the Book of Mormon was taken from. If everything they wrote down was accurate then I would have to say yes.

  33. Dear LD James,

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!!!

    I really think that we need to have Jeff’s guidance here as you have dug yourself a hole too deep to get out of : I quote –
    “If everything they wrote down was accurate then I would have to say yes.”

    From your last sentence in your response comment, the fatal word is ‘if’. You clearly present doubt here about the BOM’s accuracy, which shows that you still have unbelief yourself.

    I do not / and have never belittled the LDS faith. I disagree with your doctrines and the authority / validity of the BOM, but that does not automatically conjour up disrespect. You blame me of this because you are in a position of weakness for your foundation in belief.

    The Bible is the source of God’s Word to mankind. You can twist, wriggle and denounce it all you like, but Nephi, Alma, Mormon and Moroni, is not a patch on the writings of Moses, Daniel, Paul or John. To try and state that they are more accurate is totally deluded and definitely shows evidences of corporate kind of brainwashing. It is quite clear that Joseph Smith either translated it as such or plaguerised the KJV in his writing. As I said before safety in numbers is the Lemming’s approach. Ponder on this error for a moment and choose to learn for yourself – and not from someone else in your faith. I am not forcing you to pay attention to me, but I am also free from corruption and I can learn about whatever I choose. That is freedom, but I choose to be a servant of God.

    The essence of the whole matter is not about grammatical accuracy, but the context, precepts and overall message to the plan of salvation and it’s personal guidance. You will find that is totally accurate in the KJV and consitent from whichever copy or original translation you wish to start with (not the vulgate!).

    I end with the true Biblical authority for the definition of a prophet :
    Deut 13:1-5
    1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
    2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
    3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
    4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
    5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

    Verse 4 is clear that it is more important to follow God and keep his commandments, than follow the teachings of a prophet (should there be any ounce of doubt – and yes you clearly have over the accuracy of the BOM).


  34. Dear Jeff,

    I too apologise for the lengthy reply, but doubt was shown by LD James after his attempted damning report on my own sincerity.

    Thanks for this opportunity to correspond.


  35. Teranno you claim I cherry pick?


    “From your last sentence in your response comment, the fatal word is ‘if’. You clearly present doubt here about the BOM’s accuracy, which shows that you still have unbelief yourself.”

    The point I was trying to make was that we are dependent on men and the accuracy of their writings not God’s. No doubts here friend.

    I can see why no one else has responded to you. You see what you want. I will not be making any further comment on this subject.

  36. Dear LD James,

    Just returning your favours to stress the point – not nice being treated that way, huh? But your comments are on record and it is definitely a huge, resounding and doubtful “if” !

    I admit it was the biggest roundest most tasteful cherry on the bunch!

    Oh and by the way Joseph Smith happens to be one of those men that you mention too, but unfortunately he is not worthy to tie the shoe laces of his counterpart in this discussion – Moses. No contest ‘friend’ I choose Moses, who rightly or wrongly, accurately or inaccurately recorded the 10 Commandments that WERE written by the finger of God. That is my choice to accept them for exactly what they ARE in my language – English, perfect for me to inset a firm foundation of my faith in God’s instruction for my life. Good luck in yours based on golden hand me downs of dubious origins that contain an extremely suspicious “or”.

    In your instance an angel gave the teaching, in my instance God gave the teaching …… hmmmmm who should I choose to follow….? If in doubt – the Bible verses that I mentioned two comments before give a clear reminder.

    Dear Sketop,
    Welcome – I am between 18 and 99, blessed by God and perfectly legal.
    Does my age matter ? Why do you ask? And by the way – how old are you ? Where do you come from ? Who are you with in your life ? And what will you teach your children about GOD’S love?


  37. So, 18 then? Just curious. Were you raised in the United States?

    There’s just something interesting about the expressions you use. Trying to figure out the source.

  38. Dear Sketop,

    18 would be a fine compliment, 99 would be too old.

    I am my own source for expression used – I read the Bible and ask God to show me His way. Maybe God has inspired some of the comments that I used – I would be happy to pass this glory to Him as my Saviour.

    I am pleased that you find them interesting – some don’t as you can also read.

    Where raised – sorry I won’t share that for fear of discrimination – it can all become too easy in these hot topics. Let us just say that I am from a considered educated western civilised country – and humble of my heritage and who God made me to be.


  39. I have been reading this topic with great interest …Can I just ask why everyone is giving Terrano a hard time? From what I have read so far, his comments are biblically sound.

    Ecclesiates 12:13

  40. Offending comments have been deleted, so the pattern of trouble may be hard to understand from the outside. I’d rather not go into the list of past offenses. But read my more recent post reminding people of my policies.

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