Review of The Bible II. Midland, TX: New World Press, 1991. 644 pp. with index. $19.93.


Reviewed by Royal Skousen

This volume has been advertised recently in Biblical Archaeology Review (on page 95 of the March/April 1994 issue) as "The book sure to shake the world! Written by Jews in America 600 B.C.-400 A.D. / The American Indian is the remnant of Israel that was established in the New World / During a great war that claimed the lives of millions, these records were hid up to again come forth in the due time of the Almighty Creator." It can be obtained from the New World Press Company (P.O. Box 50730, Midland, Texas 79710) for $19.93, plus $2.24 in postage.

As might be guessed, The Bible II is in fact the Book of Mormon, but with a number of interesting differences in addition to the name change. The title page found in other editions of the Book of Mormon is completely missing, as are the testimonies of the three and eight witnesses. Nor is there any mention anywhere of its translator, Joseph Smith. None of the books within (such as 1 Nephi, Alma, or Moroni) are titled, but instead each is designated by number: thus 1 Nephi is Book 1, 2 Nephi is Book 2, and so on, ending with Moroni as Book 15. The book summaries that are original with the Book of Mormon text (such as the summary that begins 1 Nephi—namely, "an account of Lehi and his wife Sariah and . . .") have all been removed.

In place of the LDS chapter system (originally devised by Orson Pratt for the 1879 edition of the Book of Mormon), this version uses the original chapter system, but still follows Orson Pratt's versification system except that the verses have been renumbered in accord with the original chapter system. Thus chapter 1 of Book 1 (1 Nephi) ends up with 135 verses, since the corresponding LDS chapters (1-5) of 1 Nephi have 20, 24, 31, 38, and 22 verses (which equals 135).

The copy text for this version of the Book of Mormon is clearly the 1981 LDS edition (as corrected in 1983). The Bible II faithfully follows the textual changes that were introduced in that edition. This version does, however, systematically remove some of the King James language style from the Book of Mormon; for instance, yea is replaced by yes, the pronouns thou/thee/thy/thine by you/your, and the -th verbal ending by -s (thus hath > has). But generally the text is the same as the current LDS text.

Copyrighted material (including the chapter summaries) from the 1981 LDS edition is not, of course, used. In its place, there is an introductory passage, plus an epilogue of quotations from the Book of Mormon regarding the last days. Two other items appear in the appendix: an interesting outline of the Book of Mormon (which serves the same purpose as the chapter summaries in the current LDS edition), and a useful index of some of the main terms in the Book of Mormon.

If you do decide to order The Bible II, you will also receive "An Abridgment of The BIBLE II" entitled "How to Get to HEAVEN."