Conjectural Emendation in the Book of Mormon

Royal Skousen

An Overview of Conjectural Emendation in the Critical Text Project

Critical texts have previously been prepared for important religious, historical, and literary works, but until fairly recently, not for the Book of Mormon. A critical text shows all the substantive changes that a written work has undergone, from its original version to its present editions. When referring to a critical text, the term means that notes accompany the text so that the reader can see how the work has changed over time and thus judge between alternative readings.

There are two main goals for the critical text of the Book of Mormon. The first is to determine, to the extent possible, the original English-language text of the book. The second purpose is to establish the history of the text, including both accidental errors and editorial changes that the book has undergone as it has been transmitted down through time in its many editions.

In my work on the critical text of the Book of Mormon, I normally rely on the earliest extant sources in determining the reading of the original text. I also look at usage elsewhere in the text to see if it will support the earliest reading or an alternative one. Sometimes the earliest extant reading will contain an unusual word or involve an awkward expression. In such cases, I look for linguistic evidence, both historical and dialectal, in support of such usage. Where appropriate, I consider evidence from biblical language, either from the King James Bible or from the original Hebrew and Greek that underlie the biblical translation. For a brief discussion of these points, along with some examples, see the section entitled "Textual Variants" in the introduction to volume 4 of the critical text, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon.1

After investigating these linguistic sources, I occasionally find cases where the earliest reading is problematic and sometimes even impossible. In instances of this kind, scribes, typesetters, and editors have typically emended the text by conjecture. Each of these cases must be thoroughly investigated to determine whether the conjectural emendation is most plausibly the correct one. But in some cases, neither the earliest reading nor its subsequent conjectural emendation may be acceptable. Such a situation may lead to the possibility of further conjectural emendation.

As an example of an early attempt to emend an impossible reading, consider the following reading from the original manuscript:

1 Nephi 7:5 (lines 5—6 on page 10 of the original manuscript)

hole

the lord did soften the hart of ishmael and also his ^hole

Here scribe 3 first wrote hole, then inserted the same word, hole, above the line, so that the corrected text reads "and also his hole hole." Clearly, this reading is unacceptable. When Oliver Cowdery copied this sentence into the printer's manuscript, he interpreted "his hole hole" as "his household," which is one possible conjecture. But usage elsewhere in the Book of Mormon text suggests that the correct emendation should be "his whole household." For example, all other Book of Mormon instances of household involve a universal quantifier, either all or whole or the negative equivalent, none. Consider ten cases in positive clauses where we find either all or whole as the universal quantifier:

"all his household"

1 Nephi 5:14, 2 Nephi 4:10, 2 Nephi 4:12, Alma 23:3, Ether 9:3, Ether 10:1, Ether 13:20, Ether 13:21

"all your household"

Alma 34:21

"his whole household"

Alma 22:23

The example in Alma 22:23 ("his whole household") suggests that the original text in 1 Nephi 7:5 also read "his whole household." Such a conjectural emendation would explain why scribe 3 ended up repeating hole in the original manuscript: hole and whole are homophones while hole and -hold are nearly identical in pronunciation.

It is instructive here to consider what I would do if the original manuscript were not extant for this passage. If this were the case, the earliest textual source would be the printer's manuscript, with its reading "Ishmael and also his household." Without the unacceptable reading of the original manuscript ("Ishmael and also his hole hole," with its repeated occurrence of hole), I would not be justified in emending the text of 1 Nephi 7:5 since there is nothing inherently wrong with "Ishmael and also his household." In fact, the plausibility of the current reading explains why no edition of the Book of Mormon has ever emended Oliver Cowdery's phraseology here in 1 Nephi 7:5 to read "Ishmael and also his whole household" (or "Ishmael and also all his household"). If the original manuscript were not extant here, I would simply have to say that, except for this one case, all the Book of Mormon instances of household have a universal quantifier. Just because an earliest reading is unique within the text is no excuse for an emendation. Statistically, there will always be unique readings in any text of sufficient length.

The crucial restriction on conjectural emendation is that there must be something actually wrong with the earliest extant reading. The initial motivation for proposing a new conjectural emendation is that none of the readings (either the earliest reading or subsequent emendations) make sense, after taking into account evidence from the history or dialects of the English language or, when appropriate, evidence from the King James Bible and from Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the biblical scriptures. And before accepting a proposed conjectural emendation, we must consider whether there is scribal evidence in the manuscripts or from manuscript transmission in general that would explain how the earliest textual reading might have been derived from the proposed conjectural emendation. In other words, the emendation must be supported by evidence from linguistic usage as well as scribal practice elsewhere in the manuscripts.

Throughout my work on the Book of Mormon critical text project, I have tried to credit those who have suggested conjectural emendations. When a suggested change has already appeared in print, I cite the earliest published source that I can find for that suggestion. In many cases, various individuals have communicated their suggestions directly to me. It is amazing how it has helped to have others looking for problematic readings in the text—difficult readings that I have been oblivious to until they were pointed out to me. Of course, some of these suggested emendations have turned out to have insufficient evidence to support their adoption. In other cases, further investigation of a problematic reading has sometimes led me to propose an alternative emendation. In volume 4 of the critical text, I discuss all of these cases of proposed changes and credit those who first suggested them to me. For a list of the proposed conjectural emendations for approximately the first half of the Book of Mormon (up through Alma 21), see the appendix to this article; except for Alma 21, this list derives from the conjectures that have been discussed in parts 1—3 of volume 4, published from 2004 through 2006.

One important aspect of conjectural emendation is that this process is sometimes more frequent than one might expect, although compared with other changes in the text, it is relatively infrequent. For instance, based on work on the critical text project thus far, about 95 percent of the changes proposed to the standard text are based on the earliest textual sources, mostly the two manuscripts. So relatively speaking, the effects of conjectural emendation are limited, accounting for about 5 percent of the changes. Even so, one must recognize that the text has been subjected to conjectural emendation from the earliest stages of textual transmission, especially by the scribes as they copied from the original manuscript (O) to the printer's manuscript (P) and by the 1830 compositor as he attempted to set the type from his copytext, usually the printer's manuscript P (but from Helaman 13 through Mormon 9, the original manuscript O). The 1830 compositor, John Gilbert, was frequently confronted with difficult readings, usually errors made in copying from O into P. The majority of his conjectural emendations appear to be correct, often because the emendation to the difficult reading was quite obvious, such as his decision to change "fasting and proping" (the reading in P for Omni 1:26) to "fasting and praying" (the 1830 edition).

In the following analysis, I give the statistics for the number of conjectural emendations made at various stages in the history of the Book of Mormon text. (These numbers are based on only those conjectural emendations that have been proposed for the first half of the Book of Mormon, up through Alma 21.) For each source, I specify how many of these emendations have been accepted and how many have been rejected in the critical text project:

accept

reject

1840 emendations made by Joseph Smith

appearing in the edition only

1

1

in other printed editions

LDS textual tradition

1841 British

2

1849

3

1852

2

1

1879

2

1902

1

1906

1

1911

1

1920

1

7

1981

5

1

RLDS textual tradition

1858 Wright

2

1874

1

1892

1

1908

1

1953

1

1

And as part of this project, I have considered quite a number of additional emendations, some proposed by others (a few in print but most by private communication) and many by me. Overall, I have accepted about one third of these more recently proposed conjectural emendations. Again, these statistics cover the first half of the text (up through Alma 21):

accept

reject

conjectural emendations

suggested by 24 individuals

14

37

suggested by me

42

78

The high number of conjectural emendations in this project is largely the result of using the computer to analyze thousands of textual variants. Textual variants frequently suggest the possibility of alternative readings, based on conjecture. If we consider all these conjectural emendations as a whole, we first observe that the process is not rare. Overall, about 40 percent of these proposed emendations have been accepted in the critical text project. Some textual sources for emendation have not fared as well as others. For instance, Oliver Cowdery's conjectural emendations in the original manuscript are generally unacceptable (with an acceptance rate of only 21 percent). Most of the conjectural emendations in the 1920 LDS edition are rejected in the critical text project (7 out of 8), while the rate of acceptance is quite high for the 1830 edition (60 percent), the 1837 edition (50 percent), and the 1981 edition (83 percent).

The Archaic Vocabulary of the Original Text

One finding that has complicated the application of conjectural emendation to the Book of Mormon text is that the vocabulary of the original Book of Mormon appears to derive from the English of the 1500s and 1600s, not from the 1800s. Lexical evidence suggests that the original text contained quite a few words with meanings that were lost from the English language by 1700. On the other hand, I have not been able thus far to find word meanings in the text that are known to have entered the English language after the early 1700s.

In the following sampling, I list some of the clearest examples in the Book of Mormon of this archaic vocabulary from the 1500s and 1600s. (In this discussion, I exclude, of course, archaic words such as besom 'broom' that are found in Book of Mormon quotations from the King James Bible.) For each word and its meaning, I provide citations from the original text of the Book of Mormon and corresponding citations from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and include the range of dates for citations in the OED with this meaning. In some instances, the word can be found with that meaning in the 1611 King James Bible (as in the first two examples listed below). Some of the other words appear to predate 1611 by a few decades. The difficulty of these archaic words has sometimes resulted in accidental changes during the early transmission of the Book of Mormon text. Other times, editors and typesetters have consciously replaced an archaic word with a more recognizable alternative.

to require 'to request'

Enos 1:18 (unedited)

and the Lord said unto me

thy fathers have also required of me this thing

OED, with citations from 1375 to 1665

William Shakespeare, Henry VIII (1613)

In humblest manner I require your Highnes, That it shall please you.

King James Bible

Ezra 8:22

For I was ashamed to require of the king

a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way

to cast arrows 'to shoot arrows'

Alma 49:4 (unedited)

the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them

Alma 49:19 (unedited)

and thus were the Nephites prepared to destroy all such

as should attempt to climb up to enter the fort by any other way

by casting over stones and arrows at them

OED, with citations from about 1300 to 1609

John Wycliffe's 1382 translation of 2 Kings 13:17

Helise seyde, kast an arowe; and he kest.

(in the King James Bible: "Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot.")

King James Bible

Proverbs 26:18

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death.

to counsel 'to counsel with'

Alma 37:37 (edited to counsel with in the 1920 LDS edition)

counsel the Lord in all thy doings

Alma 39:10 (edited to counsel with in the 1920 LDS edition)

and take it upon you to counsel your elder brothers in your undertakings

OED, with citations from 1382 to 1547

John Hooper (1547)

Moses . . . counselled the Lord

and thereupon advised his subjects what was to be done.

but if 'unless'

Mosiah 3:19 (edited to unless in the 1920 LDS edition)

for the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam

and will be forever and ever but if he yieldeth to the enticings of the Holy Spirit

OED, with citations from 1200 to 1596

Philip Sidney, Arcadia (1580)

He did not like that maides should once stir out of their fathers houses

but if it were to milke a cow.

to depart 'to part, divide, separate'

Helaman 8:11 (changed to parted in the 1830 edition)

God gave power unto one man even Moses

to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea and they departed hither and thither

OED, with citations from 1297 through 1677

John Wycliffe's 1388 translation of Isaiah 59:2

Ê’oure wickednesses han departid bitwixe Ê’ou and Ê’oure God

(in the King James Bible: "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God")

John Maundeville (about 1400)

þe ʒerde of Moyses, with þe whilk he departid þe Reed See

(meaning 'the rod [yard] of Moses with which he parted the Red Sea')

William Tyndale's 1526 translation of Romans 8:39

To departe us from Goddes love

(in the King James Bible: "to separate us from the love of God")

The Book of Common Prayer (1548—49)

Till death vs departe

(changed in 1662 to "Till death us do part")

Geneva Bible, 1557 translation of John 19:24

They departed my rayment among them

(in the King James Bible: "They parted my raiment among them")

extinct, referring to an individual's death

Alma 44:7 (unedited)

and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you

and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies that ye may become extinct

OED, with citations from 1483 through 1675

from a 1675 English translation of Machiavelli's The Prince

The Pope being dead and Valentine extinct

to raign, a shortened form of arraign

Alma 11:44 (changed to arraigned in the 1830 edition)

but all things shall be restored to its perfect frame

as it is now or in the body

and all shall be brought and be raigned before the bar of Christ the Son

and God the Father and the Holy Spirit

OED, with citations from 1444 through 1581

Henry Brinklow (1542)

The day whan ye shal be reygned at the judgemente seate of God.

Conjectural Emendations Based on Archaic Vocabulary

If the original vocabulary of the Book of Mormon text dates from Early Modern English, one might wonder if there are any archaic word meanings that were unrecognizable to Joseph Smith and his scribes, thus leading them to misinterpret and change the language during the early transmission of the text. Two possibilities have arisen thus far. The first one deals with the word ceremony in Mosiah 19:24: "and it came to pass that after they had ended the ceremony, that they returned to the land of Nephi." The problem with this passage is that the word ceremony seems out of place. The larger context implies that their discourse was simply over:

Mosiah 19:22—24

and it came to pass that

they were about to return to the land of Nephi

and they met the men of Gideon

and the men of Gideon told them of all that had happened

to their wives and their children

and that the Lamanites had granted unto them

that they might possess the land by paying a tribute to the Lamanites

of one half of all they possessed

and the people told the men of Gideon that they had slain the king

and his priests had fled from them farther into the wilderness

and it came to pass that after they had ended the ceremony

that they returned to the land of Nephi

rejoicing because their wives and their children were not slain

and they told Gideon what they had done to the king

The OED lists no meaning for ceremony that would work reasonably well for this passage except to assume that the conversation itself is a ceremony or that it involved some kind of ceremonial aspect in, for instance, recounting the execution of king Noah.

I have had a number of my students and research assistants try to find another word that might work better in Mosiah 19:22—24, one that would perhaps sound or look like ceremony. The idea behind this approach is that such a word might have been miscopied or misheard as ceremony. The most plausible suggestion proposed thus far comes from Renee Bangerter in her 1998 BYU master's thesis,2 where she proposes that the original word in Mosiah 19:24 might have been sermon. Although the current meanings for this word will not work in this passage, Bangerter notes that the OED gives the earliest meaning for sermon as 'something that is said; talk, discourse,' which would exactly fit the context described in Mosiah 19:22—24. This meaning is, however, obsolete; the last citation in the OED with this meaning dates from 1594: "Desiring Don Infeligo with very mild sermon to be friends with Medesimo again." The last citation with this meaning found on Literature Online comes from Giles Fletcher and dates from 1593: "Out of my braine I made his Sermon flow."3

In part 3 of volume 4 of the critical text, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon (published in August 2006), I discuss under Mosiah 19:24 how sermon could have accidentally been replaced by ceremony. Basically, I propose the following scenario: the scribe for the original manuscript (which is unfortunately not extant here) spelled sermon as cermon, which was then misread as ceremony (and spelled as cerimony) when Oliver Cowdery copied the word from the original manuscript into the printer's manuscript. Such a conjectural emendation is permissible if the vocabulary for the original Book of Mormon text dates from the 1500s and 1600s.

One argument that has been frequently made in support of ceremony here in Mosiah 19:24 is that in many cultures conversation is ceremonial, so the conveying of information between these two parties in Mosiah 19:22—23 could have been a ceremony. But by this standard, every event in the Book of Mormon could be shown to be ceremonial, cultic, or ritualistic in some way—whether launching ships, engraving scriptures, preaching, fighting battles, planting crops, taking journeys, or dying: anything can be explained as a ceremony. Yet it should be noted that the Book of Mormon otherwise lacks words like ceremony, rite, and cult. The word ceremony occurs nowhere else in the Book of Mormon text. And although the scribal spelling rites has been maintained in a few places in the text, it is virtually certain that in every case the original text read rights rather than rites, including two places in the current LDS text, Alma 43:45 and Alma 44:5. (These last two cases will be discussed in part 4 of volume 4 of the critical text, to appear in 2007.)

Besides the general proposal that conversation is a ceremony, some scholars have found different ceremonial aspects that could be linked to the conversation described in Mosiah 19:22—23. John Sorensen, for instance, has argued that the reference to a ceremony in verse 24 has something to do with the earlier killing of king Noah, described in verses 19—21: "Mosiah 19:24 speaks of a 'ceremony' in connection with the slaying of king Noah by his rebellious subjects, but there is no hint of the nature or purpose of that ceremony."4 John Tvedtnes, on the other hand, has argued that the ceremony referred to in Mosiah 19:24 is "one of purification associated with the onset of the fall festivals of the month of Tishre, at which time citizen-soldiers in the ancient Near East returned home to engage in the fall harvest."5

There is a more general problem with searching for cultural arguments as evidence for strange readings in a text—namely, there is no limit on the use of such arguments. If we hunt long enough, we can always find some culture somewhere with a practice that will support virtually any given reading (although for Book of Mormon work we might prefer that the evidence come from Mesoamerica or the Middle East). As an example, consider the case of Mosiah 17:13, where all the (extant) textual sources read "and scourged his skin with fagots." Although the textual and linguistic evidence is very clear that in Mosiah 17:13 scourged is a mishearing for scorched (see the discussion for that passage in part 3 of volume 4), yet some have defended the current reading scourged by hunting for examples of people being beaten with burning sticks or of people being beaten prior to being burned at the stake.6 In my own textual analyses of the Book of Mormon, I avoid using cultural evidence simply because it can always be found. In some cases, specific evidence from the Mosaic law and its practice may be appropriate, as in the discussion regarding whether striped, the spelling in the printer's manuscript for Alma 11:2, should be read as stripped or striped. But even there that evidence is restricted to practices that are explicitly referred to in the biblical text.

I have also found that the original text of the Book of Mormon always makes linguistic sense, although not necessarily for modern-day speakers of English. There are Hebrew-like constructions that seem strange, even unacceptable, in English, yet these constructions make sense from the point of view of Hebrew. There is vocabulary that is strange today but would have been understandable to English speakers living in the 1500s and 1600s. And the biblically styled language of the text seems to date from this same time period, yet it does not imitate the specific language of the King James Bible. (Of course, the biblical quotes in the Book of Mormon do follow the King James text for the most part.) So when we run up against otherwise inexplicable cases like ceremony in Mosiah 19:24, the most probable explanation is that ceremony stands for some kind of error providing the error can be explained as textually derivable from an appropriate emendation, one that is consistent with language elsewhere in the Book of Mormon. The proposed sermon does fit if we allow the possibility that the original vocabulary of the Book of Mormon derives from the 1500s and 1600s, not the 1800s.

The Pleading Bar of God

A second possible misinterpretation deals with the expression "the pleasing bar of God," as found in Jacob 6:13 (and similarly in Moroni 10:34 as "the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah"). In part 2 of volume 4 of the critical text (this part was published in August 2005), under Jacob 6:13, I argue that "the pleasing bar" is actually a mistake for "the pleading bar." An abbreviated description of the evidence for emending the text to "the pleading bar" was initially presented in 2004.7 This conjectural emendation was first proposed by Christian Gellinek in 2003. There are no uses of the term "the pleasing bar of God" anywhere on the Internet except in citations from the Book of Mormon, yet there is clear evidence that the legal term pleading bar was used in the 1600s. And as might be expected, no instances of pleading bar have thus far been found during the 1800s, in either England or the United States. But such a conjectural emendation is consistent with the hypothesis that the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon dates from Early Modern English.

Part of the argument here relies on the evidence from the manuscripts that at least Oliver Cowdery and maybe even Joseph Smith (as he dictated the text) tended to replace unfamiliar vocabulary with words they were familiar with, even if the resulting phraseology did not make much sense. In every case, there is considerable phonetic similarity between the words that were mixed up:

weed (O, P) instead of reed (1830 and all subsequent editions)

1 Nephi 17:48

and whoso shall lay their hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed

bosom (O, P) instead of besom (1830 and all subsequent editions)

2 Nephi 24:23 (Isaiah 14:23 in the King James Bible)

and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction

wrecked (P, all early editions, and all RLDS editions) instead of racked (1879 and all subsequent LDS editions)

Mosiah 27:29

my soul was racked with eternal torment

arrest (O, P, 1830 edition) instead of wrest (1837 and all subsequent editions)

Alma 13:20

behold the scriptures are before you

if ye will wrest them / it shall be to your own destruction

Alma 41:1

for behold some have wrested the scriptures

and have gone far astray because of this thing

drugs (O, P) instead of dregs (1830 and all subsequent editions)

Alma 40:26

and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup

fraction (O, P) instead of faction (1830 and all subsequent editions)

Alma 58:36

behold we fear that there is some faction in the government

Notice that some of these earliest readings will work: "wither even as a dried weed," "my soul was wrecked," "the drugs of a bitter cup," and "there is some fraction in the government." Yet in each case the phonetically similar word introduced into the printed edition works much better and more consistently with usage in the English language. Relying on Oliver's excessively elevated and ornate writing style in the Messenger and Advocate from October 1834, one might deduce that Oliver would never have made such mistakes. But the evidence from the Book of Mormon manuscripts (dating from 1829, over five years earlier) directly contradicts such an assumption. Oliver's language ability may have improved over the years. To be sure, the 1830 typesetter exceeded Oliver's language abilities at the time of the printing of the 1830 edition. Note that the 1830 typesetter is the one responsible for correcting most of the above misinterpreted phrases, but not all: even he left unchanged "my soul was wrecked" and "some have arrested the scriptures." The important point here is that Oliver twice accepted the implausible phraseology "to arrest the scriptures" (in Alma 13:20 and Alma 41:1) instead of the correct "to wrest the scriptures." In a similar way, he could have twice misinterpreted the phrase "the pleading bar" as "the pleasing bar" (in Jacob 6:13 and Moroni 10:34).

And these are not the only conjectural emendations that reject a workable but strange reading in the manuscripts, as in the following examples from 1 Nephi (all of which are extant in the original manuscript):

earliest reading

emended reading

1 Nephi 7:1

that might raise up seed

that they might raise up seed

1 Nephi 7:22

offer sacrifice and offer burnt offerings

offer sacrifice and burnt offerings

1 Nephi 12:1

and beheld the land / the land of promise

and beheld the land of promise

1 Nephi 17:53

but I will shock them

but I will shake them

1 Nephi 18:15

had much swollen exceedingly

had swollen exceedingly

(Interestingly, Oliver Cowdery himself made the first three of these emendations when he copied the text from O into P; I am responsible for the fourth one, while Joseph Smith made the last one in his editing for the 1837 edition.) When we compare each of these earliest readings with usage elsewhere in the Book of Mormon text as well as in the King James Bible or more generally in the English language, including Early Modern English, we discover that these earliest extant readings are probably not the original readings, even though these earliest readings will, in some sense, work.8

Just like the use of the word ceremony in Mosiah 19:24, one could argue that "the pleasing bar of God" is perfectly fine and should be left alone. Yet this phraseology is inconsistent with respect to the many references to being judged at "the bar of God" found throughout the Book of Mormon text. I repeat them here because it is important to realize that none of these passages refer in a positive way to the day of judgment; they are either negative or neutral:

negative

2 Nephi 33:15

for what I seal on earth shall be brought against you at the judgment bar

Jacob 6:9

know ye not that if ye will do these things

that the power of the redemption and the resurrection which is in Christ

will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God

Alma 5:22

how will any of you feel if ye shall stand before the bar of God

having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness

neutral

2 Nephi 33:11

and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar

Mosiah 16:10

even this mortal shall put on immortality

and this corruption shall put on incorruption

and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God

to be judged of him according to their works

whether they be good or whether they be evil

Alma 11:44

but all things shall be restored to its perfect frame

as it is now or in the body

and all shall be brought and be raigned before the bar of Christ the Son

and God the Father and the Holy Spirit

Alma 12:12

and Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death

and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality

and being brought before the bar of God

to be judged according to our works

Mormon 9:13

and they shall come forth both small and great

and all shall stand before his bar

being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death

Moroni 10:27

for ye shall see me at the bar of God

There is nothing here to suggest anything pleasing about the bar of God. In fact, we get the same result when we look at the two cases in the current text of pleasing bar. One passage is negative, the other neutral:

negative

Jacob 6:13

finally I bid you farewell

until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God

which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread

neutral

Moroni 10:34

and now I bid unto all farewell

I soon go to rest in the paradise of God

until my spirit and body shall again reunite

and I am brought forth triumphant through the air

to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah

the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead

The first example comes after a long passage (Jacob 6:5-12) in which Jacob warns the unrepentant of God's coming judgment.

Of course, one can always find some source that will support the notion that the day of judgment will be pleasing, at least to the righteous. One example is C. S. Lewis's claim in Reflections on the Psalms that the Psalms support an interpretation of the day of judgment in which we will be more like plaintiffs than defendants. C. S. Lewis provides evidence from the Psalms for his interpretation, citing examples like "when God arose to judgment to save all the meek of the earth" (Psalm 76:9, the King James Bible). But more importantly, C. S. Lewis does not ignore opposing evidence. For instance, he also cites those passages in the Psalms that support the traditional Christian view of the day of judgment, such as "and enter not into judgment with thy servant / for in thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Psalm 143:2, the King James Bible). And C. S. Lewis is rightly concerned that the positive view of the day of judgment might be misused: "All this of course has its spiritual danger. It leads into that typically Jewish prison of self-righteousness which Our Lord so often terribly rebuked."9 To be sure, there is no need here for C. S. Lewis to emphasize the supposed Jewish nature of this self-righteousness; it seems to be endemic to the whole human race! But ultimately, the use of C. S. Lewis's writings is irrelevant in determining the text of the Book of Mormon. As with the example of ceremony in Mosiah 19:24, we can always find some cultural evidence in support of our interpretation of the text. There will always be evidence that for some the day of judgment will be "a resounding triumph."

In the Book of Mormon text, on the other hand, we have a strong and consistent image of the day of judgment as a trial before the bar of God. Nor is there any reason from the text itself to assume that these references to the bar of God are merely figurative or metaphorical. Note, in particular, the use of the very legalistic word arraign (originally raign in the Book of Mormon text) in Alma 11:44: "and all shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ." In fact, the legal interpretation should also be applied to the proposed "the pleading bar of God." The term pleading here does not refer to making a plea for mercy. As lawyers know, the word pleading refers to making one's case in court (originally oral, now written) and neutrally refers to the arguments and evidence both for and against a person. (See the earliest definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary for the noun pleading as well as for the noun plea and the verb plead.)

Another legal aspect to the judgment of God is found in two separate statements in the Book of Mormon—namely, that Christ's twelve apostles in Jerusalem and the twelve Nephite disciples or ministers will play some role in judging the house of Israel:

1 Nephi 12:8—10

and the angel spake unto me saying

behold the twelve disciples of the Lamb

which are chosen to minister unto thy seed

and he saith unto me

thou remembereth the twelve apostles of the Lamb

behold they are they which shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel

wherefore the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them

for ye are of the house of Israel

and these twelve ministers which thou beholdest shall judge thy seed

Mormon 3:18—19

yea behold I write unto all the ends of the earth

yea unto you twelve tribes of Israel

which shall be judged according to your works by the twelve

whom Jesus chose to be his disciples in the land of Jerusalem

and I write also unto the remnant of this people

which shall also be judged by the twelve

whom Jesus chose in this land

and they shall be judged by the other twelve

whom Jesus chose in the land of Jerusalem

Here the references to the twelve apostles judging the twelve Nephite ministers imply that the judgment being referred to is individual, not collective. Although the specific role of the twelve in that judgment is not spelled out, it is clearly referred to. One should not automatically dismiss the idea that the twelve may play a role in the day of judgment.

The Book of Mormon also refers to the day of judgment as occurring before the judgment seat of God (12 times), as in "that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ" (from the title page of the Book of Mormon). Interestingly, references to the bar of God in the Book of Mormon are restricted to the day of judgment, while the judgment seat as a place of judgment is also used to refer to secular governing (45 times), as in the statement that Kishcumen "murdered Parhoron as he sat upon the judgment seat" (Helaman 1:9).10 There is biblical evidence in support of being secularly judged before the judgment seat (10 times in the New Testament), as in Pilate's judgment of Christ in Matthew 27:19: "when he was set down on the judgment seat / his wife sent unto him." The use in the Book of Mormon of "the bar of God" seems real enough even though it may not represent an ancient system of judgment (unlike the references to the judgment seat).

Now let us turn to the question of external evidence for the phrases "the pleasing bar of God" and "the pleading bar of God." One thing is quite clear: in judicial contexts there is irrefutable linguistic evidence for pleading bar, but none thus far for pleasing bar (except in the current Book of Mormon text). To be sure, there is evidence for pleasing bar alone, as in "the most aesthetically pleasing bar in Manchai" and "a visually pleasing bar at the side of the screen."11 Of course, these examples are not evidence for "the pleasing bar of God."

There are two Internet citations that refer to a seventeenth-century English courtroom, now a museum, in Fordwich, England (near Canterbury). This courtroom dates from the time of Charles II (reigned 1649—60). The citations clearly identify what the pleading bar is:

The tour ended at the town hall. Mr. Tritton said: "That was the most interesting part of the day. The people who made the film reproduced the court room back at their studio. They had the jury bench, the pleading bar, everything, right down to the smallest detail of King Charles II's coat of arms."

At the head of the stairs, Sgt. Bassett ducks under a beam inscribed 'Love and honour the truth.' In real life the court's pleading bar, where prisoners stood while on trial, is at the head of the stairs. It does not obstruct anyone entering the room, nor bear an inscription—though the motto 'Love and honour the truth' is prominent under King Charles II's Coat of Arms, displayed on the ceiling above the panelled rear wall.12

On the first floor is the Court Room where all criminal cases in Fordwich were tried until 1886. The accused would stand flanked by the Town Constables, at the "pleading bar" situated at the head of the stairs. (Hence the expression "prisoner at the bar"). The Judge or chief magistrate was the Mayor for the time being and he sat in the chair at the north end of the room, flanked by six Jurats on each side, seated on the "bench." The Mayor's seat and bench together with the paneling are early Tudor in origin.13

One could dismiss these citations to pleading bar as somehow errors, especially since they are not found in legal documents dating from the 1600s. Yet the term pleading bar does exist in literary references that do date from the early 1600s.14 In the first case, there is no doubt that the whole passage refers metaphorically to a courtroom:

John Harington, Orlando Furioso (1607), book 27, stanza 46, lines 369—72:

If you deny my claim, here I will prove it,

This field the court, this list my pleading bar,

My plea is such, as no writ can remove it,

My judge must be the sequel of the war.15

(Here list specifies an area set aside for jousting or other combat.) The second citation is found in a play that was apparently written no later than 1634:

John Webster, Appius and Virginia, act 5, scene 1

Fortune hath lift thee to my Chair,

and thrown me headlong to thy pleading bar.

Of particular interest here is the evidence that John Webster was no novice in legal matters. Scholars have argued that he was admitted to the Middle Temple (one of the English courts of law) on 1 August 1598. Moreover, he is considered the primary author of a play that deals with legal issues, The Devil's Law Case; or, When Women Go to Law, the Devil Is Full of Business (published in 1623). Thus it is not surprising that there is a metaphorical reference to pleading bar in his play Appius and Virginia, first published in 1654 (after Webster's death) and attributed to Webster (the title page refers to Webster as the sole author, although he may have had collaborators, a common enough practice even today).16

Now one may claim that the term pleading bar cannot be found in judicial records dating from Early Modern English. This may be so—although there are a lot of legal records to be checked, most of which have never been electronically transcribed. There might be a good reason for why the term might be missing from legal records—namely, legal records refer to the specifics of cases, not to the structure of the courtroom, neither to its furniture nor to the placement of that furniture. The claim that pleading bar does not exist in judicial records is meaningless unless one has already established that in general there are references in those records to the courtroom structure and its furniture. More likely, the term pleading bar would appear in histories commenting on specific cases, or in literary works that use the term metaphorically, as we have seen.

But if we look long enough, maybe we can find the term pleading bar in an actual legal source from the 1500s and 1600s. Quite recently, with the kind help of Frank Kelland, a reference librarian at the Howard W. Hunter Law Library at Brigham Young University, I have been able to locate such an instance of the term pleading bar—namely, in the Law Notes Collection deposited in the Department of Special Collections, the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, at the University of Kansas. These seventeenth-century notes are written in the secretary script, a court-derived script common in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.17 These notes have the manuscript number MS P367 and are identified as a quire of twelve leaves containing a list of headings written in English for the most part and with notes below each heading written in "law French." The bibliographic citation states that "each heading is followed by a number of phrases—legal apothegms, definitions, judgements—each with a citation either to a statute or to what is apparently a page number. Crowding and blanks indicate on-the-spot compilation." The word apothegm here refers to "a short, pithy, and instructive saying or formulation."18 And at the top of the eighth leaf, we have a heading with the term "Pleading bar & trav's." The last word, trav's, is Law French for travers and means "denial in pleading."19 Thus the heading is equivalent to pleading bar and denial. On the twelfth leaf, the date is given as "21 Ja. 15" (presumably 21 January 1615). The University of Kansas bibliographer states that this quire "may have been tipped into a printed book." In other words, the quire seems to have served as an index for an unidentified law book, especially since the headings are arranged alphabetically and the reference citations were added as they were found in the book. The law book itself was probably in French.

In my mind, the linguistic use of pleading bar as a legal term is established. This is not the relevant issue. Rather, the issue is whether the original Book of Mormon text referred to "the pleasing bar of God" or to "the pleading bar of God."

One may then ask, "Why should the Lord give a revealed text to Joseph Smith that he, Joseph Smith, could not fully understand?" Frankly, I do not know the answer. But the evidence is mounting that despite the strangeness of it all, the revealed text was not fully comprehensible to readers in the 1800s (nor to readers today). This is not just an issue of the archaic vocabulary. There are also the non-English Hebraisms in the original text (such as the repeated use of the if-and construction originally in Helaman 12:13—21), constructions that were generally removed by Joseph Smith in his editing for the second (1837) edition. So why did the Lord reveal such a Hebraistic text? We do not know why, but we do know that he did do it! And why did the Lord allow the text to be given in nonstandard English? We do not know why, but it was! And why did the Lord choose to have the biblical quotations based on the King James Bible when some of its language was unrecognizable to Joseph Smith and his scribes (as in the indecipherable "the besom of destruction")? If one assumes that the Lord would only reveal a perfectly understandable text, then we must assume that all of these strange linguistic uses must be mistakes that Joseph or his scribes introduced into the text.

The point is this: we go where the evidence leads us. And we consider all the evidence, not picking and choosing only those interpretations that support our own conceptions. We may have our own views of what may happen at the day of judgment, but we shouldn't let those views determine how we establish the Book of Mormon text. Just because we may think that the day of judgment will be a positive experience (for us, at least), this does not mean that the Book of Mormon text must agree with us.

There are other examples where our interpretation of the text has been influenced by our conceptions of what the Lord will and will not do. Consider B. H. Roberts' claim that the Book of Mormon text could not have been given word for word directly by the Lord since the resulting text was in ungrammatical English:

If the Book of Mormon is a real translation instead of a word-for-word bringing over from one language into another, and it is insisted that the divine instrument, Urim and Thummim, did all, and the prophet nothing—at least nothing more than to read off the translation made by Urim and Thummim—then the divine instrument is responsible for such errors in grammar and diction as occur. But this is to assign responsibility for errors in language to a divine instrumentality, which amounts to assigning such errors to God. But that is unthinkable, not to say blasphemous. Also, if it be contended that the language of the Book of Mormon, word for word, and letter for letter, was given to the prophet by direct inspiration of God, acting upon his mind, then again God is made responsible for the language errors in the Book of Mormon—a thing unthinkable.20

According to this view, it is tantamount to blasphemy to think that God would make a grammatical error in English. Of course, what B. H. Roberts was really claiming here was that if God had given the text word for word, it would have been in his, B. H. Roberts', correct English!

A similar example of letting our own conceptions determine our interpretation is found in the assumption that Joseph Smith must have read from an actual copy of the King James Bible when he translated the biblical quotations in the Book of Mormon, mainly because in those passages the Book of Mormon text follows the King James text:

There appears to be only one answer to explain the word-for-word similarities between the verses of Isaiah in the Bible and the same verses in the Book of Mormon. When Joseph Smith translated the Isaiah references from the small plates of Nephi, he evidently opened his King James Version of the Bible and compared the impression he had received in translating with the words of the King James scholars. If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James Version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible.21

The unstated assumption here is that if the Lord himself had chosen the translation for the biblical quotations, he would have used his own translation or one that would have directly reflected what was on the plates, rather than following an outdated, awkward, and occasionally mistranslated King James text. But perhaps the Lord himself decided to use the King James text as the base text but allowed for the occasional alteration, just as when Moroni cited the Bible to Joseph Smith, sometimes in agreement with the King James text and other times differently (as explained in Joseph Smith—History 1:36—40).

Clearly, making conjectural emendations is often a difficult task. Sometimes the correct reading is obvious: "it came pass" is undoubtedly an error for "it came to pass." But in many instances, no clear-cut decision is possible, although a text must be chosen when one decides to publish an edition of the Book of Mormon or to translate it into another language. There are degrees of uncertainty, and some conjectures are more conjectural than others. For me, pleading bar makes perfectly good sense, pleasing bar does not. Others are welcome to their own views.

Appendix: Substantive Conjectural Emendations (from the title page through Alma 21)

In the following, I provide a list of substantive conjectural emendations for the first half of the Book of Mormon text (up through Alma 21). I exclude here cases of emendation involving punctuation or grammar.

There are five columns: (1) the passage from the Book of Mormon in which the emendation occurs; (2) the earliest or standard reading; (3) the proposed conjecture; (4) the source for the conjecture (that is, who proposed it first); and (5) whether the conjecture is accepted in the critical text project.

Two-symbol abbreviations are used for the names of the books; basically, for single-word books, the first and last letter are used to represent the book (thus jb = Jacob, es = Enos, jm = Jarom, oi = Omni, mh = Mosiah, aa = Alma); for other books, symbols for each key word are used (thus 1n = 1 Nephi, 2n = 2 Nephi, wm = Words of Mormon).

The numbers following the books' names stand for the chapter and verse. I assign two numbers each to the chapter and verse, with a leading zero when necessary, thus 1n0205 stands for 1 Nephi 2:5. I use 00 to stand for an original preface, thus 1n0100 stands for the preface to 1 Nephi that is found just prior to chapter 1 of 1 Nephi.

I use bold in the readings to show where the conjectural emendation occurs. If the conjecture involves a fairly long addition to the text, I use NULL to mean that the words are not found in the earliest or standard reading.

In giving the source for the emendations, I use O to stand for the original manuscript, P for the printer's manuscript. O* and P* stand for original or initial readings in the two manuscripts, while Oc and Pc stand for corrected readings in the two manuscripts. If the change first appears in an edition, I give the year for that edition. If an R follows the year, this means that edition is an RLDS edition; the 1858 edition is followed by W to indicate that it was the 1858 Wright edition, a privately printed edition that serves as part of the RLDS textual tradition.

Sometimes conjectures can be identified with specific individuals, in which case I give their name. Certain two-letter abbreviations are used for the following individuals who are responsible for a large number of conjectures: OC = Oliver Cowdery, JG = John Gilbert, JS = Joseph Smith, and RS = Royal Skousen. Some of the manuscript scribes are unidentified, so they are represented by the symbol S followed by a number: S3 in O and S2 in P.

passage

earliest or standard reading

conjecture

source

critical text

3witness

we beheld and bear record

we beheld and bare record

1874R

accept

1n0100

I Nephi wrote this record

One Nephi wrote this record

Karl Franson

1n0205

nearer the Red Sea

near the Red Sea

RS

1n0316

the commandment

the commandment of the Lord

OC: Oc

1n0409

and beheld his sword

and I beheld his sword

OC: P

accept

1n0411

the Spirit saith

and the Spirit saith

OC: Oc

accept

1n0433

go down in the wilderness

go down into the wilderness

RS

accept

1n0508

yea and also know

yea and I also know

OC: P

accept

1n0701

that might raise up seed

that they might raise up seed

OC: P

accept

1n0705

and also his hole hole

and also his household

OC: P

1n0705

and also his hole hole

and also his whole household

RS

accept

1n0717

my faith which is in me

my faith which is in thee

OC: Oc

1n0719

to lay hands upon me

to lay their hands upon me

RS

1n0720

that they had done against

that they had done against me

OC: Oc

accept

1n0722

offer sacrifice and offer burnt offerings

offer sacrifice and burnt offerings

OC: P

accept

1n0811

and beheld that it was most sweet

and I beheld that it was most sweet

OC: P

1n0812

that it was desirous

that it was desirable

JS: 1837

1n0820

a straight and narrow path

a strait and narrow path

1981

1n1106

the Most High

the Most High God

OC: Oc

1n1136

the pride of the world

the pride of the world and it fell

OC: Oc

1n1201

and beheld the land the land of promise

and beheld the land of promise

OC: Pc

accept

1n1204

that it rent the rocks

rent the rocks

S3, Oc

1n1204

that it rent the rocks

and the rocks that they rent

OC: Oc

1n1223

a dark and loathsome and a filthy

a dark and a loathsome and a filthy

RS

1n1324

the gospel of the Land

the gospel of the Lord

OC: P

1n1324

the gospel of the Land

the gospel of the Lamb

RS

accept

1n1332

that state of awful woundedness

that state of awful blindness

JS: 1837

1n1332

that state of awful woundedness

that state of awful wickedness

RS

accept

1n1412

their dominion ... were small

their dominions ... were small

JS: 1837

accept

1n1427

the name and apostle of the Lamb

the name of the apostle of the Lamb

OC: P

accept

1n1428

which I saw

which I saw and heard

OC: P

1n1429

and I bear record

and I bare record

RS

1n1528

also from the saints

and also from the saints

OC: Oc

accept

1n1530

the justices of God

the justice of God

OC: P

accept

1n1533

to be judged of their work

to be judged of their works

1830

accept

1n1534

that there cannot

and there cannot

OC: Oc

1n1535

the devil is the preparator of it

the devil is the father of it

JS: Pc

1n1535

the devil is the father of it

the devil is the foundation of it

JS: 1837

accept

1n1535

the devil is the preparator of it

the devil is the proprietor of it

Renee Bangerter

accept

1n1535

the final state of the souls of man

the final state of the souls of men

OC: P

1n1535

the final state of the souls of man

the final state of the soul of man

RS

accept

1n1607

the elder daughter of Ishmael

the eldest daughter of Ishmael

1830

accept

1n1621

having lost their springs

having lost their spring

1953R

1n1703

and provide ways and means

and provide means

OC: P

1n1703

he did provide ways and means

he did provide ways

OC: P

1n1721

which time we might have enjoyed

in the which time we might have enjoyed

RS

1n1743

I know not but they are ...

I know not but what they are ...

RS

1n1748

wither even as a dried weed

wither even as a dried reed

1830

accept

1n1753

but I will shock them

but I will shake them

RS

accept

1n1806

with all our loading

with all our lading

RS

1n1815

had much swollen exceedingly

had swollen exceedingly

JS: 1837

accept

1n1902

at that time which I made them

at that time when I made them

OC: Oc

1n1910

yieldeth himself

yieldeth himself up

RS

1n1910

and according to the words

according to the words

JS: 1837

accept

1n1913

and power and glory

and the power and glory

1920

1n1920

NULL

I should have perished also

JS: 1837

1n1923

in the books of Moses

written in the books of Moses

OC: Oc

1n2001

NULL

or out of the waters of baptism

JS: 1840; 1920

1n2011

how should I suffer my name ...

I will not suffer my name ...

OC: Oc

1n2107

to servant of rulers

to a servant of rulers

RS

accept

1n2111

make all my mountains away

make all my mountains a way

JS: 1840

accept

1n2124

or the lawful captive

or the lawful captives

1830

1n2125

the captive of the mighty

the captives of the mighty

1830

2n0120

keep his commandments

keep my commandments

OC: Oc

2n0124

whose views have been glorious

whose visions have been glorious

RS

2n0211

neither holiness nor misery

neither happiness nor misery

Corbin Volluz

accept

2n0214

and now my son

and now my sons

1830

accept

2n0222

which they were

in which they were

1920

2n0226

by the punishment of the law

by the punishment of the Lord

1908R

2n0312

the fruit of my loins

the fruit of thy loins

1837

accept

2n0314

the fruit of thy loins

the fruit of my loins

1837

accept

2n0318

I will raise up

I will raise up one

RS

accept

2n0320

their cry shall go

their cry shall go forth

RS

accept

2n0415

and writeth them

and I writeth them

RS

2n0426

hath visited me

hath visited men

JG: 1830

2n0511

we did reap again in abundance

we did reap grain in abundance

Stephen Carr

2n0706

I gave my back to the smiter

I gave my back to the smiters

RS

accept

2n0711

all ye that kindleth fire

all ye that kindle a fire

RS

accept

2n0804

for a light thing of the people

for a light of the people

JS: 1837

accept

2n0815

the Lord thy God

the Lord thy God that divided the sea

Stan Larson

2n0819

these two sons

these two things

John Tvedtnes

2n0823

unto the hand of them

into the hand of them

1830

accept

2n0905

it should be among them

he should be among them

RS

2n0913

the grave deliver up the body

the grave deliver up the bodies

1953R

accept

2n0915

insomuch as they have become ...

inasmuch as they have become ...

RS

2n0916

their torment is a lake of fire

their torment is as a lake of fire

JS: 1837

2n0922

at the great and judgment day

at the great judgment day

RS

2n0941

his paths are righteousness

his paths are righteous

1837

2n1003

for it behooveth our God

for thus it behooveth our God

1830

2n1014

he that raiseth up a king

he that riseth up as a king

RS

2n1023

this way of everlasting death

the way of everlasting death

1830

accept

2n1209

the mean man boweth down

the mean man boweth not down

JS: 1837

2n1402

and excellent and comely

excellent and comely 1830

accept

2n1605

woe me

woe is unto me

JS: 1837

2n1609

they understand not

they understood not

1837

2n2506

made mention unto my children

made mention

RS

accept

2n2508

in the last days

in the last day

JG: Pc

2n2513

he is laid in a sepulchre

he has laid in a sepulchre

RS

2n2520

and also give him power

and also gave him power

1830

accept

2n2609

the Son of righteousness

the Sun of righteousness

Sidney Sperry

accept

2n2702

visited with the Lord of Hosts

visited of the Lord of Hosts

JG: 1830

accept

2n2706

and shall be the words of them

and they shall be the words of them

JG: 1830

accept

2n2812

false teachers and false doctrine

false teachers and false doctrines

RS

accept

2n2823

and death and hell and the devil

and the devil

Nathaniel Skousen

accept

2n2904

do they remember the travels

do they remember the travails

Stan Larson; 1981

accept

2n3017

which is sealed upon earth

which is sealed on earth

RS

2n3109

the straightness of the path

the straitness of the path

1981

accept

2n3309

and walk in the straight path

and walk in the strait path

1981

accept

jb0116

to search much gold and silver

to search for much gold and silver

RS

jb0211

get thou up into the temple

get thee up into the temple

RS

jb0212

and all manner of precious ores

and for all manner of precious ores

1902, 1911

accept

jb0218

seek ye for the kingdom of God

seek ye first the kingdom of God

Mark Skousen

jb0234

ye have come unto great condemnation

ye have come under great condemnation

Joanne Case

jb0305

their filthiness and the cursings

their filthiness and the cursing

1920

accept

jb0411

and obtained a good hope

and having obtained a good hope

RS

accept

jb0501

which spake unto the house of Israel

which he spake unto the house of Israel

1879

accept

jb0508

I take away many ...

I will take away many ...

RS

accept

jb0513

in the nethermost part

in the nethermost parts

RS

accept

jb0524

behold that I have nourished also

behold that I have nourished it also

1830

accept

jb0529

let us go down in the vineyard

let us go down into the vineyard

1830

accept

jb0537

thou beheldest

thou beholdest

1830

accept

jb0544

thou beholdest

thou beheldest

OC: Pc

jb0545

thou beholdest

thou beheldest

OC: Pc

jb0545

and the part thereof

and a part thereof

1830

jb0547

I have digged it

I have digged about it

JS: 1837

accept

jb0574

and the Lord had preserved

and the Lord had observed

Paul Huntzinger

jb0574

and the Lord had preserved

and the good the Lord had preserved

Paul Huntzinger

accept

jb0575

and hath brought

and it hath brought

David Calabro

accept

jb0601

this prophet Zenos

the prophet Zenos

RS

jb0613

the pleasing bar of God

the pleading bar of God

RS

jb0701

some years had passed away

after some years had passed away

OC: Oc, Pc

jb0701

some years had passed away

some years had passed away and

RS

accept

jb0704

he was learned that he had ...

he was learned in that he had ...

James Siebach

jb0704

he was learned that he had ...

he was learned so that he had ...

RS

jb0708

poured in his Spirit into my soul

poured his Spirit into my soul

Joanne Case

es0103

and the words which ...

and I pondered the words which ...

Lyle Fletcher

es0103

and the words which ...

and I remembered the words which ...

Lyle Fletcher

accept

es0113

some future day

at some future day

1830

es0118

thy fathers have also required of me

thy fathers have also requested of me

Joanne Case

es0121

and flocks of herds

and flocks of birds

George Talbot

es0121

and flocks of herds

and flocks and herds

RS

jm0112

destroyed upon the face of the land

destroyed from off the face of the land

RS

oi0110

behold I Abinadom I am ...

behold I Abinadom am ...

JS: 1837

oi0118

they are written but not in these plates

they are written but not upon these plates

RS

oi0126

fasting and proping

fasting and praying

1830

accept

wm0105

I chose these things

I choose these things

1852

accept

wm0115

and they punished

and they had been punished

Stan Larson

mh0102

which was delivered them

which was delivered unto them

RS

mh0411

which was spoken by the mouth ...

which was spoken of by the mouth ...

RS

mh0414

and save the devil

and serve the devil

OC: Pc

accept

mh0502

a mighty chance in us

a mighty change in us

OC: Pc

accept

mh0718

in this wise

on this wise

RS

mh0813

for that he had not ought

for that which he had not ought

RS

mh0817

things which has past

things which are past

1920

mh0817

things which has past

things which is past

David Calabro

mh0817

things which has past

things which has passed

RS

accept

mh0904

near to the land of our fathers

near the land of our father s

RS

mh1005

spin and toil and work and work

spin and toil and work

RS

accept

mh1012

a wild and ferocious and a bloodthirsty

a wild and a ferocious and a bloodthirsty

RS

mh1012

and they were also wronged

and that they were also wronged

RS

mh1016

they were wrath with him

they were wroth with him

1830

accept

mh1109

with gold and silver and with ...

with gold and with silver and with ...

RS

mh1123

and turn the Lord their God

and turn unto the Lord their God

OC: Pc

mh1123

and turn the Lord their God

and turn to the Lord their God

RS

accept

mh1202

and prophesying saying

and prophesy saying

1837

accept

mh1202

smitten on the cheek

smitten on the cheeks

RS

mh1205

shall be driven before

shall be driven forth

Joanne Case

mh1229

hath cause send me

hath cause to send me

1830

accept

mh1502

he dwelleth in flesh

he dwelleth in the flesh

RS

mh1503

thus becoming the Father and Son

thus becoming the Father and the Son

RS

mh1509

taken upon himself their iniquity

taking upon himself their iniquity

Lyle Fletcher

mh1509

taken upon himself their iniquity

and taken upon himself their iniquity

RS

mh1509

taken upon himself their iniquity

having taken upon himself their iniquity

RS

accept

mh1516

that art still publishing peace

that are still publishing peace

1830

accept

mh1601

he stretched forth his hands

he stretched forth his hand

1830

mh1603

carnal sensual devilish

carnal sensual and devilish

David Calabro

mh1607

or have broken the bands of death

or broken the bands of death

RS

accept

mh1710

yea and will suffer

yea and I will suffer

JG: 1830

accept

mh1710

yea and I will suffer even until death

yea and I will suffer even unto death

RS

accept

mh1713

and scourged his skin with fagots

and scorched his skin with fagots

RS

accept

mh1807

after many day

after many a day

RS

mh1807

after many day

after many days

1830

accept

mh1828

to those priests that stood in need

and to those priests that stood in need

1830

mh1903

to breathe out threatening

to breathe out threatenings

1830

accept

mh1924

after they had ended the ceremony

after they had ended the sermon

Renee Bangerter

accept

mh1924

after they had ended the ceremony

after they had ended the testimony

Don Brugger

mh1926

made oath unto the king

made an oath unto the king

RS

mh2019

and now behold and tell the king

and now behold tell the king

RS

mh2106

to murmur with the king

to murmur to the king

Karl Franson

mh2118

and secure their grain

and secured their grain

1849

mh2118

and secure their grain

to secure their grain

RS

accept

mh2128

king Benjamin had a gift

king Mosiah had a gift

1837

mh2208

and our children our flocks and

and our children and our flocks and

RS

mh2312

bound with the bands of iniquity

bound with the bonds of iniquity

RS

mh2317

except it were by him from God

except it were given him from God

Karl Franson

mh2401

and the land of Shilom

and in the land of Shilom

1830

mh2411

and put guards over them

and he put guards over them

1830

mh2506

and he also read the account of Alma

and he also read the account of Alma

and his brethren and all their afflictions

Ellis Harris

accept

and he also read the account of Ammon

mh2609

Alma did know concerning them

Alma did not know concerning them

OC: Pc

mh2623

for it is I that hath created them

for it is I that hath created him

Richard Tripp

mh2633

the people of that church

the people of the church

Ross Geddes

mh2638

sufferings all manner of afflictions

suffering all manner of afflictions

1830

accept

mh2711

behold the angel of the Lord appeared

behold an angel of the Lord appeared

Joanne Case

mh2716

that their prayers may answered

that their prayers may be answered

1830

accept

mh2719

he could not move his hands

he could not move his limbs

Ross Geddes

mh2729

my soul was wrecked

my soul was racked

1879

accept

mh2730

but now that they may foresee

but now I know that they may foresee

David Calabro

accept

mh2803

the very thoughts

the very thought

RS

mh2804

and suffering much fearing

suffering much and fearing

1920

mh2810

which would accept of the kingdom

which would accept the kingdom

RS

mh2817

from that time until the creation

from that time back until the creation

1920

mh2907

which will cause wars

which would cause wars

1830

mh2907

yea and destroy the souls

yea and destroying the souls

Paul Thomas

mh2919

must unavoidably remained

must unavoidably remain

S2: P*; 1849

mh2919

must unavoidably remained

must unavoidably have remained

1858W

mh2919

must unavoidably remained

must have unavoidably remained

RS

accept

mh2921

ye cannot death an iniquitous king

ye cannot remove an iniquitous king

S2: Pc

mh2925

choose you ... judges

choose ye ... judges

RS

mh2930

and I commanded you

and I command you

JG: 1830

mh2932

that this inequality should be no more

that this iniquity should be no more

RS

mh2933

the trials and troubles a righteous king

the trials and troubles of a righteous king

1830

accept

mh2936

contentions and bloodshed

contentions and bloodsheds

RS

mh2942

appointed to be the chief judge

appointed to be the first chief judge

1837

mh2946

being sixty and three years

being sixty and three years old

1830

accept

aa0115

they carried him upon the top

they carried him up on the top

RS

accept

aa0124

they were remembered no more

they were numbered no more

RS

accept

aa0125

they bore with patience

they bare with patience

RS

aa0126

and the priest not esteeming himself

and the priest also not esteeming himself

Alison Coutts

aa0129

whatsoever they stood in need

whatsoever they stood in need of

RS

aa0130

that was hungry

or that was hungry

1830

accept

aa0132

and in envyings and strife

and in envyings and strifes

John Gee

aa0204

and privileges of the church

and the privileges of the church

RS

accept

aa0211

Amlikites

Amlicites

1830

accept

aa0222

to watch camp of the Amlicites

to watch the camp of the Amlicites

1830

accept

aa0225

they obtain possession of our city

they will obtain possession of our city

RS

aa0227

as the sands of the sea

as the sand of the sea

David Calabro

aa0238

by those beasts and also the vultures

by those beasts and also by the vultures

RS

aa0238

heaped up on the earth

heaped upon the earth

1892R

aa0238

heaped up on the earth

heaped up upon the earth

RS

aa0305

save it were skin

save it were a skin

RS

accept

aa0316

and again will I set a mark

and again I will set a mark

1830

accept

aa0405

three thousand five hundred souls

three thousand and five hundred souls

David Calabro

aa0408

their own wills and pleasure

their own will and pleasure

1830

aa0503

the land was called the land of ...

the land which was called the land of ...

1830

aa0504

delivered out of the hand of ...

delivered out of the hands of ...

1830

aa0507

in the midst of darkness

in the mist of darkness

John Tvedtnes

aa0511

did he not speak the word of God

did he not speak the words of God

JS: 1837

aa0511

and my father Alma believed them

and my father Alma believe them

1830

aa0511

and my father Alma believed them

and my father Alma believed him

RS

aa0525

such an one can have place in ...

such an one can have a place in...

1858W

aa0535

ye shall not be put down

ye shall not be hewn down

1830

aa0535

ye shall not be put down

ye shall not be cut down

RS

accept

aa0548

yea the Son of the Only Begotten

yea the Son the Only Begotten

JS: 1837

accept

aa0704

yea hath given unto me

yea he hath given unto me

RS

aa0712

how to suffer his people

how to succor his people

1837

accept

aa0727

your women and your children

and your women and your children

RS

aa0727

from this time forth and forever

from this time henceforth and forever

RS

aa0820

I know that thou will be a blessing

I know that thou wilt be a blessing

1841

aa0821

and set before Alma

and set it before Alma

RS

aa0922

they having been waxed strong

they having waxed strong

1920

aa0928

the power and captivation of the devil

the power and captivity of the devil

Ross Geddes

aa1002

I am the son of Gidanah

I am the son of Giddonah

1830

aa1007

and thou shall receive him

and thou shalt receive him

JS: 1837

aa1019

the people should cause iniquity

the people should choose iniquity

JG: 1830

accept

aa1020

repent ye repent

repent ye repent ye

RS

aa1022

by pestilence and the sword

by pestilence and by the sword

RS

aa1028

the people cried out ... saying

the people cried out ...

OC: Pc

aa1101

should receive wages

should receive his wages

RS

accept

aa1121

and this Zeezrom began to question

and thus Zeezrom began to question

RS

accept

aa1121

and this Zeezrom began to question

and now this Zeezrom began to question

RS

aa1136

I speak as though I had authority

I spake as though I had authority

1830

aa1142

which is called temporal death

which is called a temporal death

1830

aa1144

and shall be brought

and all shall be brought

Ross Geddes

accept

aa1144

and be raigned before the bar of Christ

and be arraigned before the bar of Christ

JG: 1830

aa1210

until they knew them in full

until they know them in full

1830

accept

aa1214

for our words will condemn us

for our works will condemn us

RS

accept

aa1214

yea all our work will condemn us

yea all our works will condemn us

1837

accept

aa1227

but behold behold it was not so

but behold it was not so

JG: 1830

accept

aa1301

I would cite your minds forward

I would cast your minds forward

RS

aa1301

I would cite your minds forward

I would cite your minds back

Douglas Stringer

aa1309

thus they become high priests forever

thus they became high priests forever

RS

aa1309

the Son of the Only Begotten

the Son / the Only Begotten

JS: 1837 accept

aa1312

many / an exceeding great many

many / exceeding great many

OC: Pc

aa1312

many / an exceeding great many

an exceeding great many

RS

aa1314

this same order which I have spoken

this same order of which I have spoken

1906

accept

aa1316

now their ordinances were given...

now these ordinances were given ...

1830

accept

aa1316

look forward on the Son of God

look forward to the Son of God

RS

aa1320

ye will arrest them

ye will wrest them

JS: 1837

accept

aa1405

their lawyers and judges of the land

their lawyers and the judges of the land

RS

accept

aa1405

their lawyers and judges of the land

the lawyers and judges of the land

David Calabro

aa1418

questioned them about many words

questioned them with many words

Douglas Stringer

aa1420

will ye stand again

will ye stand against

RS

aa1501

they departed

they departed out of the land

Paul Huntzinger

aa1501

came out even into the land of Sidom

came out over into the land of Sidom

Paul Huntzinger

aa1603

and taking others captive

and taken others captive

1852

aa1605

whether ... they should go

whither ... they should go

JS: Pc; 1981

accept

aa1611

Desolation of Nehors

Desolation of the Nehors

RS

aa1611

Desolation of Nehors

Desolation of Nehor's

RS

aa1611

Desolation of Nehors

the Desolation of Nehors

RS

aa1619

and the resurrection of the dead

and also the resurrection of the dead

1830

aa1708

to preach the word

to preach the word of God

OC: Pc

aa1711

good examples unto them in me

good examples unto me

JS: Pc

aa1718

he departed from them

and he departed from them

OC: Pc

aa1726

the water of Sebus

the waters of Sebus

RS

accept

aa1727

scattered the flock

scattered the flocks

1830

accept

aa1731

we will reserve the flocks

we will preserve the flocks

1849

aa1731

we will reserve the flocks

we will restore the flocks

RS

accept

aa1738

save it were their leader

save it were their leader with his sword

JS: 1837

aa1802

and had learned of the faithfulness

and he had learned of the faithfulness

OC: Pc

accept

aa1819

Ammon answered and said unto him

and Ammon answered and said unto him

RS

aa1819

and he answered unto him

and he answered and said unto him

1830

aa1836

and which had been spoken

which had been spoken

1837

accept

aa1837

and their travel

and their travail

Stan Larson; 1981

accept

aa1901

and lay it into a sepulchre

and lay it in a sepulchre

1830

aa1906

the light of everlasting light

the light of everlasting life

JS: Pc; 1852

accept

aa1923

Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord

Mosiah entrusted him unto the Lord

RS

aa2102

Amalekites

Amlicites

Lyle Fletcher

accept

aa2103

in wickedness and their abominations

in wickedness and abominations

RS

aa2103

in wickedness and their abominations

in their wickedness and their abominations

RS

aa2103

in wickedness and their abominations

in wickedness and in their abominations

RS

aa2105

there arose an Amlicite and began ...

there arose an Amlicite and he began ...

RS

aa2105

there arose an Amlicite and began ...

there arose an Amlicite which began ...

RS

aa2113

fled ... unto the regions round about

fled ... into the regions round about

1841

aa2121

for that his father had granted ...

for his father had granted ...

RS

 

Notes

I wish to thank Don Brugger, David Calabro, Ross Geddes, and Grant Hardy for helpful criticisms of an earlier version of this paper.

1.     Royal Skousen, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), part 1, 3–6.

2.     Renee Bangerter, "Since Joseph Smith's Time: Lexical Semantic Shifts in the Book of Mormon" (master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1998), 16–18.

3.     See lion.chadwyck.com (accessed 13 June 2005).

4.     John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 189.

5.     See John A. Tvedtnes, The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar (Salt Lake City: Cornerstone, 1999), 186.

6.     For one example, see Brant Gardner's "Scourging with Faggots," Insights 21/7 (2001): 2–3.

7.     Royal Skousen, "The Pleading Bar of God," Insights 24/4 (2004): 2–3.

8.     See the discussion under each of these passages in part 1 of volume 4 of the critical text.

9.     C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958), 17.

10.   The earliest textual sources, the original and printer's manuscripts, suggest the spellings Kishcumen and Parhoron.

11.   Gleaned from www.google.com (accessed 15 May 2006).

12.   "Report of Fordwich Trip," Kent Messenger, "Extra," 10 September 1999 at www.powell-pressburger.org (accessed on 23 October 2003).

13.   Fordwich Town Hall Web site (updated on 23 July 2003) at www.canterbury.gov.uk (accessed on 23 October 2003).

14.   Found on Literature Online at lion.chadwyck.com (accessed 13 June 2005).

15.   Sir John Harington's Translation of Orlando Furioso by Lodovico Ariosto, ed. Graham Hough (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1962), 318.

16.   For further discussion of Webster's possible legal background, see Clifford Leech, John Webster: A Critical Study (New York: Haskell House, 1966).

17.   See D. C. Greetham, Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (New York: Garland, 1994), 201–2, 248–49.

18.   Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., s.v. "apothegm."

19.   See J. H. Baker, Manual of Law French, 2nd ed. (Hants, England: Scolar Press, 1990), 207.

20.   See B. H. Roberts, "Translation of the Book of Mormon," Improvement Era, April 1906, 428–29.

21.   See Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 141.