Many have wondered how I understand the Joseph Smith Translation in light of some of what I’ve written here concerning Old Testament textual traditions and interpretation. As always, the following is my own understanding of the matter at hand, and I take complete responsibility for the contents therein.
In 1830, only a few months after the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the founder and first Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, began work on a project which continues to be misunderstood by not only those not associated with the Church, but by many within it as well. The project is commonly known today as the “Joseph Smith Translation” (JST) of the Bible.
The JST is not a replacement Bible in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church does, however, use excerpts from this work today as a companion to the Bible. For example, while the original King James Version is given full canonized status as the official English Language Bible , the JST of the early chapters of Genesis is presented as a separate work in the volume of scripture known as the Pearl of Great Price, under the title, “Selections from the Book of Moses”.
Some may have wondered why, in exploring Old Testament texts that have JST emendations, I, as an active and believing latter-day Saint, do not generally utilize the JST texts in my studies as presented here, and in fact at times draw historic and symbolic conclusions which are different, and sometimes contradictory, than those found (apparently) clearly stated in the JST. It is hoped that the following post will clear these questions up. …