Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
Main Menu
Articles View Hits


She is surrounded with a cloud of light She placed a throne in the midst of clouds that nobody should see except the Holy Spirit. It is called the Mother of the living ones.


Throughout this study quotes are made that refer to the King James Bible as KJB, in some quotes the abbreviation used is KJV, both quotes refer to the King James Bible prepared and printed in 1611 AD.


Because of Puritan repugnance at some of the content, the Apocrypha began to be left out of bindings of the Geneva Bible, some editions of the King James Version were also leaving them out  by 1629, even though they were still part of the complete Bible. (Goodspeed pp. 94-95) When working on his Inspired Revision of the Bible Joseph was informed the Apocrypha were not to be accepted as scripture but needed to be read carefully with the Holy Ghost in attendance. (D&C 91)  At various times some Bible Societies also included in the KJV the notes and marginal data of the Geneva Bible.  The Mormon's conformed the KJV and cross referenced  their 1981 edition to the other standard works of  the church, along with many references to the Inspired Translation by Joseph Smith. 


"Known today for its elegance, the KJV has immeasurably shaped the rhetoric and literary expression of generations of English speakers [more pervasive even than Shakespeare]. The new King James l of England convened the Hampton Court Conference of 1604 [more about this later] for the purpose of bringing unity among various religious factions that were dividing the English people over the text of the Bible. John Reynolds,  a leading  Puritan representative suggested that a new translation of the bible be undertaken. [Actually this had been suggested to King James while on his way from Scotland, in 1601, to assume the throne after the death of the Queen; it had been on his mind already for three years]. So, some 50 [54 or more] scholars from three eminent institutions-Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Westminster Abbey assembled and divided into six groups of 'companies'; three companies were assigned the Old Testament, two were assigned the New Testament and the sixth company was assigned the apocryphal books. These scholars commenced translating [under the  King's orders and rules, see PART 3 in this series] late in 1604, and their goal was to produce a fresh translation in an English style that would communicate clearly to all the people the message of the Scripture and unite them around a common English bible." (Bernstengel, p. 22) God intended to speak to every generation and every nation through the Holy Scriptures and the final pattern had been decided. It would be "a forerunner, preparing the way for the establishment of the dispensation of the fulness of times, of which it, itself, prophesied (Ephesians l:10)."  (Skinner p. ix) Two hundred years later it was to be joined by another 'Witness', the Book of Mormon. A great deal of work was yet to be done.  But the record so far is impressive.  


"The Bible had been printed and been in circulation for centuries, but it was only in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that it finally began to be printed in vast quantities and distributed worldwide into the hands of millions who previously were too poor to own their own copy." (Bennett pp 18-19) In this great interval, many people learned to read just so they could read the Bible. But what "ignited the modern Bible movement was a desperate lack of Bibles in northern Wales...Since 1791 Wales had been experiencing a religious awakening, and among the converts was a girl [a sweet Welch maiden] about ten years of age named Mary Jones. She walked two miles every Saturday to a relative's home to read from the nearest Bible. Over the next several years, she saved enough money to finally purchase her own. At age seventeen, she walked twenty-eight miles barefoot to buy her first Bible from the Reverend Thomas Charles..."He reached her a copy, she paid him the money, and there [they] stood, their hearts too full for utterance, and their tears streaming from their eyes." (Bennett p. 19)  It was a treasure then, and it is a treasure now, for those who live where Bibles are hard to get, and then often only at great risk and cost. Ask any Chinese, or Muslim investigator in the Arabian peninsula. 

The Reverend Charles, inspired by the young girl's devotion, traveled to London in 1802, three years before Joseph the Prophet was born, in the incredible quest for ten thousand Welch bibles from the "almost moribund Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, an Angelican Bible society that dated from 1698." (Bennett p. 19) Its representatives first questioned, then doubted, and finally declined, his request. Charles "then approached the London Missionary Society and the Religious Tract Society. The Reverend Joseph Hughes of the latter group wondered why no vibrant Bible society existed. Subsequently, he and the Reverend Charles, along with William Wilberforce, the Reverend C. Steinkopf,  John Owen, and some three hundred others, organized the 'Society for Promoting a More Extensive Circulation of the Scriptures at Home and Abroad' in March 1804. (A little more than a year later, the prophet of the great Last Dispensation of the Fullness of times, was informed the time had come for his foreordained time on earth). Quickly renamed the British and Foreign Bible Society, the fledgling organization immediately garnered interdenominational support. [ Most Bible Societies are nondenominational.] Its purpose was "to encourage a wider dispersion of the Holy Scriptures...through the British dominations, and...to other countries, whether Christian, Mahomedan, or Pagan.'" (Bennett p. 19) Then, in just three years, the Society so organized, printed and distributed 1,816,000 copies of the Bible, testaments, and portions thereof in many different countries and in sixty-six different languages. This was absolutely astounding. In the life time of the LDS Church it feels really good about having published fifty million copies of the Book of Mormon, though in a few more languages.

Thus the British and Foreign Bible Society had been founded on 7 March 1804. "By its centenary in 1904 [it] had distributed 181 million copies of the scripture worldwide." (Dowley p. 143) Joseph the Prophet would be born during this great printing and distribution activity on December 23, 1805. This was about twenty five years before the first copies of the Book of Mormon would be printed. The beginning of extensive Bible publication and distribution coincides in a remarkable way with the restoration of the Church and lays a tremendous and necessary foundation for the great missionary activity that the restoration requires. With countries all over the world receiving Bibles the preparation of those nations harmonizes with the great thrust of the restored gospel to take the gospel to all the nations, kindreds, tongues and people and the presence in those nations, the prior exposure to the bible content, and especially the exposure to the life and mission of Jesus Christ is part of the great latter day restoration.

In those early years of the publication of Bibles, "local leaders of various Christian faiths, including some Roman Catholic priests in several areas, began promoting subscriptions, appointing agents, and receiving and filling orders for scriptures.  Soon hosts of volunteer  'Home visitors'; and 'colporteurs' (traveling salesmen) went from house to house, skirting the traditional bookseller method of distribution. Women served by the thousands at this level, often appointing their own auxiliaries with their own presidents, officers, and appointments.  'The Ladies Associations were enormously more successful and widespread than those of gentlemen.' By 1834 the British and Foreign Bible Society had distributed 8,549,356 copies in 157 different languages." (Bennett p. 20) By 1965, that Society had printed and distributed some 723,000,000 volumes in 829 languages. Today the Bible Society of Brazil's (SSB) printing press is the largest manufacturer of Bibles in the world. Since its opening in 1995, it has produced 100 million bibles for 100 countries, sowing 100 million seeds of peace and hope. The Bible Society celebrated this achievement on June 20, 2011, at Jose  Correa Sports Arena in Barueri (State of Sao Paulo), where some 5,000 people participated, and where Rudi Zimmer, general secretary of the SBB, held up the 100 millionth bible in celebration. It is no coincidence that the Sao Paul Temple now services this area. With a world population now exceeding six billion, that is not enough. So far, the Book of Mormon has been taken to nearly 160 countries in 80 languages. A long way to go. In China, a very long ways to go, in some of the provinces there are more than 500 dialects, efforts underway to train Christians of these dialects to translate the bible into their own language. Later section of this study will describe such efforts and their success.


In America the need for Bibles was no less real and immediate. Until 1780 almost all Bibles in America had been printed in and imported from Great Britain.  Some of the Puritans and first Baptists had brought with them the GENEVA BIBLE, first published in English in 1560, with its notes and teachings by John Calvin. Geneva, Switzerland,  lies at the western end of Lake Geneva, at the outlet of the Rhone River. It is one of the world's most famous international cities. It is also known as a theological and cultural center. It was the home of John Calvin (after 1536). Calvin founded the College de Geneve in 1559, here a committee of Protestant exiles probably including William Whittingham and John Knox, prepared the translation and heavily annotated bible known as the Geneva Bible. It was widely used for two generations, it was the official version of the Scottish Kirk, and the household Bible of English speaking Protestants everywhere. It vexed and irritated James l of England, and so was replaced by the Authorized Version of 1611, the last Geneva Bible was published in 1644. When King James l, issued his edict for a new translation, it was his royal command that it be prepared without notes or comments. His proscription expressed his annoyance with the Geneva Bible's antimonarchial notes. This decision made the KJB less partisan and more appealing to Protestants of all persuasion. (Douglas p. 405, Tanner p. 9) Calvin said he "had a vision that he should lead a mission to restore the Church to its original purity, an objective held in common with most of the Protestant reformers." (Dowley p. 116) But another truly inspired man was to restore the Church in its original purity. The gospel restoration has been announced as the restoration of the Primitive Church, and even religious doctrines dating back through and including all of the previous dispensations of the Gospel. A famous landmark in Geneva is a monument to the Reformation.  But by the time Calvin took up his mission the reformation was already well on its way.

Angry over the doctrine of and sale of indulgences and the crass merchandizing of sacred things, at Wittenberg by Johann Tetzel, Luther responded on 3l  October 1517, by posting his famous 95 Theses, or propositions, on  the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.  (Skinner pp.  44-45) In 1520 Huldreich Zwingli of Zurich revolted against Rome. There were radical movements including the Anabatists, who precipitated the peasants' revolt 1525, without Luther's support. By 1560 the Zwinglian and Calvinist were united. By that time most of Europe was under seven main theological movements based on their interpretation of the bible and most of them had prepared their own translation to use. There was the larger Roman Catholic church that had split into three factions at the GREAT SCHISM in 1054 AD,  the Eastern Orthodox was one of the three.  Then came the Lutheran, Zwinglian-Calvinist, Anglican of England, Muslim and Hussites. Clearly the Primitive Church was being defined differently by all parties with little agreement. The splits and attempts at reformation of the primitive Church, led to much confusion and finally to the decisions and resolutions at the HAMPTON COURT held by James l, soon after his ascension to the throne. We will discuss the HAMPTON COURT importance in PART 3.


However, the Church of England has an interesting and intricate tapestry. Beginning in 314 AD, when three British bishops attended the First Council (or Synod) of Arles, of which there were five.  St. Augustine came as a missionary to the Angles in 597. From 664 until the reign of Henry VIII, who argued with the Pope about his multiple marriages, England recognized the pope's spiritual authority. Henry's quarrels resulted in the declaration that the pope had no more authority in England than any other foreign bishop. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy made the king head of the national church. The divine right of the King to rule was contested. Severe religious struggles divided the church for many years. Some members wished to follow the Lutheran reforms of Germany. A movement toward Calvinism developed after the first Book of Common Prayer was issued in 1549. This led to the second Prayer Book in 1552. Under Elizabeth l, in 1558, the Church of England became independent.  The third Prayer Book was adopted in 1559 and the Thirty-Nine Articles were put in their present form in 1571. This book states the doctrines believed, such as the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, the historic sacraments, and the apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.  The church includes both Roman Catholic and Protestant teachings. (Douglas p. 127) All of this was a challenge for King James l, at HAMPTON COURT. Today, the Anglican Communion includes the Church of Wales, the Church of Ireland, the Episcopal Church in Scotland, the Anglican church of Canada, and the Episcopal Church in the U.S.  Today stretching doctrines threaten splits in this communion.


However, before the American Revolutionary War, other immigrants brought the BISHOPS BIBLE, based on Tyndale's work, and  published by the Church of England in 1548.  This was the authorized version of the Bible authorized and prepared for Queen Elizabeth and was popular with the people.  It was this Elizabethan version of the English Bible, called the THE GREAT BIBLE, on which Bancroft, when he issued the 14 [with a 15th added later] rules to govern the preparation of the King James Version in the spring or early summer of 1604, required the teams of translators to base their work.  (Jackson pp. 48-51)The persistent and intrepid Californian scholar, Dr.  E.E. Willoughby, who had been trawling through the libraries of England for more than five years, had, in 1950, found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, King James favorite place in England, "an edition of the Bishop's Bible printed in 1602...Forty copies in unbound sheets, were said to have been acquired for their use and distributed to  [the 54 translators of the KJV]." (Nicolson p. 151)  The Bodleian Library had acquired [the only known surviving copy of those forty copies of] the  Bishops Bible in 1646 for a paltry sum and "catalogued [it] as 'a large bible wherein is written down all the Alterations of the last translacon'. What no one realized ...for another three centuries, was that this bible was not only an account of the alterations made; it was an instrument in the translation itself [of the King James Version]."  (Nicolson p. 1551)  The required use of this Bible was in Rule No. l.  Later, another American scholar, Dr. Ward Allen, was to show that "one can trace in this Bible the very heart of the process [of the translation of the King James Version]. Marked on its pages are the first suggestions of an individual Translator [unknown] who had this bible in his rooms. He would then have  taken it to the weekly meeting of [his] company [of six or more other translators] where the others would discuss and analyze his choices and decisions [of his assigned portion of the bible translation]. Their comments and correction were then added. One can read it now like an oscilloscope trace of the very act of translation itself." (Nicolson pp. 151-152)  In  PART 3  we will look at an example as it is most instructive.

From the available records it seemed that King James played little or no part in the translation after commissioning it. However, recovery of old records tell a slightly different story. One has to recall that "All of the documents of the Privy Council between 1600 and 1613 were destroyed in a Whitehall fire and, apart from this and Bancroft's early letters, there is little record of James's interest...[but] it is remarkable how often James's concern for the project appears, and always with the same note of urgency and concern to get it right and get it done  'as soon as may be', not to lose the project in the swamps of academic indigence." (Nicolson p. 150)  "Once the king had decided it should happen; once Bancroft had disseminated the Rules; and once the Translators had been chosen, almost the entire process drops from view. A few tiny glimpses remain. (Nicolson p. 147)

In November 1604, probably the most important person in the whole translation activity, Lancelot Andrews, was asked to attend a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries to which he had been elected in the summer.  He declined by sending a "note to Mr. Harwell, secretary of the society, to excuse his absence because 'this afternoon is the translation time'."  (Nicolson p. 148)  "Lancelot Andrews was the head translator of the entire Bible...He was dean of Westminster Abbey, a prebendary (presiding or honorary priest)  of St. Paul's Cathedral, a chaplain at the Chapel Royal in Whitehall, and vicar of St. Giles Cripplegate...brilliant, scholarly, political, passionate, agonized, in love with the English language, saintly, courageous, craven, and bewitched by ceremony. ...[but] troubled by persistent guilt and self-abasement." (Jackson p. 520)  A very impressive person, but a man of his times, guilty of severe judgments. The Oxford antiquary, Anthony  A. Wood, recorded that " some of the Oxford translators began meeting once a week in John Reynolds [almost as important in the translation as Andrews] rooms in Corpus Christi College, and  'there  as 'tis said,  perfected  the work, not withstanding the said Doctor, who had the chief hand in it, and all the while, was sorely afflicted with gout'."  (Nicolson p. 148) Except for this hint and the beginning of the process there was almost nothing said, until scholars began to make discoveries of long-hidden manuscripts.

"The first is a vellum-bound book, of about 125 pages...the paper gratifyingly thick and substantial. It belonged at one stage of its life to William Bancroft, [1544-1610] the Passionate Emmanuel undergraduate who later became Archbishop of Canterbury [and bishop London).  He gave it to the library housed above the cloisters of the archbishop's London palace at Lambeth, where Richard Bancroft had established ...England's first public access library - in 1610."  (Nicolson p. 148) The manuscript, number 98, remained in the library, uninspected and unvalued, until that intrepid trawler of libraries, "E. E. Willoughby, recognized it for what it was in 1955. It is still there today and can be requested from the shelves by anyone who walks in...Why is it not more famous? Why not more treasured? It should be, because this, very nearly uniquely, is as near as any of us will ever come to a manuscript of the King James Bible." (Nicolson p. 145) 

"Each page is ruled out in red ink into double columns with a margin to left and right. Only the left-hand column and margin are used...the right-hand column and its margin, remain blank. Except for one or two italic notes, the entire text is written in the silky, cursive manner of the secretary-hand, the style of handwriting used in English legal documents from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries...Any tendency to believe that the creation of this Bible was an act of passionate inspiration or that somehow in the age of Shakespeare and Donne, the making of this book was a wild eruption of untutored genius-that fantasy is dispelled within seconds of opening the manuscript. It is like an accountant's document, business like, its double-ruled columns more like a ledger than a work of literature. ...prepared by the second Westminster company under William Barlow before being circulated, according to Bancroft's Rules, to the other companies and to other learned men in the kingdom. There is no telling which of Barlow's company wrote it, but the manuscript has clearly gone through several hands. Missing words have been supplied, letters added, spelling corrected, punctuation changed. It has an air of carefulness, efficiency, good government, not of  inspiration: it exudes a particularly bureaucratic kind of holiness."  (Nicolson pp. 148-149)  We would of course say that inspiration did play a great role.

 Another remarkable discovery  was "a letter requesting the return of such a manuscript book when it was needed for the final editing process.  The letter was written on 5 December 1608 by William Eyre, a fellow of Emmanuel, who has no other known connection with the translation, to JAMES USSHER,  then the young Chancellor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, and later a great scholar, owner of the Book of Kells, who employed agents to scour the Middle East for ancient manuscripts, and famous, along with the puritan preacher John Lightfoot of Cambridge, as the man who calculated that God had created the earth on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC, at nine o'clock in the morning, London time, or midnight in the Garden of Eden."  (Nicolson p. 149) Eyre's letter to Ussher brings one close to the atmosphere surrounding the work of translating the KJV.  Eyre, while absent from Cambridge, had received an order from the King "that the translation of the Bible shal be finished and printed as soon as may be." (Nicolson p. 150)  Eyre's letter continued:  "'Hereupon I am earnestly requested to get agayne that copy of our part wch I lent you for D. Daniel his use.' Eyre was anxious that Ussher should send the annotated copy back  'so soone as you can after my letters come to your hands'." (Nicolson p. 150)  No one knows who D. Daniel was, it seems that the translation work involved others in a much wider circle of  competent scholars. The translators were meeting the great challenge demanded by the undertaking. The language had to be one that could carry the freight the Bible requires. "The language of the King James Bible is the language of Hatfield, of patriarchy, of an instructed order, of richness as a form of beauty, of authority as a form of good. [yet not to bore or intimidate]." (Nicolson p. 154)

It is also very evident from these documents that the appointed translators working  on the King James Bible, used  as the underlying text the work of Tyndale. "That the  KJB translators borrowed from pervious translations is not surprising. Their stated mission was to make 'out of many good ones, one principall good one'." ((Tanner p. 1)  Some 83 percent of the King James New Testament comes from Tyndale.  The Standard has been set, and it would remain forever.                                                                                                                                                    


King James IV of Scotland, because he was male, Protestant, and Queen Elizabeth's closest living relative, was chosen to succeed Elizabeth when she died March 24, 1603.  King James left Edinburgh for London April 1603, and was crowned King James l of England at the end of July.  Scotland was a bastion of Calvinism and the King's own mother was a loyal Catholic. (Jackson p. 44) England  was divided between old-time Catholics, conforming Anglicans, and a great variety of Protestants.  There were Puritans, who constituted a movement within the Church of England (but were not a distinct sect nor denomination) and Separatists, who had gone beyond Puritan thinking, and wanted to be completely separate from the official church. "No government in Europe at that epoch would have tolerated the existence of such a [Separatist] society, outside and independent of the established institution, and it is no wonder that the bishops and sheriffs of England got after this congregation with vehemence.  Thus the separatists, who were of several unrelated groups came under heavy persecution from the English government." (Tanner p. 17) They, as noted before, had gathered in England's northern counties, having their own individual churches under the control of the congregation, instead of some remote bishop. This is almost an exact parallel to the way much of China was to develop three hundred years laer: with home churches. The most important and ultimately most influential on history, was the group in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire  and nearby Austerfield, Yorkshire. with Williams Brewster and William Bradford as their leaders.   

When they "were hunted and persecuted on every side.....taken and clapt up in prison...their houses besett and wacht night and day...most were faine to flie and leave their howses and habitations, and the means of their livelihood." (Stratton p. 18)  They decided in 1607 to move to Holland, which allowed considerable freedom to religious dissenters, and where other English religious refugees had already fled.  But they had difficulty in leaving England, even William Brewster was imprisoned for a time, so they did not complete their move to Holland until 1608. (Stratton p. 18)  There, in Amsterdam,  they were known as the Clyfton-Robinson congregation.  Considerable quarreling between English churches in Amsterdam, caused the congregation to move to Lieden, Holland.  This is the present locality of E.J. Brill Publishers where I get many of my books.  Clyfton, being aged, stayed  behind, he died in Amesterdam in 1616.  Robinson became the leader in Lieden, with Brewster as a Ruling Elder and John Carver as a deacon. "Brewster became a publisher of books, Robinson studied and then taught at Leiden's famed university."  (Stratton p. 18)  Many worked in the clothing trade, others such as John Alden, worked with copper and made barrels and copper tools.  William Bradford and William Pontus were fustian makers, Cutherbert  Cutherbertson, a hat maker, Richard Masterson as wool carder, other were into weaving, dying, and sewing. A very low standard of living. Leiden was not a paradise for the English. (See Stratton)

Sometime after 1611, when the KJV had become available, John Alden had acquired a copy.  Nine years later, on the 11th of November, 1620,  he had that bible with him when he signed the Mayflower Compact at Plymouth.  For the next one hundred and sixty years, various emigrating groups from all over the world brought their own variety of sacred books and documents with them. The Bible most often imported to America was the Kings James Bible.

"But with the suspension of British imports during the American Revolutionary War, there developed a  'faminie of Bibles,'  which was one of the many ills that  'a distracted Congress was called upon promptly to remedy'.'' Bennett p. 20


So, "In 1781 Scottish-born Robert Aitken, at the direction of [new] Congress became America's first Bible publisher.  Isaiah Thomas printed the first folio Bible from an American press ten years later. Quaker Isaac Collins began printing his Bibles, known for their accuracy, that same year.  Irish-American Matthew Carey became the best known Bible printer in early America, publishing more than sixty different editions in the early 1800s. Partly because of the Second Great Awakening, the formation of Bible societies, and the aim of evangelizing the West, between 1777 and 1820, four hundred new American editions of the Bible and the New Testament were published. By 1830 that number had climbed to 700." (Bennett p. 21                              

"Yet production could not keep up with population.  Between 1790 and 1820 America's population skyrocketed from 3.9 million to 9.6 million, with a large number of Americans not owning their own copies of the Bible. In 1819 the Tennessee Auxiliary Bible Society reported that 'the demand' is yet great and increasing. The number of the destitute far, very far, surpasses our higher calculation. Even large metropolitan areas such as New York City and Philadelphia were reported as seriously lacking in Bibles." (Bennett p. 21) "The KJB fairly quickly became the predominant translation, both in New England and across North America generally." (Tanner p. 9) Mainly because of the excellence of the KJB translation. After 1611 the Geneva Bible diminished and between 1611 and 1644, the last year of a new Geneva edition, only nine Geneva editions were printed. During these same years, 177 editions of the King James Bible were printed." (Tanner p.  9)

In the early 1800's Bibles were not at all plentiful on the American Frontier. Such a scarcity had been the reason for the organization of the Philadelphia Bible Society in 1808 and the organization of the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York Bible Societies in 1809. Scores of others followed throughout New England and in the South. Finally in 1816 Elias Boudinot, a former New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress, presided over the creation of the American Bible Society with forty-two other smaller state and regional societies merged under its expanding banner. The American Bible Society was affiliated with the United Bible Society of England. The ABS is by far one of the most influential Bible Societies in the world. "By 1820, after just four years in operation, the American Bible Society had printed and distributed 23l,552 Bibles and New Testaments, [in 1829 they printed 360.000 copies].  By 1830 the number stood at l,084,000." (Bennett p. 21)  By 1834 the British and Foreign Bible Society had distributed    8,549, 356 copies in 157 different languages, more than one hundred years later, in 1995, they had issued 723,000,000 volumes in 826 languages. (Bennett p. 20)   By 1860, the ABS was printing over l million bibles each year. Imagine how many bibles it has printed and distributed the last 150 years.  I became involved with the American Bible Society in 1960, and received the first volume of the magnificent series of Translators Handbooks on the New Testament in 1961, that they and the United Bible Society were sponsoring. These volumes assist translators to get the understanding of the underlying most acceptable text into the language of the nation or group of people being addressed. The basic text is the, Textus Receptus, (Greek), which is the text underlying the King James Version and many other versions. "Most languages have obligatory categories which simply do not exist in Greek...the choice of words and grammatical forms one must attempt to indicate the relative social position of the participants in any communicative event." (Bratcher pp. viii-ix) If one wants evidence of the restoration and the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, one need only compare these handbooks with Joseph's teachings and especially the Inspired Version. They are without doubt an incredible resource for the study of scriptures and restored doctrine, and now nearly every book of the Old Testament and New Testament has  its own Translators Handbook.  I could not have done much of my research without them.  In light of the above, the restoration has a great deal more meaning.

"Bibles were similarly scarce in the western New York frontier. An 1824 Bible society report from Rochester New York, indicated that in Monroe County alone, near where the Smith family was living, 2,300 families were without Bibles. An 1825 report indicated that at least 20 percent of Ohio families had no Bible, and in thirty-six counties in Alabama, half the citizens did not own scriptures." Bennett p. 22)

Some have asked which edition of the Bible ultimately fell into Joseph Smiths hand?  Some have considered the indigent circumstances of his home life, and concluded it was probably one of the cheaper King James editions and may not have been his family's own copy. When one recalls the wording of the passage in James that so stirred the young man Joseph, and compare it with 26 other translations of the same verse, it is evident that Joseph was reading and quoting from a King James Edition. (Vaughan p. 1126) In regard to the verse from James: "The KJB translators amalgamated in this single short verse the work of three previous translations. The language is mostly from Tyndale...but in the end, they reached back to a term [upbraideth not] first used by Wycliffe." (Tanner p. 12) Members of the Smith family were the beneficiaries of many men and women of faith who gave their heart and soul, as it were, to the miraculous distribution of the Bible throughout the Western world in the years leading up to the First Vision.

All of the above is included in the "base for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel, which would come through the Prophet Joseph Smith...The Joseph Smith family, the Young's, Kimball's, Prattis,  Whitmer's, Taylor's, Richardses, and other early families in the Church, were of European Protestant stock and were all believers in the Bible...most of the [early] converts came from such European countries as England, Wales, Scotland, Scandinavia, Germany and Holland, where Protestantism was firmly in place." (Matthews  pp. 291-292)


BENNETT, Richard E., School of the Prophet, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 2010

BERNSTENGEL, Barbara, The Elegant King James Bible, Celebrating 400 years of influence,      Record, Spring 2011, American Bible Society, Washington, D.C., 2011

BRATCHER, Robert G., A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of Mark, United Bible Society (in USA American Bible Society) E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1961

DOUGLAS, J.D., The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Zondervan    Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1974

DOWLEY, Tim, Ed., The Baker Atlas of Christian History, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI,           1997

GOODSPEED, Edgar J., How Came the Bible? Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1940

HINCKLEY, Gordon B., Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book 1997

JACKSON, Kent P., The King James Bible and the Restoration, RSC, BYU & Deseret Book,        Provo, Utah . 2011

JONES, Gracia N., Emma and Joseph, Their Divine Mission,  Covenant Communications, Inc.,        American Fork, Utah, 1999

LUPAS, Liana, Dr. Bible Q&B, Record, American Bible Society, Washington,  D.C.                Summer 2011

NICOLSON, Adam, God's Secretaries, Harper Collins Publishers, New York,  2003

OGDEN, D. Kelly, King James Version, in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. l, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1992

SKINNER, Andrew C., A Bible fit For the Restoration, CFI, Springville, Utah, 2011

STRATTON, Eugene, Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691, Ancestry Publishing,        Salt Lake City, Utah, 1986

TANNER, John S., The King James Bible in America, in BYU Studies, Vol. 50,No. 3, Brigham        Young University, Provo, Utah 2011

VAUGHAN, Curtis, Ed, The New Testament from 26 Translations, Zondervan Publishing   House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
To find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please see their offical websites at LDS.org and Mormon.org