Royal Skousen’s Analysis of 2013 Edition of the Book of Mormon

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This is my analysis of the changes in the Book of Mormon text that the Church announced yesterday. I will be discussing these changes briefly in my lecture this coming Tuesday, March 5th, on the Book of Mormon editions. Actually, most of these changes appeared in the 2004 Doubleday edition, which I will be highlighting near the end of the lecture, just before I discuss the Yale edition, which most closely approximates what I believe the original dictated text to be.

As noted, most of these textual changes appeared earlier in the 2004 Doubleday edition. Any change that appears here for the first time is indicated by an exclamation mark (!).

Cases marked with a delta (Δ) means that the 2009 Yale edition differs. All the following changes in substantives are discussed in the critical text; see Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon (ATV), published by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) in six parts from 2004 through 2009.

Changes in Substantives

  • ! comfortedest > comfortedst (2 Nephi 22:1)
    discussed in ATV 2:770
    the KJV has comfortedst
  • pleaded > pled (Alma 1:11)
    discussed in ATV 3:1581-82
  • Δ “becoming as Gods” > “becoming as gods” (Alma 12:31)
    discussed in ATV 3:1871-72
    1611 KJV had Gods, current KJV has gods
    internal evidence from Genesis 3:5 and Genesis 3:22 argues for Gods
  • restore “and so forth” at the end of the Helaman preface
    discussed in ATV 5:2877
    the Yale edition uses the original etc rather than the expansive “and so forth”
  • “the peoples’ sake” > “the people’s sake” (Helaman 13:17)
    discussed in ATV 5:3084
    people only in the singular in the Book of Mormon
  • put “I ordain you to be a teacher” in the parenthetical statement that begins with “or if he be a teacher” (Moroni 3:3)
    discussed in ATV 6:3894

Changes in Accidentals

Make the following systematic:

  • “House of Israel” > “house of Israel”
  • olive-tree > olive tree
  • to-day > today
  • !Δ “carried away in the spirit” > “carried away in the Spirit”
    Yale has spirit in this expression
  • first-born > firstborn
    Yale has first born (as well as last born)
    2013 LDS edition has firstborn but last-born
  • ! teil-tree > teil tree
  • three score > threescore
  • ! fir-trees > fir trees
  • Δ “Son of righteousness” > “Son of Righteousness”
    Yale has “Sun of righteousness”, as does the KJV
  • archaic past-tense spelling plead > pled
  • plural carcases > carcasses

Make the following minor changes in punctuation:

  • add a comma after pray in 2 Nephi 32:8
  • delete the comma after do in Alma 24:11
  • delete the comma after desires in Alma 29:4
  • replace the semicolon with a colon after men in Alma 56:13

All canonical prefaces are now set in roman type:

  • all extracanonical prefaces and “study helps” remain in italics
    the Yale edition omits all of these extracanonical items
  • this style change reverses John Gilbert’s 1830 decision
    the Yale edition retains the use of italics for the canonical prefaces
  • implied, but not stated regarding the 2013 edition:
    • since the Ether preface is extracanonical, it remains in italics!
      this preface was added in the 1920 LDS edition
      the Yale edition omits the 1920 Ether preface
      discussed in ATV 6:3715
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About Royal Skousen

Royal Skousen, professor of linguistics and English language at Brigham Young University, has been the editor of the Book of Mormon critical text project since 1988. Volumes 1, 2, and 4 of the critical text are published by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. In 2009, Skousen published with Yale University Press the culmination of his critical text work, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text. He is also known for his work on exemplar-based theories of language and quantum computing of analogical modeling.

4 thoughts on “Royal Skousen’s Analysis of 2013 Edition of the Book of Mormon

  1. In addition to Royal’s brief observations, I would like to note some opportunities for improvement in the Book of Mormon text which were missed this time around:
    Alma 2:11-12 continues with Amlicites, even though the Printer’s MS has Amlikites (there is no Original MS here)
    Ether 14:28 continues to have Comnor, even though P MS has Comron (as in Emron)
    Alma 11:6,12 continues with ezrom, even though P MS has ezrum (cf. Zeezrum)
    Alma 10:31 – 56:14 continues with Zeezrom, even though O MS has Zeezrum (cf. ezrum)
    Alma 11:5,7-9 continues with seon, even though P MS has sean
    Alma 11:16-17 continues with shiblum, even though O & P MSS read shilum or shillum
    Alma 11:18-19 continues to be reversed from correct order of verses
    Hel 2:4,11-12, IV Ne 42,46, and Mormon 1:18 – 2:28 continue with single-d Gadianton, even though the double-d is found as Gaddianton in O MS, where it exists, and most often in P MS and 1830 eds.
    III Ne 9:9 continues with Jacobugath, even though they are separate words in P MS Jacob Ugath
    Hel 1:9 – 2:9 continues with Kishkumen, even O MS always has Kishcumen
    Mosiah 25:2 continues with Mulek, even though P MS has Muloch, and 1830 ed has Mulok

  2. Suggested changes for 2 Nephi 9:
    Verse 6: remove the comma after “Creator.”
    OR
    Verse 6: remove the comma after “all men.”
    It depends on what the meaning of the sentence actually is. This is a tough one; right now the sentence is ambiguous.
    Verse 11: Remove the comma after “this death.”
    Verse 13: Insert a comma after “perfect knowledge.”
    Verse 13: Remove the comma after “in the flesh.”

    Based on the Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon, Alma 37:41 should read like this:

    Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means (nevertheless, it did show unto them marvelous works), they were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

    Notice the similar construction in verse 43.

  3. I recommend “didst comfort” instead of “comfortedst” (and the same syntax for “saidst” and “hadst” [full verb] and “receivedst” and even “thou beheld”). Only keep the rare, difficult consonant cluster [tst] with the auxiliaries “didst” and “hadst” (Isaiah passage). This periphrasis is often used in the KJV with 2sg “didst”. Did + infinitive is extremely common in the Book of Mormon, and thus this change would fit right in and improve readability.

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