Response PageChanges to the Scriptures and Church History

Many critics have delighted in showing that our scriptures and church history has been significantly edited and modified.

Harry Ropp Says:
As early as 1898 Lamoni Call had counted two thousand alterations in what Joseph Smith called the "most correct of any book on earth." A more recent study by the Tanners has shown that at least 3,913 changes have been made in the Book of Mormon since it was first published. Some 200 additional changes have been made in the 1981 printing, since the Tanners made their comparison. (Ropp 1987, 43)
Jerald & Sandra Tanner say:
In the book Changes in Joseph Smith's History, we show that "more than 62,000 words" were either added or deleted. A thorough examination of the original handwritten manuscript would undoubtedly reveal thousands of changes which we have not discovered in our brief examination of the manuscripts. More important than this, however, is the evidence we uncovered that Joseph Smith did not finish his work. Dean C. Jessee, of the church historical department, admits that the greater part of the history was not written until after Joseph Smith's death. (Tanner 1980, 414)
Walter Martin claims:
In 1835 the "revelations" were changed, added to, and again printed. There are conservatively 65,000 changes between The Book of Commandments and The Doctrine and Covenants. (Martin 1978, 69) 
Mike Parker Responds to "Dr." Martin:
As these critics readily admit, most of these changes are simply gramatical changes. Even those which might be doctrinally significant such as whether Mary was the "mother of God" or the current wording of "mother of the Son of God" are not really significant. The clarification makes it clear that Mary is the mother of Jesus, but Jesus is God and the original statement was doctrinally the same.

But the real question is: who has the right to change scripture. If Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others are indeed prophets, then they have the right as prophets to make or approve of these changes. The question is not whether there have been changes. The question is whether we accept these men as prophets.

Ernest L. Wilkinson, BYU Speeches, April 21, 1966, p.3.

In one of the early meetings of our Church, one brother, in the presence of the Prophet Joseph, preached that doctrine, stating that "those who give revelations should give revelations according to those books" and "confine [themselves] to them." When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham and said, "Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God." Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of D&C, and laid it down before him, and he said: "There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world almost, to our day. And now, "said he, "when compared with the living oracles, those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet . . . in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books. . ." When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: "Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth." (Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report 10, 97:22-23)
With this understanding some people may still be bothered by the fact that the church history has been modified. The Documentary History of the Church was not made with the intent to present original documents and call them a history. It was intended to build faith in the church by exposing them to the events in the early history of the church. D. Michael Quinn has responded to this criticism in his long letter that is a response the the Tanner's book, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality.

Changes In the Bible:
    Of course no one wants to talk about the many changes that have taken place in the King James Version of the Bible. Here are just a few of those changes.