The Isaiah quandary
If I were to give you the book "Great Expectations" By Charles Dickens,
you can consider several facts, to understand the story, and
what it was about, etc.
Charles Dickens was born in England 1812. Died in 1870. So, had
roughly 60 years of life, in England, we know lots about its history as
to us it is considered "current".
Great Expectations was first published in late June 1861, and, I
have to say, is still probably my favorite Dickens work.
If I handed you a copy of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens,
you would assume it's the work first published in 1861. When reading it,
you have Pip talking about Magwitch, how he helped spring him etc. as
the story goes, you would think its fine, as ... that IS the story.
Then somewhere in the story, Pip begins quoting J.D. Salinger's
"The Catcher in the rye" and then goes off on how the Vietnam War is
going to end, etc. You would immediately call the book fraud, and
dubious. You can't insert things long before they ever happened into a
book and attribute it to an author in a certain time frame. When the
Catcher in the Rye wasn't written until 1951. It just didn't happen that
way and couldn't have happened that way.
All the pieces Joseph Had said Nephi quoted in the BOM, were
taken word for word from the King James translation of the bible. All
the mistakes carried over, the things not translated properly
into English, and nebulous words having been inserted for lack of a
better one to use in English. ALL OF IT was the same as King
James version of the bible.
Wouldn't Nephi have used the original Hebrew stuff to quote from?
Though the book of Mormon makes NO mention of Nephi having the
scrolls with him, only the plates they took from Laban. Laban being a
city official, and Archivist for the religion, he would have had the
scrolls, but the plates, would Isaiah have been put to being written
to the plates so quickly. They did mention that they had a few of the
current writings of Jeremiah, which, I also find odd, because, none of
Jeremiah's writings were written by Jeremiah, only fans of his, after
the fact. He did write Lamentations though, but, sometime into the
exile, nothing available really when Nephi was still in Jerusalem, the
exile had not happened yet.
Nephi only mentions having some of his writings, and that
they had tossed Jeremiah into prison. The knowledge of Jeremiah getting
put in prison, sure, he got arrested every other page, and that was in
the book of Jeremiah, but... Again, using the scientific evidence of the
time-lines, it just doesn't add up that they would have had ANY of
Jeremiah's writings. As, everything written by and about Jeremiah was done years later. So, Nephi mentions having some of the records of Jeremiah but does not quote any. The bigger problem here is, the book of Isaiah, and here is why.
The book of Isaiah in the bible, has clearly been established by
academics, (not most bible-based folks) but real scholars, to have been
written by 3 different people, or at least compiled over the space of
200+ years. They are divided up into first Isaiah, Chapters 1-39.
Isaiah 2 chapters 40-55, and chapters 56-66.
Isaiah. (Chapters 1-39) was written by the only real person
named Isaiah Ben Amos, a man who lived roughly 760-700 BCE, and the
time it was written was 734-701.
The likelihood of this record being in any written form, be it on
parchment, or archived on any metal plates is not very strong. In fact,
the logic states of how the books were being written, and moved around,
held by the different sects, etc., the first volume of Isaiah would
probably never ended up in Nephi's hands, let alone on the plates that
Laban would have been managing.
Isaiah (Chapters 40-55) was written during the Babylonian exile,
that began in about 586 BCE, 14 years after Nephi left Jerusalem. The actual
writing of it was still another 70 years into the actual event, roughly
520 BCE. All linguistic and historical references were written in “current, or present tense” of what was going on at the time. AND all those chapters were written linguistically on the Babylonian language structure. Meaning, the dialect it was written in, was clearly the current usage of the Hebrew language spoken and written in the exile, in Babylon. It's the same as comparing English in Scotland in 1800, to the dialect and current usage spoken in the West Indies in the 1990's. They are the same language, however, completely different dialects. Once anyone steps back and pays attention to all of this, it becomes very clear.
Clearly, any scholar can see and understand why this is the case. Though
many Mormons will want to believe it was all one guy writing it, but,
how could you write about current events, future, then actually as the
happened, or were happening. Chronologically, little in the book's lines
up in each segment, with any of the others.
Basically, Diary of Anne frank, isn't going to be covering the Vietnam
war as it was happening, or once it was over.
Nephi, in 2nd Nephi, quotes all kinds of Isaiah, from the first and
second authors. 2nd Nephi Chapters 7 and 8, are quoting (also word for
word) from Isaiah 50, 51, and 52. By the author who wrote it as an exile
in Babylon. Meaning, the time it was actually put to pen, was after
Nephi grabbed the plates and skipped out to the mother land...
Third Isaiah was written when the Persians recovered the Jews, and
put an end to the exile, that happened when Babylon fell to them, in 515
They didn't have the internet back then, and well, how did Isaiah's
writings, from the future, end up on a historical record on plates,
stolen from a city official several years before they were actually
Another obvious point of failure is that Nephi did not speak in 16th century English, which is what the Book of Mormon was translated into. Nephi would have spoken in 600 BC Hebrew. He would not have spoken the way Joseph “Translated it” because, well, Joseph was copying the biblical English. AS, that was in fact the current usage of English AT THAT TIME THAT KING JAMES HAD THE BIBLE TRANSLATED, Not at Joseph's time. If I were to read Beowulf in ancient English or Danish, I would not translate it into “Thee” and “Thou” and “Thine” to communicate it to anyone currently, I would say “you” and “yours”. The same would have applied to anyone “translating” an old document.
The LDS⁄Mormon church apologists made a fabulous circular logic explanation about this on their website "Fair" and, well, ... It's like, the book of
Abraham, and what the word translation really means. I think... I
mean... If you take the LITERAL meaning of the word "Translation" , and
, you know "Written by the hand of Abraham" and then have to explain,
that, yeah, well, not really, even though Joseph smith said it was...
The spin they put on things, is really showing how they are clutching at
straws when they want to maintain credibility.
The Isaiah quandary is something that is not addressed very well, as it
has not become a mainstream issue really noticed or spoken of. Most of
the effort for now is spent on trying to spin the fact that they told
the world one thing for so long, put in all church sanctioned pictures
etc. that Joseph Smith sat there with a Urim and Thummim and dictated it
to a scribe while reading it from the plates. Now they are saying
(though not very loudly) what history had said for all this time, that
Joseph never had the plates in hand, or even his possession for the
better part of the translation, but that he had them in another room ,
and he was staring into a hat that had the "seer stone" in it, and he
saw the words appearing to him or, the story, or whatever it was, that
he dictated to his scribe on the other side of a curtain.
The only thing I can take from the Isaiah Quandary is that Joseph Smith
was writing the book of Mormon as a fraudulent document and did not
know these facts about the book and was writing word for word the stuff
from Isaiah into it. There is no other logical explanation that I can
glean from this. It destroys the credibility of the book of Mormon, and
adds more credibility to the sources that Joseph smith was pulling from
that also had word for word instances in the book of Mormon. I have
found no logical explanation from this, only that the church is "aware" of
it, but they also are unable to explain it with anything other than a “because the sea is blue, you can also see that the moon is made of blue cheese” kind of spin for an explanation. 3 different explanations, all contradicting the other, and none are plausible.
That's it in a nutshell. Wondering why I didn't see it 20 years ago in
Submitted by Jeremy Cloward