the thinker

Evidence from the Book of Mormon Manuscript

NOTE: This webpage taken entirely from mormonstudies

Scribe 1(Oliver Cowdery)

Scribe 2 (Unknown)

Scribe 3 (Unknown)

Reply to Critics

Works Cited

Royal Skousen collected and examined the existing fragments of the "original" manuscript of the Book of Mormon to produce a critical text. The first volume of Skousen's work, The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon: Typographical Facsimile of the Extant Text, was published in 2001 by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). Skousen found that there were three principal scribes. Scribe 1, Oliver Cowdery, wrote the bulk of the text. Scribe 2, whose identity is unknown, added 1 Nephi 3:7 to 4:14 and 1 Nephi 12:9 to 16:1. Scribe 3, also unknown, added 1 Nephi 4:20 to 12:8 (according to Mormon scholars, the person designated as Scribe 3 also recorded D&C 56, dated June 1831, in Kirtland, Ohio). Joseph Smith added 28 words in Alma 45:22. Skousen developed a system of symbols to indicate what the scribe was doing while writing the text (striking out words, erasing, overwriting, etc.). Sometimes a scribe would attempt to erase a misspelled letter, but more typically the correct letter would simply be written over the incorrect letter. I will not attempt to reproduce Skousen's symbols. The primary symbol that I will use is an equals sign. For example, "mot=not" indicates that the incorrect letter "m" was replaced by "n" to produce the word "not." A letter or word enclosed between two parentheses, e.g. (the), will indicate that the letter or word was deleted. I will also provide a page and line reference (e.g., 245:9, which indicates page 245, line 9 in Skousen's work).

In an article entitled "Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript," Skousen asserts that the evidence in the original manuscript supports claims that Joseph Smith dictated the text and does "not support theories that Joseph Smith composed the text himself or that he took the text from some other source" (Skousen 1997, 61). Skousen concentrates on instances of spelling errors that can be interpreted as mishearing a spoken word, for example, hearing "an" as "and," or "reed" as "weed," or "beat" as "meet," or "them" (pronounced as unstressed "em") as "him." Skousen writes: "Errors in the original manuscript (O) are based on the scribe mishearing what Joseph Smith dictated rather then visually misreading while copying from another manuscript" (Skousen 1997, 67). However, the examples used by Skousen do not force us to this conclusion. Certainly, in the first two examples the errors could as easily be the result of visual misreading as mishearing. In the third example, either "meet" or "beat" fits the context of the sentence, which reads "for it was they who did beat the Lamanites." Perhaps Oliver Cowdery didn't mishear the word but simply decided to change it. In the first him/them example, the word "him" occurs twice in the text before the incorrect occurrence; therefore, Oliver could simply have become confused while looking back and forth between an original text and his copy. In the second him/them example, it may be that Oliver incorrectly anticipated what the next word was going to be.

On the other hand, Skousen gives examples of changes made in the printer's manuscript (P), which he claims are due to visual misreading of the original manuscript (O) rather than mishearing. In one sentence, Oliver wrote "also" in P rather than "always" in O. In a second passage, he wrote "many" in P rather than "among" in O, and in a third he misread "pressing" written by scribe 3 in O and wrote "feeling" in P. If Oliver could misread "always" as "also" and "among" as "many," he could certainly also misread "an" as "and" and "reed" as "weed." Skousen's explanation for the pressing/feeling example is especially interesting. He says that scribe 3's "p" looks like an "f" and his elongated "s" looks like an "l." But there are literally hundreds of examples of this type of error in the original manuscript, none of which are ever mentioned by Skousen. For example, in the original manuscript Oliver wrote an "f" for "p" while writing the word "peace" (385:13), and he wrote "f" for the second "p" in "People" (414:4). Even scribe 3 made this mistake, writing "f" for "p" in "upon" (98:8) and in the word "apostles" (107:6). In attempting to write the word "pass," scribe 3 first wrote "pals" but then changed the "l" to an elongated "s" (87:41). If Skousen accepts this type of example as proof of copying errors in the printer's manuscript, why does he not accept the evidence of copying in the original manuscript? In the remainder of this paper, I will document many of the errors in the Book of Mormon manuscript, which provide clear evidence that the manuscript was copied rather than dictated. Since Oliver Cowdery wrote the bulk of the original manuscript, I will concentrate on him first. The following lists are not meant to be exhaustive.

Scribe 1(Oliver Cowdery)

Spelling changes: r=n

  1. there was also writher=writhen [written] upon them a new writeing (135:35)
  2. be hated amorg=among all Nations (152:7)
  3. there shall be one fold & ore=one shepherd (163:37)
  4. the Lord hath concecrated this lard=land unto me (165:29)
  5. hath come to pass amorg=among the Jews (189:34)
  6. may look forward urto=unto that life (191:36)
  7. none of the prophets have written ror=nor prophesied (206:1)
  8. I have given unto them this lard=land & it is a holy land (210:6)
  9. he hath forgiver=forgiven us of these our many sins (249:19)
  10. then let us stair=stain our swords no more (249:27)
  11. be not staind with the blood of our Brethrer=Brethren (249:29)
  12. if we should stair=stain our swords again (249:30)
  13. in the which they were driver=driven & slain (255:31)
  14. they had rather sacrifise thein=their lived=lives thon ever=even to take (266:27)
  15. they have buried their weopors=weopons of war deep in the earth (266:28)
  16. they began agair=again to destroy them (268:17)
  17. departed out of the land & came irto=into the (L)Wilderness (270:7)
  18. this is joy which nore=none re(t)ceiveth (271:16)
  19. the Peopl of Nephi returred=returned again to their lands (274:30)
  20. which was east of the lard=land of Zarahemla (292:29)
  21. such wickedness among this People doth pair=pain my soul (297:25)
  22. many of them are our r(e)=near Brethrer=Brethren (297:35)
  23. as Alma was teaching & speakirg=speaking unto the People (299:19)
  24. behold will rot=not this strengthen your faith (304:20)
  25. that your Burders=Burdens may be light (311:6)
  26. refiners do cast out it beirg=being of no worth (314:31)
  27. the Lord hath said he dwelleth (rot=not) not in unholy temples (315:17)
  28. he breathed out many threatnings agairst=against them (318:19)
  29. stir them up also to angar agairst=against them (318:25)
  30. for three nights was I raaked=racked ever=even with the pains of a damned soul (322:14)
  31. they should be kept & harded=handed down (326:24)
  32. carry us beyord=beyond the vale of sorrow (335:6)
  33. Keep the commardments=commandments of God (335:15)
  34. remember & take it upor=upon you (341:5)
  35. they have gone conterrary to the rature=nature of God (350:25)
  36. (redeem) redemption Could rot=not be brought about (354:33)
  37. prepared from the fourdation=foundation of the world (356:28)
  38. bring them into bordage=bondage that they might (364:21)
  39. ther=their Chief leader & commarder=commander (366:23)
  40. I wi(th)ll commard=command my men (369:7)
  41. retain the words which I have spoker=spoken (370:23)
  42. & wher=when Alma had done this (377:2)
  43. those which were wroth agairst=against their Brethren (378:28)
  44. if we sho(l)=should fall into trarsgression=transgression (383:17)
  45. come down to the foot of the Mourt=Mount for he desired to (sh)=speak (391:2)
  46. they were also taught rever=never to give an offence (398:9)
  47. they were agair=again disappointed (403:25)
  48. their chief Captairs=Captains had sworn with an oath (403:26)
  49. because Moroni had kept the Commandmerts=Commandments of God (405:26)
  50. a battle commerced=commenced between them (411:28)
  51. it came to pass that ir=in that same year (411:34)
  52. that a few particular Poirts=Points of the law should be (413:18)
  53. for they had not taker=taken any cities (419:27)
  54. but he kept his men rourd=round about as if makeing (419:31)
  55. he kept thus prepareirg=prepareing for war (419:34)
  56. until Moroni had sert=sent a large number of men (419:35)
  57. the West borders of the lard=land (421:28)
  58. to meet them upo(m)n the plairs=plains (422:13)
  59. overpowered by the perswasiors=perswasions of Helaman (429:12)
  60. at the head of his two (hu) thousard=thousand stripling(s) soldiers (430:35)
  61. he wrote(n) an epistle & sert=sent it (to t) by the servant (431:13)
  62. we know not such a beirg=being neither do ye (435:28)
  63. their Chief Captairs=Captains temanded=demanded (439:22)
  64. that wher=when he had fortified the city (439:29)
  65. brought down out of the lard=land of Nephi (441:23)
  66. that they should brake this covenart=covenant which they had made (441:34)
  67. it came to pass that wher=when the Lamanites saw (443:24)
  68. to (t)maintain those cities which they had taker=taken (443:29)
  69. about to watch the mouemerts=movements of the(i) Lamanites (443:34)
  70. they did rot=not turn to the right nor to the left (445:32)
  71. should fall into their hards=hands (446:6)
  72. they were all of them very yourg=young (447:22)
  73. had I not returred=returned with my two thousard=thousand (447:34-35)
  74. but I sent ar=an Epistle unto the King (449:25)
  75. the City of Antiparah fell in to our hards=hands (449:31)
  76. we did surnourd=surround by right=night the City Cumeni (450:6)
  77. after this manren=manner they were still determined (450:14)
  78. a verry serious matter to derermire=determine concerning those (451:29)
  79. cassed=caused that their wourds=wounds should be dressed (453:17)
  80. the Chief Captain over the bard=band (453:33)
  81. resolveirg=resolveing by stratigem to destroy us (457:34)
  82. least my=by any mears=means the Judgments of God (458:9)
  83. to be lead away irto=into the Wilderness (461:14)
  84. cities which had beer=been taken by the Lamanites (463:35)
  85. that they would easily maintair=maintain that City (468:21)
  86. he wrote agair=again to the governor of the land (468:29)
  87. our womer=women & our Children (474:20)
  88. upon the Lamarites=Lamanites irsomuch=insomuch that they did (480:6)
  89. unto the corvinceing=convinceing of many People (481:27)
  90. from all manrer=manner of afflictions (483:3)
  91. he was condemned urto=unto Death (489:9)
  92. he went unto those that sert=sent him (489:13)
  93. gathered together an inrumerable=innumerable army of men (490:24)
  94. the number of the Nephites which were slair=slain (493:27)
  95. there was no one to fill the Judgmert=Judgment seat (494:17)
  96. the Son of Helaman was appoirted=appointed to fill (495:19)
  97. when Helaman sert=sent forth to take them (496:12)
  98. even untill they have faller=fallen into transgression (500:22)
  99. spiritual death for all markind=mankind by the fall of Adam (503:15)
  100. if they are condemred=condemned (505:12)
  101. thus erded=ended the Book of Helaman (512:24)
  102. which had beer=been handed down (534:17)
  103. it could not be a rew=new Jerusalem (546:16)

Spelling Changes: n=r

  1. the tempest began to be exceding sone=sore (147:25)
  2. was braught to pass which he said concenning=concerning the seed (257:13)
  3. because of thein=their love towards thein=their Brethren (266:26)
  4. according to the desin=desires of their enemy (268:18)
  5. & when thou n=riseet=risest in the morning (333:17)
  6. ensercled the Lamanites about on the East in their rean=rear (364:35)
  7. their wives & their Children & thein=their all (366:29)
  8. saw the men of Lehi on the east of the Riven=River Sidon (367:16)
  9. number of Prisones=Prisoners which were taken exceded mon=more than the numben=number (425:30)
  10. as they never had (th) hithento=hitherto bee(m)n (430:26)
  11. his army had been nedused=redused by the Lamanites (442:7)
  12. they rehearsed unto me the words of thein=their Mothers (447:29)
  13. we did surnourd=surround by right=night the City Cumeni (450:6)
  14. being cut off from their support after this manren=manner (450:14)

Spelling Changes: r=v

  1. I hare=have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction(s) (154:20)
  2. erery=every Nation which shall war against thee (161:35)
  3. that they m(y)ay possess this land unto themselres=themselves (166:7)
  4. for your iniquities have ye sole=sold yourselres=yourselves (178:18; Isa. 50)
  5. for I hare=have heard & seen (206:3)
  6. ye have none (sare) save it be your word only (288:30)
  7. I would ask if ye hare=have read these scriptures (309:16)
  8. remember the words which I hare=have spoken unto you (332:5)
  9. I perceire=perceive that thy mind hath been worried (347:32)
  10. their simeters which brought death al(so)most at erery=every strike=stroke (365:5)
  11. the more vital parts (the)of the body or the more (r)vital parts (365:7)
  12. that God wi(th)ll support & keep & preserre=preserve us (368:30)
  13. we will see who shall have power orer=over this People (369:9)
  14. should rend them eren=even as they (rent) had rent(s) their garments (382:12)
  15. this was the (r)verry thing which Amalickiah desired (392:20)
  16. he had laboured with somuch diligence to preserre=preserve (415:22)
  17. Teancum stole prirelly=privelly into the tent of the king (418:9)
  18. the Reign of the Judges orer=over the People of Nephi (421:26)
  19. Teancum had receired=received orders to make an attackt (421:31)
  20. lest they should orer=over power the army af=of Antipus (447:25)
  21. we had also a(ls) plenty of Prorisiors=Provisions brought (450:2)
  22. whosoerer=whosoever did not doubt that they should be preserved (453:26)
  23. many have faught & bled out their lires=lives (470:18)
  24. the Reign of the Judges orer=over the People of Nephi (487:26)
  25. all manner of shields of erery=every kind (490:26)

Spelling Changes: v=r

  1. he did say no move=more to the other multitude (299:31)
  2. their great desives=desires which they had (471:19)
  3. began to be a war upon all the face of the land evevy=every man with his band (548:13)

Spelling Changes: r=s

  1. ye (tr) nead not suppore=suppose that I & my father are (164:10)
  2. revile against the priests & teachers accureing=accuseing them of laading=leading away the people (287:10)
  3. for ye (f)do try to suppore=suppose that it is injustice (352:5)
  4. if their wine would Poison a Lamanite it would also Poiron=Poison a Nephite (440:10)

Spelling Changes: s=r

  1. was nearly surrounde(d)d by wates=water there being a small neck of land (241:24)
  2. thus these=there were many of them converted (257:5)
  3. they shall be gathered into the garness=garners that they ar(e)e (w)not wasted (261:20)
  4. see the fruits of our labouss=labours (266:24)
  5. thesefore=therefore when Ammon & his Brethren saw (268:21)
  6. the Lord doth grant unto all Nations of theis=their own Nation (279:5)
  7. came over into the land of Jesshon=Jershon (317:2)
  8. it was more dreadful on the pa(s)rt of the Lamanites (365:3)
  9. therefore Helaman & his Brethsen=Brethren went forth (481:26)
  10. both men women & childsen=children takeing possession (493:35)

Spelling Changes: p=f

  1. they went & told the chiep=chief Judge all the things (271:21)
  2. the chiep=chief Judge sent (J) a proclamation (271:23)
  3. they should begin to exercise there [sic] pith=faith (307:26)
  4. righteous for that which righteous just por=for that which is just (350:30)
  5. which is the Scalp of your Chie(p)f so shall ye fall to the earth (371:1)
  6. that he would supfer=suffer then=them to fall in with (392:19)
  7. Nephihah the second Chiep=Chief Judge died (411:35)
  8. they would not take theer=their weopons of war to depend=defend themselves (430:18)
  9. in the second day on the (p)first month Moroni received (441:18)
  10. but I would not supfer [sic] them that they should brake (441:33)
  11. they were not sufpiceentle=sufficiently strong to meet them (444:2)
  12. we were not supfeceertly=sufficiently strong to contend (446:5)
  13. Corianton had gone (p)forth to the land Northward (485:34)
  14. Coriantumr did march (p)forth at the head o(f thei) his m=numerous host (492:6)
  15. the word came unto them that it muet=must be pulfiled=fulfiled (515:20)
  16. it could not be a rew=new Jerusalem por=for it had been in a time (546:16)

Spelling Changes: f=p

  1. entered (u)into a covenant to keep the fe=peace (385:13)
  2. stired up the hearts of the Peofle=People of the Lamanites (414:4)
  3. gathered themselves together & made freperations=preperations & were ready (417:18)
  4. the Brother of Amealickiah was apfoint=appoint King over the People (419:23)
  5. the Lameenites=Lamanites did fe=persue (t)Teancum (423:33)
  6. they had obtained (f)p(o)ossssion=posession of a numler=number of ther=their Cities (427:30)
  7. for the su(f)pfrort=support of his own Peope(l)le (431:8)
  8. had gaae=gave them power to gain fosesseon=posession of those parts (438:15)

Spelling Changes: o=a

  1. the sword of their own hands sholl=shall fall upon their own heads (161:34)
  2. as I have purposed so sholl=shall it stand (188:34)
  3. for it was oll=all we could to to repent sufficiently (249:24)
  4. but Ommon=Ammon sayeth(e) unto him I do not boast (262:34)
  5. therefore they were poor os=as to things of the world (299:18)
  6. that ye would not cast obout=about your eyes (310:32)
  7. O what joy & what morvelous=marvelous light I did behold (323:22)
  8. these engraveings which hove=have the Records of the holy Scriptures upon them which hove=have the genealogy (326:22)
  9. thot=that they shall know of the mysteries (326:26)
  10. these directors were prepared thot=that the word of God (330:16)
  11. they remain in this state as well os=as the righteous in paradise (345:33)
  12. whosoever will com may come & portak=partak of the waters of life (356:30)
  13. their nunber [sic] being so much greater thon=than the Nephites (361:30)
  14. they did smite in t(o)wo mony=many of their (a)hea(vy)=head plates (366:25)
  15. the Nephites were inspired by a better couse=cause (366:28)
  16. I say unto you thot=that from that day (375:20)
  17. Amaleckiah sought the fovour=favour of the Queen (395:31)
  18. their places of resort & the weakest ports=parts of their (City) Cities (397:20)
  19. Behold he was a mon=man like unto Ameon=Ammon (399:21)
  20. norwithstonding=notwithstanding their peace amongst themselves (399:29)
  21. Morionton being a man of much possion=passion (410:13)
  22. as Teancum sow=saw the armies of the Lamanites comeing (423:22)
  23. they did ashemble=assemble thenselves=themselves totether=together ot=at this time (430:19)
  24. they becane=became now ot=at thes=this perioo=period of time (430:27)
  25. they were exceding valiont=valiant for courage (430:30)
  26. he will not suffer that we sholl=shall fall (447:23)
  27. we took ou(t)r cau(s)e=course after having traveled (462:16)
  28. they did march forth one against another to bottle=battle (552:20)

Spelling Changes: a=o

  1. when yu=you feel these swelling mations=motions ye will begin (303:13)
  2. we do not desire to men of blaod=blood (368:21)
  3. the tiibulations=tribulations of aur=our warfare (441:21)
  4. the Sons of thase=those men which Ammon brought down (441:23)
  5. deliver up our Prisoners an=on exchenge=exchange (449:27)

Spelling Changes: e=o

  1. neither would they believe that I were instructed of the Lerd=Lord (139:34)
  2. to restore his peeple=people from (h)their lost & fallen state (190:36)
  3. & I teld=told him the things which my brother Nephi (208:15)
  4. they did slay a theusand=thousand & five of them (253:32)
  5. but they teok=took their armies & went over (255:28)
  6. he hath appealed unto Meses=Moses to prove that these things (312:21)
  7. that ye sheuld=should work out your Salvation with fear (316:22)
  8. in many instances doth cenfound=confound the wise (326:32)
  9. the Lord saw that his Pe(ep)ople began to work in darkness (330:10)
  10. here is somewhat nore=more I would say unte=unto thee (342:31)
  11. those parts of the Lamanites which were in faver=favor of the King (389:20)
  12. & he alse=also guarded that city (439:31)
  13. their other cities which they had possession of te=to fortify them (449:31)

Spelling Changes: o=e

  1. but bohold=behold his will be done for his ways are righteousness (169:2)
  2. & aftor=after that they had many battles with the Nephites (255:30)
  3. my soul is carriod=carried away (280:25)

Spelling Changes: m=n

  1. did shew unto Prophets of old (com=concernin)g all things concening [sic] them (152:21)
  2. his mame=name should not have been cut off (155:38; Isa. 48)
  3. all they which fight against Ziom=Ziion shall be destroid (161:38)
  4. the Judgments of him that is just shall rest up(om)n them (166:18)
  5. for he knew that King Lamomi=Lamoni was under the power of God (228:10)
  6. now my best beloved Brethren simce=since God hath taken away (249:26)
  7. they did look forward to the coming of Christ co(m)nsidering that the lord=law of Moses was a type (259:33-34)
  8. that they may inherit the lam=land Jershon & we will guard them (272:35)
  9. made Known into=unto them all these thimgs=things (273:4)
  10. teach this people that there shall be (m)no Christ (285:14)
  11. cry unto thee to be heard of thee & not of ne=me(m)=men (309:4)
  12. he dwelleth (rot=not) not in unholy temples but i(m)n the hearts of (316:18)
  13. for they (was) were in bondage & (m)none could deliver them (320:18)
  14. to declare unto them com=concerning their iniquities (331:35)
  15. time only is measured unto mam=man therefore there is a time appointed (343:13)
  16. now behold my Son do m=not risk one more offence against your God (350:19)
  17. behold I say unto you wickedmess=wickedness never was happiness (350:22)
  18. take a thing of a matural=natural shate=state & place it in an unnatural state (350:27)
  19. because of his own disobedia(m)nce therefore according to justice (354:33)
  20. knowing that it was the o(m)nly desire of the Nephites (364:23)
  21. Morori=Moroni returmed=returned the sword & the weopons of war (370:21)
  22. that they should fall upo(m)n them & slay them (371:10)
  23. & all manner of imiquities=iniquities yea I say unto you (375:19)
  24. in the commencement of the (m)nineteenth year (377:10)
  25. that h=they were determined (u)to sa=slay them (m)now the leader of (378:27)
  26. despised because we take upo(m)n us the (m)name of Christ (381:35)
  27. the king was wroth because of ther(e)=their disobedia(m)nce (389:15)
  28. bring witnesses with him to testify comcerm=comcerning [first "m" not corrected] the death of the King (395:25)
  29. prepared themselves with garme(m)nts of skins (401:28)
  30. were excedingly astom=astonished at their manner of preperation (402:1)
  31. have been com=consignet=consigned to Bondage or to perish (409:25)
  32. as he was marching forth with his (m)numerous army (417:31)
  33. in the latter end of the twenty & sevem=seventh year (422:4)
  34. it cane=came to pass that they se(m)nt embassi(s)es to the army (422:9)
  35. with his army to meet them upo(m)n the plairs=plains (422:13)
  36. yea more tha(m)n those which had been slain (425:31)
  37. by Amo=Ammon & his Brethre(m)n or rather by the power (428:35)
  38. they had many Sons which had m=not entered into a covenant (430:17)
  39. they never had (th) hithento=hitherto bee(m)n a disadvantage to the (M)Nephites (430:27)
  40. they were me(m)n which were true at all times (430:31)
  41. I will come upon you with my armies fore I fear (m)not your threatnings (435:17)
  42. those to whom the goverment doth rightly belong the(m)n will I cause (435:21)
  43. Am=And now it came to pass (441:17)
  44. had they come upon us en=in this our weakmes=weakness they might (443:27)
  45. Ammoron (f)refused tene=mine epistle for he would (m)not exchange (449:28)
  46. according to the good(m)ness of God & to (g)r=our great astonishment (453:20)
  47. depart out of the land i(m)n peace (494:14)
  48. their plunderings & all mam(e)=manner of abominations (500:19)
  49. he did go about spreading rumers [sic] & co(m)ntentions (511:19)

Spelling Changes: n=m

  1. he hath thought to nake=make himself a (Ru)King & a ruler over us (137:21)
  2. they beg(a)an to bare their journyings (wouth) without (n)murmuring (137)32)
  3. driven back upon the waters for the space of four days ny=my Brethren began (147:27)
  4. for the things which some men esteen=esteem (be=to) to be of great worth (150:14)
  5. my graven image & my moulton inage=image hath commanded them (154:11; Isa. 48)
  6. behold these shall come fron=from fr=far & (to) lo these from the north (157:34; Isa. 49)
  7. I have lost my children & an=am desolate a captive (158:14; Isa. 49)
  8. yea even blood & fire & vapor of snoke=smoke must come (162:12)
  9. the Holy one of Israel must reign in dominion & night=might & power & great glory (163:35)
  10. awake my Sons put on the arnour=amour of righteousness (169:12)
  11. his commanding you that ye nust=must obey but behold (170:30)
  12. until we repair unto them the many (nu=mu) murders & sins which (268:29)
  13. they ue=were distinguished by that nane=name ever after (273:8)
  14. harrow up in my desires the firn=firm decree of a just God (277:30)
  15. but it cane=came to pass that (281:35)
  16. as he went forth anong=among the People (292:18)
  17. when they had came into the land behold to there astonishne=astonishment (294:15)
  18. that he would have nercy=mercy upon you (313:15)
  19. for the fear of the Lord cane=came upon us (320:31)
  20. the genealogy of our fore fathers even fron=from the beginning (326:23)
  21. & s(l)mall neans=means in many instances doth cenfound=confound (326:31)
  22. (nor)(n)now my Son here is somewhat nore=more I would say (342:31)
  23. all men whether they be good or evil are taken hone=home to that God (344:22)
  24. this is not the case but the neaning=meaning of the word restoration (350:28)
  25. thus we see that there was t=a tin(e)=time granted unto men=man (352:13)
  26. whosoever will not come the sane=same is not compeled to come (356:31)
  27. liberty which God had granted unto then=them o(f)=or which blessing (380:14)
  28. there were nany=many who died with old age (388:3)
  29. but Behold to their astonishne=astonishment the city of Noah (402:16)
  30. they called the nane=name of the city (Nephi)Moroni (408:3)
  31. & it cane=came to pass that (409:29)
  32. in the comnencement=commencement of the twenty & fourth year (409:31)
  33. they were plased in (an) the most (generous) dangerous circuns=circumstances (427:33)
  34. they becane=became now ot=at this periood of time (430:27)
  35. gone forth with my little army & cane=came wear=near the City Antiparah (445:26)
  36. we did lead away the no=most powerful army of the Lamanites (445:30)
  37. not na=many days had passed away (451:17)
  38. pitched our tents against the tine=time that the Lamanites (460:35
  39. that by this stratigen=stratigem we did take possession (462:28)
  40. in the comnencement=commencement of the (forth) fortyeth year (487:26)
  41. now these are their nanes=names which did contend (487:30)
  42. he was a desenter from anong=among the Nephites (490:29)
  43. thhere [sic] were no=much contentions & nany=many dissensions in the (497:24-26)
  44. that there by men na=may be brought into the presance of the Lord (503:13)
  45. notwithstanding the nany=many afflictions which they shall have (507:20)

Spelling Changes: b=l

  1. that after much (b(l)abour) labour among them they began (298:13)
  2. because it is (lig=lif)e bight=light & whatsov=whatsoever is light is (304:31)
  3. came over into the Land of Melek & gave pbace=place in the land (318:29)
  4. prepairing to support their (b)liberty there=their lands ther=their wives (397:32)

Spelling Changes: l=b

  1. these Lamanites were brought to lelieve=believe & to know the truth (252:21)
  2. they were called ly=by the Nephites the people of Ammon (273:7)
  3. neither were the dead of the(s) Nephites numlered=numbered (281:34)
  4. or rather if he (believ(d)ed) lelieved=believed in God it was his (282:15)
  5. thy soul may be destroid (it)but behold it is le=better that thy soul(s) should (289:15)
  6. l(l)ehold=behold I say unto ye=you do ye suppose that ye (301:1)
  7. let thy heart le=be full of thanks unto God (333:18)
  8. the number of their dead were not numlered=numbered because of (372:22)
  9. marched forth against the Nephites on the borders (ly)by the West Sea (421:19)
  10. obtained (f)p(o)ossssion=posession of a numler=number of ther=their Cities (427:30)
  11. all the Prisoners should be lileerated=liberated which were Nephites (439:26)

Spelling Changes: j=g

  1. the power of God workinj=working miracles in them (244:32)
  2. joy or remorse of conscience now seeinj=seeing thet=that I know (279:2)
  3. Zerahemnah was excedinj=exceding wroth & he did stir up (371:7)
  4. Northward of the land Bountiful accordinj=according to their pleasure (407:33)
  5. it was granted accordinj=according to the voice of the People (415:28)

Spelling Changes: j=y, y=j

  1. all their waopars=weopans of war & thej=they were all Lamanites (245:9)
  2. behold the daj=day of this life is the(y) day (fon) for men to perform (315:4)
  3. except it should destroj=destroy the work of Justice (355:1)
  4. consealed on the South of the hill (whose) who was (leat) led bj=by a man (364:33)
  5. many of the Nephites were slain bj=by their hands (366:24)
  6. that ye may not become his subyects=subjects at the last day (316:30)

Spelling Changes: b=h, h=b

  1. unto them (whos shoull) who should (inbabed=inhabed) inhabit the ise=isles of the (f the) Sea (151:31)
  2. God hath called me by a bolly=holly calling to Preach (280:20)
  3. or any thing else which had bapened=hapened unto them (293:1)
  4. m=one generation to enother=another & he=be kept & preserved (326:25)
  5. spindles should point the (tow) way they should go hehold=behold it was (333:26)

Spelling Changes: k=h, h=k

  1. written by the prophet Isaiak=Isaiah for I dil=did liken all (153:31)
  2. now the arny [sic] of Zerahemnak=Zarahemnah was not prepared (361:24)
  3. if it so be that there is suck=such a being we know not (435:29)
  4. gave orders (to hav) that my men whick=which had been wounded (453:16)
  5. had taken the capatal City (which) whick=which was the city of (493:33)
  6. all they which belong to the Hingdom=Kingdom of the devil (163:30)

Oliver Cowdery also made other types of errors.

  1. being greeved=grieved beca(y)e=because of the heardness of their hearts (63:44)
  2. the one pointed the way whither (they) we so=should go (133:31)
  3. across the River (Lemue)l Laman (133:36)
  4. thus we see that by shall=small means the Lord can (135:38)
  5. did my Brother Laman stir up the(m)ir (t)hearts to angar (137:22)
  6. yea even the woice [sic] of the Lord came (unto) & did speak (137:23)
  7. after the matner=manner which thou hast shewn (138:12)
  8. it is by me that ye are led=lead (unto)yea & the Lord said (139:23)
  9. might quecch=quench their thurst=thirst & notwithstanding they being lead the Lead [Lord] their God their redeemer (141:28)
  10. because of the simplictness=simpleness of the way (142:17)
  11. it shall pass anay=away yea & ye know (143:33)
  12. the power of the Lord that hath shaken (me) us (145:22)
  13. the works=workmenshup=workmenship thereof was exceding fine (145:34)
  14. now my father hat=had begat two sons (146:2)
  15. being young haveing neat=nead of much nourishment (148:2)
  16. wherefore I Nephi (giv) did make a record (150:1)
  17. the words of the prophet(s) (Zenos) from the four quarters (152:12)
  18. went forth out of my mouth & I (t)r=shewed them (154:6; Isa. 48)
  19. flee ye from the Chaldeans with(out) a voice of singing declare (156:1; Isa. 48)
  20. I was left als=alone these where (had) have they been (158:15; Isa. 49)
  21. were engraven (upon my) upon the plates of Brass (159:30)
  22. it meaneth us in the days to (r)e=come & also all (160:13)
  23. they n=shall be brought out of obseurity=obscurity (161:30)
  24. in as much as ye will not keep (his) my commandments ye shall be cut off from (his) my presance (169:4-5)
  25. be men & to=be l=determined in one mind (169:8)
  26. were called my people & I dil=did teach my people (173:27)
  27. I am the Lord (wor) for they shall not be ashamed (176:17)
  28. I make the rivers a wilderness & then=their fish to stink (178:22; Isa. 50)
  29. the fury of the oppressor (as if) the captive exile hasteneth (181:29; Isa. 51)
  30. according to the time which (he) they laboured (212:13)
  31. neither did they measure after (their)the manner of the Jews (213:28)
  32. he cannot save them in their sins fl=for I cannot deny (217:22)
  33. but the king stood forth a(g)mong them (238:23)
  34. comcerning [sic] the wicked(n)e=wicked traditions (243:17)
  35. throughout the land amond=among the Lamanites (243:24)
  36. through the preaching of Amre=Ammon & his Brethren (243:31)
  37. (mey) nay they would not even make any preperations (248:8)
  38. as a testimony to our C=God at the last day (251:4)
  39. we shall go to our God (I) & shall be saved (251:11)
  40. & this=thus they did it (251:14)
  41. prostraded [sic] themselves before them to the (sa=ea) earth (252:29)
  42. neither would they turn aside be=to the right hand or to the left (254:1)
  43. many whose hearts had swollen in them (when) for those of their Brethren who had f(l)allen unter=under the sword (254:4-5)
  44. for they were (sorrow) stung for the murders which they had (254:7)
  45. began to slay there=them & they fled (257:11)
  46. shall be a tyfr=type of things to come (257:15)
  47. came over to dwell in the lend=land of Ishmael (258:25)
  48. nor=now they did(t) not suppose that (260:1)
  49. which spake of those things be=to come (260:4)
  50. granted unto them according be=to their preyers=prayers (260:7)
  51. we have supposed when we starded=started from the land of (260:10)
  52. ye did thrirst=thrust in the r=Sickle & did reap (to) with your mights (261:18)
  53. behold (h)e=we went forth even in wrath (264:19)
  54. we have travelet=traveled from house to house re(f)lying upon (265:15)
  55. he is a mercibil=merciful being (267:2)
  56. destruction among those who (he) they so dearly beloved (268:19)
  57. but the king (sat) sayeth unto them (268:25)
  58. let us go down & (say)rely upon the mercies of (the) our Breh=Brethren (268:32)
  59. blessed art thr=this People in th(e)r=this Generation (270:3)
  60. gather to gather all their frocks=flocks & herds (270:6)
  61. nor=none re(t)ceiveth save it be the hr=truly penitent & th=humble seeker (271:16-17)
  62. their journyings into the land of Nephi then=their suf(f)ferings in the land (276:4)
  63. Power of the Devil which comes by the cunning (of) plans which he hath desised=devised (277:19-20)
  64. that I might go forth & s(t)peak with the trump of God (277:24)
  65. why should I desire that I was an Anger=Angel that I could speak (279:4)
  66. yea I have also=always remembered (280:17)
  67. & is=if he committed alu(d)tery=adultery he was also punished yea for al(e)l (the(s)e) this wickedness (283:18-19)
  68. the law could have no hold upon his=him & he began (283:23)
  69. why do ye (y)yoke yourselves with such fool(s)ish things (283:26)
  70. the foolish traditions of your(s) (fa(f)thers) fashers=fathers (286:27)
  71. which never was nor vever [never] will be (287:1)
  72. traditions of their farhers=fathers for the sake of glutting (by) in the labours (287:11)
  73. there is no God & yet will ye deny (of g) against all these witnesses(s) (289:12)
  74. they cry unto thee with the(t)ir mouths (296:16)
  75. ye should learn wisel(y)=wisdom (b)for it is because (301:5)
  76. or only hath cause to relieve=believe & falleth into transgression (302:24)
  77. as I said concerning faith fair=faith is not to have (302:27)
  78. what ye shall (to=do) do because ye are afficted=aflicted (302:34-35)
  79. therefor is=if a seed groweth it is (good) good…it is cast auay=away (304:23-24)
  80. as the(se) tree begineth to grow ye will say (306:1)
  81. ye shall reap the rewards of your faish=faith & your diligence (307:21)
  82. none shall have paased=passed avay=away (313:4)
  83. only unto him that (the) hath faith unto repentance (313:12)
  84. Behold (wy) my Brethren I say unto you (314:25)
  85. after ye have done all these things (&) (of) if ye turn away (314:26)
  86. these=those which (are)were in favor of the rords=words which (317:12)
  87. they came over also into the lawd=land of Jershon (317:14)
  88. the Zoramites that came over unto their=them & they did nourish their=them (318:21-22)
  89. the whole earth did tremble beneath o(f)ur feet (321:31)
  90. I was horrowed up by the memory of my many sons=sins (323:16)
  91. behold many hath been bom=born of God (324:35)
  92. I have been supported urler=under trials & h=troubles of every kind (325:3)
  93. delivered me from prisons & from bonte=bonds & from death (325:4)
  94. now this is acconting=according to his word (325:17)
  95. he doth counsel in wisdom over all hi(m)s wor(d)ks & his paths (327:14)
  96. ye shall prosper in the lant=land but if ye keep not (328:17)
  97. work secret murders & (amon) abominations therefor (330:11)
  98. from this People & (ow=on) only their wickedness & there (331:30)
  99. ther=their agreements in their Secred=Secret abominations (331:24)
  100. if they had faith so=to believe that God could cause (333:25)
  101. is there not a type it=in this thing for just as (335:4)
  102. prepared for them that of=if they would look they might (335:8)
  103. thou w(h)ast stoned for the words st=sake & thou didst bear (336:23)
  104. there is no other way nor meats=means whereby man can be saved (338:2)
  105. lest they lead a(f)way the hearts of many People (341:13)
  106. you cannot come=carry them with you (342:18)
  107. prepare the minds of (his=him ch) their Children to hear the word (342:23)
  108. I perceive that the=thy mind is worried concerning (342:31)
  109. this corruption dues=does not put on incorruption untill after the comeind=comeing of Christ (342:34)
  110. the spirit of the (Lord) Devil did enter into them (344:28)
  111. from the days of Adam (d(i)ne=donw) down to the resurrection (346:9)
  112. the body to the soul yea & every (limd=limb) limb & joint shall (347:22)
  113. partook of the (fordi=forbi) (forbiden fruit) tree of life he would have (353:15)
  114. a punishment affired=affixed & repentance granted (356:17)
  115. God bringeth about his great & etern(ity)=eternal perposes (356:27)
  116. his mercy & his long suffering have full stay=sway in your heart (357:4)
  117. ye are called of God to pleach=preach the word unto this people (357:5)
  118. this he done that he sight=might preserve their hatred (358:25)
  119. therefore if they (should) should (go) fall into the hands (360:4)
  120. were compelled alone do=to withstand against the Lamanites (360:8)
  121. thus the Nephites were (obligd=oblige) oblid(dg)ged to content=contend with their Brethren (360:12)
  122. the Chief Capain=Captain he=took the le=Command of all the armies (361:16)
  123. but they were nut=not armed with breast plates (361:28)
  124. should gafher=gather themselves together to battle (363:14)
  125. it came to pet=pass that the Lamanites did flee again (366:17)
  126. in the vally upon the fank=bank by the River Siden=Sidon (367:13)
  127. ye are angary with as=us because of our Religion (368:25)
  128. this is the brue=true faith of God yea ye see that God wi(th)ll support (368:29
  129. that all Powerful God who hath strengths=strengthened our arms (368:33)
  130. & nor=now when Moroni had said these words (370:26)
  131. one of Moronis (m) soldiers s(t)mote it even to the earth & (as it) brake by the hilt (370:29)
  132. also his people w(h)ith them if (Moro)they would spare the remainder (372:17)
  133. the armies of the Nephites or of Moroni returned & came to (his)their houses (372:26)
  134. but whosoever retaneth=remaineth & is not destroid (375:24)
  135. because of their wars with the Lamanites (they had become exceding desenting) & the many little desensions (377:13)
  136. they had been leal=lead by the flatteries of Ameleckiah=Amalickiah that if (he)they would support (379:32)
  137. notwithstanding (the ma(y)ny) the P(ow)reaching of Helaman (379:35)
  138. our peace our uives=wives & our children (381:19)
  139. there should a band of Christ(t)ians remaiu=remain to posess the land (381:25)
  140. for he knew (that he) (w)that they would stir up the Lamanites (385:9)
  141. this he knew that Ameleckiah would do that he might (r)ob=obtain his purposses (385:11)
  142. to establish & (d)to exercise (by) authority over them (386:21)
  143. the Reign (t)of the Judge(e)s(s) (& ord) & Helaman & the(y) high priests (387:29)
  144. died with feavers which (had) at some seasons of the year was verry frequent (387:34)
  145. those which (were) flea=fled with him into the wilderness for behold he had took=taken those which we(nt)re (h)with him (388:5-6)
  146. had gone forth among their=them they were exceding fraid yea they (were) feard to displease the king & thei=they also feard (388:11)
  147. as the King came out be=to meet him (393:33)
  148. joined the People of (Ameleck) Ammon & the army (394:15)
  149. that the King was slain (&) fo(ar)r Amelickiah had sent (395:19)
  150. to the Queen informing her that the (Qu) King had been slain (395:20)
  151. concerning the death of the Kin(d)g & it (395:30)
  152. whose heart did swell with(in) thanks giveing to his God (398:3)
  153. worn [sic] them to flee or (be)to prepare for war (398:13)
  154. this was the faith of Moroni & his heart (of) did glory in it (398:16)
  155. now the leaders of the Lamanites had suposed (by the) because of the (401:24)
  156. subject their Brethren to the yoke of bondage o(f)r sley=slay (401:30)
  157. prrhaps=perhaps he would hawe=have caused the Lamanites (402:3)
  158. because of the hidhness=highness of the band=bank which had been thrown (p)up (403:29)
  159. the ditch which (had) had been dud=dug (roun)(g) round about same=save it were by the entrance (403:30)
  160. from the hands of their enem(y &)ies & this=thus ended the (405:29)
  161. they did seek to cut all=off the strength & the power (407:35)
  162. even at this time which (t)he spake unto Lehi saying blessed is=art thou (408:16)
  163. they shall be blesset=blessed & in as much as they shall keep my commantments=commandments they shall (408:17)
  164. for it has been their yuarrelings=quarrelings…& their plunders=plunderings the(re)ir idoleti(ies)=idoletry & their wo=whoardoms (409:21-22)
  165. they were exceding feafful=fearful (of)lest (he)the army of (410:8)
  166. to flee into (h)i=the land North(r)wa=Northward (411:16)
  167. Moroni sent an arms=army with s=ther=their camp to (411:20-21)
  168. they did not (heat=head) heat=head them untill they had came to (411:22)
  169. the army which was sent by Marori=Moroni which was leat=lead by a man whom=whose name was Tanncom=Teancum (411:25-26)
  170. for he had swoarn to drin(g)k the Blood of Moroni (414:6)
  171. compel those dissenters to defenl=defend their Country or (415:25)
  172. & (this=thus) thus ended the days (418:15)
  173. they found Ameleckiah was die=dead in his own tent (419:19)
  174. appointed to Reign in his steat=stead (419:25)
  175. should have power be=to harrass them (420:6)
  176. concerning the (dead) death of his Brother (421:17)
  177. who had established armies to prote(st)h=protect the South (421:28)
  178. Moroni did ative=arive with hs=his army to the land (422:3)
  179. he resolved upon of=a plan that he might (g) decoiy=decoy the (422:15)
  180. & thi(s)=thus Moroni had obtained (423:30)
  181. he marched with the remainder be=to meet the Lamanites (423:31)
  182. & it came be=to pass thae=that the Lameenites=Lamanites did fe=persue (423:32-33)
  183. army which had been left be=to protect the city (423:35)
  184. Moroni comnanded=commanded hit=his men that they should (424:10)
  185. in diging a(r) dilch=ditch (a)round about the land (426:8)
  186. & had obtainel=obtained possession of the city (427:20)
  187. but he dit=did employ his men in prepareing for war (427:23)
  188. on account of some intreague amongst the (Lamanites) Nephites which (427:28)
  189. takeing up arms against their brethren (& w) for they had taken an oath (429:3)
  190. the many afflictions & (d)(o)=tribulations which the Nephites (429:9)
  191. thy Brother hath been except ye(a) repent & withdraw (432:24)
  192. but he sayeth unto (him) them hear=fear not behold I am a Lamanites(s) (437:22)
  193. it came to pass they did drin(g)k & were merry (437:34)
  194. to (Pro)claim=reclaim their rites & their privileges (440:1)
  195. my dearly beloved Brother Moroni as wall=well in the Lord as in the ti=tribulations of aur=our warfare (441:20-21)
  196. because of the numerority of then=their forces (442:8)
  197. I found Antipus & his (sold)men (sold)toiling with their mights (443:18)
  198. they had fought ualiontly=valiontly by day (443:19)
  199. thus were we fauoured=favoured (443:28)
  200. we did flee before them (a K)northward & thus we did (445:30)
  201. began to slay thin(g)=them excedingly (448:6)
  202. camp round about the city for many (da)nights but we did sleep (450:8)
  203. the Lamanites could not come upon (o)=us by (many)night & slay us which they attempted many times (450:9)
  204. take these=those provisions & send then [sic] to Judeah & our Pris(o)oners to the (city of Zar)land of Zaranemla=Zarahemla (451:16)
  205. which had faintet=fainted because of the loss of bloot=blood (th)nevertheless (453:19)
  206. we did take courage with our shall=small (fore=forc) force which we had (459:17)
  207. lead them on to destruction=destraction b=therefore they began to re(a)=retreat (462:19)
  208. behold ue=we (feel) fear that there is (464:10)
  209. because of the great ui=wickedness of those who (474:22)
  210. an inrumerable=inumerable army of men ((&) had) (g)=& (at) armed them (490:24)
  211. insomuch with his shrength=strength & also with his great wisdom (490:32)
  212. that Coriantumr dit=did smite him against the wall (492:13)
  213. he did not tarry in the (C)land of Zarahemla but he did march (493:19)
  214. Kishcumen mads=made known unto him (495:32)
  215. he ran & told Helaman all the things which he had seen & heard & (ob) done (496:7)
  216. behold I (a=do e=C) do not mean the end of the Book of Helaman (496:16)
  217. they came to large boddies of H=Water & many Rivers (497:28)
  218. ye might chose life o(f)r death (505:17)
  219. except ye repent, your(selves) women shall have great cause to mourn (505:21)
  220. went forth unto him to be Baptised for (he)they came repenting (509:15)
  221. because of the power of the devil which is in him (they could) we can not hit him (509:19)
  222. should not pass away till is=it should all be fulfiled (515:21)
  223. which put it unto=into hi(m)s heart to search…put it unto=into (his)the heart of Akish (534:21-22)
  224. leading (him)them away by fair promises be=to do whatsoever (534:23)

Scribe 2 (Unknown)

Scribe 2 committed many of the same types of spelling errors as Oliver Cowdery.

  1. I Nephi & my Brethren toof=took our Journey in the wilderness (66:23)
  2. return unto my father in the wilder(m)ness but behold (66:40-41)
  3. for behold ha=he left gold & (a) sive=silver & all manner or (e)riches (67:47-48)
  4. he hath been commanded to (fr) flee out of the land (67:53)
  5. that we d(u)id flee (f)before (b)the Servents of Laban & we were abou=oblieged to leave behind (69:25-26)
  6. & it came do=to pass that (69:28)
  7. now behold yo=ye know that this is true (71:3)
  8. when I had spo(p)ken these words (71:7)
  9. I Nephi crept un=into the City & went porth=forth towards (71:12)
  10. I was constrained by the (m)spirit that I should hill=kill Laban (72:23)
  11. he would not kearken=hearken unto the commandments (72:29)
  12. tortereth them & Bindeth them dow(m)n & yoketh them (113:11)
  13. & bring them dow(m)n into Captivit(t)y (114:24)
  14. it wrought upon o(f)ther gentiles & they went forth (114:36)
  15. I Beheld (i)t=A Book (it)=& it was earried=carried forth (116:6)
  16. & I saith I know m=not & he saith (116:9)
  17. they contain the covanants of the Lard=Lord which he hath maid (116:18)
  18. contained the fulness of the Gospel of the Land [Lord] of whom the twelve Apostles (117:25)
  19. that they might perrert=pervert the rih=right ways of the Lord (117:40)
  20. that they might blind the ey(i)es & harder=harden the hearts (117:41)
  21. hath gone forth through the hants=hands of the great (117:44)
  22. thy teed=seed which is ano=among thy Brethren (119:19)
  23. saith the lanb=lamb of God (120:33)
  24. there were wars & ruro=runo=rumours of wars (123:20)
  25. I considered that mine affrictions=afflictions was=were great (126:1)
  26. they said unto me ue=we have not for the Lord maketh (126:9)
  27. I said unto them how is it that yo=ye do not keep(t) the commandments (126:10)
  28. what meaneth the rod of lron=iron which our father saw (129:31)
  29. that whoso would kearken=hearken unto the word of god (129:33)
  30. I said unto then=them that it was a representation (130:10)
  31. if so the kingdon=kingdom of god must be filthy also (131:31)

Scribe 2 also made other types of errors.

  1. prepare a way for them that they may accorplish=accomplish the thing (65:18-19)
  2. he also had le(f)=taken away our property (72:30)
  3. I saw the devil that he was the fount=founder of it (113:15)
  4. the Angel saith…the rath of God is upon the seed of (my)thy Brethren (114:28)
  5. they are of great worth unto the gentiles & the (gen)Angel of the Lord said (116:20)
  6. & after it giv=goeth forth unto all the Nations (118:50)
  7. & have been listed=lifted up (above) by the power of God (119:11)
  8. the gentiles shall forever re(t)main in that state (120:22)
  9. that they are in because of the (great) plain & most precious parts (120:24)
  10. ask me in faith believeing that ye shall (believe) (their) receive with dire=dilligence (126:15)
  11. they must be brought to stand before gor=god to be Judged (131:28)

Scribe 3 (Unknown)

Scribe 3 made many of the same types of errors as scribes 1 and 2.

  1. he Spake unto me consenning=conserning the elders of the Jews (74:5)
  2. that I was truly that laban whon=whom I had (had) Slew (74:13)
  3. he spake unto me menny times consenning=conserning the elders Of the Jews (74:15)
  4. that i spake with t(h)=hin=him that if he would harken (75:31)
  5. when Zorun=Zorum had made an oath Um=Unto us (76:52-53)
  6. I know of a surity that the bord=lord (t)hath commanded (78:28)
  7. can not be ritten uppon there=these plates for I desire (81:31)
  8. that Might rais (u)up seed unto the lord in the lord (in the land) of promise (82:48)
  9. unto the land of jerusalem and no(t)w i mphi=nephi being grievd for the hardmess of their harts (83:15-16)
  10. getherd to geather all manner of seeds of erery=every king [kind] (87:27)
  11. i have seen a vission and hehold=behold becaus of the thing (87:32)
  12. i also beheld a Strait and mrrough=narrough path which came (90:27)
  13. that they might oftain=obtain the path which led (90:32)
  14. great mist of darkness im=insomuch that they wt(h)=which had (90:37)
  15. i beheld o(f)thers pressing forward (90:40)
  16. mocking and poim=pointing their fingers towards those (92:1)
  17. to proseed with mim=mine (c) acount i must speak m=somewhat of (95:13)
  18. made an End of Speaking the words of his drean=dream and also of (95:16)
  19. he also spake conserning the frophets=prophets how great a number (96:28)
  20. that they had s(t)lain the masiah (97:51)
  21. that we should be scattered ufpon=uppon all the fase (of) of the earth (98:8)
  22. the (corese) course of the lord is one eterm=eternal round (99:41)
  23. and deny them mo=not for it came to pass (100:49)
  24. the lord (t)was able to mahe=make them ko=known unto me (100:51)
  25. a mountain which i (m)e=never (before) had before seen (101:2)
  26. and the wthitemess [whiteness] there of did exceed the whiteness (102:26)
  27. Mother of god after the monner=manner of the flesh (104:1)
  28. beheld the virgin agaim=again bearrng=bearing a child in her arns=arms (104:6-7)
  29. that i saw them m=not & it a=came to pass that (105:39)
  30. to fight against the afostels=apostels of the la(b)mb for thus ware the twelue=twelve cald (107:6-7)
  31. behold the world and the wisdon=wisdom there of (107:12)
  32. after i saw there=these things i saw the vaper of (the earrh=earth) darkness that it(s) past from the fase of the earth (109:44)
  33. & I looked & bebeld=beheld three generations did pass away (110:10)
  34. & laadeth=leadeth then=them away into broad Roads (111:28)

Other errors made my Scribe 3:

  1. for they Supposd is=it was laban and that he had slain Me (74:20)
  2. might not n=know consem=conserning our flight (76:50)
  3. my Mother complaind against my father and is=it had came to pass that (77:13)
  4. but had tarried an=at jerusalem (77:17)
  5. the thing which the lord hath commander=commanded them (78:33)
  6. my fether=father lehi took the records (78:38)
  7. that we could preserse=preserve the commandments (80:18)
  8. the lord commanded him that i (l)ehi=nephi and my brethren (82:50)
  9. i say unto you that if (h)ye will return unto jerusalem (84:42)
  10. O lord according to my faith which is in (me) thee wilt thou (86:2)
  11. and it came to pals=pass that (87:41)
  12. after that i had truve(d)ed=traveled ror=for the space (for) of menny (88:44)
  13. many ware lost from (My view) his view (92:16)
  14. as many as heded them had (to fall in their) fallen away and (93:22)
  15. plates uppon which i make a fill=full account (94:43)
  16. a wise purpou=purpos in him wt(h)=which purlos=purpos i n=know Not (95:5)
  17. and this=thus it is amen (95:9)
  18. that accont=according to the one=own due time of the lord they should reture=return again (95:20-21)
  19. isreel=israel should be grafted in or come to the Re=knowledge of the true masiah their lord and their redemer (98:13-14)
  20. if it so be that they repend=repent and come unto him (99:36)
  21. that my father had sees=seen and believing that (100:50)
  22. i desire to be hold (to) tre=the things which my father saw (101:5)
  23. which my father sad=had seen=sees (t) was the wore=word of god (104:20)
  24. they ware in a large and shesious=spesious bilding (107:9)
  25. that i saw a wist=mist of darkness on the fase of the land (108:33)
  26. the lam of god desending out of heven & (t)he came down & t(h)=he shewd (it unto them) himself unto them (b) & i also saw (109:48-49)
  27. they are righteous forever for (of)because of their fa(d)ith in the lamb (110:8)
  28. their garments where [sic] white even like unto the lumb=lamb of God (110:12)
  29. Gethered to gether & the(se) Angel(s) said unto me (110:18)
  30. the large & specious Building which thei(r)=thy father saw is (111:30)
  31. yea ev(e)en the sword if=of the Justice of the Eternal God (111:33)
  32. & saw the People of the seet=seed of my Brethren (111:44)

These errors indicate clearly that the scribes were misreading rather than mishearing the text. The errors often involve pairs of letters that are formed similarly when written but are pronounced differently when spoken. Even Skousen himself often had difficulty determining which of two letters a scribe had written. Nor can the errors be dismissed due to the fact that the scribes were not very good spellers, because they often misspelled words which they clearly knew how to spell. Also, these errors were corrected, so if the scribes used the spelling which they thought was correct, how did they know that the spelling needed to be corrected and how it should be corrected? Joseph Smith surely didn't spell out every word for the scribes as the translation appeared in the interpreters. Furthermore, many of the errors result in nonsense words or render nonsensical the meaning of the sentence in which they occur. It is apparent that the scribes were copying an unfamiliar hand and that their task produced confusion and tedium. Deciphering the original text and constantly looking back and forth between the original and the copy for long periods of time made them prone to committing copying errors, mistaking one letter for another. And, the mechanical and tedious nature of the task, which impaired their ability to concentrate, led them to make even nonsensical errors. There may also be other contributing factors that we are not aware of, such as the condition of the manuscript that was being copied, the lighting in the room where the scribes worked, and distractions, such as conversations that may have been going on while the scribe worked.

Can Mormon scholars devise a new theory to accommodate the evidence from the Book of Mormon manuscript? In doing so, they will have to give attention to certain facts. Joseph Smith did not obtain possession of the plates until September 1827, and he then moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania. Martin Harris acted as Joseph Smith's scribe from 12 April to 14 June 1828. In July, Joseph learned that the 116 pages of manuscript that Harris had been allowed to take home had disappeared, and they were never recovered. Oliver Cowdery did not start his service as scribe until April 1829. It might have been possible for Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon between July 1828 and April 1829 and then give his text to scribes to copy. But more annoying details intrude. Oliver Cowdery was granted the gift of translating, which was then revoked, in April 1829 (D&C 8 & 9). In May 1829 Joseph Smith was given a solution for the problem of the lost Harris manuscript (D&C 10). Oliver Cowdery also stated that he had written most of the Book of Mormon as dictated by Joseph Smith. It appears then that Joseph could not have produced a translation before April 1829, which Oliver and the other scribes merely copied, and if he had, we must ask why Joseph and Oliver would lie about how they had produced the manuscript.

It cannot be doubted that there was an extant manuscript that Joseph Smith's scribes copied. The simplest explanation is one that was proposed in the nineteenth century: Joseph Smith obtained the manuscript of a story written by Solomon Spalding, which was revised and printed as the Book of Mormon.

Reply to Critics

Since this article was posted, several people have suggested - without doing any research or presenting any evidence - that the examples that I have listed are simply cases of the scribes replacing a malformed letter with a better attempt at forming the intended letter. In other words, the problem is one of faulty penmanship. This explanation sounds reasonable, but it is not confirmed by the evidence.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, Royal Skousen distinguished between different cases. When he was able to determine the original letter that a scribe wrote and the letter that replaced it, Skousen used one set of symbols, which he explained as "x has been overwritten by y." When he was uncertain what letter a scribe had written, Skousen used another set of symbols, which he explained as "the text may be x or y, with x preferred or intended." Skousen also developed symbols to indicate when a letter was erased or aborted, when a letter was overwritten by the same letter, when a letter is missing a stroke or has an extra stroke, and when a letter is illegible. All of the examples that I have listed fall into two categories: those cases where Skousen was able to determine the original and replacement letters and those cases where a letter was erased. If the critics are right, my examples should fall in the other categories. We would expect Skousen to indicate that he was uncertain what letter a scribe had written, because it was malformed, or that the letter was overwritten by the same letter, or that the letter was missing a stroke or had an extra stroke. If Skousen believed that the errors that I have listed were merely cases of a scribe correcting faulty penmanship, he certainly had the means to indicate this. But, on the contrary, Skousen seems to be clear that the scribes wrote one letter and then replaced it with a completely different letter.

In his facsimile, Skousen provides photographs of three complete pages from the Book of Mormon manuscript. The third page is completely in the handwriting of scribe 3. The first two pages show transitions from the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery to the handwriting of scribe 2 or vice versa. Unfortunately, the major portion of each of the first two pages is in the handwriting of scribe 2, while those parts in Oliver's handwriting are fainter and much more difficult to read. The book Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon (Parry, Peterson, and Welch, 2002, 10) provides a much more legible photograph of the "Testimony of Three Witnesses" in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Admittedly, the photographs are less than ideal, and I had only a handheld magnifying glass to aid me, but I was nonetheless able to glean some information. There are resemblances between the ways in which Oliver forms his "r," "n," and "v." However, the photographs do not show any instances in which Oliver tried to correct his penmanship by forming any of these letters more perfectly, except for two instances where Oliver overwrote an "r" with the same letter. On the other hand, Oliver's "r" does not look like his "s." Also, Oliver's "p" is clearly distinguishable from his "f." Furthermore, I cannot see any problem in distinguishing Oliver's a, o, and e, or his b, h, and k, or his m and n.

Scribe 2's "r" is generally elevated with a square top, and it does not resemble either his "n" or "v." Also, his "h" does not look like his "k." Scribe 2's "p" actually looks more like his elongated "s" than his "f." Scribe 3's "r" does not resemble either his "n" or his "s." Although similar to his "f," scribe 3's "p" is oddly shaped, and the stem of his "p" tends to be shorter than the stem of his "f." Also, Scribe 3's b, h, and k are distinct.

In short, I do not see any convincing evidence to justify the claim that the scribes were merely correcting their faulty penmanship. On the contrary, they were replacing one letter with a different letter by either overwriting or erasing the original letter. Furthermore, this explanation requires us to believe, for example, that Oliver Cowdery's incorrectly formed "n" looked like an "r," his incorrectly formed "v" lookd like an "r," and his incorrectly formed "s" looked like and "r." But, on the other hand, Oliver's incorrectly formed "r" sometimes looked like an "n," sometimes like a "v," and sometimes like an "s." All of this seems highly improbable. And, as far as I am aware, there is no recognizable pattern in the manuscript of a hypothetically malformed "n" looking like a "v" or "s," a malformed "v" looking like an "n" or "s," or a malformed "s" looking like an "n" or a "v." But there are patterns of an "r" being changed to an "n," "v," or "s," and vice versa, and it appears that these patterns arise not because the scribe made a mistake in penmanship, but because the scribe mistook one letter for another. The critics also ignore other types of errors that I listed, which clearly cannot be explained as correcting penmanship errors. If the critics want to discount the evidence, they will have to come up with a much better explanation supported by real evidence.

Reply to Dan Vogel

Dan Vogel has offered a critique of my work on a message board at

Vogel states: "Unfortunately, Chandler's response to Skousen is based on a very poor understanding of O-MS, as well as the mechanics of Skousen's transcription.…His evidence for visual copying is almost exclusively from misspelled words, or rather malformed letters and slips of the pen, which were later corrected."

So, apparently Vogel's position is that Skousen doesn't really mean what he says. When Skousen explains a symbol as "x has been overwritten by y," or another symbol as "the text may be x or y, with x preferred or intended," we are to understand that x and y do not represent two different letters but two attempts by the scribe to form the same letter. Skousen is not talking about spelling errors where one letter is mistaken for another. Unfortunately for Vogel, this is not what Skousen actually says. For example, Skousen states: "The original manuscript is not letter-for-letter perfect, but evidence suggests that it contained relatively few errors (excluding spelling variants)" (p. 6). Then in explaining overwriting, Skousen says: "If the text is changed or a whole letter is overwritten, I specify both the original text and the correcting text, separated by a vertical bar" (p. 22). Skousen is talking about spelling variants and replacing one letter by another, not merely correcting a slip of the pen. In fact, Skousen uses other symbols to designate ways in which a letter has been malformed. It seems to me that it is Vogel who doesn't understand the mechanics of Skousen's transcription.

Vogel's discussion of Skousen's examples amounts to little more than opining that Skousen's explanations are "more likely" than mine. This a rather poor argument and seems to depend on accepting Vogel's position that the manuscript was dictated.

Vogel states that dittography and haplography -- common scribal errors -- do not occur in the O-MS:

There is also no evidence for dittography in O-MS, although there are numerous examples in P-MS, of which the following are examples:

[symbols= (word) for strikeouts; \word/ for above the line insertions; numbers in first column represent page numbers in P-MS]

2 of my father (of my father)
4 thou Nephi (because) because
9 my (Mother) Mother Sariah
10 to give (to give) a full account
11 & I stood before my Brethren & spake unto them again & it came to pass (& I stood before m)) that they were angery
16 (& behold) & behold this thing
16-17 the (spirit) spirit
18 & beheld (the land) the land of promise
20 & I beheld (& I beheld) the wrath of God
23 stumbling Blocks (if it so be that they) \&/ hearden not their hearts against the Lamb \God/ (if it so be that they hearden \not/ their hearts against the Lamb of God) they shall be numbered among…
24 he was (dressed) dressed
25 (behold) behold
62 & shall (& shall)
80 the Jews do understand the things of the Prophets, & there is none other People that understand the things (of the Prophets) spoken unto the Jews…
89 & (lull) lull them
101 I (take) take away
106 & the size thereof & ye shall not clear away the bad ther (eof the size there of & ye shall not clear away th) \eof all at once lest the roots thereof should/ be to strong for the graft
124 which hath been (prepare from) prepared from the foundation
158 for there was nothing preached in all the church (es in the land of Zarahmela) -es except it were repentance and faith in God and now there was Seven churches in the land of Zarahmela and…
198 by the Devil and led by (the chains of Hell and Amulek) his will down to destruction, now this is what is meant by the Chains of Hell and Amulek hath spoken…

While it's certainly possible to have a repeated word in oral dictation from false starts, other types of dittography are clearly from the scribe's eye skipping lines. Dittographic evidence is absent from the O-MS, but frequently appears in P-MS.

Vogel's declaration that there is no evidence in the O-MS of either dittography or haplography is incorrect. I haven't gone through the entire manuscript, but here are a few examples.

we (we) went down to the land of our inheritance (68:12-13)
out of (out of) captivity (70-71:54, 1)
the spirit said unto me again (to me) slay him (72:31-32)
ishmael and his wife (and) (his Wife) and his three other daugters (83:12-13)
they did give thanks unto the lord their god and they did (give) offer (thanks) sacrifice (87:24-25)
after that i had traveld for the space (for) of menny hours (88:44)
the river of water (of) (water of water) a great and spesious bilding (91:48-49)
a prophet which should come before the masiah (whi) to prepare the way (96:33-34)
the fall there of (there of) was exceding great (107:16-17)
of great worth unto the gentiles & the (gen) Angel of the Lord said (116:20)
wherefore the final (fi) state of the souls (131:38)
they being lead the Lead their God (141:28)
to the Queen informing her that the (Qu) King had been slain (395:20)

I had smote off his (own) head with his own sword (73:49)
and Laban also (d) was a descendant of joseph (80:5)
how is it (how great things) that ye have forgotten how great things (84:25-26)
it came to pass that (I) after i had praid unto the lord (88:47-48)
for the plates uppon which i make a (pe) full account of my people (94:44-45)
come to the (Re) knowlledge of the true masiah their lord and their redemer (98:14-15)
i desire to be hold (to) t(re)he things which my father saw…thy father saw the tree (101:4-7)
have been lifted up (above) by the power of God above all other Nations (119:11-12)
& (pre) most precious parts (120:40)
I did slay (bea) wild beasts (136:1)
make himself a (Ru) King & a ruler over us (137:21)
O house of (I) Jacob which are called by the name of Israel (153-54: 38, 1)
the Lamanites could not come upon us by (many) night and slay us which they attempted many times (450:9)

Apparently, Vogel knows so little about the O-MS that he was completely unaware of these examples.

Let's consider another type of error documented by Vogel in his own edition of the Newel Knight Journal. Vogel notes two places in which the manuscript replaces "my" with "his," three places where "me" is overwritten by "him," another place where "I" is overwritten by "he," and "he" is overwritten by "him." Vogel states: "This kind of change is important because it shows how closely Knight followed Joseph Smith's published history" (Early Mormon Documents, 4:31). But similar changes are found in the O-MS. Here are some examples.

many were lost from (My view) his view (92:16)
which (their) thy father saw (111:30)
the Angel saith…the rath of God is upon the seed of (my) thy Brethren (114:28)
the one pointed the way whither (they) we should go (133:31)
the power of the Lord that hath shaken (me) us (145:22)
in as much as ye will not keep (his) my commandments ye shall be cut off from (his) my presance (169:4-5)
according to the time which (he) they laboured (212:13)
behold (he) we went forth even in wrath (264:19)
destruction among those who (he) they so dearly beloved (268:19)
also his people with them if (Moro) they would spare the remainder (372:17)
the armies of the Nephites or of Moroni returned & came to (his) their houses (372:26)
that if (he) they would support (379:32)
for he knew (that he) that they would stir up the Lamanites (385:9)
went forth unto him to be Baptised for (he) they came repenting (509:15)
(they could) we can not hit him (509:19)

These emendations seem to indicate that a text was being followed closely but was also being changed in ways similar to Knight's journal.

Vogel hasn't shown that Skousen didn't mean exactly what he said about replacing one letter by another, he hasn't demonstrated that Skousen's explanations are "more likely" than other possibilities, he is completely unaware of dittography and haplography in the O-MS, and he ignores changes similar to those in Knight's journal. All of this poses serious challenges to Vogel's position.

2nd Reply to Dan Vogel

In explaining overwriting, Skousen gives three examples.

Braces { } are used to show overwriting of the text on the manuscript. In many instances, a single letter was partially overwritten in order to make the letter read more clearly. In such cases, there was no intended change in the letter. For instance, in 1 Nephi 2:17…Oliver Cowdery partially rewrote the sentence-initial ampersand:
... {&}I spake unto Sam
If the text is changed or a whole letter is overwritten, I specify both the original text and the correcting text, separated by a vertical bar. In 1 Nephi 2:11 ..., Oliver Cowdery first started to write foolish with fl, but then overwrote his partially written l with an o:
... because of the f{l(-)|o}olish imma{g}ionations of
Sometimes the overwriting occurred because the scribe ran out of ink while writing the word. In such a case, there is normally a note stating that this was the cause of the overwriting. In 1 Nephi 12:2…scribe 3 rewrote the first e of beheld when he ran out of ink writing the word:
other & i b{e | e}held wars and rumers of wars and great

(Skousen 2001, 22)

Despite the fact that Skousen distinguishes these three situations, Vogel declares concerning the second example (foolish) that "Skousen's example on page 22 is a slip of the pen," and "a malformed letter can also look like another letter." But is it a mere slip of the pen to eliminate two o's and write fl instead? I would describe this more as a slip in attention. An "l" is not a malformed "o," and Skousen does not indicate that he regarded any letter as malformed or that a malformed letter was being corrected by attempting to write the letter again correctly. In fact, this example is evidence that Skousen is talking about two different letters. If Skousen thought that he was dealing with a malformed letter, he would have represented it as he did in either example 1 or 3, as a partial overwrite or as the same letter repeated, not as the correction of one letter by a different letter.

Vogel provides a photo from the Oliver Cowdery Letterbook of the word "present" written by Oliver Cowdery to show that there are similarities in the way Cowdery formed different letters. Vogel says that the "p" resembles an "f," but he doesn't show us how Cowdery formed his "f." Also, Cowdery did not attempt to correct any of the letters by overwriting them to make them clearer. What we need is photos from the O-MS of actual changes in the manuscript

Vogel cites two examples that I used in which "lard" is changed to "land" and "sone" is changed to "sore." He states: "So, although the words look like 'lard' and 'sone', Cowdery intended to write 'land' and 'sore'." My question is, how does Vogel know what Cowdery intended to write? Perhaps he was writing what he thought he saw.

Vogel states: "These are examples of where the malformed letters can make nonsensical words, but what if the similarity in lettering makes sense either way? Skousen handles those situations in a different way ...." He then says that this "subtle distinction…was lost on Chandler". Actually, Vogel doesn't understand the distinction that Skousen is making. Skousen is not using different symbols to distinguish between nonsense words and words that make sense. He uses one set of symbols to represent letters that are legible and the other symbols to represent situations where he was not really certain what letters were written because they were difficult to read. But in either case, the reading can produce either nonsense words or words that make sense. Vogel says, "With malformed letters, Skousen is apparently going solely on appearance because there is no ambiguity in meaning." This makes no sense to me. Vogel is saying that Skousen saw clearly, for example, that a letter was a malformed "n," but nonetheless designated it as a "r" overwritten by an "n." Why wouldn't Skousen simply represent it as an "n" overwritten by an "n," since he actually has a symbol for this purpose? And, by the way, none of the examples that I have used fall into the ambiguous category.

Vogel hasn't produced any credible evidence that Skousen was dealing with malformed letters in the examples that I have used, which is critical for his argument. Vogel also doesn't seem to realize that if his interpretation were correct, then in any particular instance we would have no way of knowing whether a scribe had actually written two different letters or was merely correcting a malformed letter. That would render Skousen's work absolutely worthless as a critical text.

Vogel asks, "What scribe copies letter by letter nonsensical words?" I haven't made this claim. But if a scribe is copying a text and is not certain what a written word is, he may have to puzzle it out as he goes along, realizing what the word is only after he has written down an incorrect letter that would produce nonsense. So, the word would not have been nonsense to him, but only uncertain. Writing an incorrect letter can also be due simply to scribal inattention. For example, Bruce Metzger, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, says that "even with the strongest determination to copy a text without error, a scribe copying a text of considerable length will almost inevitably introduce changes in the wording. It is understandable that mistakes can arise from inattentiveness brought on by weariness" (Link is here.). Also, Orville Jenkins suggests that some errors in biblical manuscripts are due to mechanical copying:

Mechanical copying -- Not Information Processing

Copying texts was a form of devotion and worship, not a cognitive process as modern, analytical westerners might think, with our focus on information and personal knowledge. Cognitive interaction with the text as you copied it was not a big part of the process of copying of the biblical texts in the historical process before the development of printing.

To get an idea how this might work, talk to a copy-typist about their process of typing from a printed page. I have been told by many that they do it mechanically, not interacting with the information. The latter hinders their focus on the process of getting the letter sequence through their fingers to the keyboard. Copyists have told me they often are only vaguely aware of what they were typing, and sometimes cannot even tell you what the article said.
Link is here.

Joseph Smith's scribes were not professionals with training in copying manuscripts, and they were most likely more concerned with copying the text than with understanding what was being copied.

Vogel accuses me of "speculating some far fetched scenarios to explain aaway Skousen's evidence." I don't see anything far fetched about my explanations of Skousen's examples. I stated that Skousen's first example of mishearing "an" as "and" could as easily be explained as a visual misreading. The use of an ampersand by the scribe does not disprove this, since he could simply have replaced a written "an" with the ampersand.

In Skousen's second example of mishearing "reed" as "weed," I also suggested that visual misreading might have been the cause for the error. However, upon further investigation, I see that this example is based upon a mere assumption. In the O-MS, the text reads simply: "shall wither even as a (dred) dried weed." There is no indication that the scribe changed "weed." However, in the P-MS, "weed" was changed to "reed." Skousen has merely assumed that because of this change in P, "reed" was also the word dictated to the scribe for the O-MS. But this assumption can't be proven from the text of O itself. So it is possible that "weed" was correctly copied by the scribe in O. Perhaps a change was made in P because Cowdery saw a similarity to Isaiah 19:6: "dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither."

Skousen's third example is mishearing "beat" as "meet." I suggested that since either word fits the context of the sentence, which reads "for it was they who did (meet) beat the Lamanites" (Alma 57:22), Cowdery may have simply decided to change the word. The Book of Mormon provides examples of both uses.

in which the Nephites did beat the Lamanites (Mormon 1:11)
in the which they did beat the Nephites (Mormon 4:19)
being prepared to meet the Lamanites (Jarom 1:9)
went forth without arms to meet the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did meet the Lamanites (Mosiah 20:25)
they were prepared to meet the Amlicites (Alma 2:13)
the army which was sent by Moroni, which was led by a man whose name was Teancum, did meet the people of Morianton (Alma 50:35)
he marched with the remainder to meet the Lamanites (Alma 52:26)
we did meet the spies of our armies (Alma 57:30)
Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus (Alma 62:7)

In fact, "meet" seems to be the preferred word in Alma, which suggests that it may have been original.

Skousen's fourth example is two instances in which "him" was replaced by "them." I suggested that since "him" occurs twice in the text before the incorrect occurrence, Cowdery could have become confused. This is not a far fetched explanation, and even Vogel admits that this is possible. In the second example, I suggested that Cowdery might have incorrectly anticipated what the next word was going to be. Again, this is not far fetched, and both Skousen and Vogel use scribal anticipation to explain errors. Apparently, this is an illegitimate explanation only if I use it.

Skousen's fifth example is an uncorrected "Sons" in O that was changed to "Son" in P. Skousen claims that the error was due to the word "see" which follows "Son" so that when the phrase "Son see" was dictated, Cowdery could not tell if "Son" was singular or plural. But, of course, if "see" was written closely to "Son," Cowdery could have mistakenly seen "Son" as "Sons." And, again, the O-MS does not provide definitive proof that "Sons" was an error. The assumption that it was an error depends on the change in P.

Vogel engages in far more creative speculation than I to explain away the examples that I provided of dittography and haplography. Here are some of his comments.

"Or is it evidence that JS was struggling with impromptu dictation of a difficult passage?"
"or JS correcting himself when he added a dependent clause."
"Rather, the type of correction one would expect in impromptu dictation, when JS change [sic] his mind about word ordering."
"Again, probably JS adding an adjective after dictating the noun."
"Most likely JS rephrasing."
"JS saying 'Israel' and then deciding to qualify the term."

Vogel argues that I ignore eyewitness testimony regarding the manner in which Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon by placing his seer stone in a hat and dictating without benefit of manuscript or books. But Vogel himself ignores parts of these eyewitness testimonies. For example, Emma Smith stated that Joseph did not have the ability to write the Book of Mormon, but Vogel believes that he did. People like Martin Harris and David Whitmer said that during the translation process, sentences in English would appear to Joseph, which he read off to the scribe, and the sentences would not disappear until the scribe had made a correct copy. But Vogel gives a quite different view of the translation process, as we have seen from his comments, claiming that changes in O are evidence of Joseph Smith's struggles, corrections, and rephrasing during dictation.

We have also seen that some of the words in O were not changed until the P-MS was produced, so the eyewitness descriptions were incorrect. If Vogel thinks that the testimonies of eyewitnesses give a false description of the actual translation process, why does he think that they are reliable concerning the lack of source material? Joseph Smith undoubtedly did use the stone in a hat trick, just as he had during his money-digging ventures, to convince people to believe in his powers. It is probable that initially Joseph used a dictation method with Emma and Martin Harris acting as scribes, but we do not have the manuscript that they produced. But I think that Smith also attracted willing accomplices, like Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, who were ready to aid him in his deception.

Vogel claims that my examples are ambiguous and are not definitive because there is no word or words repeated in the text that would cause the scribe's eye to skip to the wrong place in the manuscript while copying. I think that fatigue and confusion are sufficient to explain why the scribe's eye might have skipped to the wrong place in the text, but to satisfy Vogel, I offer some further examples of dittography and haplography.


  1. and Was baptsd of him and after that he was baptised (of) i beheld the hevens (105:29-30)
  2. upon your crimes (h(-)) to harrow up your (cr) Soul if it were not (340:35)


  1. I know of myself not of the (Carnal mind) (but of) (the spiritual) (tempral but of) (the spiritual) temporal but of the spiritual not of the Carnal mind but of God (320:24-25)
  2. if ye keep not his (presance) commandments ye shall be cut off from his presance (328:18)
  3. we will seek not your (liv) blood but we will spare your lives (369:5)
  4. & delivered up his (Sim) sword & his Simetar (369:11)
  5. it came to pass that (same s)e Ameleckiah took that same servant(s) (395:26)
  6. they did drink & were merry & by (th) & by they were all drunken (437:34)

I have no doubt that Vogel will find some imaginative ways to explain away these examples as well.

There are also many places in O where text was omitted and then inserted above the line. Here are some examples.

  1. be like unto this River continually running into the fountain of all righteousness (62:19)
  2. I beheld the Church of the Lamb of god & its numbers were few (122:3-4)
  3. the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches (127:21-22)
  4. in as much as ye will not keep (his)my commandments ye shall be cut off from (his) my presance (169:4-5)
  5. do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers (265:1-2)
  6. we will try the hearts of our brethren whether they will that ye shall come into their land (270:11)
  7. & speak with the trump of God with a (c)voice to shake the earth & cry repentance unto every People (277:24-25)
  8. I am grieved because of the hardness of your heart yea that ye will (289:14)
  9. as my mind caught hold upon this thought I cried within my heart O Jesus thou Son of God have mercy (323:18-19)
  10. for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren (long) so long as there should (381:24)
  11. among all the People of the Lamanites which was composed of the Lamanites & the Lemuelites & the Ishmaelites (395:34)
  12. by pulling down the banks of earth they were filled up in a measure with their dead (404:10-11)
  13. did bring forth unto them therefore they did seek to cut (all) off the strength (407:35)
  14. it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them he supposed that they would easily maintai(r)n that City (468:20-21)
  15. in the com(n)mencement of the (forth) fortyeth year of the Reign of the Judges o(r)ver the People (487:26-27)

These examples raise a number of questions. When were the insertions made - immediately or at a later time? If later, how was the correct text determined, if there was no source manuscript? If the scribe was copying a source manuscript, the examples demonstrate that through inattention the scribe could omit text even without word similarities drawing his eye to the wrong place in the manuscript.

Skousen Speaks -- At Last!

At the urging of Dan Vogel, Royal Skousen has finally offered at least a few words explaining how he regards the type of errors involving the correction of letters within words. Vogel writes:

Skousen's effort to avoid issues of intentionality, while being as exacting in his transcription as possible, oddly and ironically makes it appear he thought the scribe intended to write "amorg" and "sone". To clarify this issue, I wrote Skousen on 23 February 2007 as follows:--



Thanks for responding. I want to understand your method better. I'm aware of the difference between {x|y} and [x|y], although I don't think Chandler is. But I want to make sure I'm representing you correctly.

Chandler: the Lord hath concecrated this lard=land unto me (165:29)
Skousen: the Lord hath concecrated this la{r|n}[d] unto me (165:29)

Chandler: the tempest began to be exceding sone=sore (147:25)
Skousen: the tempest [be]gan to be exceding so{n|r}e (147:25)

In these two examples, are you trying to convey the idea that the scribe corrected his penmanship because his "n" looked too much like an "r", and visa versa, as opposed to {r} or {n} corrections? In other words, do you understand that the similarity between the scribe's "r" and "n", together with the hast of writing, lead to a malformed letter that was indistinguishable from a real letter, but the wrong one? You don't think the scribe intentionally wrote nonsensical words like "lard" and "sone"?

It would be helpful to understand what you were thinking in these situations.


Dan Vogel

To which Skousen kindly responded on 24 February 2007:--


Dear Dan,

Your interpretation is correct. I don't think the scribe intended to write "lard" or "sone", but he noticed that his n looked like an r, so he overwrote it (for "land"); similarly, his r in "sore" looked like an n, so he overwrote it with an r. But of course one can't prove what the scribe intended, but it sure looks that way to me.

A case of {r} or {n} means that the scribe wrote a r and then overwrote part of it, but both the first and the second are r's. Sometimes, there are things like {r|r}, which means that the whole r was overwritten. This sometimes happens when the scribe's quill runs out of ink.

Best wishes, Royal.

This correspondence is interesting for several reasons. First, it indicates that despite his vehement arguments, Vogel was not really certain what Skousen intended his symbols to mean.

Second, Skousen indicates that he is only interpreting what appears in the corrections, but "of course one can't prove what the scribe intended." So, the primary question has not really been resolved: Did the scribe write one letter and then replace it with a different letter, or did he merely attempt to correct a malformed letter by overwriting it with the same letter?

And third, I must repeat what I have already stated. If Skousen's symbols mean what he and Vogel now say that they mean, then Skousen's work is worthless as a critical text, because in any particular instance, we do not know what letter the scribe actually wrote, and therefore, we can not know whether it is a copying error or merely a correction of bad penmanship.

I leave you to decide for yourself whether the Vogel-Skousen interpretation of the manuscript evidence is reasonable and correct.

Works Cited

Parry, Donald W, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch, eds. 2002. Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon. Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.

Skousen, Royal. 1997. "Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript." In Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins. Edited by Noel B. Reynolds. Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.

Skousen, Royal, ed. 2001. The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon: Typographical Facsimile of the Extant Text. Provo, Utah: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.