Plain and Precious Truths Restored

The Doctrinal and Historical Significance of the Joseph Smith Translation

Book Notice

Plain and Precious Truths Restored: The Doctrinal and Historical Significance of the Joseph Smith Translation, edited by Robert L. Millet and Robert J. Matthews (Bookcraft, 1995)

In this collection of papers presented at the 1995 BYU Symposium, “As Translated Correctly,” participants emphasize the value of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) and its relationship to the standard works. Much of this information will be new to most readers.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks warns against the “spiritual dangers of ignoring or neglecting the prophetic teachings” in the JST and advocates its use in personal scripture study, Church teaching, and scholarship (4).

Larry E. Dahl shows that 50 percent of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants came as a direct result of the Bible translation. This relationship is displayed in a detailed chronology.

Thomas E. Sherry contrasts the LDS and RLDS views of the JST. While the RLDS Church has moved away from foundational beliefs regarding the JST, the LDS Church has become progressively more committed to them. Many early LDS Church members saw the Inspired Version as a divinely guided, yet unauthorized, publication, mainly because of its incompleteness. However, since the 1950s, scholars, primarily Robert J. Matthews, have compared the published Inspired Version with the manuscripts and verified its integrity. Furthermore, the LDS edition of the Bible—the standard Bible of the Church—includes JST references and excerpts.

Robert J. Matthews discusses the eternal worth of the JST as well as its role in the Restoration. He answers questions regarding the use, completion, and translation of the JST. Matthews asserts that a knowledge of the JST will increase the perception “of the nature of scripture, of the nature of revelation, and of the value of reading scripture to obtain revelation from God” (38).

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