Friday, October 18, 2013

Weakness in Language

Critics have often dismissed the Book of Mormon on the basis of bad grammar or what they consider to be poor English. If the translation came from God, how could the text contain poor grammar. Latter-day Saints, however, believe that God is not limited in how he chooses the communicate with his children to whom he speaks “in their weakness, after manner of their language” (D&C 1:24). Nephi wrote, "For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding" (2 Nephi 31:3). Joseph Smith taught, “If he [the Savior] comes to a little child, he will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child (Joseph Smith, 8 August 1839, in Andrew Ehat and Lyndon Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 12).  Brigham Young explained his view as follows: “Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to re-write the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings (Brigham Young, July 13 1862, JD 9:311). “The Book of Mormon,” observed George A. Smith, “was denounced as ungrammatical. An argument was raised that if it had been translated by the gift and power of God it would have been strictly grammatical . . . . When the Lord reveals anything to men, he reveals it in a language that corresponds with their own. If you were to converse with an angel, and you used strictly grammatical language he would do the same. But if you used two negatives in a sentence the heavenly messenger would use language to correspond with your understanding (George A. Smith, November 15 1863, JD 12:335).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.