Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The EET (Earliest Extant Transcripts) and my Sloppy Coppy

1. I'm so excited to share this.  Below is a message from Chris Hamill, who has asked for help in distributing this message.  Several months ago I had some impressions to seek out a copy of the Book of Mormon in Microsoft Word form.  Something that I could edit and do so fairly quickly using the "replace" editing tool.  I felt prompted to make a "translation" that my kids could read a little more readily that used language they were familiar with.  I hoped to share my love of it and hopefully spark some love for it in them too.  In asking around for such a copy, I was connected to Chris Hamill, who shared with me that he was working on this extensive project described below.  In my religious tradition I have tended to hold fast to the "as long as it is translated correctly" to the 8th Article of Faith.  And I tended to believe that no other Bible beyond the KJV would do, neglecting the fact that Joseph Smith was commanded extensively to work on a new translation of the Bible.  The Bible is not intended to be a stumbling block between faiths, nor is it to be an idol to worship as we seek to discover God. As there are countless languages in the world, it seems appropriate to me that it would serve us well to get as close to the original intent of the scriptures as possible, but that cannot always be done with definitive language.  The scriptures are to describe spiritual concepts in physical terms, which is really difficult, if not sometimes impossible in this world.  But there is something important about discovering the original intent of the speaker of the words in scriptures, and unfortunately adulteration happens over time, as our language changes.  Chris and his friends have sought to overcome some of the adulteration that has happened, and help us as readers get more acquainted with the original intent and words of the earliest copies of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures revealed through Joseph Smith.  The information below describes their efforts in their own words. 

A small group of us has spent most of the year going through the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, reaching back to the original manuscripts to get as true a version of what Joseph offered us as possible and showing what changes have happened since his death. We are getting bids to have a triple combination volume printed in the coming months. For the moment we want to make people aware of this effort. Electronic versions of the scriptures are free for download at in Word, PDF and some ebook formats. There are also instructions for using a Kindle reader or app with the PDFs as an ebook. The PDFs give a clear representation of how the volume will look.
We will notify everyone when orders can be placed for your own copies. We are trying to keep the cost to around $20 per copy. These will be printed on biblestock paper and will have large margins for easy note taking. An effort to produce a complete JST bible is also underway. A complete Kindle JST KJV is available by Ken Lutes on Amazon. He is the one working on a complete print version. When that work is ready to order we will let you know. He is not a part of this movement.
This volume of scripture is not official to the Remnant Movement in any sense, and we hope they may be of interest to Mormons of all types. While many of us felt inspired during the process, we offer this volume as a gift to our Lord and to our friends and families. Feel free to take this work and improve on it.
2. As I described above, months ago I was prompted to create a revision for my children.  In receiving a copy from Chris, I began doing some edits of words to essentially create a 2016 language friendly copy of the Book of Mormon.  The Bible has dozens of editions in languages to help readers read and understand it.  There are copies for children, teenagers, and people of multiple languages.  It seemed peculiar to me that the Book of Mormon had never seen such a revision for children or teenagers, although it has been translated to multiple languages.  As I began editing the MS Word copy, someone shared on a FB Group that there were two other copies on the market, edited for easy readability for readers who needed help understanding the big words. One is here and the other is here.  There may be more.  I purchased both and set my project aside, thinking the work I intended to do had already been squared away by someone else... times two!

It wasn't until a few months passed that I felt to open up one of the copies I purchased, and I discovered that I didn't appreciate the interpretation that the one copy held of the concept I was studying.  It held a current LDS view of the Holy Spirit, while the original Book of Mormon holds a different view, which is the one that Joseph Smith explained in the Lectures on Faith.  The new edition did exactly what we avoid translations for the purpose of doing.  It changed the meaning to fit our current paradigm, while not holding to the original intent.  It absolutely LOST the spiritual meaning in favor of a completely morphicized (I just made that word up) view.

In trying to create my own translation for my kids, I see how difficult this is. It's really impossible to create a translation that everyone will like, agree with, or appreciate.  But there is absolutely a richness I discovered when taking that original file, and editing it for my own purposes, and trying to do so while seeking to maintain the original spiritual intent.  Mormon... that dude had quite a task!  Some examples of things I did in my version:

  • Changed "ye" to "you.
  • Changed "thee" to "thou". 
  • Removed the "-eth" suffixes of as many words as I could find.
  • Removed ALL punctuation. 
  • Removed "and it came to pass" and replaced with "and so then". (I discovered that "and so then" is very redundant, but it also speeds up the reading as I don't get stopped up by it as I did with the prior words.  I use "so" a lot in my day-to-day language.)  
I'm currently contemplating what to do with "behold", as it's frequently used but seems to have multiple meanings.  It brings me, as the reader, to the point of stopping and questioning why these words were chosen.  It also shows language patterns, especially when certain phrases are used repeatedly in connection with a certain concept.  It has been a rich, rich experience which only unfolds more open to me.  

So I'm going to add, when time allows, links on this site to download your own digital copy of the work Chris and the gang have done.  But I HIGHLY encourage you to mark it up!  Save it once as an original, then choose how you'd like to edit it (if at all) and save it again as a new version.  Let it broaden your love for the message.  The purpose of this book, which Nephi says right at the beginning his intent is to bring us to Christ.  How awesome is that?!?!?!  Fall in love with the characters and their hearts, and get to know them.  

And finally, I kept asking, as I made my edits, if this is something that could be shared.  I don't know that my edits will be useful to anyone else.  But I did decide to share them as I go.  This will likely be a project that I fail at.  So don't commit me to being perfect at this.  But I'm going to go chapter by chapter and translate it for my children.  I'll be sharing them at a basic site located here: [edit]  It is a sloppy copy!  I have intentionally misspelled "Sloppy Coppy" to illustrate that is it absolutely NOT perfect.  But it has helped me, and I suppose it may help some readers who are dyslexic, who get slowed down by punctuation, or who really need to loosen their shoe's lachets a bit if you know what I mean as they read for content over grammar.  I DARE you to print out the pages of the EET linked above, chapter by chapter, and mark them up.  Use them for advanced study.  I can't imagine the Lord would be displeased in the efforts to get to understand these riches further, even if we got a few words wrong.  Use it well my friends! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Lundbergs vs Peggy Fletcher Stack

I'd like to share an amalgamation of posts, one of which has lit some coals back on fire this week.  If you choose to read one and comment, please don't neglect the others so you can get the whole picture.

The awesome view of Gary and Joy Lundberg, promoted via LDS owned LDS Mag, found here.  This one was so good I was ready to flex my muscles and throw my chair across the room.

Versus the ever annoying antagonist, Peggy Fletcher Stack article, found here.

My vote: come out and dish the truth. Do it all at once, everything you can squash into a weekend of General Conference. Stop sugar coating everything and stop letting the people who don't "sustain" this be sent to their Stake Presidents to reveal their concerns. Stop tearing families apart because some can't handle your dishonesty in your manuals while others have been trained to follow the manual at all costs, even dividing their families. Do it all together and make sure as many hear it as possible so you don't have members fighting with one another in class, or 75 year old widows scolding 37 year old moms in the hall because they say a comment about these things in class that the elder has not read!  Just be honest! Or like the second article says, in 2-3 years you'll have way too many young people leaving the church, either to fully discover God without a middle man, or to turn away from what you've made him to be altogether.