Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plain English BOM

Here's a great site definitely worth checking out:

This site has the entire Book of Mormon translated into everyday English. For example, 1 Nephi 1:1 reads as follows:

"My name is Nephi. I was born to good and noble parents who saw that I was educated as my father was educated. I've had many trials in my life, but I've always been highly favored by the Lord. I've received great knowledge of His goodness and mysteries. Because of these things, I now make this record of my life."

Cool, huh?

One great thing to use this site for is reading the Isaiah chapters in Second Nephi. The translation really helps to differentiate when Jacob is writing his own words and when he is quoting Isaiah.

I would also think this would be helpful to tweens and teens trying to read the Book of Mormon. If they seem to be having difficulty, they could read directly from the site, or just get help on those verses that are confusing to them.

There are also a number of good illustrations on the site--including the one shown above.

Hope this helps!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 8:10


  1. This is so perfect for my Big Guy! We have those comic scripture books but it doesn't really do a word for word translation like this. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the link to this. I am always a bit hesitant to encourage youth to read anything besides the actual scriptures themselves as I think they need to get used to the language, and of course the scriptures are revealed to us in layers, so it is impossible for anyone to easily explain what each verse means and cover everything every time. However, after going to the site you suggested, I can see better the need for it. It is the milk before meat principle. Once kids can read through this and understand it then they will be better prepared (and more interested) to turn to the actual scriptures and learn from them. So thanks for that reference! I appreciate that.

  3. Actually, not so cool. There is no mention of Egyptian writing or Jewish learning as there is in the Book of Mormon. You begin to lose the important meaning of where Lehi and Nephi were coming from in terms of how the communicated and how they were educated. And you miss the important point later in the Book of Mormon when Nephi tells us that he allowed on limited learning of the Jews to be passed along to his fellow Nephites in the New World because much of the "learning" of the Jewish culture was poluted, filled with evil ideas, and Nephi was careful to keep that "learning" from them. He failed miserably by the way.

    Egyptain is an alphabet included logo graphic system much like chinese and other middle eastern and oriental languages. Understanding that is important to the study and understanding of the Book of Mormon as a kin group history written by descendents of Lehi and Nephi. Like Chinese, the Mayan written scripts of Mesoamerica share the same logo graphic system of pictures which represent word-ideas.

    It is really interesting to note when looking at the development of Mayan written language, that the Janapneese, for example, use the same logo graphic characters as the Chinese, but when they speak, they don't understand one another. So it is with Mayan dialects. They share the same iconic picto-graphic symbols but Zoquean speakers don't understand keche speakers (both Mayan dialects). As Mayan writing progressed over time, an alphabet of letters that represented sounds was developed, but instead of replacing the logo graphic icons with this new alphabet, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Mayans, Egyptians, Babylonians and Assyrians mixed the two, giving us the alphabet included logo graphic system for writing their language. It makes learning to read and write very difficult. You have to learn the history, beliefs, sociology and psychology of the culture in order to interpret the logos. And, since one logo can have more than one meaning (the logo for number 1000 in chinese is also the logo for lotus flower) it takes a lot of learning and study to become fluent in the art of reading and writing.

    It was an achievement of rather expensive proportions to learn the art. It required years of study. Good teachers. Lots of practice. No wonder authors in the Book of Mormon often mentioned their inability to write compared to their more fluid ability to speak. Even more interesting is the oft-mentioned aquiring of the skills of letters. These were not passing statements to be glossed over. The writers of the Book of Mormon wanted the reader to understand the painstaking, life-long committment and sacrifice the writers made in order to record their history. Mormon was instructed in his youth.

    Lehi and Nephi spoke Hebrew. But a thousand years later Mormon and Moroni likely spoke a dialect of Zoquean mixed with Keche with relatively few relics preserved from the original Hebrew of his ancestory. They could not communicate with each other verbally, but since they were both schooled in the logo graphic system, they likely could understand what each other wrote. If you go back and examine all the references in the Book of Mormon to writing, after understanding these ideas of language, you will gain a whole new appreciation for how these ancient American tribes we call Nephites and Lamanites communicated through the written and spoken language. Something that is completely left out of the opening verse you quote from this modernized Book of Mormon.

    So no, this version of the Book of Mormon leaves out so many historical, important, even astounding bits of information that make the Book of Mormon an authentic historical record. It removes it from its authentic setting. It shows disregard for the men and likely women who had a hand in its writing and preservation.

    I think it stinks.

  4. David,

    Thanks so much for your knowledgeable comment. I really appreciate your opinion. I very much agree with you in regards to the importance and details contained in the original text. I would never want to replace the original text of the Book of Mormon with the plain English version. I do feel, however, there is some usage/benefit that could be gained (especially by children) who may need assistance with some verses here or there. Thanks again, Becky

  5. No problems.

    I failed to note that the Mayan system of writing, which is patterened after the Oriental/Middle Eastern logo graphic system, had its beginning near Kaminaljuyu, an ancient ruined city within the city limits of Guatamala City about 550 BC. That's the time scholars date the beginning of the pre-classic Mayan civilization. Its also the time when Lehi and Nephi arrived in approximately the same local and it is highly probable that they had a huge impact on the beginnings of a system of writing. Most scholars agree that though most of the population of mesoamerica is predominately oriental and that any other small genetic groups would have lost their genetic markers or identities within the larger population, the sudden appearance of the logo graphic alphabet included system of writing was likely transmitted to mesoamreica from the middle east. It comes on scene in full form without any detectable build up over time and the only explanation is some sort of direct transmission from another culture where writing had matured. Its also interesting to note that no other location in all of the western hemisphere from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego developed the skills of writing except in Mesoamerica where Nephi and Lehi are believed to have landed and where the entirety of the Book of Mormon is believed to have played out within about a five hundred mile region from southern Mexico to Guatamala and possibly into northern Honduras.

    Good luck with all your scripture studies.

  6. Thanks David--I love how knowledgeable you are on the history of written word in relation to the Book of Mormon. I may have to pull your comments and place them in a guest post (if you wouldn't mind). B.

  7. Why don't you let me write up a post for you to use. Would that be okay?

  8. David,

    That would be terrific! Just e-mail it to me at and then I will post it. I really appreciate your willingness to do this and I know my readers (what few there are!) will enjoy your wealth of knowledge. B.

  9. I love this idea.
    I see David's point.. I too am hessitant to stray from the original text... but Becky you know me, I'm all about helping reluctant readers.. and for some {especially teens, and poor readers} this might be just the thing to get them to read.

    I have a friend who struggled and struggled with the Book of Mormon- frustrated that she NEVER could seem to read it and follow all the plots and side plots and keep things straight and where is this story going?... it was so overwhelming. THEN she contacted me after going to the Palmyra Pageant... she said that simple production... giving the whole highlight in one shot helped her SO MUCH GET the BIG PLOT picture... that now she can read it.

    So I see it more as a tool... not to replace the scriptures themselves... but to help get over a HUMP.

    Especially those "for reading the Isaiah chapters". When I was in HS-College I would just completely skip those chapters all together!

    I do look forward to seeing David's guest post. What cool insight!
    Thanks for stopping by my site and introducing yourself!

  10. Okay - please don't get out the rotten fruit ...... I got the book yesterday and I LOVE IT! Of course it isn't the real scriptures but when my 8 year old and 12 year old are fighting over who gets to take it to bed with them and were walking around earlier in the day with their nose in the book --- I AM ALLLLLL about that ! Thank you THANK you THANK YOU! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  11. Stefany, I am glad your kids love it! Becky

  12. See! See?? The FAmily- is the perfect example!


Comments are much appreciated!