Please know that the ideas presented below are completely mine, and thus could be completely wrong. I present them only as interesting ideas, and certainly not as verified truth. As I have studied the Book of Mormon, I have noticed several verses in the book that seem to have “typographical” errors, or engraving errors, contained in them. I have coined the term “engravo” for these interesting phrases. In these verses, it appears that the man engraving the plates intended to say one thing but inadvertently or accidentally engraved something else. How does one erase or change an error when engraving on metal plates? Rather than try to pound out the mistake and re-engrave the phrase (which perhaps would have weakened the metal plate or made other words illegible), it appears that the engravers chose to add an explanatory phrase and continue with the intended message. Some of the explanatory or transitional phrases, as translated into English, include, “or”, “I would speak in other words”, “rather”, and “or rather”. In the scriptures listed below, I have CAPITALIZED the parts of the verse that seem to identify the possible engraving error. If you have noticed other “engravos” in the Book of Mormon that I do not have listed below, please share them with me at [email protected] and I will add them to the list, with an acknowledgment of you as the contributor. Besides the references listed below, I have collected dozens of other engravos. They can be viewed on this website by clicking here.
Some have asked me why I am concerned about or point out these “engravos”. For me, every one of them is an additional testimony that Joseph Smith DID NOT write this book himself, but that it is a TRANSLATED scriptural record. If Joseph had been a fraud and was attempting to produce a work of fiction, he certainly would not have placed these “errors” in his text. Each of these wonderful engraving issues cries out as a witness of the validity and truthfulness of this great Book of Mormon. Also, each engravo makes me appreciate even more the wonderful, humble words of Moroni found in Mormon 8:12 — “And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it BECAUSE OF THE IMPERFECTIONS which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these.”
- 1 Nephi 19:4 — “Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates, which gives an account , OR WHICH GIVES A GREATER ACCOUNT of the wars and contentions and destructions of my people.” Possibly, Nephi did not want to give the impression that the record on the other plates was the only account of the wars and contentions of his people, so he re-stated the thought by referring to it as a greater account.
- 1 Nephi 19:7 — “Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet BUT I WOULD SPEAK IN OTHER WORDS – they set him at naught.” Nephi apparently wasn’t totally satisfied with the phrase “trample under their feet” after he engraved it on the plates. He therefore inscribed a transitional phrase and stated the phrase he desired. *
- — “..even so if ye shall keep the commandments of my son, OR THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD WHICH SHALL BE DELIVERED UNTO YOU BY HIM, ye shall prosper in the land” It was the commandments of God, not the commandments of his son Mosiah, that king Benjamin wanted the people to keep. *
- Mosiah 7:8 — “..and they [Ammon and his brethren] stood before the king, and were permitted, OR RATHER COMMANDED, that they should answer the questions which he should ask them.” The engraver apparently realized that “permitted” was not the correct word, it being too polite and accommodating. They were “commanded” to answer, implying compulsion and control by their captors. *
- Alma — “And they carried him [Nehor] upon the top of the hill Manti, and there he was caused, OR RATHER DID ACKNOWLEDGE, that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God;” It seems quite apparent that the engraver of this verse engraved the word “caused” and then realized that this word would convey the wrong message. There is a big difference between “being caused to” and openly “acknowledging”. The explanatory phrase “or rather did acknowledge” makes it clear that Nehor readily admitted he had lied to the people and that no one forced a confession from him.
- Alma — “And thus ended the words of Amulek, OR THIS IS ALL THAT I HAVE WRITTEN.” Amulek obviously didn’t quit speaking and preaching after his wonderful discourse in this chapter, which could have been implied from the words “and thus ended the words of Amulek”. The additional phrase “or this is all that I have written” eliminates the possibility of misinterpretation. *
- Alma — “..placing themselves [our first parents] in a state to act, OR BEING PLACED IN A STATE TO ACT ACCORDING TO THEIR WILLS AND PLEASURE”. The engraver’s explanatory phrase makes it clear that God placed our first parents in a state to act, that they did not have the power to place themselves in that position. *
- Alma 13:16 — “..that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, OR IT BEING HIS ORDER, and this that they might look forward..” It appears the engraver wanted to amend his statement concerning “a type” of Christ’s order, and state that it was actually HIS order, and not just “a type” of his order! *
- Alma — “..and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, OR THAT THE PEOPLE MAY DO THIS THING UNTO THEM,” Without the explanatory phrase, there would have been confusion as to whom the pronoun “they” referred. *
- Alma 17:6 — “…also this was the minds of the people.” The verb and the noun do not agree. It should say “…this was the MIND of the people.” *
- Alma — “Now Ammon being the chief among them, OR RATHER HE DID ADMINISTER UNTO THEM, and he departed from them..” It appears that the engraver did not want to give the impression that Ammon held a higher position or status than the other missionaries, so the initial idea of “chief among them” was modified by the additional phrase “rather he did administer unto them”. *
- Alma — “..for, said he [Ammon], I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, OR THE POWER WHICH IS IN ME, in restoring these flocks..” Apparently, the engraver wanted to clarify that is was not Ammon’s own power that restored the flocks, but the power which had been granted unto him by the Lord. Hence, the explanatory phrase “or the power which is in me”. *
- Alma 24:19 — “..and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, OR THEY BURIED THE WEAPONS OF WAR, for peace.” This is one of my favorite engravos in the Book of Mormon. It seems clear that the engraver had a momentary lapse of concentration and engraved the word “peace” when he meant to engrave “war”. His explanatory correction makes his meaning clear, but also accentuates the “engravo”. *
- Alma 26:28 — “..we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world — NOT UPON THE MERCIES OF THE WORLD ALONE
BUT UPON THE MERCIES OF GOD.” It would not have been consistent with the teachings of the Book of Mormon to state that these missionaries had relied upon the mercies of the world. Their reliance upon the mercies of God had to be added in an explanatory phrase. *
- Alma 30:9 — “Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; OR RATHER, IF HE BELIEVED IN GOD IT WAS HIS
PRIVILEGE TO SERVE HIM;” The engraver apparently didn’t convey his desired thought well in the first phrase. A rearranging of the words in the second phrase make the desired thought clear.
- Alma 39:6 — “It is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea – it is not easy to OBTAIN A FORGIVENESS.” This might not be an engravo, but it appears the engraver felt it was important to make a distinction between obtaining forgiveness and obtaining A forgiveness.
- Alma 40:2 — “..there is no resurrection – OR, I WOULD SAY, IN OTHER WORDS, that this mortal does not put on immortality, this corruption does not put on
incorruption – until after the coming of Christ.” The clarifying statement which adds emphasis to the meaning of resurrection is fairly obvious in this verse. *
- Alma 43:38 — “While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, OR THE MORE VITAL PARTS OF THE BODY BEING SHIELDED FROM THE STROKES OF THE
LAMANITES, by their breastplates” This is one of the classic engravos in the Book of Mormon. It appears the engraver engraved a phrase that made no sense (“they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body”) and needed to add a fairly long phrase to correct the error in the first phrase.
- Alma 50:32 — “Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, OR RATHER MORONI, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton”. This is another classic engravo. The engraver simply engraved the wrong place, and corrected the misprint with an additional phrase. *
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