Mormons and the KJV


#1

If God likes the King James Old English bible the best. Wouldn’t he like Latin even more, since its older and more proper then the Old English?
I really need to ask my LDS friends this. But why are your services never in Latin. Wouldn’t that be even more respectful then Old English? After all, the alphabet we use is the Latin Alphabet, upon which English is written with. Therefore, what is the significance of Old English compared to Latin? Is there any at all?

 Thanks for chiming in. :thumbsup:

#2

I would imagine that their services are not in Latin for the same reason ours aren’t anymore for the most part. No one speaks it. While it is a useful language, it is a dead language in this day and age. Why would a church started in the mid 1800’s in America speak Latin and why would anyone expect them to?


#3

The Mormon god like the KJV so much he quoted it to Joseph Smith. I mean Joseph’s Myth.


#4

Mormonism is a product of 19th-century American Protestantism. The Book of Mormon reads like a series of 19th-century Protestant Evangelical camp-meeting sermons. It borrows heavily from the KJV Bible and (in some spots) the deuterocanonicals.

The Book of Mormon is written in a faux-“King James” style to make it sound more biblical and therefore “Christian” as a 19th-century poorly-educated American would understand. As a result, the Mormons still use faux-“King James” style language when they pray in their meetings and in their temples and it is peppered throughout their everyday language.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)


#5

The nice thing about having a service in Latin would help when you are in a church where you don’t speak the language. If they all have service in Latin there is a common denominator. Just my opinion of course.


#6

That was pretty much the idea especially in a truly universal Church. What I am saying is that this is a little much to expect from a religious organization in 1830’s America that wasn’t Catholic. It is pretty much gone from the Catholic Church in America, although as a music minister in my parish I love to bring out the Latin chant Mass for special solemn seasons such as Advent and Lent.


#7

Critics of LDS authenticity have noted that, even though “Moroni” appeared in the 19th century, he spoke a decidedly 17th century King’s English. Odd, that…


#8

Latin has no priority as a language of scripture. If you are picking a language for it’s value in revealing scriptural understanding, Latin serves no purpose. It was the language of Rome, which Paul was very familiar, but otherwise the authors of scripture did not speak it or write in it. It comes after the original languages in its use for recording God’s word. If someone was looking for language for better understanding, Latin is as the Spanish, as the Russian, as the French. Why pick any translated language over the next. The original language of the scriptures would be the only valuable consideration.

That is the case with the Hebrew or the similar Aramaic. I have found that my study of the Hebrew has given clear insight into far greater nuance and meaning of scripture and it is clear that there is no better language for conveying religious writings than Hebrew. It has several built in protections that limit the ability to lose meanings in transitions from one era to the next and it protects the integrity somewhat because of these aspects that are not found in any other language to the degree they exist in Hebrew.

Why so you consider Latin a superior choice?


#9

The Book of Mormon is not written in Old English, but in 1800s English.

Old English has not been used since Viking times. It even has one or two letters that are no longer in use.

As to Latin, although it was the language of education and law, etc in “Mormonian” times, it was not used in religion other than in the Catholic Church. The early Mormons would have had no knowledge of the language.

The languages of Scripture are Greek and Hebrew.

ICXC NIKA


#10

I wonder if the Mormons read a revised KJV or the original 1611 version?

Here’s a nice tract on bible versions. catholic.com/tracts/bible-translations-guide

My recommendation, particularly for the commentary is St Ignatius shop.catholic.com/books-1/bibles/ignatius-catholic-study-bible-new-testament-hardcover.html


#11

There’s an interesting article on the LDS use of the King James version. Here’s the last paragraph, and the link to the article:

No claim is made by the Church that the King James Version is a perfect Bible, but no better version has surfaced to rival it. In short, it is the most available version; it was used by the Prophet Joseph Smith and has been used ever since then by the Church in its publications; it uses language compatible with the other standard works; it stands as the literary masterpiece of the English language; and it encourages faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, in his miraculous power, and in his atoning sacrifice. There has been no compelling reason to adopt any other English-language version of the Bible. ldsmag.com/article/7745


#12

While I like the KJV, it is difficult to understand. ESL folks can’t understand it at all. Those are compelling reasons to adopt another version that is written in the language that is actually being used; modern English instead of Elizabethan English.


#13

The funny thing is, Mormonism has adopted “thou” as having formal meaning. Which, no, “you” is the formal, “thou” is the informal. They just need to speak/use modern English (IMNHO).

Beyond that, Latin is used in the Roman Catholic church, because well, it’s roots are Roman. Mormon roots are the north east coast of the U.S., so they should all pick up a Boston accent and call it good. :slight_smile:


#14

Article says:

The King James Version has superior literary quality;

Statement is completely subjective, IMHO. Who is the authority for what “superior literal quality” is? A superior literal quality for me is one that I can understand using a modern English translation. We live in 2012, not the 1600s. I don’t read the Douey Reems for the same reason. I’m a simple guy from Chicago and the closest use that I have of 1800’s English is “Da Bears”.

It’s also interesting that the author substitutes “Christian” instead of “Catholic” when describing the early church. These Christians were Catholic. :thumbsup:


#15

If you do a web search for literary critics’ appraisals of the literary quality of various English versions of the Bible, I think you will find the vast majority to continue to consider the KJV as of the highest standard. One non-original source I found quotes Donald Brake (former pastor, author, dean of a seminary, noted collector of English Bibles) as saying, “the King James Version is the crown jewel of English literature . . . Its influence on the English speaking world is as much due to the beauty of its expression as its accuracy of translation.”

And as the article by Ogden points out:

“. . . the KJV still stands as the greatest single work in English literature, and when diligently studied can be understood by the careful reader. In addition to understanding the Bible itself, a familiarity with the KJV leads to greater understanding and appreciation of the writings of great figures such as Milton, Swift, Lamb, Ruskin, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Lincoln, and many others, as the KJV was the Bible that they knew and honored.”

You don’t have to use it, of course, but if you’re asking for authorities who acknowledge its literary superiority, I think you’ll find they are numerous.


#16

I also find it odd that many people, particularly fundamentalist Christians, will use “thee and thou” when praying, considering it to be somehow more formal or God-honoring. I don’t see it that way, but I do appreciate Bible translations that use thee and thou. I don’t think you’re correct about “you” being formal and “thou” informal. The difference is that thee, thou, thy, thine, and so on were 2nd person singular pronouns while you, your, and yours were 2nd person plural pronouns. Even before the KJV was written, thees and thous were old-fashioned (the word “you” having already been adopted as the common form for both singular and plural 2nd person pronouns), but they do help in differentiating whether in a particular Bible passage speech or instructions were being addressed to a single individual or to a group.

The New World Translation used by Jehovah’s Witnesses has an interesting solution to this–they use a lower case “you” when an individual is addressed but write it in small capital letters when the pronoun is plural. You get a more modern sounding translation, yet retain easy recognition of the singular vs. plural distinction.


#17

Yeah, Catholics do too, such as in the Hail Mary. Though I don’t think I’ve ever had a sense that using Elizabethan English in Catholic prayers is considered more God-honoring. I just think it comes from long usage. (?) I could be wrong.

I don’t see it that way, but I do appreciate Bible translations that use thee and thou. I don’t think you’re correct about “you” being formal and “thou” informal. The difference is that thee, thou, thy, thine, and so on were 2nd person singular pronouns while you, your, and yours were 2nd person plural pronouns. Even before the KJV was written, thees and thous were old-fashioned (the word “you” having already been adopted as the common form for both singular and plural 2nd person pronouns), but they do help in differentiating whether in a particular Bible passage speech or instructions were being addressed to a single individual or to a group.

"Going back into the days of Old and Middle English, there were two forms of address in the second person: thou and ye. Thou was singular, and ye was plural. The objective singular was thee, and the objective plural was you. There weren’t any additional connotations to this usage. The Norman Conquest of 1066 introduced French as the vernacular of law, government, and “refined” literature; English gradually absorbed more French words into its lexicon, and with them, more French conventions.

One of those conventions was using the plural pronoun to address royalty and other high nobility. Over time, this norm became more generalized, used in formal social situations when addressing any stranger or social superior. Meanwhile, you gradually supplanted ye and began to be used singularly as well as formally. Thus, around the 1200s, Middle English developed a distinction between thou and you.

Such distinctions remain in both French (tu/vous) and German (du/Sie). There is an informal “you” that one uses with those one knows, and a more polite, reserved “you” that one uses in other company. Thou and you at some point in Middle English operated the same way. Thou would have been used by those of higher standing addressing those beneath them (such as a master addressing a servant) or commoners addressing one another. You, on the other hand, would have been used by those of lower social standing addressing those above them (such as a child addressing a parent) or by the upper class addressing one another. Thou implied intimacy; you implied a polite reserve. Although this pattern of formal distinction didn’t embed itself as firmly in English as it did in other European languages, it did exist for a time.

As this distinction signified respect, it would have been something of a social faux pas when the convention was broken. A master addressing a servant with you might have raised eyebrows in the thirteenth century. Among the upper class, using thou could have been considered a sign of disrespect. For a subordinate to use thou when addressing a superior, however, such familiarity would at best be considered presumptuous—and more likely boorish. Likewise, the use of thou could be considered condescending or insulting when used in a more formal situation.

The clearest example of this in Shakespeare is Sir Toby Belch’s line in Twelfth Night, when he eggs on Sir Andrew Aguecheek to challenge Viola with “if thou thou’st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss.” Not only is Sir Toby telling Sir Andrew to insult Viola with thou, Sir Toby himself is slyly insulting Sir Andrew by using thou with his peer. Shakespeare intentionally plays upon the significance of thou in this scene." From here.

The New World Translation used by Jehovah’s Witnesses has an interesting solution to this–they use a lower case “you” when an individual is addressed but write it in small capital letters when the pronoun is plural. You get a more modern sounding translation, yet retain easy recognition of the singular vs. plural distinction.

Interesting. Thanks.


#18

I wonder how many Mormons realise that the KJV translators tried to (or at least considered) drop(ing) the word “Church” from the bible, in preference for the Greek ekklesia (or Latinized ecclesia, which would ultimately result in its being transliterated into English as simply “assembly”) so as to reduce the sense of uniqueness and definitiveness (i.e., the Church) from the scriptures. It was the King ultimately who forbade any such watering down of the sense or meaning of the word ekklesia (Church) in the KJV, perhaps with an eye to the structure, authority and integrity of the Anglican Church. The King perceived that the desire to remove the word “Church” from the bible was an attack on organized Christianity.

The reason I bring this up is because I find it ironic that while Mormons are very structured their bible-of-preference nearly advocated a more generic and practically hierarchy-free “church,” which if that happened almost certainly would have resulted in the Mormons requiring a different translation that rightly emphasised the positive and definite reality of the Church. It was a completely arbitrary and authoritarian fiat of a king that spared the KJV this degradation. It’s just one example of the slippery slope that ultimately results in an utterly indefinite, completely subjective Christianity.


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