What If There Were No Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?
Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration : The 34th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium
Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, BYU and Deseret Book,
"Without access to the manuscripts, Latter-day Saints were hindered in understanding the intimate interplay between the production of the 'new translation' and the making and tutoring of a prophet. In their absence it was more difficult to discern how, in Joseph Smith's words, 'an obscure boy' became a mature spokesman for the Lord in the restoration of all things (see Joseph Smith--History 1:23). Additionally, much of what Latter-day Saints take for granted as essential doctrinal foundation to the Restoration was underappreciated. Both the process and product of the new translation shaped the development of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the theological foundations of the Church in essential ways. This paper explores these issues, looking specifically at three consequences of the manuscripts' loss to members of the Church. First, Latter-day Saints in general would not have been able to appreciate the joy and wonder felt by the Prophet as a result of experiences related to the translation. Second, they were less able to recognize the strength, courage, and education received during the process. A third consequence was a diminished awareness of the enduring doctrinal impact on both the Prophet and the Church as Joseph Smith translated the Bible 'by the power of God.'" [From author's introduction]