caspianrex

Book of Mormon - Restored Covenant Edition

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I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I have a fairly extensive collection of LDS publications: different editions of the Book of Mormon, Teachings of the Presidents, etc. One of the more unusual editions of the Book of Mormon in my collection is one that I found at a used bookstore: it's called the "Restored Covenant Edition," and it's published by something called the Zarehemla Research Foundation. It's very nicely laid out, it's a "red letter" edition, and it has a concordance in the back. It's clearly not an official Church publication, but it's a pretty nice piece of work anyway.  Has anyone seen this publication?

If you are interested in reading the Restored Covenant Edition online, here is their website: http://www.restoredcovenant.org/RCE.asp?CAT=RCE

Would be interested in an LDS perspective on the edition and/or the website linked above.

Peace,

Cory

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Reviewing the Zarahemla Research Foundation there's key sentence used that renders everything else there garbage:

"The covenant relationship is strictly personal. It does not require a public ordinance like water baptism."

This is false. Therefore this "foundation" goes on the trash heap where it belongs.

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1 hour ago, caspianrex said:

I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I have a fairly extensive collection of LDS publications: different editions of the Book of Mormon, Teachings of the Presidents, etc. One of the more unusual editions of the Book of Mormon in my collection is one that I found at a used bookstore: it's called the "Restored Covenant Edition," and it's published by something called the Zarehemla Research Foundation. It's very nicely laid out, it's a "red letter" edition, and it has a concordance in the back. It's clearly not an official Church publication, but it's a pretty nice piece of work anyway.  Has anyone seen this publication?

If you are interested in reading the Restored Covenant Edition online, here is their website: http://www.restoredcovenant.org/RCE.asp?CAT=RCE

Would be interested in an LDS perspective on the edition and/or the website linked above.

Peace,

Cory

I’ve not heard of it before.  Via some Googling I see that Royal Skousen (considered a scholarly guru on the text of the Book of Mormon, at least within LDS circles) apparently had a favorable view of the work they’d done—but given the choice between an edition praised by Skousen versus an edition actually produced by Skousen, I’ll take the latter every time. ;) 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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4 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I’ve not heard of it before.  Via some Googling I see that Royal Skousen (considered a scholarly guru on the text of the Book of Mormon, at least within LDS circles) apparently had a favorable view of the work they’d done—but given the choice between an edition praised by Skousen versus an edition actually produced by Skousen, I’ll take the latter every time. ;) 

I'll take neither, thank you very much ark steadiers.

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1 minute ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'll take neither, thank you very much ark steadiers.

I'll take Skousem's work with seriousness and gratitude, though not uncritically. Surprised that he finds value in the work of open apostasy.

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

I'll take Skousem's work with seriousness and gratitude, though not uncritically. Surprised that he finds value in the work of open apostasy.

My point wasn't to criticize Skousen, but to simply state that I don't feel the need for a version of the Book of Mormon that has been edited outside the church.

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2 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

My point wasn't to criticize Skousen, but to simply state that I don't feel the need for a version of the Book of Mormon that has been edited outside the church.

Fair enough.  I look at Skousen's work as a scholarly curiosity, and engage with it from that standpoint.  But my day-to-day reading for spiritual edification is the Church’s edition, over 90% of the time.

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2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Fair enough.  I look at Skousen's work as a scholarly curiosity, and engage with it from that standpoint.  But my day-to-day reading for spiritual edification is the Church’s edition, over 90% of the time.

As a scholarly curiosity, I can see value. As a potential tool to generate more Snuffer-esque Zarahemla Research Foundation type people and groups, I see more potential harm than good. Getting ahead of the church is never a good idea. That may not have been Skousen's intent (though it's a bit hard to not see that at some level), but it most certainly becomes a potential result.

In the description on Amazon (the link you provided):

"the Yale edition contains about 600 corrections that have never appeared in any standard edition of the Book of Mormon, and about 250 of them affect the text's meaning."

Hmm.

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Skousen's edition of the BoM is excellent. Grant Hardy's "Reader's Edition" is also quite good.

I totally understand the concerns that have been shared about the RCE. I think, if I were LDS, I would be a bit suspicious of this statement in the Introduction of the RCE: "The Restored Covenant Edition...has been prepared because, according to our testimony, the Lord directed us to do it."

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58 minutes ago, caspianrex said:

Skousen's edition of the BoM is excellent. Grant Hardy's "Reader's Edition" is also quite good.

I totally understand the concerns that have been shared about the RCE. I think, if I were LDS, I would be a bit suspicious of this statement in the Introduction of the RCE: "The Restored Covenant Edition...has been prepared because, according to our testimony, the Lord directed us to do it."

Indeed... from what I have read... the other parts of the site read like someone's personal scripture study journal... which is awesome because we are suppose to be studying the scriptures and feasting on the word.  However someone's personal study and conclusions is not necessary correct.  That passage seems to try to elevated it beyond that into the realm of revealed truth.  And the scriptures are clear that God has a pattern for revealing truth to the world...  And anyone that does not fit that pattern should not be trusted.  This site does not follow the pattern.

As for the Restored Covenant Edition itself...  I like to study the Bible and compare it to the Joseph Smith Translation.  Understanding that something has changed and pondering on 'why' it might have changed can be enlightening. Therefore I think having a way to see the changes and know were they occurred can be good.   I am less keen on someone trying to dictate to me on 'why' it changed.  That is almost always driven by someone else's interpretation which may or may not be correct.

 

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One of things that struck me about the things said on the ZRF site is how hyperfocused they are on the 1908 edition. It reminded me of "King James only" Christians who zealously defend the King James version and won't accept any of the textual criticism that has taken place in the last 400 years. The textual criticism the ZRF has done/is doing may be good, but I did not like the zealous "We are creating the one true BoM" that came across.

Like estradling suggests, I think an edition that unobtrusively highlights where the textual variants occur can be a nice study aid. As the student, I can try the different variants and see how they inform my interpretation of the text. I'm not even opposed to "this variant is better because it is older" kind of statement, because there can even be something to learn in seeing how the text changed through time. But don't tell me that your variant is the one true variant and all others are spawned of the devil.

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5 minutes ago, caspianrex said:

This article by Royal Skousen gives some info about the RCE (the last section of the article is about how the RCE came to be published): https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-brief-history-of-critical-text-work-on-the-book-of-mormon/

Noted there: It was developed by an RLDS member (now called Community of Christ). That explains why the ideas on the site are not exactly in line with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However -- that being said, I'm surprised how much of the thinking WAS in line with it. Other than the mistaken idea that covenants don't require ordinances, the current prophet and president Russell M. Nelson puts a lot of focus on what he calls The Covenant Path. Of course that covenant path is directly tied to ordinances, but as to the importance of covenants and the Book of Mormon being about covenants, etc., there was some surprising insight from someone who has a different set of beliefs.

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23 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Other than the mistaken idea that covenants don't require ordinances

Other than the patient's death, the operation was a success.

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I was reading 1 Nephi in the RCE yesterday, and I have to say, it's beautifully laid out. Very friendly to the eye. Too bad they chose to go with the RLDS numbering system. I would find the volume more useful, I think, if the chapters and verses were in line with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' official publication.

Still, despite some of their questionable motivations and methodology, it's a lovely piece of work in many respects.

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