Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


Bible, translation

Document Type



The publication of Thomas A. Wayment’s The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saintsis a significant event that occasions not only a close examination of his work but also a discussion of how it fits into the complex relationship The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long shared with Bible translation.1 If the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, the King James Version of the Bible is certainly its linguistic cornerstone. The scripture and other revelations that flowed from the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors in the early days of the Church were consistently couched in an archaizing English that resonated with the King James Version (hereafter KJV) and frequently drew from its lexical and conceptual frameworks. While the Prophet and early Church leaders and members felt no particular obligation to the KJV as a translation, its role in framing the Restoration wove it deeply into the very fabric of Latter-day Saint ideology, which granted it de facto priority of place. That place has motivated a variety of defenses of the position of the King James Version that have since granted it a quasi-canonical status, but as the Church continues to grow around the world and to transition into a truly global organization, its commitment to the KJV does not come without significant complications that have largely escaped scrutiny. The goal of this review article is to examine some of the more salient of those complications and then address Wayment’s volume and the way it bears on them.