Joseph Smith, Jonathan Edwards, and the Book of Mormon
Building on the conclusions reached in A Man That Can Translate, this book demonstrates how we can tell Joseph Smith actually translated the ancient Nephite record. Every translator relies on his/her own mental language bank to express the meaning of words from another language into his/her own language.
Much of the Book of Mormon uses biblical language, including direct quotations of long passages, blending of shorter passages, phrases, and vocabulary. But there are over 700 non-biblical terms and hundreds of non-biblical phrases in the Book of Mormon. If Joseph translated the plates, where did this vocabulary come from?
This book uses extensive, detailed evidence to propose that Joseph was prepared from a young age to become the Prophet of the Restoration. His "intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations" (1832 History), including the writings of prominent Christians such as Jonathan Edwards, gave Joseph the Christian vocabulary he needed to translate the plates "after the manner of [his] language" (D&C 1:24). Joseph's translations, revelations, and personal writings are all drawn from his mental language bank—convincing evidence that God spoke to Joseph and through Joseph.
The Book of Mormon belongs to the entire world. This new understanding opens up the Book of Mormon as an integral and necessary component of God's plan for the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of the Biblical prophets and Christian teachers such as Jonathan Edwards and James Hervey. By corroborating the testimony of Joseph and Oliver, this new approach reaffirms the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon as a translation of ancient records.