“Son of”

Alan C. Miner

Terryl L. Givens notes that in the 1837 edition, the words “Son of” were inserted before the Deity title in four verses: 1 Nephi 11:18, 11:21; 11:32, and 13:40. This change is clearly less than revisionist when one considers that in 1 Nephi and elsewhere, “Son of God” was already present as a common Book of Mormon formulation. [Terry L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, p. 300]

“The Mother of the Son of God”

According to Daniel Peterson, there is a Coptic version of the record called the Apocalypse of Paul. This document probably originated in Egypt in the mid-third century of the Christian era and relates a vision of the great apostle that, in some details at least, strikingly resembles the vision of Nephi: “And he [the angel] showed me the Tree of Life,” Paul is reported to have said, “and by it was a revolving red-hot sword. And a Virgin appeared by the tree, and three angels who hymned her, and the angel told me that she was Mary, the Mother of Christ.” [Daniel C. Peterson, “Nephi & His Asherah,” in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies , FARMS, Vol. 9, Num. 2, 2000, pp. 16-18]

“The Mother of the Son of God”

The first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830) reads as follows: “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.” According to McConkie and Millet, indeed Christ is God, the God of creation, the God of Israel, and the Father of salvation. Mary is his mother. Joseph Smith changed this phrase to “mother of the Son of God” (1 Nephi 11:18) in the 1837 and 1840 editions of the Book of Mormon, and all subsequent editions have retained the alteration. Joseph Smith exercised his prophetic-editorial right to clarify and explain what had previously been written. [Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 79]

1 Nephi 11:18 The virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God ([Illustration] Nephi Sees the Virgin [Robert T. Barrett, Verse Markers, Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 7]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary