1 Nephi 11:32 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
yea the everlasting God was judged of the world and I saw and [bare 0|bear 1ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] record

Besides this example of the ambiguity involving bear and bare (the present-tense and past-tense forms of the verb bear), there are three similar examples in this part of 1 Nephi:

Scribes 2 and 3 of 𝓞 tended to favor the spelling bare for bear, so the spellings here in 𝓞 give no clear information as to whether the present or past tense is intended. On the other hand, Oliver Cowdery tended to spell both bear and bare as bear, so neither can his spellings be used to distinguish between the tenses for this verb.

In each of these cases, as with one example in the three-witness statement, the apparent intended form is the past-tense bare since all of them parallel the usage in John 1:34 of the King James Bible. And here the specific parallelism with John’s language is very striking; there is only an occasional word difference:

Furthermore, in each of these cases the associated clause describing what Nephi was bearing record of is always in the past tense, which further supports the past-tense form bare in the conjoined clause:

For the complete discussion regarding this difficulty in determining the tense of bear /bare, plus a listing of the spelling variation, see bear in volume 3.

Summary: Four times in 1 Nephi 11–14, Nephi uses the expression “I saw/heard and bare record”, which closely parallels John’s usage in the King James Bible (“I saw and bare record”); the surrounding text is in the past tense, so the word bear should be emended to bare in 1 Nephi 11:32, 1 Nephi 11:36, 1 Nephi 12:7, and 1 Nephi 14:27.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 1