“Awful State of Blindness”

Brant Gardner

The Gentile world is in apostasy, lacking access to the full truth. The corruption caused by the great and abominable church and the loss of the Bible’s plain and precious parts symbolize this apostasy. Because it is due to error rather than intent, restoring the truth can save them.

Variant: Skousen describes the textual issues for this verse:

This passage involves two changes. The first deals with the word order. The original manuscript reads, “state of awful woundedness,” which Oliver Cowdery initially copied into [the printer’s manuscript] as “awful state of woundedness,” but then he immediately corrected the word order to “state of awful woundedness,” making [the printer’s manuscript] agree with [the original manuscript]. The 1830 edition followed the original reading. But in his editing of [the printer’s manuscript] for the 1837 edition, Joseph Smith restored the initial order found in [the printer’s manuscript] and then replaced the word woundedness with blindness—that is, “awful state of blindness.” This reading has been retained in all subsequent editions of the Book of Mormon.

Skousen suggests that blindness was added because woundedness was clearly a difficult reading. He further suggests that it was probably a scribal error for the similar wickedness. He suggests that awful state of wickedness would be the most accurate reading.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1