Mosiah 25:16 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and he did exhort the people of Limhi and his brethren —all those that had been delivered out of bondage— that [NULL > they 1|they ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] should remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them

In Mosiah 25:14, the principal scribe for the printer’s manuscript changed from Oliver Cowdery to scribe 2. This unknown scribe produced most of the text in 𝓟 from Mosiah 25:14 to Alma 13:20, when Oliver took over once more. (Hyrum Smith substituted briefly for this scribe 2 on five different occasions during the copying of 𝓞 into 𝓟: namely, Mosiah 28:1, Mosiah 28:20–29:19, Mosiah 29:29–35, Alma 2:38–3:1, and Alma 5:1 and its preface.) Later, scribe 2 returned to do the copywork from 3 Nephi 19:21 through the end of Mormon.

In both of these large sections of text, the proofing of the copywork was done by Oliver Cowdery, not scribe 2 or Hyrum Smith. But these other scribes made corrections as they initially wrote down the text. Here in Mosiah 25:16, we have an example of a virtually immediate correction made by scribe 2—namely, the supralinear insertion of the subject pronoun they:

It appears that scribe 2 made this correction shortly after writing the initial text. Although for this correction the size of the writing is smaller and the ink flow is not as broad, the level of ink flow itself is the same. Perhaps scribe 2 altered the angle his quill made with respect to the paper, thus restricting the ink flow for this insertion. The initially written text in 𝓟 does not make much sense (“and he did exhort the people of Limhi and his brethren … that should remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them”).

Another example of an obviously needed correction made by scribe 2 is found later in verse 23. In this instance, he inserted the word or inline between of Christ and of God:

The initial text here in 𝓟 (“whosoever was desirous to take upon them the name of Christ of God”) is clearly defective.

As we would expect from copywork, scribe 2 of 𝓟 did not catch all of his copying errors, including some obvious ones. Oliver’s first correction to scribe 2’s work comes in verse 22; there the linking verb is missing, which Oliver supplied when he proofed 𝓟 against 𝓞:

In virtually every case from Mosiah 25:14 through Alma 13:20, scribe 2’s and Hyrum Smith’s corrections as well as Oliver’s subsequent proofing reflect their attempt to get the text of 𝓞 down correctly in 𝓟. Obviously, the text requires the they in Mosiah 25:16, the were in Mosiah 25:22, and the or in Mosiah 25:23. In the case of Oliver’s proofing, the accuracy of his corrections is strongly confirmed when we examine the corrections he made to scribe 2’s work from 3 Nephi 19:21 through Mormon 9:37. For that part of the text the 1830 edition is a firsthand copy of 𝓞, not 𝓟—and nearly every one of Oliver’s corrections in 𝓟 agrees with the 1830 reading. (A detailed listing of all these corrections can be found in volume 3.)

Generally speaking, the critical text will accept the virtually immediate manuscript corrections made by scribe 2 and Hyrum Smith in 𝓟 as well as the subsequent proofing corrections made by Oliver Cowdery. Most of the manuscript corrections repair obvious defects and will usually not be individually discussed in this analysis of textual variants (here in volume 4 of the critical text). In fact, I normally would not have discussed these three obvious corrections here in the last part of Mosiah 25 (after scribe 2 of 𝓟 took over for Oliver).

Summary: Obvious corrections in 𝓟 made by scribe 2 or by Hyrum Smith will be accepted; Oliver Cowdery’s subsequent corrections of obvious errors while proofing these two scribes’ copywork will also be accepted.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 3