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TitleSeeking Joseph Smith’s Voice
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBarney, Kevin L.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Pagination54-59, 71-72
KeywordsConjectural Emendation; Critical Text; Original Text; Prophet; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Translation

Royal Skousen’s work on his Book of Mormon critical text project demonstrates that he is an able textual critic who employs sound judgment and proven methods to uncover the original text of the Book of Mormon. In many cases, these decisions seem counterintuitive to untrained readers, but Skousen correctly applies the principle that a more awkward reading is most likely original. He also shows his ability to make conjectural emendations for which no direct textual evidence is available. In every case, Skousen clearly lays out his reasoning so that readers who disagree with his inferences can examine the evidence for themselves to reach their own conclusions. This paper goes on to speculate that Skousen’s work may in time bring the LDS and RLDS editions of the Book of Mormon closer together textually. In the end, the critical text project is a superb work of scholarship on par with the standard works of biblical textual criticism.