I recently purchased Grant Hardy's Reader's Edition of the Book of Mormon. I highly recommend it as the best version for studying the book without getting distracted by double-columns, copious footnotes, and lack of modern punctuation. Hardy uses quotation marks for obvious speech and dialogue, parentheses for explanatory material, and stanzas and italics for the poetic units in the book.
He used the 1920 edition of the Book of Mormon because it is in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws anymore.
In the back of the book are several appendices including the one that prompted this post. It deals with the 50 most noticeable changes to the text since 1830. Grant uses the Original manuscript, the Printer's manuscript, and the editions from 1830, 1837, 1840, 1920, and 1981. It is the 1981 edition that seems to go out of its way to say "we know what God meant while transmitting this to Joseph, and Joseph did not."
Here is an example:
2 Nephi 29:4 (This is the verse dealing with Gentiles not appreciating the Jews for being the means for the world today having the Holy Bible.)
CHRIST asks rhetorically...
Do they remember the Jews, and the travails, and the labors, and their pains, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
That is the 1981 edition brought to you courtesy of Mormon Inc. and a committee with Bruce McConkie and Thomas Monson on it. Two guys who never testified to seeing GOD (but they wanted you to think they did). They decided that in roughly 40 instances out of 50 they knew better than Joseph Smith what GOD wanted. At least Joseph was man enough to state what he experienced and it cost him his life. True prophets never hit the trifecta of rich, popular, and long-lived.
The Printer's Manuscript, the 1830 edition, the 1837 edition, the 1840 edition, and the 1920 edition all have the verse in this way:
Do they remember the Jews, and the travels, and the labors, and the pains, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
I do not care what sounds better, I care what GOD revealed to Joseph Smith, and if the line should have had the word "travails" I am pretty sure the only Prophet Mormonism ever produced would have caught the mistake by 1840!
It is also without dispute that the Jews as a people have done more traveling than any other organized religion in world history. There are large and small pockets of Jews on every continent, and in almost every country of the world.
Hopefully this does not qualify as "steadying the ark" or Monson and McConkie are behind a woodshed somewhere in a not so great part of the Spirit World. I would especially like to see McConkie pardoned because he wrote a lot of great things about the actual source of salvation for this planet----JESUS.
Here is my summary:
1. Buy Grant Hardy's book (and all his other ones).
2. Give your 1981 Book of Mormon to your local thrift store.
3. The Book of Mormon is true, but the latest edition is less true than the any of the other versions.
4. If you are dealing with a direct quote from the SAVIOR of your planet, make sure you go to the best source to get it right.