This morning, I just unwittingly found a small difference in the scriptural text between the 1981 printed edition and the online scripture text:

1981 printed edition
I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit.

2011 online edition
I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit.

Yes, I know that “thrash” and “thresh” are two forms of the same word, having the same meaning. I also know that the current online edition incorporated small changes to the supplementary material (i.e., chapter headings) and in a few cases to the punctuation (e.g., Moro. 3:3; see my study “Textual Variations in the Supplemental Text of the Book of Mormon“).

But I did not know that the online edition had incorporated any changes to the actual wording of the scriptures. Very interesting! I wonder if this particular change came from the Joseph Smith Papers project.

(Or look at the date. … Maybe it’s all just an elaborate April Fools Day joke the people over at the scripture department are playing on us. If so, maybe I should thrash them … 🙂 )

3 Responses to “Thrash the nations”

  1. Wow, interesting. It would be intriguing to find out how/why it was changed.

  2. “Thresh” does have one meaning that “thrash” does not, according to my dictionary at least. “Thresh” means to separate the grain from a plant, and can therefore have reference to a sifting or a harvesting. None of the definitions of “thrash” in my dictionary carry that connotation.

  3. I was referring to how, in the dictionary I consulted, one of the definitions of thrash is “thresh” (i.e., thrash can be a synonym for thresh). I’m guessing that the image the Lord means to conjure is the harvest one you mention—separating wheat from chaff. That’s also my guess as to why they changed it—because while “sifting or separating” is an obscure meaning of thrash, it’s the first and clearest meaning of thresh.

    So I agree with you, that thresh is the better choice of the two for conveying the Lord’s metaphor. Thrash, at least with it’s modern connotations, makes it sounds like the Lord wants us to go out and whip people for their sins. 🙂

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