The Hebrew Translation of the Book of Mormon


In his masterful sermon at Bountiful, Christ taught that the fulness of the Gospel would come in the latter days—first to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles would then be obligated to take the word to the scattered remnants of Israel:

And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone…that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the gentiles; that through the fullness of the gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth, and then will I fulfill the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:4-5 LDS / 7:27-29 RLDS / 7:4 RE)

In this context, it’s critical to identify these Book of Mormon Gentiles; they are the primarily white, European groups who crossed the sea, displaced the descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples on the promised land, and eventually received the gospel restoration through Joseph Smith. In other words, regardless of how latter-day believers in the Book of Mormon may classify themselves, Nephi, Lehi, Jacob, Isaiah, Mormon and Moroni consider most latter-day believers on this continent “Gentiles.” Each of these prophets testifies of this same truth and plan: That the Book of Mormon will come first to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles will then be obligated to take the book and its teachings to the scattered remnants of Israel, including the Jews.

Here is an Example from Mormon:

And they are to be hid up unto the Lord, that they may come forth in his own due time. And this is the commandment which I have received. And behold, they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit in his wisdom. And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews. And for this intent shall they go, that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his Most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant; and also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel which shall go forth unto them from the gentiles. (Mormon 5:12-15 LDS / 2:39-43 RLDS / 2:6 RE)

Ezekiel’s well-known “two sticks” prophecy in Ezekiel 37 speaks of two records, one for Joseph and one for Judah, which will come together to bring about the gathering of Israel to their promised lands.

Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. (Ezekiel 37:19-22)

Joseph Smith identified the Stick of Joseph as the Book of Mormon, carried by the hand of Ephraim to the scattered remnants of Israel, including the Jews. The Lord, the prophets in Scripture, and Joseph Smith are all united in declaring the commandment that the Book of Mormon, first published to the Gentiles, must now be taken to the Jews.

History of the Book of Mormon in Hebrew

Thus far, very little has been accomplished to fulfill this command. Here are the most important items to understand:

  • The Book of Mormon authors and the Lord Himself made it abundantly clear the book was meant to be taken to the Jews. Hebrew is the native spoken language of over 5 Million Jews, and is the national language of Israel. A Hebrew translation is therefore absolutely critical to fulfilling the Lord’s command.

  • Many non-Hebrew-speaking Jews regularly read the Torah in Hebrew though they speak other languages. Therefore, the potential audience of a Hebrew translation of the Book of Mormon is easily over 10 Million Jews.

  • Though the Book of Mormon has been translated into over 130 languages by the LDS church, there is not a Hebrew translation currently available from the largest denomination of the restoration.

  • There have been 2 published Hebrew translations of the Book of Mormon, detailed further below. Both were in Modern Hebrew, and fairly poor quality. Both are now out of print.

  • Modern Hebrew is problematic because it is not the language of scripture and does not sound scriptural to the Jewish ear. Faithful Jews read their scriptures in Biblical Hebrew, much as modern LDS read the Book of Mormon in Elizabethan (or “King James”) English. A more “modern” rendering sounds unscriptural. Jews who have been exposed to a Modern Hebrew translation report that it sounds like a newspaper or novel, not the word of God.

  • One of the Modern Hebrew efforts was a partial translation published by the LDS church in the 1980’s. It saw very limited printing, and was almost immediately taken out of print so the construction of the BYU Jerusalem center could move forward. As part of this process, the LDS church entered into a contractual agreement with the State of Israel, which prevents any further work on or publication of a Hebrew edition by the LDS church.

  • The other Modern Hebrew effort was produced by a private group of RLDS members who paid for a commercial translation into Modern Hebrew. Unfortunately, this translation came out poorly and pays very little attention to accuracy in doctrine, language or terms. Printed versions of this book are still available for sale, though there has not been a printing since the 1980s.

The Hebrew Book of Mormon Project

  • There is a project underway to produce a world-class translation in Biblical Hebrew that will faithfully preserve the teachings and intent of the text while sounding properly scriptural to the Jewish reader. It will reflect the fact that the Book of Mormon is ultimately a Jewish book: written BY Jews anciently, FOR the Jews of the latter days.

  • Translation into Biblical Hebrew requires unique and scholarly expertise in this ancient language. Biblical Hebrew is quite different from modern Hebrew, and is not used today as a spoken language. There are no “native” speakers of Biblical Hebrew, and therefore the translation process is a very painstaking and labor-intensive scholarly endeavor. The result is a text that is familiar and readable to Jews in a form of language matching their scripture, and reflects the beauty and genius of Biblical Hebrew language.

  • The translation team consists of PhD-level scholars in Biblical Hebrew from around the world who are working on the project with the assurance they will remain anonymous, so as not to influence their professional standing or scholarly careers. It is a collaborative, organized effort with weekly meetings, continual progress, and a consistent approach.

  • The volunteers organizing and overseeing the translation team are experienced with project management, Hebrew language, Jewish thought, and the Book of Mormon text in particular. They have undertaken this project because they have testimonies of the Book of Mormon and believe the Lord’s command must be fulfilled. These believing Book of Mormon experts work in concert with the Hebrew scholars to ensure the doctrinal integrity of the translation.

  • The project has been underway for two years, and the entire Book of Mormon text has received initial translation. The next phase of the project requires full review and editing of the initial draft to perfect the translation before publication.

  • The project is completely funded by private donations, and is not controlled by any institution, organization or church. This ensures its independence, and also provides protection to the LDS church, who is under contractual obligation with Israel not to undertake this work themselves.

Funding the Work

  • The only paid participants in the project are the actual scholar-translators. All other participants volunteer their time and efforts. All donated funds go 100% to pay for actual translation work.

  • When the translation is complete, paid professional typesetting and publishing will be required.

  • The project has cost over $250,000 so far, and it is anticipated another $150,000 will be required to bring the editing work to completion, plus $50,000 for typesetting and publishing.

  • The completed books will be distributed in Israel and made available to Jews worldwide at the cost of printing. The text will also be published free of charge online in an interactive Hebrew/English study site, which has already been built by volunteers.

  • Once the book is published, efforts will be undertaken to publicize and distribute the book in the US, Europe, and Israel.


July 16, 2024

All five of our professional translators continue to do excellent work, and notably, each has gained a more holistic and competent view of the entire Book of Mormon text as the work continues. Whereas, early in the process, each translator was primarily focused only on the passage in front of him or her, now each has the ability to not only focus on the correct translation of the passage at hand, but also how that translation will integrate with the chapter, book, and ultimately the entire Book of Mormon corpus. Only time and experience can develop this level of proficiency with the overall work, and we are grateful that our translators have put in so much time and effort.

Global changes and adaptations continue as we finalize idioms and recurring phrases, with careful attention to their harmonization throughout the text. Likewise editing work continues on the remaining chapters. The final reading work is underway, and if all continues to go well, we anticipate completion by year end.

December 4, 2023

The work continues and progress is excellent! As you can see from the bar chart, the first three steps (Initial Translation, First Review, Editor Assigned) are essentially 100% complete. In addition, nearly three-fourths of the text has completed first editor review, and nearly half has also been through team review. This means that nearly half of the text has reached the point of completion where it is essentially finished and ready to be released for final review by readers.

Even this late in the process, the ongoing, careful analysis of the text continues to bear fruit as the team gains new insights and provides improvements to prior work. Correction and harmonization of the entire text for consistency of terminology and best usage is an ongoing project, with new discoveries and improvements implemented continually.

The need for funds is becoming critical as reserves dwindle. We recognize this is a lengthy and extremely involved project, and easily the most careful and detailed translation of the Book of Mormon ever undertaken. We appreciate all who have supported and continue to support this work with their donations and prayers.

July 9, 2023


As the translation continues, many well-wishers reach out with questions. The most common question we are asked, by far, is “how’s the translation work coming?” The second most common is, “when will it be done?” Both indicate the underlying excitement about this translation and hope for its publication. The third is, “how is the funding doing?” Let’s examine all three.

The answer to the first question, “how’s the translation work coming?” is, “Exceptionally well!” The editing process is producing phenomenally good results. As every word of the translation is reviewed first by the translator that produced it, and then by a separate translator, and finally by the two in tandem, the resulting product quality is well beyond what a single translator might accomplish, and reaches the standard necessary for a task so important and so sacred.

Nearly 50% of the translation has now been through this second-review process by a separate translator, and one-third of the text has been completed to the “final candidate” status. In this status, all that remains is for a team of independent readers to read the translation and give their opinion and suggestions for readability, understanding and flow, which is the final step before publication.

Having a full third of this 271,000-word text to that point is a meaningful landmark indeed! We’re very optimistic and grateful for this tremendous progress.

As to the second question, “when will it be done?” that is, of course, a bit harder to nail down. Work of this type will take as long as it takes to get right, and will therefore not be finished until it is finished. It’s very difficult to predict how long specific tasks will take. For example, we recently worked through editing an entire paragraph that consumed about 5 translator hours to complete, and a 6-word sentence that required over 20 translator hours to complete. The nuances of the language, the source document, cultural background, the corpus of Biblical Hebrew, and myriad other considerations mean that the process is, by nature, unpredictable. Some tasks that seem simple turn out to be very complex, and likewise some lengthy passages are actually rather straightforward.

Nevertheless, based on current progress, it’s likely safe to conclude the work will be finished and ready for publication sometime in 2024, God willing.

Finally, as to the third question, “how is the funding doing?” we’ve had a long string of months where donations met or exceeded the need for that month. Therefore, we’ve been blessed with a reserve to ensure the work continues uninterrupted.

Recent months have seen higher need combined with lower donations, so we’ve begun to pull from the reserve to keep the work moving forward. The situation is still tenable for several months, but we’re hoping to end the translation project with this reserve intact so it can be used for typesetting and publishing. Therefore, continued support is necessary and most welcome. We’re very grateful for all who have sacrificed and given to support this work and for all who continue to do so.

We have seen miracles in this process and the Lord’s hand continues to clearly guide and bless this important part of the Lord’s prophesied last-days work.

April 4, 2023

Editing work continues on the text, with special attention to unique terms, phrases and expressions, some of which require significant time and research to get correct, and often provide delightful insights.

The editing process includes a feedback mechanism so new discoveries or decisions in translating one part of the text can be captured and applied to other parts of the text as needed. Thus, spot editing one area of the text drives improvement elsewhere, resulting in a better final result.

As part of this process, the technical team continues to develop and improve technology tools to search, correct and compare the text to the known corpus of biblical Hebrew. And though this all sounds like a lot of detailed work (which it is!) the overall outcome is sublime and beautiful.

Current stats have 86% of the text through the first edit process, and 29% through second edit. With over 270,000 English words in the Book of Mormon text, the percentages move slowly, but the progress is continuous and very encouraging. The dedication of the professional team is evident as we near three years of continual effort. Likewise, the Lord’s hand is evident in both the quality of the team he raised up to do this work, and the quality of the outcome.

We are very grateful for the donations that continue to move this project toward completion.

January 18, 2023

The team has spent the last several months vigorously working through the multiple steps of the editing process. Step one of that process is for the initial translator of a section to review and correct their translation work in preparation for review by others, much like a writer edits their first draft to improve it before passing it on to an outside editor. This “first edit” process is now nearly 75% complete and is moving along well.

Once a given section passes through the first edit step, it goes to a different translator for a second edit. The second edit provides a “second set of eyes” to make corrections and provide suggestions to improve the translation. This is a painstaking process, involving careful work to not only note proposed changes, but also to provide justification for each needed change. Nearly 20% of the text has now been through this second edit and is ready for the next parts of the process.

There are yet further steps ahead on the way to publication, including the need for outside readers to give input. We are therefore looking for a few Jewish readers, fluent in reading Biblical Hebrew, who can read through completed portions and provide input regarding readability, flow, and feel of the text. If you happen to be Jewish and fluent in Biblical Hebrew, and you’re interested in working as a reader, please let us know.

Meanwhile, we greatly appreciate those who are providing ongoing support to the translation project. Though the effort is slow and careful, the results are remarkably good. Nothing less would be adequate for the Book of Mormon text. Thank you for your prayers and support.

October 1, 2022

Now that the initial draft of the translation is complete, editing work has begun. The team has devised a method to ensure that every word of the translation gets multiple editing passes by different editors, to consider the text from various perspectives and ensure the best translation possible. These efforts will address content and translation accuracy, as well as grammar and spelling. We’ve begun implementing these efforts, and have completed initial editing of about 10,000 words of the text.

The team has also developed technology for advanced text searches and granular spot checks of any term throughout the text and has begun initial work to prepare for typesetting, thus ensuring that everything will be formatted correctly when the time comes to begin the actual typesetting for print.

We are very grateful for the generosity of all the donors supporting this effort.

Will You Help?

Though the Book of Mormon has been published in many languages throughout the years, the Hebrew translation is the only one that is specifically prophesied and required by the text itself and by the Lord’s direct statements. This obligation has been neglected by the Gentiles too long. This is an historic and prophetic undertaking, requiring the faith and support of those who value the Book of Mormon and believe the Lord’s words.

And now behold, this I speak unto their seed, and also to the gentiles who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come. For I know that such will sorrow for the calamity of the house of Israel, yea, they will sorrow for the destruction of this people…

But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the gentiles. And after they have been driven and scattered by the gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel. And also the Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous which have been put up unto him for them.

And then, O ye gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways? Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll? Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you, lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Mormon 5:10-11; 20-24 LDS / 2:37-38; 49-54 RLDS / 2:6-7 RE)

The Lord’s criticism remains as valid today as when it was first delivered:

O ye gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay, but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads, for I the Lord hath not forgotten my people. (2 Nephi 29:5 LDS / 12:50-52 RLDS / 12:9 RE)

We have not forgotten the Lord's ancient covenant people. The Lord has set his hand again; it is time to seek to recover the Jews. Will you help?

And again, I command you that you shall not covet your own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God, which is my word to gentiles, that soon it may go to the Jews, of which the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel and look not for a Messiah to come which has already come. (D&C 19:26-27/T&C 4:8)