Last night, on a lark, I took down my copy of the \"Revised Authorized Version\" of The Book of Mormon and did a little reading.

The Revised Authorized Version is published by The Community of

Christ. In the past, when things were more tense, we called them \"The

Reorganites\" and they called us \"The Utah Church.\" But sentiments have

softened.

In short, for the Revised Authorized Version, scholars with The

Community of Christ rubbed a little sandpaper on the Book of Mormon to

take out some of the rough spots. The updated grammar and spellings

replaced antiquated words and smoothed out a sentence here and there.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell once told me he didn't think the LDS Church would ever produce its own revised version.

\"We keep finding little connections between words in the text and

discovering language parallels,\" he said. \"If we revised the language,

much of that could be lost.\"

After reading King Benjamin's sermon in the Revised Authorized Version, I think he was right.

For one thing, unless angels, spirits or other visitors from beyond

are speaking, the new version does away with all the \"ye,\" \"thou\" and

\"thee\" words, replacing them with modern English. It makes for a

less-troubling read.

But also a less-resonant one.

For me, those antique words always chimed in my mind with similar

words in the King James Bible. When Benjamin says \"for the Lord God

hath spoken it,\" I hear overtones of Handel's Messiah — \"the mouth of

the Lord hath spoken it.\" A version of that same phrase appears in

Psalms, Isaiah and in other books of the Bible.

Also, in the original Book of Mormon, about half of the verses in

Benjamin's address begin with the word \"And.\" In one swath of

Benjamin's address, 18 verses out of 20 begin with \"And.\"

The revisers have snipped a great many of those out. I suspect they saw the compulsive use of \"and\" as needless repetition.

But I've always liked it.

In the King James version of the gospel of Mark, most of the verses

begin with the word \"And.\" It gives the telling a kind of breathless

quality — as if the speaker simply couldn't wait to share the \"good

news.\"

Besides, repetition in spiritual writing is a time-honored device.

Repeating a phrase or word doesn't bog a sermon down. It lends it

power. A repeated phrase or word creates a litany — a formula of sacred

words — that keeps sounding in the mind like the chimes of a clock.

Think of the way the Articles of Faith sound the notes \"We believe\"

over and over, or how the Beatitudes all begin with \"Blessed are ... \"

Where secular scholars see redundant rhetoric, religious souls often hear powerful ritual at work.

Still, I have to say reading the revised version was worthwhile. It forced me to focus more intently on what was being said.

And the book was, truth to tell, much easier to read.

For this old member of \"The Utah Church,\" however, it just wasn't as satisfying.