[Non-Mormon Professor Felix Mynhardt] stood at the pulpit and described the experience. He said something like, “I never begin translating a book at the beginning. Writing style usually changes through a book, and becomes more consistent toward the middle. Accordingly, I opened to a random place in the middle of the Book of Mormon, and began translating.” He said, “I was startled by the obvious fact that the Book of Mormon was not authored in English. He said, “It became immediately apparent that what I was reading was a translation into English from some other language. The sentence structure was wrong for native English. The word choices were wrong, as were many phrases.” He said, “How many times has an Englishman said or written, ‘And it came to pass?’” We all laughed, and knew he was right, of course.
He explained that when he realized this, he knew that he had to find either the original language or a median language then proceed to translate it into Afrikaans. He listed a half-dozen languages he tried, all of which did not accommodate the strange sentence structure found in the Book of Mormon. He said he finally tried Egyptian, and to his complete surprise, he found that the Book of Mormon translated flawlessly into Egyptian, not modern, but ancient Egyptian. He found that some nouns were missing from Egyptian, so he used Hebrew nouns where Egyptian did not provide the word or phrase. He chose Hebrew because both languages existed in the same place anciently.
He said had no idea at that time why the Book of Mormon was once written in Egyptian, but he said that without any doubt, the Book of Mormon had been authored in Egyptian or a language with very similar syntax. I heard him say this over and over. Then, he said, “Imagine my utter astonishment when I turned to chapter one, verse one and began my actual translation and came to verse two, where Nephi describes that he was writing in the language of the Egyptians, with the learning of the Jews!”
He said, “I knew by the second verse, that this was no ordinary book, that it was not the writings of Joseph Smith, but that it was of ancient origin. I could have saved myself months of work if I had just begun at the beginning. Nobody but God, working through a prophet of God, in this case Nephi, would have included a statement of the language he was writing in. Consider, how many documents written in English, include the phrase, “I am writing in English!” It is unthinkable and absolute proof of the inspired origins of this book.”
He noted that he was one of the few people in the world with any knowledge of old Egyptian writing. He was certainly the only person who was also fluent in Afrikaans and English. He indicated that when a verse would not translate directly into English, that he used Egyptian as a tool to arrive at a correct translation into Afrikaans.
Professor Mynhardt spoke of many other things regarding the translation of this book, and then said, “I do not know what Joseph Smith was before he translated this book, and I do not know what he was afterward, but while he translated this book, he was a prophet of God! I know he was a prophet! I testify to you that he was a prophet while he brought forth this book! He could have been nothing else! No person in 1827 could have done what he did. The science did not exist. The knowledge of ancient Egyptian did not exist. The knowledge of these ancient times and ancient Peoples did not exist. The Book of Mormon is scripture. I hope you realize this.”
“I have since been asked to translate the book you call the Doctrine and Covenants. I got part way through and set it down. It is not like the Book of Mormon. Anyone could translate it into Afrikaans. It is not scripture in the same sense that the Book of Mormon is scripture. I declare that the Book of Mormon is of ancient origin, and is scripture of the same caliber as the Old Testament, or for that matter, the New Testament.”
There is an Ensign article that was written at the time. Here is how they describe it:
Bishop Johannes P. Brummer of the Johannesburg Second Ward, one of those who shepherded this valuable and important translation, told of the divine guidance that made its publication possible. He had translated about a third of the Book of Mormon into Afrikaans, but it had been a long, tedious effort, and it was imperative that the translation be completed without further delay so that the building up of the Church in South Africa could progress with greater speed and with every possible advantage. But where could a person be found with the necessary academic excellence and sufficient spirituality to complete such a task?
One day an acquaintance of Bishop Brummer brought his friend, Felix Mynhardt, a language teacher from Pretoria, to meet him. The man not only had a consuming interest in everything related to the scriptures, but he also had been raised in a home with a spiritual atmosphere. His father, the Reverend C. F. Mynhardt, compiled the first concordance of the Afrikaans Bible.
Felix Mynhardt, a nonmember, provides the answer to that question himself.
During a difficult period in the translation Felix said: “It’s as though darkness seems to settle on my mind when I get down to work so that I just cannot get the translation done. On some occasions I have in absolute despair gone down onto my knees and asked the Lord to help me. I have come to you today to tell you that I think you folks are just not praying for me.”
The Saints in South Africa
So, do you believe the Professor translated the Book of Mormon into Egyptian then Afrikaans?
Edited by cinepro, 26 February 2013 - 08:51 PM.