Excerpts below from: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible: A Historical Overview
Robert L. Millet:
Robert L. Millet: “The limitations of what has come to be known as the Bernhisel Manuscript are clear from John Bernhisel’s own words: the copy made by him is incomplete, and thus inadequate in representing exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith and his scribes recorded. The following are some errors that were committed unintentionally by Dr. Bernhisel:
The Bernhisel Manuscript:
Elder John M. Bernhisel called at the request of Pres. Taylor and explained concerning his manuscript copy of the New Translation of the Bible as taken from the Manuscript of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Bro. Bernhisel stated: “I had great desires to see the New Translation, but did not like to ask for it; but one evening, being at Bro. Joseph’s house about a year after his death, Sister Emma to my surprise asked me if I would not like to see it. I answered, yes. She handed it to me the next day, and I kept it in my custody about three months. She told me it was not prepared for the press, as Joseph had designed to go through it again. I did not copy all that was translated leaving some few additions and changes that were made in some of the books. But so far as I did copy, I did so as correctly as I could do. The markings in my Bible correspond precisely with the markings in the Prophet Joseph’s Bible, so that all the books corrected in his Bible so far as I now know are marked in my Bible: but as I stated, the additions are not all made in my Manuscript of those books that I did not copy.”
The limitations of what has come to be known as the Bernhisel Manuscript are clear from John Bernhisel’s own words: the copy made by him is incomplete, and thus inadequate in representing exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith and his scribes recorded. The following are some errors that were committed unintentionally by Dr. Bernhisel:
1. In some cases, Bernhisel did not copy all of the corrections noted on the original manuscripts. Joseph altered 3,410 verses; Bernhisel noted only 1,463.
2. In a sense, Bernhisel’s copy is interpretive, in the sense that he seems to be thinking for himself, rather than simply copying from Joseph’s manuscripts.
3. Sometimes Bernhisel recorded more than he should have; that is, he anticipated corrections that were not there.
It is no doubt the case that had Bernhisel known in the spring of 1845 that the original manuscripts would be unavailable to the LDS Church for such a long period (about 125 years), he would have taken greater care to record everything that Joseph had recorded. His was intended as a personal copy, and was never envisioned by him as becoming an official document. John Bernhisel arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 24 September 1848, and it is assumed that he brought his manuscript with him. A copy of this manuscript was made by direction of the First Presidency in 1879. The original Bernhisel Manuscript is now available in the Church Historian’s Library in Salt Lake City. The Bernhisel Manuscript is significant as a historical relic, and its early date of 1845 does much toward verifying the present accuracy of the original JST manuscripts.
“The greatest deficiency of the Bernhisel copy is that it does not contain any of the material now identified as Moses chapter 7 or Matthew chapter 24. [Moses 7; Matt. 24]”
The image of the passage of Rev 1:1-7 is taken from the above source.
MormonLeaks comment: The above source also states that the missing section of the Book of Moses is Moses 6:68 – Moses 8:25. This means that the missing fragment includes Moses 8:1-25. In other words the entire fraction that is missing from the Bernhisel manuscript is the entirety of Moses 7 plus Moses 8:1-25.
Bernhisel as physician–
Samuel Smith suddenly became violently ill and died on 30 July 1844. Bernhisel told William Smith that anti-Mormons had somehow poisoned his brother. William learned from Samuel’s widow that Hosea Stout, a Missouri Danite and senior officer of Nauvoo’s police, had acted as his brother’s nurse. Stout had given him “white powder”. Samuel’s daughter also believed her father was murdered.
“‘My father was undoubtedly poisoned,’ Samuel Smith’s daughter wrote. ‘Uncle Arthur Millikin was poisoned at the same time–the same doctors were treating my father and Uncle Arthur at the same time. Uncle Arthur discontinued the medicine-without letting them know that he was doing so. (Aunt Lucy [Smith Millikin] threw it in the fire.)”
In the case of Samuel Smith, Stout had acted as Samuel’s care-giver when he fell ill, and in that capacity had given Samuel ‘white powder’ medicine daily until his death. (Richard Abanes, “One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church” [New York, New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002], p. 207)
Samuel became ill within days of the discussion of his succession right, and by 24 July was “very sick. Father continued taking it until the last dose [which] he spit out and said he was poisoned. But it was too late–he died.'”
Bernhisel as Council of Fifty member and polygamist–
“In addition to the sealings performed by Joseph Smith, and the seven wives married in Nauvoo, Bernhisel was sealed to eighty-three deceased women in the Salt Lake Endowment House in 1868, plus an additional twenty-three wives one year later.”
Bernhisel involvement with counterfeiting–
Jan 6, 1849 – High council at Kanesville, Iowa, excommunicates two Mormons for counterfeiting coins. Investigations into Feb., but council takes no action against two members of theocratic Council of Fifty involved: John M. Bernhisel (who transports counterfeiting equipment to Iowa) and Theodore Turley (Mechanic who works with the dies and press).