An example of a Bible mistranslation affecting us as a church could be the following verse found in Matthew 5:48 (KJV)

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Greek word translated as “perfect” is τέλειοι (teleioi) which means “brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness”

What if it would have been translated “Be ye therefore complete…..”

The church’s online “Guild to the Scriptures” has the definition of perfect as ” Complete, whole, and fully developed; totally righteous. Perfect can also mean without sin or evil. Only Christ was totally perfect. True followers of Christ may become perfect through His grace and Atonement. “

Even Pres Nelson has tried to move us from thinking perfect means “without sin”

“Perfect” in Matthew 5:48 comes from the Greek word teleios, meaning “complete,” and is derived from the Greek word telos, which means “to set out for a definite point or goal.” Thus, this scripture conveys the concept of conclusion of an act. Therefore, perfect in this scripture also means “finished,” “completed,” “consummated,” or “fully developed,” and refers to the reality of the glorious resurrection of our Master.

Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles August 19, 1986 • BYU Devotional

If we compare this to the same passage in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 12:48

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

Notice the difference? Jesus did NOT include himself in Matthew, during his earthly ministry. He was without sin, but he was not perfect (complete). He only became perfect/compete after his atonement and resurrection, which was his state when he appeared in the New World.

What are the ramifications to us as members if we think the word “perfect” as only “sinless”? There have been studies on the negative affects of “perfectionism” in Mormon culture. It is even referred to as Toxic Perfectionism in some studies, and has been linked to higher rates of depression in LDS women.

Do you think the church has done enough to dispel the thought that that we need to be perfect (sinless)? If not, what more could they do? What can we do as members to help those that feel they don’t “measure up”?