Occasionally, I get asked about the ‘green text’ in the ‘Book of Mormon Comparative’ and ‘The Handwritten Book of Mormon.’ I explain their use in these tomes:
“During typesetting and while attempting to secure a Canadian copyright for their work, Oliver Cowdery exchanged the PM with the OM at the printer’s office so he could travel with the PM. Consequently, the OM was utilized during the typesetting of Helaman 13:17 through Mormon 9:37. Accordingly, these passages in the printed 1830 edition reflect favorably with the OM version. Although thousands of modifications were made to the entire handwritten text by the printers of the 1830 edition, there are a few instances where certain words differ from the PM to the 1830 edition; likely to have been from the non-extant portions of the OM in these few chapters.”
In these books, Mormon 8:5 (see it here) highlights the word “Friends” in green. The OM is not extant. The unedited PM reads “but I have not I have none,” and Oliver Cowdery ‘later’ inserted two words to make it read “but I have not and ore I have none.”
NOTE: The word “ore” could just as easily be “one” and could be read as “but [room] I have not. And one [friend] I have not.“
So why the green text “Friends?” Royal Skousen does not address this in Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, nor is it referenced by him in his Earliest Text volume. John S. Dinger does not address this in Significant Textual Changes in the Book of Mormon either. Still, some copies of the 1830 edition Book of Mormon do not read this way.
On page 532 of the 1830 Book of Mormon, shown on the Joseph Smith Papers site (http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-mormon-1830/538) this same text reads “but I have not. Friends I have none…” This begs the question: Why is it not in my copy of the 1830 Book of Mormon? The 1830 edition of the BOM was constantly evolving during printing. Indeed, a friend once speculated that “there may be as many different versions of the 1830 edition as there are original copies still in existence.” Could the word “Friends” have been a part of the (now destroyed portion of the) OM? Was this variety in the JS papers a mistake John Gilbert made during typesetting? Evidently the church is convinced of the latter, as well as the Oliver Cowdery edit of the PM, since the current version reads “but I have not; and ore I have none…”, yet the word “Friends” seems far more plausible given the ensuing words “for I am alone.”