Changing the Sacred Word of Brother McConkie

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Big news this week for critics of the church in that the church has made a change in the introduction of the 2006 Doubleday edition of the Book of Mormon. (The introduction was added in 1981 by the then apostle Bruce R. McConkie)

What it used to say:

?¢‚Ǩ?ìAfter thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

and what it says now:

“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

(emphasis mine)

So, is this a manifestation of the church?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s efforts to bring its teachings in line with the scientific realm—as if the doctrine was held in the hands of men and arbitrarily changed to fit the tides of secular progress? Or something else? Or is the introduction not technically scripture, and therefore, not a big deal to change?

Honestly, I’m glad they aren’t in denial about the science and see the change as a positive indication that the First Presidency is admitting the evidence has merit.

13 thoughts on “Changing the Sacred Word of Brother McConkie

  1. It: 1) is not scripture, 2) is a big deal, and 3) the change is very important and I’m proud of the Church for removing what the text itself does not claim; i.e. the sole ancestry of the native americans from Alaska to Chile, and the isles of the sea.

  2. I’ve said for years (even before the DNA stuff) that regardless of the introduction that the Lehi Nephites were not the “principle” ancestors, but only some of the ancestors of American Indians.

    Just off the top of my head I can think of 3 or 4 groups of non-Lehi Nephites but were called Nephites in the BoM because they followed the Church. Just the same as those called Lamanites were against them…even if they did not have a direct heritage to Laman.

    This change would have been fine at any time, and if made years ago wouldn’t have caused a controversy. Problem is that with the DNA thing it opens up the issue for detractors.

  3. According to this Salt Lake Tribune article, the church is planning on making the change in its own print run:

    “LDS leaders instructed Doubleday to make the change, said senior editor Andrew Corbin, so it ‘would be in accordance with future editions the church is printing.'”

  4. I wonder if any other changes will eb made to those future editions. I also wonder if by saying “is printing”, Corbin is saying those editions are currently in production.

  5. Many church leaders for years have been referring to any and all indigenous people of North and South America as Lamanites. I hope that this classification does not continue or becomes very rare.

    I have been wondering if there will be any direction to the church membership or to the unit leaders to reflect this change. Again I hope so. A silent change in the introduction in the BoM may go unnoticed by most.

  6. Good point, mtnnomad. Sometimes I forget that most members I know aren’t like those on the Bloggernacle. They still believe many of the traditions.

  7. Re: the comments on “horses.” Why deliberately ignore the obvious difference between changing the words of the actual scripture and changing the words of an explanatory introduction that has never even been represented as scripture?

  8. “replacing the word ‘horse’ with ‘tapir’”

    Interesting that the Book of Mormon refers to keeping “flocks” of horses rather than herds and never talks about calvary.

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