Monday, November 19, 2007

Book of Mormon Word Change

I'm a little late with this, but better late than never.

I have reported before about the problems with the Book of Mormon's claim that the Lamanites are the ancestors to the Native Americans. Recent developments in genetic research have found these claims to be inaccurate, thus calling many of the other historical claims in the Book of Mormon into question.

Well, the LDS church has approved a one-word change for the new edition of the Book of Mormon to accommodate the latest scientific research.

"Intro change in Book of Mormon spurs discussion"
(from LDS publication)
A one-word change in the introduction to a 2006 edition of the Book of Mormon has reignited discussion among some Latter-day Saints about the book's historicity, geography and the descendants of those chronicled within its pages.

The book is considered scripture by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many lifelong members grew up believing that American Indians are direct descendants of ancient people in the book called Lamanites, who the book says built a civilization in the Americas between about 600 B.C. and 400 A.D.

Past LDS Church leaders, particularly former church President Spencer W. Kimball, have made such statements, which have been supported by the introduction page in the Book of Mormon. Past editions of that page say all of the people chronicled in the book "were destroyed, except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians." The new introduction reads much the same but says the Lamanites "are among the ancestors of the American Indians." Read the rest of the article here.

I'm not sure this solves the Book of Mormon's whole problem, but it's an interesting step in the right direction. There are still a host of other historical problems with the Book of Mormon which also need to be addressed (e.g. geographical places, lack of archaeological artifacts, incorrect cultural descriptions, etc.). It will be interesting to see if further research has any effects on future editions.

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