The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is changing a single word in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon. The news that one word is being changed may at first seem insignificant until one examines which word and why.
The Book of Mormon is, to Mormons, the word of god much like The Bible, only better. It is an account of a family who fled Jerusalem by boat and eventually landed in the Americas. After arriving they multiplied and established a great civilization. Eventually the people splintered into two groups, the Nephites and Lamanites. The book, because it was translated by Joseph Smith from the original gold plates (an angel conveniently took the plates when Joseph was done), contains no errors.
In 1981, a Mormon apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, included the following sentence in the book’s introduction.
After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.
Finally, it seems, the evidence against this assertion has caught up with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is forcing them to change the wording. Future editions of the Book of Mormon will contain the sentence with a single, albeit significant, word change.
After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
DNA testing of Native Americans long ago concluded that the continent’s peoples most likely emigrated from Asia across the Bering Strait. This revision is just another example of the changes religions must make to prevent ridicule and maintain a semblance of credibility. Emperical evidence, eventually but always after much opposition, triumphs over dogma and factually unsupported superstitions. It turns out fact is more convincing than faith, even for leaders of the LDS church.
This seemingly minor factual error in the Book of Mormon’s introduction is significant for one reason: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is supposedly presided over by a living prophet who speaks to god and is his mouthpiece on earth. Didn’t god know Bruce R. McConkie was wrong? Why didn’t he bother to tell the current prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley? Perhaps Gordon needs a new wireless carrier. It seems he might have a bad connection.
Single word change in Book of Mormon speaks volumes (Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 8, 2007)