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Comments about ‘Debate renewed with change in Book of Mormon introduction’

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Published: Thursday, Nov. 8 2007 6:14 p.m. MST

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Jason

All of this debate about the demographics of Native American is pointless. There is not way to really know at this point. And believing that you can logically deduct something from the information at hand is self delusional.

If you are concerned if the Book of Mormon is true to the source-God. He knows and He can and will tell you.

If you are concerned about looking intelligent or looking for reason to argue- have fun. I'll be elsewhere.

Anonymous

This could be proved by testing the Y chromosome in both populations. You won't see BYU rushing to do this study soon.

Carl

This book has been changed hundreds of times if not thousands over the years since its initial publication. That is the right of the LDS Church. It's "their" book.

The crux of the matter is whether or not it is in fact an ancient religious text. I would merely call attention to the title page which says, "By Joseph Smith, Jr."

No further questions.

Anonymous

This is an intersting article. I did not know the introduction was written in the 80's and it would be interesting to understand who wrote it and what kind of meetings were held to discuss, edit and approve it. Science is an interesting thing and can stir up much controversy and debate. Some things are yet to be discovered, disproved, or verified completely. No matter what scientific studies are done it does not take away from the fact the people believe things that are religious in origin by faith and their hearts have been touched by things science has yet to understand.

Florida

I don't live in Utah and I am not mormon. I do have mormon friends who I respect very much. My question is if the leaders of the LDS church are considered "prophets and seers" then why do they have to change things all the time like this? Wouldn't they get it right the first time? I am really curious, thank you.

Brian

Testing the Y chromosome in both populations would also be inconclusive and pointless. Try researching your genetics first. BYU knows not to waste the time or money. I'll go with Jason on this one, look to the source, not the philosophies of men. That is the best any of us can do.

Dave

To Florida,
I am intrigued by change to something that I have revered and been blessed by for 28 years. It can not be denied that new learning and discovery brings change. Revelation comes line upon line, precept upon precept. At times, because we are still human, what was once right and good can later become refined into something that is much clearer and full of greater light and understanding.
For example the law of Moses was right, but the New Testament gospel taught by Jesus Christ was much much better and shed greater light into the hearts of man than did the latter.

Robo

To Florida - Applying conversational language of 2007 to older written texts, often written in more poetic style, with to much specificity is unfair to the older text. (Read C S Lewis' work on this for more information.) Examples of words with different meanings now than even 20 or 30 years ago are bad, cool, heavy, gay, radical, tubular, far out, right on, hot, stud, babe, fox, etc. Often then we take something said even that short time ago, like "the principle ancestors of the American indian," beyond what it was ever intended to convey. The person that wrote that was not making an anthropological statement. The bible has also had thousands of changes. These changes and those in the Book of Mormon have been made in an effort to bring the text more in conformance with current language style so that it can be better understood. (Try reading Beowulf in original Old English as an example.) These changes have no effect on the doctrine and teachings contained therein. And finally, only those things spoken by the prophet at the time he is the prophet is the official doctrine of the Church, the rest are opinions.

Steve

To Carl:

Yes, it is true that there have been textual variations to the Book of Mormon. It is also true that there have been countlessly more textual variations to the various translations and editions of the Bible (and thousands to the King James Version). Does this mean that they are not scripture? Absolutely not! This is what we would expect when God's word falls into fallible human hands.

Also, what the critics won't tell you is that many of the textual variations in the Book of Mormon bolster, not condemn, the Book of Mormon's divine authenticity. Case in point, the "if/and" Hebrew clause that we find in the orginial manuscript of the Book of Mormon. I would suggest that you consult the works of Royal Skousen and Hugh Nibley - especially "Since Cumorah" - on this issue.

Also, the only reason that Joseph Smith appeared as the "Author and Proprietor" in the 1st edition of the Book of Mormon was to follow the legal copyright laws of 1790-1831. Note in the preface of the 1st edition he identifies no less than six times that he translated the text. So that little detail was for legal regulation only.

Thomas

If a matter is capable of being tested by science -- that is, if science can tell whether something is more likely than not, even if it can't provide a precise answer -- let sound science test it, and respond appropriately. If only faith can provide an answer, then choose whether or not to exercise faith.

To Florida:

Common misconception: Prophets are infallible. This is not correct.

Prophets can be prophets and still hold personal opinions that may later prove incorrect. One example from the BofM: Alma 40:19-20. Alma the Younger (a prophet and leader of the Nephite Church) is teaching his son Corianton about the resurrection of Christ. He states "I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascenion into heaven". There is no way to test the veracity of this idea; we cannot know if all the "righteous" to that point were resurrected at the time of Christ's rising. However, it illustrates that those who are called as prophets can still have personal opinions separate from the revealed word.

The fact that the introduction (i.e., not part of the canonized text) has been changed reflects a change in understanding and thinking regarding Bof M geography, not a sudden shift in doctrine. We all have a "check" on the both the doctrine of the BofM and the words of a prophet--the ability to get down on our knees and seek for personal confirmation.

Sharon

I am a convert to the Church and have been a member for 30 years. And in that time many changes have taken place and it seems the Intellects of the Church have to over analyze things. I believe that if a person has a question, they can pray for the right answer. Know for yourself.

To Anonymous:

There is no Y-chromosome test that could be conducted, for several reasons:

1) It is difficult to identify the target group. N American Indians? Aztecs? Myans? Olmecs? S. American populations? You're talking about a small population scattered amongst a much larger group. good luck.

2) It is similarly difficult to identify a control group. The BofM asserts that Lehi came from the tribe of Joseph, Mulek from Judah. All of ancient Israel has been scattered, genes mingled, etc. with populations all over the place. Where do you get the control population? Modern Jews? Again, good luck.

As noted in the article, scholars discarded the continental model for the limited geography theory decades ago; the BofM text of itself contains nothing to conclusively support either, though some inferences exist that suggest the LGT. BYU probably has better things to do than to pitch a proposal for a scientific study that would likely be just as inconclusive as anybody's wild guess regarding the matter. No one's going to find DNA evidence that completely rules out Lehi-descendants; neither is anyone likely to find a Myan glyph saying "Nephi was here". Veracity of the BofM is a matter of faith and personal revelation.

An Old Copy

I have a very old copy of the BOM. There have been many many changes made since the original. Some do not seem significant, and others carry a lot of weight. I do not go about informing others of these changes. But I also do not base my entire belief system and relationship with Diety on another mans testimony..the book is an interesting supplement to Mormon doctrine, but each must live life and gain beliefs which have nothing to do with science.

Anonymous

My question is to those of you who believe fully in the Bible. I do, but how can people judge changes to The Book of Mormon and not even question the changes that have been made to the Bible? I believe in both books very much. No simple changes to either have effected my faith in them.

Curious

I'm still waiting for all those who rely so heavily on science to explain everything, to tell me how life just all of a sudden appeared from the goopy warm mud in the early days of the earth? And if it really happened why can't we replicate it? Is that not a fundamental theroy of science, It has to be replicable?

Maybee it was this same magic mud that someone named Jesus Christ put in the eyes of the blind man, and then told him to wash it out in the fountain's waters, that made him see!

I don't know, but I'll put my trust in God,my Savior, and my church leaders.

And least we forget, man is not infalable, no not even the prophet. The introduction is not revelation from God, it is interpretation and inspiration of man, that why it is the introduction and not in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Anonymous

The discovery of spiritual truth is an individual quest in a realm that cannot be proven by scientific or archeological means. Scripture is one of those means that help with spiritual truth. That said, I am neither surprised nor upset if verbiage or introductions change from time to time. After all, languages and word meanings change. And if one believes in revelation, as I do, why should one be surprised if changes for clarification of meaning occur?

We live in a country of varied ethicity, where many groups of people came here in various ways. Why would it seem strange that more than one group of people could populate the Americas, even hundreds or thousands of years ago? It certainly occurred in the Middle East, where the Hebrew nation originated.

Bob

"Small" change. So we ignore that Joseph told his followers to go to Missouri to teach the "Lamanites?" He taught and thought that ALL indigenous peoples of North and South America were descendants of Lehi. Fact is, NONE of them are, and it has been shown time and time again. Despite what Mormons think, there is no conspiracy in the science of DNA. No men in black are trying to show the fallacy of this doctrine, but Mormons act like all science is in error except for their own Mormon scientists who constantly refute the mountain of evidence showing the history of man through DNA research. Their trumpeting is heard only by believing members who are looking for something to hang onto. It is fascinating science once it is freed of stiffling religiosity and examined for what it really is. There are thousands of researchers pushing DNA research, and not one of them cares about how their discoveries will impact the Mormons. Open up, folks. Live a little bigger. You don't have to be a frog in a well declaring to every migratory bird that stops by that they are lying about the size of the world.

Leen

I have to agree with Dave.We deal with this everyday.The government having us change different words because they might offend others. We have to be politically correct. When I have lived my life using words like pipecleaner and now the politically correct word is chenille stem. So we are refining ourselves everyday. Maybe that is why changes are being made in writing? So don't judge before the fact's are searched.

Matt

Is it the commas and grammer that make the Book of Mormon valuable? When changes are made by the authorized servents of God under the Spirit, they are accepted by Him.
Since its translation, The King James Version has undergone 100,000 changes.Among those changes, do you think that there was something important for you to know? Entire books, collectively called the apocrypha, that were once considered by many to be true were taken out of the Bible. And which translation do you consider to be true? Ever been to Barnes and Noble bookstore and looked in the Bible section? Which of the over 80 versions of the Bible in english have everything the originals writers wanted the masses to know? The Bible is a miracle, but over the centuries has been challened just like the Book of Mormon. Do these imperfectins make the Bible false. Absolutly not!!! A door always needs two hinges or more to serve its purpose and the Book of Mormon supports the Bible. It proves that Jesus really lived. So what's the bottom line? Truth is eternal whether men believe it or not. If you want to know, ask the One who created the truth: God.

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