Debate renewed with change in Book of Mormon introduction


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  • Truth Seeker1 Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 28, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    To those who say the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon can only come from the source, where is the source? God? How does he communicate? making you feel good or bad about something? By your definition of truth and how to obtain it I believe watching football on Sundays is "good and true" because I feel good about it. I also feel the police are "bad and evil" since my heart skips a beat when their lights flash behind me when I'm driving and I have a negative emotional reaction. Prescribing an "eternal truth" to your emotional reaction is the pinnacle of pride and selfishness. Using FACTS, LOGIC, REASONING, etc.to guide your decisions and philosophies is what we should all be doing. "Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned." I have a good emotional reaction to this post so it must be "true".

  • Skeptical
    Sept. 6, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    To answer those who ask: "why is this significant?": The research shows that 99% of the American Indians can trace ancestry back to Asia (Mongolia, Siberia) and the other 1% can trace it back to Europe (mostly Spain). Now where are the American Indians that are "among" any ancestry from Jerusalem? They don't exist!
    To those who say the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon should be based on confirmation through the spirit: shouldn't the science back up that spiritual confirmation? There is no science to back up the Book of Mormon and there is certainly NO evidence to confirm the Book of Abraham!
    To go along with something because of spirituality is in no way wrong, but science and spirituality should not conflict. Find real truth.

  • Steve
    June 8, 2009 2:11 a.m.

    The thing that anyone looking at this issue should probably consider is WHO the Lamanites were. According to the Book of Mormon, around the time of Jacob (Jacob 1:14 - look it up), the word "Lamanite" was used as a generic term much like the word "Gentile" is used in the Bible. They used the word "Lamanite" to describe anyone who was unfriendly to the Nephites and the word "Nephite" to describe anyone who was friendly to the Nephites. So technically, if Mayans were enemies to the Nephites, they would have been called "Lamanites" as well. I think the old word "principle" was probably correct, but the new wording 'among' is probably more technically correct. I welcome the change. We can't go blaming the prophets by shouting: "THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!" because this particular information has never been revealed, they're only trying to describe what seems reasonable. Now if the into said: "and they are the ONLY ancestors of the American Indians." well, then that would be a another story now wouldn't it.

  • who
    March 17, 2008 2:38 p.m.

    Yeah, really. Why should one change matter? After all, it's only one of thousands of changes to a supposedly perfect book. Wait a minute...

    Maybe the difference between Joe's errors and biblical variations is that bible variations can be ascribed to translation/copying errors.

    Joe's book doesn't carry this prerogative...it is claimed (by the supposed prophet) to be *translated divinely.*

    He probably shouldn't have said that...

  • Pawloski
    Jan. 27, 2008 11:45 p.m.

    The Book of Mormon is an ancient record, written by prophets for the eternal advantage of future generations. What benefit? To invite all mankind to come unto Christ. Baring this in mind, the phrase under dispute, found in the 1981 edition (as well as in other editions) reads, the principle ancestors of the American Indians. The work principle, as used above, does not emphatically state that there were no other groups living on the ancient American continent. A close study of the text validates the multi-migration theory. Consider the book of Jacob (Ch. 7), Ether (Ch. 2-6), both clearly state that there were various groups of people living upon the land. For the purposes of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and the Lamanites are principle to its contents.
    The truthfulness of the Book cannot be determined by a scientific study, nor by an archaeological find. Truth can only be received by and through the source of all truth. That source was the author, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, namely Christ Jesus.

  • Just a question?
    Jan. 17, 2008 12:21 p.m.

    Wasn't the change made to the introduction originally written in 1981? It's not an issue for me that a word was changed for clarity.

  • Goodgeye
    Dec. 20, 2007 6:59 a.m.

    monilee, the Bible has questionable things to it just as any document that old and ancient typically would. However, Joseph Smith can be much more easily researched and examined since his work is less than 2 centuries. I agree that the Bible is contrdictory, however it does have some evidence that perhaps verify the people and regions existed. If you look at hat Joseph Smith claimed honestly, one would have to deduce his work to be self-serving and mythical. I hate to say that as I wanted to believe, but my faith and feelings can't supercede the facts. Any rational person who does their homework will always find the same thing: the facts do NOT support the story. In this crazy world, it would've been nice to know that we had things figured out for the next life. At his point it's hard to trust any organized religion realizing most are obviously set up to aggrandize the people at the top and let the lower tiers finance it. If God exists, I don't need someone w/no bigger brain than mine to help me interpret. Everyone should use their God-given intellect to figure out the sad reality and do their homework.

  • Some here contend
    Dec. 14, 2007 8:45 a.m.

    that DNA evidence should not be trusted due to lack of a control group. Where, by the way, is the contol group when evaluating spiritial evidence? Silly me, for a moment I forgot that things of the spirit do not require a control group because all one has to do is pray and receive a warm fuzzy feeling. If comparisons are going to be made, the same standard should be applied to both sides of the argument. Apologists seem to have no problem employing the same faulty logic that they accuse others of using against them. Talk about circular logic, lol.

  • Interesting how...
    Dec. 14, 2007 1:29 a.m.

    the truth can change so conveniently. This change and others, however subtle, is not a matter of line upon line, it is a matter of damage control. How fortunate it is for the church to have so many unquestioning followers blinded by faith. It is, after all, how it continues to survive. Let the sheep believe that they are free to choose but make them an offer they just cannot refuse - lets see, ummmm Salvation, or ummmmm eternal damnation. Not much of a choice is it?

  • Goodgeye
    Dec. 13, 2007 11:15 p.m.

    I think ther's a point that should be made. If the church didn't have mounting pressures regarding DNA evidence that seems obvious there are things claimed that are problematic, they wouldn't have ever taken such measures to change something so seemingly minute. There's got to be a reason. I'm disappointed they didn't give an explanation in conference. Those who contribute should know where they stand and why. Just as I think they should disclose financials and keep things open in order to build trust with its members. No wonder there are many that are scratching their heads. I trust much better those organizations that give thorough explanatives to keep controvery at bay because of its intention of being forthright with a willingness to be candid at all times. Shouldn't this be expected? Or should we always just blindly let our faith trump factual information? Could our previou confirmations of the spirit have come from a different source than what we had thought? How are we to know for sure? There are some things science can resolve. Maybe we should consider those findings when in there is doubt. It's only our existence that depends on it.

  • Goodgeye
    Dec. 13, 2007 10:51 p.m.

    I'm disturbed about the fact that religion by its nature offers no room for debate (especially in this format). When science is entered in to verify truth, and there is disparity, it does need to be dealt with. Truth will stand on its own, it's only error that fears freedom of expression. There are many things unprovable but there should be evidence that eventually surfaces to corroborate the story not stand contrary to it. Especially when you're investing time, talents, money, time away from your family. Some of the comments lack an open desire to consider new information. Hardest thing to open is a closed mind. I think it doesn't hurt to question things when things like this come up.

  • Get DNA facts before deciding
    Dec. 5, 2007 7:46 a.m.

    I suggest that those not familiar with the DNA issue, get a good overview by watching the video "DNA vs. the Book of Mormon". Just Google the phrase. You can watch it online for free. The producer's web site has answers to many of the common challenges too (several of which have already been posted in comments here). It's posted on YouTube also.

    Warning: "attack the source" comments will probably follow from others.

  • JT
    Dec. 5, 2007 7:27 a.m.

    I'm amused by the "don't confuse me with the facts, God already told me what to believe" crowd, as well as the "well science can't prove everything, so you can't trust it for anything" group. I'll bet these same folks do look both ways before crossing a busy street though!

    Another interesting defense is the "new revelation" defense, despite the fact that changes don't just introduce new information, but actually contridict others or change doctrine. Did God goof the first time?

    Then there's the "none of this really matters" group. That would be nice if the Book of Mormon only claimed to be a religious text. But it claims to be REAL history. And REAL historical events leave real evidence. If the historical information, which can be examined is found lacking, why should I buy the religious claims, which cannot?

  • Robert
    Nov. 20, 2007 8:00 p.m.

    Thanks E Shun for your honest opinion. Changes to the Book of Mormon should spark some concerns to those Whom are relying on it for guidance to eternal life.
    The disclaimer on the explanation page of the Book of Mormon admits that there has been errors in previous editions that don't line up with Joseph Smith's earlier edition.
    So does this change in meaning represent Smith's earlier claims?
    By the way Eric, I got over myself 8 years ago when I was saved. I no longer live for myself but for Jesus.

  • Scott
    Nov. 17, 2007 10:50 p.m.

    The introduction to the Book of Mormon is not scripture. The Title Page is, but not the introduction. The scriptural text does not indicate if Lamanites are primary ancestors or among ancestors of the future American Indians. I believed all of my life that the Lamanites were "primary ansestors". If science proves this to be wrong, I'm okay with that. I can change my opinion to "among". Neither contradicts the scriptures.

  • Derak
    Nov. 16, 2007 5:22 p.m.

    To Monitee.

    If the Gospel was over and "finished" when Jesus died, then what do you make of Acts and the Epistles? Do they not count in the Bible or as part of the Gospel? I think most reasonable people would conclude that Christ's act of atonement was finished. Let's not forget that Christ's resurrection was after the fateful day he said "It is finished." We certainly wouldn't want to leave his resurrection out of the Gospel or the Apostles' accounts of seeing him, speaking to him, even eating with him. Do the Revelations not count? Where do we draw the line, and what about the Apocrypha that were left out? Was Stephen's death and his vision of Jesus on the right hand of God all in vain? What about Saul's conversion and and the enormous amount of work and suffering he went through in service of the Lord. Certainly, the Gospel and the relationship of God with mankind was not finished the day Jesus died. I think I'll leave it at that before I get to contentious.

  • monitee
    Nov. 16, 2007 10:37 a.m.

    Heres a question for you. Do you believe that gods word is weak? Do you believe that it isn't complete and needs more faith? Thats what one LDS woman told me. Its just more faith. Does that even make sense. Look to the bible. When Jesus died on the cross he said those words. "It is finished" no more no less. You have two choices. Know the lord and be saved or reject him and die. Not in the sense of death we know. But in Hebrew, seperation. permanant.

  • sider
    Nov. 15, 2007 8:34 p.m.

    E Shun, What point are you trying to make? I'm not understanding what you are saying?

  • Eric Shun
    Nov. 15, 2007 6:37 p.m.

    Changing the introduction to read "among" doesn't preclude the american indian or make the book of mormon or the church false. Get over yourself. The bible has been changed way more than the book of mormon but it is the end all be all in every other christian religion in the world.

    take care.

  • Eric Shun
    Nov. 15, 2007 6:22 p.m.

    Victoria and Sider,
    Members of the LDS church are not discouraged to study it out. In fact, it is in their scriptures to study it out, and then ask god if whatever they are studying is right or wrong. So you don't have a good point and your logic is backwards. And tell me, what self serving purpose would joseph smith have had to use his "genius" to get himself beat, abused and killed? It seems your logic there is also flawed.

    Take care.

  • Sider
    Nov. 15, 2007 2:28 p.m.

    Victoria- I like what you said. Good point.

  • Victoria
    Nov. 14, 2007 10:32 p.m.

    In 1871 George A. Smith said, If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be weak. Why is it that our leaders are so concerned with us looking into our history, other than anything simply faith promoting? If my faith is based on truth - then the truth will not destroy my faith. Faith has to be based on truth. With a little studying I found out the truth was very different from what I was taught and based my life on. Its all out there from the web to many well written and referenced books by people who are not anti-Mormon, but simply searchers of the truth.
    Joseph spent many hours with his family studying the bible and many other works. He may not have been educated in a formal setting, but certainly he was well versed in scriptural and religious matters. Read some of his lectures and writings - he was brilliant. In my estimation, he was a genius. iRemember he had many years to formulate his story and construct a scriptural book. Read about it - you might learn some new truths.

  • Robert
    Nov. 14, 2007 9:51 p.m.

    When I was growing up in the LDS church they taught openly that Native American Indians were the direct ancestors of Lehi and North American is the setting. My wife being Navajo was taught by the church that the Book of Mormon was about her people. Joseph Smith confirms this in his history 1:34 when he said the golden plates "giving an account of the former inhabitants of THIS continent, and the source from whence they sprang" given to him by the angel Moroni (page 53 Joseph Smith-History). It is quite clear that Smith meant North America where he happened to be standing and former inhabitants were the American Indians as we know them today. After a 160 years of teaching what Joseph Smith claimed to be true and then to change Smiths story makes no sense unless the facts of today causes doubt in Smiths original story.
    D&C 42:12 confirms the 1981 introduction page print that says the Bible contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. D&C 42:12 reads, "teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel."
    Any arguments?

  • Derak
    Nov. 14, 2007 9:05 p.m.

    You have been taught that having doubt and not trusting completely in the church is a sin???? Sorry, but the church teaches that you have the right to pray about church doctrine (and anything else) and receive your own witness as to if it is correct. In fact, this should probably be just as much of a responsibility as a right. Praying, receiving your own witness after you have thought about it and reasoned it through, followed by trying it and then judging the fruits for yourself is expected. The importance of thinking for yourself, asking God, and then judging the results is emphasized again and again. This pattern is a common thread. For example, read BofM, pray. Try it; see the results. Try living a doctrine in faith and then judge the results. Try tithing and see if you are blessed.
    There have been a few instances where people had genuine reasons to not sustain, voted opposed, and then their claims were considered. If you don't want to vote to sustain someone, then don't. No one raises your hand for you, but if you choose to blindly follow, then that is your own choice.

  • To Ian D. from Chris
    Nov. 14, 2007 6:09 p.m.

    I have felt the same way. But why am I (and you?) hesitant to admit this "changes" my faith?

    I have been taught all my life that having doubts and not trusting in the prophets completely is a SIN.

    Is that right? Are prophets able to be wrong? Does that make me a bad/unworthy person if I think they HAVE been wrong?

    What does it really mean to say "I sustain Pres. Hinckley as the prophet..."?

    Does that mean "blindly obey," or "never think error is possible from" him?

    I don't think so. In fact, I found a talk by Packer that illustrates sustaining:

    "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." (Exodus 17:12)

    The prophet, Moses, was weak, imperfect, made mistakes, and needed HELP from Aaron and Hur to fulfill his calling. That made me feel better.

  • Ian D.
    Nov. 14, 2007 12:19 a.m.

    Please understand more of this issue, it is not just the into page. This is an issue that should not just be called "minor" and we leave it in ignorance. Both Joesph Smith and President Hinckley have taught the doctrine of principal ancestry from Lehi. Look at the footnotes in any major JS biography for citations to many early historical church records and direct quotes form JS. As to Pres. Hinckley he has made it clear while speaking as the prophet that this is doctrine. At least 3 times while prophet in the last 10 years, he has addressed thousands of members in South America and called them "Sons and daughters of Lehi". This is our doctrine and Bruce McKonkie did not just make it up. I for one find the change difficult to reconcile with what has been said over the pulpit and in writings of every major prophet we have had. Does it lessen my faith? No. But should we act like its only one minor change, and is found nowhere else in our doctrine and then in ignorance make light of it to non-members and those who question? NO.

  • Derak
    Nov. 14, 2007 12:04 a.m.

    "Turn up their nose" might have been a little strong, but taking inconclusive studies and presenting them as concrete evidence is at least unethical if not downright deceitful. I would say that basing a study on a gene carried by a small percent of the Jewish population to less than a fifth of the native american populations and then saying you can't find it as evidence that there is no geneological link is pretty flawed. Then there is the fact that the DNA was compared with Jews from now, after many generations of traveling and breeding, instead of Jews from 1600 years ago. That is lack of a control, which is also a serious flaw.
    The way that the m. DNA is passed down presents a flaw as well. You call my argument strawman for representing the whole of his research with assumptions that prove him wrong, but these are not assumptions. I am pointing out some serious problems with his project that need to be addressed before any conclusions can be reached. You yourself admit the work is not definitive, but I suppose you will call that a strawman attack.

  • Professor
    Nov. 13, 2007 10:54 p.m.

    To Derak | 9:32 p.m.

    "Respectable" scientists do not "turn up their nose" at "inconclusive" studies. Granted Thomas' work is not definitive, but it is far from being as fatally flawed as you are suggesting with your straw man summary of the research.

    Let us hope that as your graduate studies continue you actually learn a little about genetics, but more importantly, that you learn about the integrity of the scientific process.

  • Derak
    Nov. 13, 2007 9:46 p.m.

    Another interesting fact about Thomas' work. He monitored a Y chromosome gene to link one African population considered to be non-jewish to a jewish population. This gene is only present in 45-55% of the Jews claiming to be in that group. He then notes that this particular gene wasn't found in any of the N.A. indians checked, so that is proof that they have no Jewish relation. No wonder there are claims that his search did not follow the scientific method! I can't believe how easy it really is to poke holes in the argument that genes disprove the BofM. Any respectable scientist should turn up his nose as such inconclusive studies. I say that as a scientist, a grad student specializing in pchem, who also has exposure to biochem experts.

  • Derak
    Nov. 13, 2007 9:32 p.m.

    Maybe people should learn the first thing about passing along mitochondrial DNA before they start taking it as evidence of a link or non-link across a 1600 year time period. I think that DNA research should certainly continue, but it is not to the point where we can make conclusive results yet.
    A few interesting points from this article and some general info from good old wikipedia. M. DNA is passed by the mother only, so a line of it would end if a mother had no daughters. More importantly, having children with a woman of a different geneology would insert her m. DNA into your children, replacing the m. DNA from generations before. Also, the Jaredites could be from other places and the Lamanites had gone through some change to make their skin darker. Intermarrying with peoples whom had migrated from Asia, for example, could accomplish that. Furthermore, the Lamanites and Nephites may have united for a time in 4th Nephi before dissenting. Intermarriage with Asian dissent would again mask hebrew m.DNA. Then there is the fact that Native American populations (500) are mixed and so are the Jewish populations. 75/500 N.A. pops have been tested.

  • Genealogy bird
    Nov. 13, 2007 7:31 p.m.

    I am really interested in the DNA research going on with Ancestry.com . It looks as though many people will find out just a bit about their genealogy, and perhaps their ethnic and geographic origins. It will certainly answer many questions for many people who are looking for their roots.

    As far as the small change in the Book Of Mormon. It doesn't affect the gospel whatsoever. We need change now and then. This isn't the dark ages, as someone else mentioned earlier.

  • Jackboot
    Nov. 13, 2007 6:38 p.m.

    How many comments above are from those who are most affected by this change? I'm referring to LDS who are of Native American and Pacific Island descent. As one who is partly of that lineage among others, I can say that I know who I am and where my ancestors come from. I know that the Book of Mormon is a record of their ancestors. That said, even the Book of Mormon documents many people who have come into this hemisphere, and there are about 1400 years between the time Moroni put it into the ground and Joseph Smith brought it back up again. I don't know who else came through during that time. Also, given that there were 12 tribes of Israel and we really know of only one that has maintained its identity, how accurate can DNA testing be? It can tell us that my son is mine and not my brother's. Compound that over the millennia and see how far apart genetic strains can go. The descendants of Lehi are who they are. We know it, from the faithful members in Tonga to the faithful members of the Catawba Nation in South Carolina.

    Nov. 13, 2007 3:59 p.m.

    I strongly feel that any one person who feels that a small change in the introduction page of the Book of Mormon changes it's content or meaning should spend some time on thier knees in prayer with thier Father In Heaven. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God"

    To FED-UP!, I am truly sorry. I personally have never had this issue with anyone in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think this is probably because my parents taught me as a young man that there is no greater calling in the Church than the one you hold. It is not a matter that should even have to taught in Church. (Though I agree with you that it has become necessary)

    I place the blame for your offended soul on that of your parents not teaching you tolerance, learn to tolerate these people and your soul will rejoice!

    I further place the blame of your so called "Holier Than Thou" groups on that of their parents. Where they went wrong, I may never know.

    We are all children of our Father In Heaven! That alone makes us equal in every right to one another.

    Nov. 13, 2007 3:22 p.m.

    Its nice to see the DN poke a stick in the beehive that is "religion in Utah." Its these kind of articles that really bring out the jesus freaks, mormon zealots, and those who adamantly oppose them. Thanks DN editor.

  • Yellow Horse
    Nov. 13, 2007 2:06 p.m.

    PURPOSE/ They do not like mormons or any other religion!

    Nov. 13, 2007 1:53 p.m.

    The main purpose of the Book of Mormon if you read the title page is written to the Lamanites who are a remnant of the tribe of Israel. The Book of Mormon is written to the American Indians so they will come to realize who they really are and that they are not cast off forever. This is the real purpose of the Book! This is why it was saved and this is why the prophets prayed for it to come to them in the future to remember their ancestors and what great things they did.

  • Fed-Up!
    Nov. 13, 2007 1:31 p.m.

    Give me a break! I'm reading so much nonsense here. Let the LDS church change whatever they want to change. It wont make a bit of difference, or change the church any. However, why don't the church members work on some more important things within the church... Like teaching members not to place themselves above others because they have a certain or higher church calling than someone else. The church is creating a lot of holier than thou group of people. The arrogance is repulsive to say the least!

  • da
    Nov. 13, 2007 1:03 p.m.

    the bible does not contain the fullness of the everlasting gopel

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 13, 2007 12:55 p.m.

    When you believe in things that you don't understand - then you suffer.

    Superstition ain't the way. - Stevie Wonder

  • Joyce
    Nov. 13, 2007 12:26 p.m.

    Someone famous once said a life unexamined isn't worth living. A religion unexamined isn't worth living either. Ask yourself - if you die and go to heaven and find out it was all a lie, what part of how you've lived will you regret? If it's nothing. Then continue on with your blinders on your eyes. Remember, the truth will set you free.

  • Good grief
    Nov. 13, 2007 10:19 a.m.

    The purpose of the BOM is for "...the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ." EVERYTHING ELSE RE that book is secondary. We don't know where the history took place (you will find stronger evidence in the cultural aspect of the record than in archealogical evidence -- or lack thereof). We don't know how widespread the civilization of those peoples was, or even how many other civilizations were in the place before Lehi and crew showed up. It is all rather innocuous. The BOM is not given to prove Joseph Smith to be a prophet. It is a written record that Jesus Christ was a real person and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way of salvation. A change in the "introduction" to the BOM will not, indeed cannot change that. One thing I try to keep in mind is this: Just because I wasn't there to see it for myself doesn't mean it didn't happen. Many special things have happened to me and I have a record of them for my children. The same is true for the writers of the BOM (Mormon was the abridger of a larger record).

  • Rationality
    Nov. 13, 2007 10:07 a.m.

    Scientific inquiry adjudicates between conflicting claims of "truth" by peaceful public discourse and systematic testing according to mutually agreeable principles.

    By contrast, religions either refuse to adjudicate between conflicting claims of "truth" altogether, or do so through economic, political, and military warfare.

    I invoke the history of Western civilization to testify that science is an overall more peaceful and civil approach to adjudicating between truth claims than religion has ever been.

    As such, with the track records of both religion and science cited as witnesses, it seems clear that the leaders of the LDS Church have decided to change this word in deference to the superior knowledge obtained by scientific inquiry. Kudos to them. We can only hope that the significance of such a change is not lost on the LDS members who should have a new respect for science and its contributions to peace and civility in human societies.

  • Rationality
    Nov. 13, 2007 9:58 a.m.

    To Harold | 12:27 a.m.

    Likewise, your point is well-taken. If I have understood it correctly, it is that the LDS Church asks people (not just its members) to ask God if their claims are true.

    That is fair enough as far as it goes. But there can be no doubt that in practical application this challenge turns into a no-win situation for those who HAVE asked God and either NOT received such a "testimony," or have received what they believe to be revelation from God saying that the LDS claims are NOT true.

    Such people are clearly and openly condemned by believers as being flawed or sinful in some way. It is never a possibility that very good, righteous people actually have received spiritual confirmation that the LDS claims are NOT true. Instead, believers insist that such a "revelation" must be from the devil, or must be a sign of sin on the part of the petitioner.

    Which brings up the key point. How can two seemingly righteous people receive "spiritual confirmation" of "truths" that are fundamentally contradictory? And most importantly, how can these contradictory claims be reconciled or adjudicated?

    Religion has no answer. Science does.

  • A story
    Nov. 13, 2007 8:32 a.m.

    I have a story that might help explain how to put this kind of thing (a word change in our scriptures) into context...

    A couple of years ago I bought a book at an LDS bookstore. The book dealt with a "theory" that the BOM peoples/cities, etc, were in North America, not in central America. An interesting read, a nice theory. Some of the "evidence" was based on statements by Joseph Smith and BY regarding "the location of Zarahemla", "where the Gadianton Robbers hid out", etc. There were MANY statements by early leaders which "located" BOM sites (Hill Cumorah, for example). I had a specific question about copper plates that were found in the upper mid west (Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, etc.). I wrote the question to the church representative at the Church History Museum (next to the Genealogy Library). I got a call back! We had a nice converstation. The gist of the conversation was he did NOT believe the copper plates ("Michigan Collection") were genuine and did NOT believe the statements by early leaders were accurate. There are times when leaders are simply giving their opinion, but we take it as fact. That is the case here.

  • Harold
    Nov. 13, 2007 12:27 a.m.

    Rationality, this is a good point. However, few of the beliefs of the LDS church or any church can be proven in a debate. So in a debate we are left to try to show that it is possible that the beliefs are true - and in this case you have a point if someone resorts to spiritual testimony. And in this case the LDS often admittedly have an ulterior purpose, to proselytize.

    However apart from just debate, it does seem that that many of the criticisms of the LDS are harsh considering any alternative religious belief. It is easy to criticize with no or unspecified religious belief, like a backseat driver.

    Research has and is done on the Book of Mormon as well as many other aspects of the LDS religion by faithful LDS scholars. Most have not jetted the church nor have they proven LDS claims. But the church has never asked its members to accept teachings soley based on physical evidence, it has asked them to receive a witness for themself from God. Whether this has happened or not for anyone is obviously open for intense critism from those who believe that it has not.

  • Rationality
    Nov. 12, 2007 6:15 p.m.

    Those who already believe will continue to believe despite this word change. These comments demonstrate that, with testimonies being declared repeatedly by many.

    The frustrating thing for the unbelievers is when they hope to engage in a dialogue about an important topic. Imagine how frusrating it is when your interlocutor avoids the substance of the discussion and resorts to "testimony echolalia."

    In this case, the consequences are mild. But imagine trying to have a rational dialogue with an Islamic fundamentalist who refuses to engage in reasonable and substantive discussion and, chanting his/her "testimony", proceeds undeterred to slam the jet into the skyscraper!

    That is how it appears to us nonbelievers - we feel we are being held hostage by your esoteric knowledge, and reason is ruled out of bounds from the beginning.

  • Reason to believe
    Nov. 12, 2007 2:56 p.m.

    I believe our LDS prophet is truly called from God, but like many also recognize that he is still human and thus not entirely infallible. Yes, everything he says I consider scripture, and as if God himself revealed it to me. The reason why I believe that God did not "intervene" in the introduction of the Book of Mormon even if it was not entirely precise is because it really MAKES NO DIFFERENCE in matters pertaining to our salvation. What difference does it make who the descendants of the lamanites are? That is not important, what's important is that people read the Book of Mormon,find out for themselves that it is true, and use it as guidance for their salvation. People who are set upon finding fault within the Book of Mormon will always be able to find faults in the book. As for me, I really don't care. I've received my witness of the Book of Mormon and it is all that I care about.

  • Thomas
    Nov. 12, 2007 12:27 p.m.

    Alan (5:08 Nov. 11): It's one thing to have faith despite a lack of evidence. It's another thing entirely to have "faith" in the *face* of strong contrary evidence.

    Science will never have answers to the ultimate questions -- what is the purpose to life, whether there is a God, and if so, what His nature is. So those questions have to be answered by faith.

    Science can, on the other hand, provide evidence as to whether a large population of Hebrews (or at least Hebrew-influenced Middle Easterners), ultimately numbering at least in the hundreds of thousands and preserving their bloodlines for at least six hundred years, built a major civilization in the Americas between about 600 B.C. and 400 A.D., raising Old World crops and animals.

    The best evidence presently available indicates that this did not happen. If you've had an overwhelming, unmistakable spiritual witness that you ought to ignore this evidence, that's fine: Such a witness may itself be useful evidence to you (although not necessarily conclusive evidence).

    But let's not confuse the issue: What Mormons are asked to do is not to believe despite the absence of evidence, but to believe despite abundant contrary evidence. That's different.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 12, 2007 8:43 a.m.

    To: Help You Understand | 11:17 a.m. It is the bitter tone in your response that saddens me, not your point of view. Im sorry if you have had a poor experience with a Mormon as you say trying to "cram this absurd challenge in everyone's face". But I feel it is irresponsible to generalize that Mormons who are coworkers and neighbors are ALL the same in the way they approach sharing their beliefs. MANY of my dearest friends are not Mormon. There is no con game in tolerance and love. There is mutual respect between us(Catholic, Methodist, Hindu). We stand on the common ground of love and decency. How can that be classified as condemnation? When You have already left reality | 12:05 p.m. said we "attack, ostracize, and discriminate against those who don't believe the way we do", that's exactly where the discrimination began. Again, it is irresponsible to generalize an attack on anyone for religious beliefs, race, gender, etc. I believe that was more the motive behind his point. Let's reap change by focusing on good rather than continuing the hostility.

  • Seeker of the truth
    Nov. 11, 2007 10:54 p.m.

    I have read all these comments and I am saddened by the fact that the Body Of Christ cannot get along with itself. The core issue here is not the Book of Mormon. Even if it were fiction it would not change the fact that it points people to Christ. I just wish that people would stop fighting about our differences and start working for the common goal of leading a lost and dying world to Christ, no matter what Christian faith they decide to embrace. There is no perfect denomination, all have the opinions of imperfect men influencing their doctrine. We have all said and done things we felt were led by God only to find out later we misunderstood and need to clarify what was really meant. So what if a word changes or spelling or punctuation? Even the Bible has had clarifications made as scholars reexamine the original texts. The fact that Joseph Smith translated in King James English reflects only on the time he lived in. Come on people! Lets focus on Christ and His sacrifice and quit getting hung up on the issues that make no eternal difference.

  • Simply Put
    Nov. 11, 2007 10:51 p.m.

    You do realize that there is a war going on because people do not want any of us to have a choice in our religion. We have a choice. Being LDS I would be embarassed to see people, LDS or other belittle anybody because they didn't believe what you do. Please, don't make our world or yours or anybodies more complicated then it all ready is. Follow the Bible and Jesus' teaching sometimes called the golden rule. War is not the answer and neither is being unkind because we believe differently then you and vice vera. I would never belittle what you believe. I will defend my right to my beliefs. But would be kind in doing it. No need for hateful words or threats.

  • Alan
    Nov. 11, 2007 5:08 p.m.

    Where is the evidence of the Creation? Where is the evidence of the Resurrection? Where is the evidence of the Flood? Where is the evidence of the burning bush? How can you explain by science that Man has been on the earth for a mear 7 or 8 thousand years? Why are there dinasaur bones? Where did they come from. Why are there unexplained healings? Why do people have near death experiences where they speak with loved ones who have died? Why did we have "Dark Ages" and now we are in a period of rapid advancement and enlightenment? What is happening? Where is God?

    Without the answers to all these questions we might as well assume that there is not God. That there are only "crazies" and no true path to follow.

    Man is getting too full of himself. Becoming too cocky. Science is fascinating but does not conclusively answer Man's greatest questions. It never will. What would world do if all of a sudden science proved that everything the LDS church teaches is true? What would you do then? Well, that is not going to happen. Science is only definative one day at a time.. until disproven. Amen

  • johnny cobert
    Nov. 11, 2007 8:09 a.m.

    We live in a telestial world and all science is limited to telestial laws (DNA included). There are higher laws (terrestial and celestial) that we simply do not know about. In my simple mind I believe that a lot of people who think they know will someday be surprized to find out that they did not know. In the meantime, I will endeavor to live by faith and not put question marks where periods belong.

  • George
    Nov. 10, 2007 9:59 p.m.

    For Brooke

    Yes,someone needs to save you, Please Listen,HE loves us all.

  • why the hostility?
    Nov. 10, 2007 4:08 p.m.

    I don't understand what the big deal is. If you don't believe the Book of Mormon then that is your right to do so, if you do believe then that is your right also. That is what having free agency is about. See the 11th article of faith "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how where or what they may. We should love and respect others regardless of religious or any differences, we are all God's children and he loves us all.

  • Brooke
    Nov. 10, 2007 3:48 p.m.

    Just giving a "testimony" that this word change is "trivial" does not make it so.

    Amazing how many comments by believers ignore what others are posting. Repeatedly, believers are telling others to "read the book" and stop criticizing what you have not read!

    But I can count scores of comments by people (like me) who are saying they HAVE read the Book of Mormon!

    Let's try this one last time: WE HAVE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS TRUE.

    Get over yourselves, Mormons, and quit persecuting and patronizing those who don't believe as you do. You are not morally superior to us. We do not need you to save our souls!

  • I'm here for you . . .God is too
    Nov. 10, 2007 3:30 p.m.

    Simply ponder on this thought: Did you ask God if this LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) church really is true? Read this Book of Mormon (we also believe the Bible) and ASK God yourself in prayer. You don't have to believe me - Believe Him. He is trying to tell you right now . . . are you listening? I asked Him once and He told me it is true and why we are here. Now I could never live without it.
    "Life is not easy, but it will always be worth it." If you need my help, my # is 801-798-5437. We are all a family here on earth. We should all care for everyone.

  • George
    Nov. 10, 2007 12:10 p.m.

    I have read all the responses, and have come to a very simple solution in most cases.

    I believe most have not got on there knees and prayed,and prayed,and prayed,and prayed some more,
    for enlightment,The Lord has the answers you have to ask, and that may mean your knee will get sore.

  • Help You Understand
    Nov. 10, 2007 11:17 a.m.

    Anonymous | 10:36 a.m.

    The beam of "close-mindedness" in your own eye obscures your ability to see You have already left reality | 12:05 p.m.'s point.

    The LDS Corporation giving blankets to evacuated Californians is not the issue. It is the neighbors and coworkers who, in the name of "sharin the gospel," cram this absurd challenge in everyone's face: "Read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and you will have the superior spiritual knowledge like I do."

    But then when we do just that and feel spiritually that the book is NOT true, then you all condemn us as sinners! We must not have been truly sincere; we must have been dishonest about something in our past; we must be unworthy - always it is OUR FAULT that we don't believe in the Book of Mormon, and always it is WE who are CONDEMNED.

    That has all the elements of a classic con-game. Can't you open your eyes enough to see that?

    Bottom line: Stop condemning us out of one side of your mouths because we don't agree with you, and then pretending to love and care for us out of the other!

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 10, 2007 10:36 a.m.

    To: You have already left reality | 12:05 p.m.
    You said, "Perhaps the Mormons should take your advice and get out of their elitist meetings and go out in the world and do something to benefit mankind instead of either trying to convert everyone, or attacking, ostracizing, and discriminating against all those who don't believe the same way they do!"
    I feel sad that your bitterness is getting in the way of reality and fact. If you were to take a moment and separate yourself from your close-mindedness, you would see, along with millions of Mormons and NON Mormons, the huge amounts of humanitarian/philanthropic/charitable work the church does for millions around the world. You would also see the amazing friendships, LDS president, Gordon B. Hinkley, has formed with people outside of his faith. He is given a tremendous amount of respect from those who know him. Maybe you would benefit from reading material that would broaden your perspective, rather than choosing to only see what backs up your narrow view.

  • Ralph
    Nov. 10, 2007 10:21 a.m.

    I've read a bunch of these comments given here about the change in the "word" in the Book of Mormon. I will re-affirm one last time that this change had absolutely nothing to do with doctrine of the church.

    However, it has helped clarify the historical value of the book. Right or wrong, there are many mistakes still to be made in that history, same as has happened with the Biblical histories too. I'm not worried about that.

    What I do worry about is why so many "agrue and contend" like a bunch of little children who feel they are right and the other is wrong. Is it not peace and God's blessings we all seek? What are we doing to be peace makers? Must we content to the point we are like extremest groups, and feel compelled to kill others to prove our points?

    Even though I feel that the greatest spiritual blessings here on earth come from being LDS, I still respect others for what they beleive, as long as they are honest and peaceful people. May we all learn respect and love for all and live in peace.

  • Kent
    Nov. 10, 2007 8:38 a.m.

    Which book shall we pick up and read? The 1830 version, or any number of other versions that have changed over the years?

    Yes, I know God does love me and hears all prayers. I read the BofM. I prayed about it. God told me it is a work of fiction.

    But for that you will accuse me of being a sinner and a bad person.

    Mormons should be embarassed by such an attitude.

  • iluminar
    Nov. 10, 2007 7:53 a.m.

    It is interesting how many people that are antagonistic towards the LDS Church rush to attack the Church when a "scientific" study comes out that purports to invalidate the Scriptures considered as Holy by the members.

    But they fail to even mention the even more numerous attacks that "scientits" have made about the mere exsitence of Our Lord And Savior. Why only mention some studies and not compare them to others? And even though there is more archeological evidence about the things related in the Old and New Testaments, most of the converts to the Christian faith (Whether Catholics, Baptists, etc), do so based on their "feeling" and a burning in the Boosom, rather than by based on a scientific study.

    Like many have mentioned here, if you REALLY want to know the truth, do what many wise people have done in the past and follow the admonition of James:
    James 1: 5
    "5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him".

  • A Mormon
    Nov. 10, 2007 5:41 a.m.

    I drifted away from the LDS church years ago due simply to imagined slights and offenses from other members. Never because of its doctrine or practices. During that time I attended many different churches. None of them provided the satisfaction that the LDS church does. While on vacation in Utah, I spend many days at Temple Square and was moved by the Spirit to reconnect to the Mormon faith and am joyful that I did. It only undersccores the power of this true church that it has a handful of bitter, vengeful detractors who could, if they wished, simply ignore the church.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:28 p.m.

    God loves you and hears all prayers. Please pick up the book and read it and you'll know for yourself it's true. Then what else matters? love kent

  • kent
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:24 p.m.

    To me it makes no difference what changes are made in the Book Of Mormon. I have recived my own personal wittness that the book is true. Why others waste so much of there time trying to find fault with it is unknown to me. All you have to do is read it with an open mind and pray about and you'll known it's true. It's the only book on earth with such a promise. Quit wasting your time trying to find fault with it and get buzy reading it and then pray about it and the Holy Ghost will testify to your spirit and you to will know it's true.Put God to the test and find out for youorself. God loves all of us. I love you to. kent

  • Carl
    Nov. 9, 2007 6:47 p.m.

    If the book is true as some contend, why couldn't he have said, "Translated by Joseph Smith, Jr." instead of "By Joseph Smith, Jr."????

    As someone said it was to get it published. Come on. He paid (borrowed money) to have it published. Get your facts straight!

    You're really reaching. I think his acknowledgement is the only truth to the book. In other words folks: IT'S FICTION.

  • Bruce B.
    Nov. 9, 2007 6:12 p.m.

    DNA Science is being bashed and dismissed by a number of Mormon apologists in these comments.

    But if DNA science wasn't valid and reliable, there would have been no need for the Church leaders to have changed the introduction wording from "principal" to "among"!

    So, apparently the Mormon Church leaders believe more in science than their uninformed followers.

    Good thing the followers have some smart people to do their thinking for them!

  • Ditto Over 50
    Nov. 9, 2007 3:01 p.m.

    To Over 50 And A Believer | 2:01 p.m.

    I am amazed by the parallels. I am also over 50, and had the same experience about my testimony and parents on my mission. I read the BofM myself, and asked God "with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ."

    I received a testimony so strong it took my breath away and remains vivid in my memory after 30 years! This was the direct revelation from God that is beyond words to describe adequately: God lives, and Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world! But The Book of Mormon is fiction, Joseph Smith was a fraud, and the Church leaders are clever businessmen.

    To avoid family embarassment, I finished my mission preaching only Christ and Him crucified. I shared my testimony in Christ with hundreds of people, and became Assistant to the Mission President. We started a small group to help about 13 people overcome their addictions to alcohol and drugs through Jesus' power. It was "the best 23 months of my life"! I will never forget it.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 9, 2007 2:21 p.m.

    To Coondawg_76 | 10:30 a.m.

    Yes, the new wording is a change, but change is not right or good simply because it is change.

    Jesus did NOT come to "change" the word and law of God. Your doctrine is mistaken on that point.

    This wording change is clearly prompted by the recent DNA research and the debate it has spawned.

    It is NOT the result of "revelation", unless your concept of revelation is overly broad and meaningless.

  • Texas Member
    Nov. 9, 2007 2:19 p.m.

    As an active member of the church, I believe the Book of Mormon is an ancient record and I have no doubts about its historical authenticity. For me, this wording change is a welcome relief. I have been bothered by Elder McConkie's "principal ancestors" statement in the non-canonical intro to the Book of Mormon for years. The limited geography theory has always seemed most likely to me. I am very glad the church made the change.

  • Chill Out
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:53 p.m.

    Dear "You have already left reality",

    When the Missionaries stop by tell them no thanks...

    When you co worker shares the gospel with you tell them no thanks...

    As a non Mormon I've found this very effective and time efficient but people like you are more of problem then overzealous missionaries...why do you have make such poisonous and false statements against your nieghbors?

    My mormon neighbors and friends don;t ostrasize, attach or discriminate me...and I have yet to see them do that to anyone else in my Nieghborhood.

    Everyoe should chill out a little... life to short to be bitter.

  • Jason
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:34 p.m.

    This is all minor stuff. What is important is that I just saved $300 on my tithing bill, by making a 15 minute call to another Christian Church.

  • Point
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:30 p.m.

    This wording change is one of thousands of examples of how so-called "Anti-Mormons" are going to great lengths to research, document, and publicize the faults, failings, sins, and problems with the LDS Church.

    Mormons (for example, FARMS) defend themselves against such "anti-Mormon" attacks by a variety of arguments, the gist of which is that the Church is true despite errors and changes in scripture, imperfect leaders and members, problems and inconsistencies in theology, etc.

    In order to justify why a "Restoration" was necessary, Mormons have gone to great lengths to research, document, and publicize the faults, failings, sins, and problems with the Christian Churches since Jesus' time (see "The Great Apostasy" among many many others).

    Point: If the defenses Mormons offer against attacks on their Church are valid (if the Church really is "true" despite these problems), then why aren't those same "defenses" also valid for the Christian Churches Mormons attack?

    In other words, why can't the original Church established by Christ also be "true" despite all the problems the Mormons have identified, thereby eliminating the need for a Restoration in the first place?

    The foundation of the Mormon claim is inherently incoherent. (Matt. 7:1-2)

  • You have already left reality
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:05 p.m.

    To "Dear "Leaving" and "Reality" | 9:27 a.m."

    I have lived a long life of helping my neighbors, teaching my children values, caring for the poor, elderly or sick, and serving in my community, WITHOUT the Mormon faith.

    The only time I am ever prompted to waste too much time debating doctrine, science and current thinking is when the Mormon missionaries come to my door, or when a Mormon co-worker tries to "share the gospel" with me after a lesson in his high priest group!

    Perhaps the Mormons should take your advice and get out of their elitist meetings and go out in the world and do something to benefit mankind instead of either trying to convert everyone, or attacking, ostracizing, and discriminating against all those who don't believe the same way they do!

  • to Onan
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:57 a.m.

    I wish I could remember where I saw the info on Zelph- I suspect it was Joseph P Allen, but I'm not sure.

    In any case, they have rock solid evidence, including a full paper trail about the original, and published, mis-information.

    The actual first hand account, which was not published, confirms most of the revelation except for the final battle stuff.

    Keep in mind that Joseph NEVER called the the hill in New York "Cumorah"- that was a Orson Pratt original years after Joseph's death, but mistakenly became accepted as doctrine by way too many members. Also, Joseph is on record as agreeing that the book of mormon likely (maybe just possibly) took place in mesoamerica, but he offered that as his opinion, not as doctrine or revelation.

  • Back to the Everglades
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:53 a.m.

    To "to Florida (6:47)"

    The Prophets themselves have claimed to be "perfect" in that they "will never lead the Saints astray." When prophets, seers, and revelators teach for hundreds of years that the Lamanites are the "principal" ancestors of the Indians, that counts as "leading the Church astray."

    And the LDS Claim that ONLY the LDS "prophets, seers, and revelators" receive revelation from and speak for God is completely contrary to your claim that "No true Christian prophet ever said they have all the answers!" Unless you believe as I do that Hinckley and his management team are NOT "Christian prophets."

    You also say "Christ founded the church as a hospital for weak mortals, not a rest home for the perfect." Again, I agree, but Joseph Smith didn't or else he would have had the spirit of Christ to be forgiving and tolerant of the "weak mortals" in Christ's original, Catholic Church and other Christian Churches rather than calling them false, abominations, and their leaders corrupt.

  • To Mike Hodge
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:49 a.m.

    Those are good observations. The small change of "mother of God" to "mother of the Son of God" in my opinion however was a correction to make the doctrine more clear. Mormon's believe the God of the Old Testament was Jesus Christ Himself, and that Jesus Christ is a God, and is the Father of their spirits through His atoning sacrifice. Often God and Christ are used interchangeably in the Bible as well.

  • Cognitive Dissonance
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:46 a.m.

    How do we reconcile this little tid-bit of information that comes straight from the source?

    2 Nephi 1:6-8

    1:6 Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

    1:7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

    1:8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

    I know, I know, now the "land" means the "small geographical pocket where Lehi lived" would be kept secret from all the others already on the continent.

  • Fly_on_the_wall
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:41 a.m.

    From my vantage point I see many things. However, I don't see all things. I have observed this, some folks seem to hold very tightly to the iron rod. To them I would suggest that they loosen their grip as little. A tight grip on the iron rod makes it impossible to move. Having a loose grip in the iron rod makes it possible to progress.

    From my observation there is only one absolute truth and that is there will always be change in some form or another.

    It would be good to leran to adapt to change.

  • More changes are required
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:07 a.m.

    So many of you are spewing your venom about minor linguistic changes in the book. Guess what- there will always be more changes because cultures and languages evolve. To maintain accuracy, change is required.

    Case in point: when I was growing up the word "gay" had a very different meaning than it has now. Books that accurately used that word then are no longer accurate in today's culture, and must be changed.

    Therefore, even "perfect" books must change to continue to be perfect.

  • Why Witnesses?
    Nov. 9, 2007 11:02 a.m.

    To Reality | 4:16 a.m. Nov. 9, 2007

    You said,

    "In modern time two founders of two major churches, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard, have authored religious books. Smith's writting have undergone changes while Hubbard's has endured the test of time."

    I think you are correct. And the reason is because Hubbard never tried to deceive people into believing his books were literally "true" or "the most correct books on earth". He simply sought to teach priciples and ideas in works that were acknowledged to be "fiction."

    And that is also why Joseph Smith went to great lengths to obtain "Witnesses" to support his claims. Hubbard didn't need witnesses because he wasn't fabricating anything. The only reason Joseph needed "witnesses" was because he was trying to perpetrate a fraud.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 9, 2007 10:53 a.m.

    this is uneeded speculation, obviously Joseph Smith didn't write the introduction page, and the introducion page isn't scripture so what's the fuss about, it's being amended so it can be more easily red.

  • Reality
    Nov. 9, 2007 10:46 a.m.

    It appears the standard Mormon response to others desire for logical thinking amd seeking truth of the world we live in is to tell us that ignorance is bliss and to come and join them in their dream world and be happy, and if there is anything we really need to know those in charge will let us know and in the mean time we need to drink our milk and not want meat, and not trouble oureselves with too much thinking. We only need to learn to follow and heaven is ours. Our great philosophers from Plato to Dewey would have been at a loss in the Mormon world.

  • Coondawg_76
    Nov. 9, 2007 10:30 a.m.

    The thing I know is that the only contstant thing in this world is that nothing is constant. Change is all around... the Bible certainly didn't end the way it started... it is filled with stories of prophets who were preaching change and were persecuted for it... the very reason the jews crucified Jesus is cause he had come to fulfill the law and bring change... obviously there were other reasons far more divine, but that's why "they" did what they did... they fought against the change.

    God is a living being and a great teacher, rather than giving all knowledge to us at once He gives it line upon line and precept upon precept, no more than we can handle. You just have to decide... are you going to be like those who followed the spirit and the teachings they were given or like those who fought against God's changes?

    Spend less time persecuting people who have made their choice and pick a path already.

  • r_squared
    Nov. 9, 2007 10:25 a.m.

    The church slowly evolves. It does so in a masterful way. It is like the Adam Smith's invisible hand. Any Org has to do it to survive.It is easier to do with believers who do not question. Think of so many of those 'set of beliefs' that have changed exactly like this over time. Blacks, polygamy, men on the moon, etc, etc, etc....Any doctrine if you think about it could be repealed as 'not a revealed truth', just dismiss the speaker(s) as not under the influence of the holy ghost. Or speaking as men. What a perfect out! Or on the other pole, that the person is VERY inspired and do not question or you are not exercising faith. There is no room for critical thought. One of the first proofs we are taught in critical thinking is proof by contradiction. Assume something is true, find a fault(or a false result) and then your assumption is wrong. I guess the idea of faith is to short circuit this process.

  • Onan
    Nov. 9, 2007 10:04 a.m.

    I have checked into the Zelph story. There is a lot of evidence to suggest Joseph claimed everything I said. A FARMS website used it to clear up the geography issue as two of their (FARMS) 'experts' debated whether the geography was in North or South America.

  • The Account is still accurate
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:59 a.m.

    If the Book of Mormon is not true, than Jesus of the Bible is not the Christ, because both scriptures testify of the same Jesus. Both scriptures support and testify of each other, as well. And both books are not the conclusive accounts of all of God's dealings with man. We just don't have all those accounts. Of the accounts we do have, and with all the changes the Bible has undergone, it just happens that the Book of Mormon remains the most correct book.

    The change in the introduction to the Book of Mormon acknowledges that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are not the conclusive accounts of all the people who have inhabited the Earth. The previous introduction only took in account the fact that we only have one record of the ancient inhabitants of America, the Book of Mormon, and those people very well could be the principle ancestors of the American Indians, but the record itself never makes this claim. We don't know all the people of the Earth, but we do know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are accountings among some of our predecessors on two continents of the Earth.

  • Ha!
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:59 a.m.

    To Science vs. Joseph Smith | 9:29 a.m.

    Yeah, and the Book of Mormon is "pretty much" the most correct book!

    Or should that be the MOST CORRECTED book!

  • Mike Hodge
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:49 a.m.

    There is nothing new in the Church making changes to the "most perfect book" ever written. In 1830 a small change was made in several places to state that Mary was the "mother" of God, to "Mary was the mother of the Son of God. A small change? Hardly, if Mary is the Mother of God then the doctrine is essentially trinitarian, much as other christian sects believe. And just after the civil rights revolution of the 60's the wording describing the lamanites changing their skin from "white and delightsome" to pure and delightsome. These kinds of "minor" changes seem to be a bit convenient. And this latest one fall into that category as well.

  • Science vs. Joseph Smith
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:29 a.m.

    I sure see a lot of hot air on this page from both sides of the argument. Did it ever occur to any of you to study this issue out? Go buy a book or two on Book of Mormon Archeology. I like Joseph P Allen, but there are many good authors.

    If you do, you will find much solid evidence of two things:

    1- What most Mormon's believe about the geography of the book is way off base. They really should study a little before they open their mouths and attack the non-believers.

    2- Scientific evidence pretty much is loaded with smoking guns proving the ACTUAL archeological claims of the book.

  • Dear "Leaving" and "Reality"
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:27 a.m.

    No, our forefathers did not have access to the same information we do today. They were too busy trying to decide whether to renounce their faith to threatening mobs, whether to follow Brigham Young across the continent, or too busy proselyting to people in Europe and North America in a world that was far more hostile to their religion than our apathetic and 'informed' world of today.

    If you are you helping your neighbors, teaching your children values, caring for the poor, elderly or sick, or serving in your community, then you will not be troubled by these irrelevant challenges to your faith.

    We all waste too much time debating doctrine, science and current thinking - we need to be out in the world doing something with our lives to benefit mankind, especially our families. Do the Book of Mormon and Bible help us to do that? I believe they do, whereas the other things are 'nice to know' but leave no lasting positive impact.

  • To Onan
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:23 a.m.

    Check more deeply into the Zelph incident. The published and most commonly accepted version of what happened was a report by someone who knew someone who knew someone that was there.

    What Joseph really said had nothing to do with "the last battle" etc. I don't remember the details, but it explains a lot.

  • So, if...
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:09 a.m.

    ...the ONE word change in the non-scriptural introduction makes the BOM not true anymore, where does the 200 or so varied versions and translations leave the Bible?? I know the words written in my KJV Bible, absolutly, in no way resembles the words written in the New American Translation of the Bible. I guess the Bible must not be true either because it just 'keeps on a changin'.

  • Ross
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:04 a.m.

    The church is led by Prophets and Apostles who receive revelation which includes changes. What was right yesterday is changed to what is right today, we always have what is right. Those who are too hung up on particular words and can't allow revelation to change things are in trouble. Think how wonderful it is to have Prophets, Seers, and Revelators here on the earth today as we prepare for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • To Jerry
    Nov. 9, 2007 9:01 a.m.

    Many of the world's major religions struggle with physical proof. Buddhists have long been looking for acheological proof that Buddha existed. Nothing so far. The Jews would love to find verifiable evidence of Moses in Egypt (or anywhere). Same result. Aside from the Gospels themselves and the apocryopha, there are a grand total of 5 or 6 contemporaneous accounts of Jesus, most of about a sentence or so in length. If it's physical proof you need, there's no satisfying answer.

    For that matter, there's no archeological 'proof' of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, just certain evidences and of course surviving writings.

    But the proof of the goodness of the Buddha couldn't ever be found in archeology or DNA. Instead, it's found in the lives of the people who live Buddhism as they understand it.

    Frankly, that's proof enough for me.

  • Karma
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:53 a.m.

    Good article.
    But now, read all of it before you comment.
    Despite the reporter's erroneous opening emphasis on a single-word change, she goes on to mention some other changes, and why they were made.
    Maybe we should spend our day blogging about why the writer and editor didn't catch their error!

    As long as mortals handle words, whether man's records (newspapers, for instance) or scriptures (Old and New Testaments, for instance) there will be updates, corrections, and some intentional - or perhaps accidental - omissions.

  • Onan
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:50 a.m.

    Three things can clear up the whole DNA thing:
    1-Zelph. Joseph found his bones, said he was a white Lamanite that died in one of the last battles. If he's been laying around on the ground for 1400 years, it should be difficult to find them and test his DNA.
    2-The Three Nephites. They need to step up, make a statement about who was here when Lehi arrived, maybe they can offer up some DNA to take care of the debate as well.
    3-President Hinckley can make a definitive statement about it.

    Since none of these three things will ever take place, it's just safe to assume the Church actually takes science seriously and will no longer make statements about native Americans being decendents of Hebrews.

  • Headline corrected
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:39 a.m.

    "Debate renewed with change in Book of Mormon introduction" should read:
    "Debate renewed by announcement of trivial change (but we know this will attract a lot of attention)"

    95% of the people commenting here don't pay attention, nor study the background of the introduction nor the BoM, and wouldn't even know about a "change" if this kind of inflammatory artice had not been published.

  • to Florida (6:47)
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:30 a.m.

    Someone has misinformed you. Even the language, "change things all the time", tells you their agenda.
    Somehow certain people came up with the idea that prophets claim to be perfect. Actually, real prophets only humbly assert their willingness to follow through on an assignment they were given. The Lord reveals new things on his timetable, not ours. No true Christian prophet ever said they have all the answers.

    Other skeptics would have you believe the LDS Church is just another man-made club, in which some people got together and developed a set of beliefs. That is what most people are accustomed to. If you like the pastor, if you like the interpretation of certain Bible verses, if you like the neighbors in the church, you join that one.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect, but it is here to teach us. Christ founded the church as a hospital for weak mortals, not a rest home for the perfect.

    God has always only given to man "line upon line, precept on precept." Man (science) trumpets that they have The Answers, then change often, as we discover newer understandings.

  • Jerry
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:25 a.m.

    This is an introductory written by men so change it all you want. But there have been almost 4000 changes in the book of mormon verses themselves...the most perfect and correct book ever written and/or translated? There is zero archaeological proof of the bom. The mormon doctrine is contrary to the bom. It's interesting to think of how long God has been in existance but in a short 200 years he has flip flopped on many issue which is sold as modern day revelation. I can just see God sticking his finger up in the air to see which way the popular wind is blowing so he can change to the will of man?! Real history is called Anti-Mormon and why doesn't the brothern want you to read it? When you are a child adults put you up to the pulpit and whisper in your ear what to say, it's so cute. "I know the church is true." It's brain washing and I was sad when I found out the truth. My gosh, God is our only judge but in morminism a man can keep you out of heaven over a glass of tea.

  • Allen
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:18 a.m.

    I personally am glad the change was made. In my blog on the convergence of science and religion, I'm currently discussing migrations to the Americas. There is a lot of scientific evidence there were migrations way before those described in the Book of Mormon.

    To those who ask why would inspired leaders allow mistakes to be made in the Introduction, I say this. We LDS believe our church leaders are not infallible. They are human like the rest of us. They make mistakes like the rest of us. They have their opinions about things like the rest of us. God inspires them about some things and he doesn't inspire them about other things. They learn and grow from their experiences like the rest of us. I'm glad they recognized a mistake was made in the Introduction and have corrected it. This has strengthened my faith in them as my religious leaders and my willingness to follow their counsel.

  • theological support?
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:13 a.m.

    To believe that Joseph wrote the Book, you have to overlook a lot of details, and hope your readers are never gonna find out, such as:
    -that he had a 3rd-grade education,
    -that he "produced" a book that scholars of all walks of life still marvel at, (the ignorant sneer, but only from ignorance)
    -that people gave (and give) their lives for the Book -- meaning both: they died for, and they live amazing lives of love and service because of,
    -that Joseph gave his life (both ways) for, not for personal gratification or power or money,
    -and most of all, that you have an agenda that centers around not having to accept the Lord's commandments, even though He has given them to you and me because he loves us.

  • Reality
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:06 a.m.

    To Leaving the Church, Brother you are one of many. Unfortanatly our fore fathers did not have access to the information or common sense that we enjoy today. Nevertheless, I do love my Mormon Brothers and Sisters and I would be sad without them.

  • Reality?
    Nov. 9, 2007 8:01 a.m.

    I can see the similarities.
    Can you seen the differences?

    Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer, founded a business, called it Scientology.
    It's a moneymaker. My doctor has spent upwards of a half-million dollars, has almost nothing to show for it. (The moral standard he foisted on our daughter got her into troubles she still carries.)
    Hubbard took a couple of small ideas and has multiplied the books and courses and certifications to unfathomable levels.

    Joseph Smith was called by God, and created their ultimate service organization, that gives and gives, for here and the hereafter, and not for money.

  • Sandy Non-LDS
    Nov. 9, 2007 7:52 a.m.

    As a sceptic when I came to faith in Christ, I maintain my scepticism about ANYTHING brought forth by man. My scepticism was overcome by a logical look at the Bible, its geography and historical accuracy--not it's perfection in those areas. Frankly, I do not feel the BOM comes even remotely close to approaching the Bible in those areas--I will continue to be a sceptic.

    As non-LDS I hear about prophets from whom ALL things relating to the spiritual are considered to be from God himself--so even an introduction to a scriptural book would fall into this category, hence held to a higher standard. I hear about a God-revealed interpretation of tablets that cannot be reproduced. I hear about MAJOR changes in doctrine...I will continue to be a sceptic.

    Perhaps my faith is limited, perhaps my eyes are veiled. Perhaps...

    I don't pretend to have revelation of God's new and improved Church on Earth, I struggle daily with what I feel God has revealed to me. God won't give me more than I can handle. Thanks Lord, I am glad to know that!

  • Leaving?
    Nov. 9, 2007 7:50 a.m.

    Friend, we don't believe you.
    Hiding behind anonymity here, you would have us believe your doubts?
    You are looking for other doubters to soothe your conscience.

    Tens of thousands of intelligent, educated, VISIBLE men and women (that you can meet and know by name) have studied the scriptures and history and have put it to the test, and love it and live it and bless the lives of their families and countless strangers.
    They've put their name and reputation out where people can see.
    You are not who you claim to be.

  • LDS member
    Nov. 9, 2007 7:42 a.m.

    What a ridiculous waste of time. Every time an article is printed referring to the LDS church, the same antagonistic church bashers come out and offer their same cynical remarks. It's okay that you don't believe as we do, why not be on your way and keep believing the way you do. Why spend so much energy attacking something you don't like? I can't imagine anything less fulfilling than spending my days finding fault with another persons religion. The LDS church is undoubtedly a force for good in the world regardless of a person's beliefs. Likewise there are many other religions that do much good in the world as they teach and encourage people the essence of christianity. While we each hold to our own doctrinal beliefs, I hope that we can respect one another and be grateful for the good the other has to offer. It doesn't have to be a contest about who is right and who is wrong!

  • Tom
    Nov. 9, 2007 7:34 a.m.

    Don't you know if you criticize the BoM, you are at the hand of the Adversary?

  • CT Utahn
    Nov. 9, 2007 7:12 a.m.

    Didn't they change the wording in the Sunbeams (5 year olds) Sunday School manual a couple years ago?

    Seriously, it is an introduction originally written not long ago. Let's keep things in perspective.

    And before all the Christians start pointing fingers, just look back and see how much Christianity has been modified since Christ.

  • Carl
    Nov. 9, 2007 6:54 a.m.

    Different Carl than at 6:42pm.
    Different response here than in the The Tribulation yesterday. More Desnews readers actually read the article.
    The professional haters who follow the Trib's slant only read until they could find a club to hit with, and didn't read the Book, let alone the rest of the article.

    Regarding mortal weakness of educated and presumably well-intended people, notice the reporter's. End of 3rd paragraph: "The new introduction reads much the same, but says..."
    How could she miss the point of the article she was writing? Shouldn't it read "The new introduction reads EXACTLY the same, but says..." Oh, no, a one-word change! Burn the newspaper!

    I ALWAYS understood "principal" to mean "one of the main ones", as opposed to "one of the many" and NOT "the only". So this so-called "change" is very slight when you see the whole message in context.

    We've known for years there were others here when Lehi and Ishmael's family arrived. Maybe just some Mulekites, maybe leftovers from the Jaredites. But the record we have doesn't even try to give the whole social history. Humans, especially those with an agenda, have filled in far more than was ever justified.

  • theological support
    Nov. 9, 2007 5:03 a.m.

    Of course the Book of Mormon supports the Bible theologically, it was written by a man steeped in his mother's biblical study habit. How interesting that a prophet in the ancient lands which became the Americas quotes biblical scripture in the King's English though any records he may have had access to predate the King James translation of the Bible by at least 1200 years. How interesting that an article of faith for the LDS church asserts that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly neatly providing the caveat needed to support faith in the holiness of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was brilliant in his marketing of the religion he founded.

  • Reality
    Nov. 9, 2007 4:16 a.m.

    In modern time two founders of two major churches, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard, have authored religious books. Smith's writting have undergone changes while Hubbard's has endured the test of time.

  • Go Grandma!
    Nov. 9, 2007 4:00 a.m.

    Old (and wise) people make a lot of sense. I understand why there are apoligists on both sides, to stick up for the truth as they know it. But when a person goes too far out of the way just to make someone else look bad and say I told you so, that is not being a very good Christian, is it. That is why LDS leaders curtail this if they know about it. It makes one wonder why don't other religions do this?

  • Leaving the Church
    Nov. 9, 2007 2:40 a.m.

    I am a Mormon. I have been my whole entire life. I am the great grandson of a former member of the quorum of the 12.
    I have studied the BoM with fervent desire to identify whether it is a true document.
    About 7 years ago, I visited Jerusalem and witnessed the entire LDS temple ceremony being performed by orthodox jews at the wailing wall.
    I begin to search the roots of the church ordinances and learned that Joseph Smith was an active member of the Masonic Order.
    I then learned of the discoveries made in the area of genetics and DNA tracing.
    I can no longer follow the BoM as an accurate biblical record, but more of a fictional document.
    I still love the values of the Mormon Church and principles taught to its members, but I do not believe in the accuracy of its cornerstone holy manuscript.

  • Seattle
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:18 a.m.

    Regarding the change to the "forward" of the B&M, I expect the critics will continue to be critics and the believers will continue to be believers.

    As for the critics, this is a minor "clarifying" element that does not affect the scriptural part of the book. If people believed that Lamanites were ancestors to "all Native American Indians" that would be an assumption they made my mistake. I am glad that is something that we can now understand better.

    As for prophets, to the reader in Florida, I like to look at modern prophets to realize what ancient prophets would have been like. They were real people with different personalities and approaches to teaching the gospel. For ancient prophets, we only have the scriptures to show what they said. That is pretty limited. For all we know, their comments may have been clarified many times. These men were not prefect people and not everything they said would have been "from god". Modern prophets give talks and opinions that touch on all topics. Clarifying one word from "primary" to "among" does not change the doctrine taught in the book; it only enhances our understanding of who these people were.

  • Why people pay attention to this
    Nov. 9, 2007 12:16 a.m.

    People stand up and take note of this because the L.D.S. Church maintains that they are "The only true Church on the face of the earth. Holding all of the keys to exaltation, and without certain ordinances performed in Holy Temples, you can not enter the highest kingdom and be with your family after death." Pretty serious claims..To do these you must get a recommend and profess to believe in the Book Of Mormon, among other fundamental truths. So, if this is indeed the truth, then of course the world will take note and have a keener interest in this book and anyhting about it. If this Church is founded by past and current day prophets who receive inspiration from God, then the whole world will indeed be very interested about any change to an official book and reason in depth for the explanation as to why. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God........only as far as it is translated correctly. But...We believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God..(No clarification added to this book.) So yes, the world will stand up and take note. A world which is very interested in Mormons.

  • I am LDS
    Nov. 8, 2007 11:39 p.m.

    This change has made me a little unsure of what is fact and what is not. It won't change my testimony. I know I am a child of god and he loves us all. The church has made changes over the years and not minor ones either.
    1)Stopping Piligamy (not that I would want to do this but it was done in bible times),
    2)clothes legnth. (Need I say more)
    3)The blacks holding the priesthood,
    4)The way ordinaces are conducted in the temple, well humm that is all I can think of. What are they going to change next? Well as long as the Prophet says it is true. (?) but man shouldn't he get it right the first time. He is speaking to the man up stairs. well i thought I was taught this? sooooo to all you LDS out there, stay true to the faith. there is a reason for everything.
    To Just G: there are some religions who teach you to beat your wife and show you how to KIll. yes i will stand up and say NO to that!
    DNA testing well did they do it right? did they have a control testing too.

  • Jared
    Nov. 8, 2007 11:36 p.m.

    The change regarding the Bible was first reported on the Juvenile Instructor blog early this afternoon. The SLT, who broke the story of the "among" change seems not to have been aware of that change before it was brought to their attention on the JI blog. I wonder where the Deseret News learned of it, if it was from the blog or from another source (who may or may not have learned it from the blog).

  • No leg to stand on
    Nov. 8, 2007 11:31 p.m.

    Throughout the U.S. and the world, Christian demoninations are being torn apart over issues such as gay clergy, female clergy, same-sex marriage, and abuse by clery. And whether some Christians want to admit it or not, there are even deeper divisions regarding which religions and religious leaders are truly Christian and which are not. Is the Pope are true Christian? What about Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn?

    To my non-LDS Christian neighbors and friends, please tell me why you attack my faith, when the beliefs of Christians are all over the chart?

  • stick with 1830
    Nov. 8, 2007 11:18 p.m.

    It demonstrates the error in thinking that the footnotes, introduction, and dictionaries are reviewed and approved by inspiration of the president of the church. Some will now think twice before placing the footnotes and etc on the same level of the verse they are reading. Personally, I like the 1830 edition of the Bookof Mormon that does not have footnotes and lengthy introductions. I'd rather just read the BoM for what it is without a comittee of who knows what people throwing their opinions into the matter.

  • fd
    Nov. 8, 2007 11:16 p.m.

    Whats the big deal with one word change? I don't see that it makes a "hill of beans" difference to the contents that are in the book. However there is always some supposed intellectual that has been Xed that will use the one word change to blow his horn. It only makes him sound off key and flute small.Yet in his eye he thinks he is a tuba.This should not even made print. But because it involves the LDS church some editor or reporter feels that it's news worthy.However, It's about as insignificant as a pimple on a frogs behind.

  • Tim
    Nov. 8, 2007 10:57 p.m.

    It is all a matter of Faith, as with anything in the LDS church. DNA testing is an irrelevant matter. If one believes and uses the test that Moroni asks all to do, than the Book of Mormon is God's gift to man; not Joseph Smith.

    If in fact, that the BofM can be proven to be false, which presently it hasn't, than it appears to me that the whole structure of the LDS church starts to fall apart.

    It is a matter of faith.

  • To Florida:
    Nov. 8, 2007 10:55 p.m.

    Changes in the text have been made several times for different reasons. Some have been made to correct or update spelling and grammar to modern standards. Other changes were made because of printer's errors (when the typesetter lined up all the letters, they introduced errors). I believe the last set of "major changes" occurred when the "current text" was compared to the original manuscript written by Oliver Cowdery, who served as Joseph Smith's scribe for most of the translation--many of the previous revisions were done without consulting the original transcription, and as a result changes were required to revert back to the original. In short, a number of corrections have been made as a result of basic mistakes people make in the process of publishing books.

    About 12 years ago, I helped publish a book that had no fewer than seven people proofread the entire text, several of them more than one time. About six months after publications, one of our interns noticed that we had missed the word "INTERSHIP" (not INTERNSHIP) on the spine of the cover. Happens all the time, even to the best of pblishers--people make mistakes.

    MT in MD

  • Just a Grandma
    Nov. 8, 2007 10:29 p.m.

    Boy howdy! I totally agree with Anonymous !
    We are a people of Change! The Bible was changed many times, Catholic Doctrine has been changed many times the Book of Mormon has been changed and the list goes on and on. Geesh People why cant we all just get along? We, who all believe in God and Jesus Christ should not act as little children who think their daddy is the best and argue with each other. Remember we all have the same Father! Why must anyone be critical of anyone else's religion. Remember....on judgement day YOU will be asked why you made fun or rebuked anyone elses religious preference. Can you give a good enough answer to God why? I sure dont want to have to explain that one! I rather be asked why I stole a candy bar when I was 6 yrs. old !!! I am just an old grandma,who loves God ,what do I know??

  • To Carl
    Nov. 8, 2007 9:57 p.m.

    Joseph Smith had to put "By Joseph Smith Jr." on the book in order to get it published. He decided it would be better to get it published and printed to share with everyone.

  • Ben H
    Nov. 8, 2007 9:47 p.m.

    This is nothing more than acknowledgment by the church that Jared, Lehi and Mulek were probably not the only ones to come to the Americas and create permanent settlements before Columbus. That's all that any of this means to me. For this reason, the DNA debate to me has always been pointless.

  • Problem with DNA
    Nov. 8, 2007 9:37 p.m.

    I would love to have DNA testing confirm what the Book of Mormon says, but it is impossible to do so. We have no original base to test from (tribe of Joseph) and no current base to test compare (which tribe of current native americans??). Why have Southerton and co. made this out to be a definitive study?

    There are serious doubts about the historicity of the Bible. Few proofs exist of major events and people (ie. the whole Exodus story). The same could be said about many historical texts that are unique. This doesn't prove they are not accurate.

    All of this ignores the incredible weight in terms of the Bible's and Book of Mormon's content. These narratives are not written like fiction. There is too much of culture, sociology, military strategy, theology, philosophy, etc. for either book to not be true. They really do support one another theologically.

    Whatever text changes there are in a modern introduction page are inconsequential. We have only modified the window dressing.

  • Matt
    Nov. 8, 2007 9:27 p.m.

    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.

  • Leen
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:58 p.m.

    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.

  • Bob
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:58 p.m.

    "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.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:53 p.m.

    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.

  • Curious
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:38 p.m.

    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
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:36 p.m.

    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.

  • An Old Copy
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:22 p.m.

    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.

  • To Anonymous:
    Nov. 8, 2007 8:01 p.m.

    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.

  • Sharon
    Nov. 8, 2007 7:49 p.m.

    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 Florida:
    Nov. 8, 2007 7:46 p.m.

    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.

  • Thomas
    Nov. 8, 2007 7:39 p.m.

    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.

  • Steve
    Nov. 8, 2007 7:23 p.m.

    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.

  • Robo
    Nov. 8, 2007 7:21 p.m.

    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.

  • Dave
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:54 p.m.

    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.

  • Brian
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:48 p.m.

    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.

  • Florida
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:47 p.m.

    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.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:46 p.m.

    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.

  • Carl
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:42 p.m.

    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
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:24 p.m.

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

  • Jason
    Nov. 8, 2007 6:24 p.m.

    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.