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

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Published: Thursday, Nov. 8 2007 12:00 a.m. MST

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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.


"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.

Ian D.

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.

To Ian D. from Chris

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.


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.


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?


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.


Victoria- I like what you said. Good point.

Eric Shun

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.

Eric Shun

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?

Get DNA facts before deciding

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.


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.


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.

Interesting how...

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?

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