Juvenile Instructor


Comparing the 1981, 2004, and 2006 Book of Mormon Introductions by Christopher
November 8, 2007, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Book of Mormon, Christopher

The news that the introduction to the 2006 Doubleday edition of The Book of Mormon contains significant changes seems to be all the rage on the bloggernacle today.  Peggy Fletcher Stack’s article in the SL Tribune this morning announced that the introduction’s previous claim that the Lamanites “are the principal ancestors of the American Indians” has been altered to read that the Lamanites “are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

It was then pointed out on two different threads that an additional change was made, but that it was a change made in the 2004 Doubleday edition of The Book of Mormon and then repeated in the newer edition.  For sake of clarification and all interested readers, below are the changes made between the 1981 edition (published by the LDS Church), the 2004 Doubleday edition, and the 2006 Doubleday edition (relevant passages are denoted with blue font).

1981 (Salt Lake City, UT: Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.  It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon.  The record gives an account of two great civilizations.  One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites.  The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel.  This group is known as the Jaredites.  After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

2004 (New York: Doubleday First Edition)

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.  It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon.  The record gives an account of two great civilizations.  One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites.  The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel.  This group is known as the Jaredites.  After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

2006 (New York: New Doubleday Edition)

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.  It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon.  The record gives an account of two great civilizations.  One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites.  The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel.  This group is known as the Jaredites.  After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.

Also, as noted, the version available at lds.org still follows the wording of the 1981 edition.

About these ads

30 Comments

Nice sluthing! Apparently in 2004, it became unnecessary to state the the Bible contained the “fulness” of the gospel. I wonder why?

Comment by CB

I did some more sleuthing and found that the Spanish BoM on LDS dot org has this

Es una historia de la comunicación de Dios con los antiguos habitantes de las Américas y contiene la plenitud del evangelio eterno.

For those of you that don’t read Spanish, it doesn’t have “as does the Bible.”

But the Spanish edition still has “los cuales son los principales antecesores de los indios de las Américas.”

Comment by David Grua

The Deseret News has since published an article that mentions the second change and inquiries made to the church as to reasons behind it.

Another change in the book’s introduction may be of interest to those who question whether Latter-day Saints are Christians, but church officials declined comment about when that change was made.

The second sentence of the introduction in many editions says the book is “a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.”

The 2004 edition produced by Doubleday for non-Latter-day Saints omits the phrase, “as does the Bible.” A church spokesman declined comment on when the change was first made or an explanation of why.

LDS leaders have long emphasized that the book is a second witness for Christ’s gospel beyond what is contained in the Bible alone.

Comment by David Grua

David, this is interesting. I wonder where the Deseret News got their information about the “Bible” change that you pointed out on this blog earlier today given that the DN article was posted at about 6 pm tonight and our posts came up this afternoon before 1 pm.

Comment by Jared

David,

The “as does the Bible” change may have been made when the Spanish version of the LDS Scriptures Internet Edition was first released in September 2006.

Comment by Justin

It seems that taking out the “as does the Bible” phrase goes against the Church’s persistent efforts to present itself as more mainstream and more Christian. Strange.

The Chinese Book of Mormon was just retranslated. It still contains the “principal ancestors” language. However, I’ll have to check on the “as does the Bible” part when I get home…

Comment by Steve M

Justin: That seems probable. I think it likely that that change was first made in the 2004 Doubleday, and that it will appear in all subsequent editions, whether in print or electronically.

Comment by David Grua

Actually, it would be interesting to compare the introduction in recent paper copies of the Spanish Book of Mormon. Maybe it was introduced in a Spanish version earlier.

Comment by Justin

Where’s Bookslinger?

I don’t think I’ll have time to go check earlier print editions at the Lee Library today, but I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

Comment by David Grua

Update: Jared just checked printings from 1992, 1994, and 2004 of the Spanish BoM and found that they do not have “as does the bible.”

The 1992 editions states “English Approval Date, 11/91; Translation Approval Date, 11/91; Printed in the United States of America, 12/92″

Comment by David Grua

Thanks for checking, Jared. I’m surprised that the change dates back so far.

Comment by Justin

Justin: I’m also surprised that the change dates back that far.

Jared said that he’ll try to dig up a pre-1992 copy in the next little bit.

Comment by David Grua

From what I can tell, the German, French, and Italian versions online at lds.org also lack the phrase.

Comment by Justin

It seems that taking out the “as does the Bible” phrase goes against the Church’s persistent efforts to present itself as more mainstream and more Christian. Strange.

Steve: I’m a bit surprised as well. The phrase “comparable to the bible” is still in the first sentence of Introduction, but I think that that phrase is fairly ambigious, when compared with “as does the Bible.”

Comment by David Grua

David: I completely agree with your observation on the “comparable to the bible” statement. To me, it seems like the comparison just means that they are prophetic texts written around the same time.

Comment by Ben

[...] The introduction to the Book of Mormon, penned at least in part by Elder McConkie, has recently been modified. (See discussion and links here and here.)* [...]

Pingback by The DeMcConkie-izing of the Church « Faith Promoting Rumor

“I don’t think it means very much for anyone,” [John Sorenson] said. “The assumptions may have been and may be in the minds of some that the previous phrasing had substance to it. As a matter of fact, it was a sheer accident of someone — probably (Elder) Bruce McConkie — regarding ‘principal ancestors.’ No one checked it or questioned it, so it was put in the introduction.”

I don’t know what Sorenson means exactly by “check[ing] it or question[ing] it” (by scholars?), but it seems to me that he is underplaying the situation here, referring to its presence as a “sheer accident.” Surely it was reviewed and approved by other church leaders before publication.

Comment by Justin

Justin, I couldn’t agree more. Far from not meaning “very much for anyone,” I have been under the impression that most full-time missionaries, who regularly read the Introduction with investigators, explain the Book of Mormon as a record of American Indians’ ancestors. I know I taught this (and especially emphasized it during the 4 months I spent on an Apache reservation). One reason I did so was because of the understanding that I had that an apostle of God (Elder McConkie) had penned the introduction making the claim.

Comment by Christopher

[...] The Juvenile Instructor (LDS blog) [...]

Pingback by Adventures in Mormonism » Blog Archive » What the Book of Mormon actually says

The 1992 edition of the Spanish Book of Mormon (which actually hit the streets in 1993, if I remember correctly, having been a missionary at the time) does indeed contain an introduction similar to the English version, but without the phrase about the Bible as reported above. Editions prior to that did not contain an introduction at all – they were still similar to the pre-1981 English version.

(In fact, we were very excited when the 1992 version came out, because it finally had all the stuff we were used to from the English version, plus some extra stuff.)

Comment by Trevor

Thanks for reporting that, Trevor. I was unable to see a pre-92 version today as I had hoped to check that. That’s interesting.

Comment by Jared

I wonder if the 1992 Spanish edition led the way with the change here. I note that several editions were published after the 1981 English edition and prior to the 1992 Spanish edition (e.g., Hindi, Vietnamese, Kekchi, Arabic, Aymara, Greek, and Hungarian).

Comment by Justin

Justin, what source are you using to find these editions? Is it Jacobs?

Comment by Jared

No, it’s actually a June 1997 article in the Liahona. I didn’t mention the various Selections editions published during that period.

Comment by Justin

Just a thought…The intro. previously stated the BoM contained the fulness of the gospel, just like the bible, because when the BoM was first published it was promoted as proof of JS’s prophetic calling and actually differed very little from Protestant belief at the time. The church believed that until JS started “revealing” other, additional things necessary for exaltation. Salvation through Jesus Christ was then no longer enough. So, I think it was just overlooked until people started asking questions because Mormons obviously believe that the BoM is more correct than the Bible. But you don’t even get the Mormon version of Christian salvation by following the BoM alone so what’s the point of the BoM anyway? Especially now that JS’s prophetic abilities have been called into question.

Comment by marshabrady

My opinion (theory) is that the sentence, which originally contained “as does the bible” did not translate well into other languages, and the statement “as does the bible” is really redundant to the purpose of the text.

Comment by Matt W.

[...] Recent Comments Jared on Manifest Mormon DestinyBiV on Manifest Mormon DestinyMatt W. on Comparing the 1981, 2004, and …David Grua on Manifest Mormon Destinymarshabrady on Comparing the 1981, 2004, and … [...]

Pingback by “As Does the Bible”: Official Statement Forthcoming…Maybe « Juvenile Instructor

Matt W., I understand the reasoning behind your “redundancy” explanation, but I’m not sure it holds up. The first sentence explains that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are books of scripture comparable to one another.

The second sentence, however, goes beyond simply referring to both books as scriptural canon. The 1981 version implies that each book seperately “contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” The updated version, however, makes it clear that the Book of Mormon “contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel,” but omits any such claim about the Bible.

The only way I see your theory working is if we proceed with the assumption that all books of scripture individually contain the fulness of the everlasting gospel, a proposition I do not subscribe to.

Comment by Christopher

Matt W,

In regards to your comment:

the sentence, which originally contained “as does the bible” did not translate well into other languages…

I have been a translator for several years. I translated professionally for Johnson and Johnson and I currently work translating and editing publications for a BYU department. I do not see how the line “as does the bible” could represent any challenge in the translation process. It is a short and simple statement. I think there must be other reasons that the line was left out.

Regards,

Manuel

Comment by Manuel

The Russian LDS website still has the phrase meaning “together with the Bible” (<>, though the context is that it’s scripture and evidence of Christ’s divinity.)

http://www.latter-daysaints.ru/scriptures/bom.html

It doesn’t say anything about Lamanites, which doesn’t surprise me on a site that is focused on Eastern Europeans. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to my copy of the Russian Book of Mormon to see what the intro says: my bet is that Bookslinger will find his copy sooner than I’ll get hold of mine again. I’m also not surprised that my copy of the Book of Mormon Stories doesn’t mention it — I don’t have time to hunt through my copy of the Institute manual, though I imagine there’s something about the Lamanites there.

And yeah, Manuel is right: “the same as the Bible” or “comparable to the Bible” wouldn’t be hard in any Indo-European language, at least. It’s a basic kind of thing, comparison: I find it hard to believe that there are many modern languages where there’s no way of doing it. Bablefish doesn’t have a problem with any of the languages it does, though I can’t tell whether the Asian ones are intelligible or not. The hardest part would be picking the word for “Bible,” which I’m sure Protestant missionaries figured out long before the Church started expanding the missionary program.

Comment by Sarah




Comments are closed.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: