13 June 2008

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 12)

Tower To Truth Question:

12. Why were the words "white and delightsome" in 2nd Nephi 30:6 changed to "pure and delightsome" right on the heels of the Civil Rights campaign for blacks?

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FAIR Response:

The critics have their history wrong. The change dates to 1837. The change was made by Joseph Smith in the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, though it was not carried through in some other editions, which mistakenly followed the 1830 instead of Joseph’s change. It was restored in the 1981 edition, but that was nearly 150 years after the change was made by Joseph.

This issue has been discussed extensively in the Church's magazines (e.g. the Ensign), and the scholarly publication BYU Studies.

To learn more: Douglas Campbell, "'White' or 'Pure': Five Vignettes," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29:4 (Winter 1996)

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My Response:

OK, so let me get this straight. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--the organization that publishes the Book of Mormon--"mistakenly followed the 1830" edition of the BOM and kept the words "white and delightsome" in some editions--for ALMOST 150 YEARS!!!! Well, this is understandable. When there are almost 4000 changes made to a work of fiction like the BOM, it's hard to keep track of all of them. And again, we get back to the age-old question--if the BOM was dictated, word-for-word, from God to Joseph Smith, wouldn't the 1830 edition be closer to what God supposedly told Joseph to write? Shouldn't those words be given precedent over the changes made to the BOM by men?

And do you notice something about FAIR's answer: there are no links to take you to a more in-depth study of the issue. So far, every answer they have given has come with a link to some other page that at least makes an attempt to refute the idea offered. But here? Eh, not so much. They claim that "This issue has been discussed extensively in the Church's magazines (e.g. the Ensign), and the scholarly publication BYU Studies. " OK, how about a reference? Some kind of citation that can take us to one of these "magazines" and "BYU Studies?"

Well, I guess we need to look at what Mormon "prophets" have said about this passage. Does this mean that Brigham Young "mistakenly followed the 1830," when he
stated in 1859, "You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people" (Journal of Discourses 7:336). [Via Mormonism Research Ministry]

Spencer W. Kimball "mistakenly followed the 1830," when,
At the October 1960 LDS Church Conference, Spencer Kimball utilized 2 Nephi 30:6 when he stated how the Indians "are fast becoming a white and delightsome people." He said, "The [Indian] children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation"
(Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-3).
[ibid]

Or are these just these mens' "opinions?" Yep, that's it! This is an embarrassing topic for the LDS church, so we need to brush it off as being simply their "opinion." No, friend. This was official doctrine of the LDS church, as evidenced by other BOM passages:

2nd Nephi 5:21--"And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
3rd Nephi 2:15--"And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites."

The "curse of Cain" doctrine was ingrafted into Mormon teaching. I mean, for crying out loud, if it wasn't then why did they need to issue an OFFICIAL DECLARATION in 1978, and add it to the Doctrine and Covenants?? If it wasn't official doctrine, why did they need to add to one of the sacred scriptures?

Boy, I could go on here. You know, that whole "fish in a barrel" thing. I'll let this video sum it up:

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