I have nothing personal against LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, (I really like him – who couldn’t?) but I’ll be surprised if he can sleep at night now… I’m certain that the ghost of Spencer W. Kimball is haunting and tormenting him as we speak.
This week, the introduction to the Book of Mormon was changed by one word. This particular word changes the historical context of the book of Mormon, and it also raises some bigger questions.
Over the years, church leaders have taught that the Lamanites are the ancestors of the native americans. Modern DNA research shows that native american people are of an asian descent, NOT hebrew – which throws the whole book of mormon story into a tailspin. Aside from questions about the Book of Mormon itself, one wonders – what exactly IS a prophet / apostle? What is the scope of their spokesmanship for eternal truth? If they are not right 100% of the time, one must wonder what other prophetic sayings and mandates will be reeled in for revision in the future.
The Salt Lake Tribune was first to break the news (a delicious irony in and of itself):
“The book’s current introduction, added by the late LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie in 1981, includes this statement: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
The new version, seen first in Doubleday’s revised edition, reads, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”
The change “takes into account details of Book of Mormon demography which are not known,” LDS spokesman Mark Tuttle said Wednesday. (see full article: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7413508)
Read the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball regarding the lineage of the native americans:
“With pride I tell those who come to my office that a Lamanite is a descendant of one Lehi who left Jerusalem some 600 years before Christ and with his family crossed the mighty deep and landed in America. And Lehi and his family became the ancestors of ALL of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North AND South AND Central America and in the islands of the sea.” Spencer W. Kimball, “Of Royal Blood,” Ensign, July 1971
It’s always a “trial of your faith” when a modern day prophet has to eat his words. Speaking as someone who has lived mormon orthodoxy… this one’s going to be a bitch.