Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Changes to Book of Mormon Chapter Headings

A recent news article indicates that some alterations are being made to some of the chapter headings in the Book of Mormon - specifically, the ones that can easily be read as using racist language:

The LDS Church has made subtle - but significant - changes to chapter headings in its online version of the faith's signature scripture, The Book of Mormon, toning down some earlier racial allusions.

The words "skin of blackness" were removed from the introductory italicized summary in 2 Nephi, chapter 5, in describing the "curse" God put on disbelieving Lamanites.

Deeper into the volume, in Mormon, chapter 5, the heading changes from calling Lamanites "a dark, filthy, and loathsome people" to "because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them."

Some questions for thought: In the practical life of the average Latter-day Saint who reads the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture, what role would you say these introductory chapter summaries play? How much weight are they instinctively accorded? What sort of impact might this change have down the road? And what do you think of the change?


  1. I am LDS (ran across this post randomly) and study the Book of Mormon with my family. We do not even read the chapter headings and so it will not make any difference. However, I see obvious benefits to using the summaries as a quick reference to the chapter, and changing them according to the times and contexts of society.

  2. Thanks for your input, Z Gleason! I appreciate it.