Ready or not – here it goes.
The Church changed, er, make that updated, its scripture…again.
Apparently they felt it was time to come out with a new contemporary explanation about race and polygamy. You can witness the changes for yourself on their site here.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported the change “includes hundreds of minor spelling and punctuation changes to the holy script, as well as more substantive (though subtle) alterations of chapter headings, study helps and historical descriptions.
“What this reveals is something all religions eventually have to wrestle with — incorporating history into how we experience God,” says American religion historian Matthew Bowman, who last year released a one-volume history of the LDS Church. “The most significant changes to this new edition emphasize the importance of understanding the culture and context these scriptures were produced in.”
Why would anyone who follows the God of the Bible and tells the truth have to struggle with incorporating history into how we experience God? The only time I had that problem was when I was LDS – no Mormonism, no problem.
The two significant changes that made the biggest waves if you will were the intros of Declarations 1 & 2.
In Declaration 2 it says Smith ordained black men into the priesthood. To this I say, yes, he did. It goes on to say “Subsequent LDS officials “stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent,” the new introduction says. “Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice.””
If they’re trying to take the blame off Smith’s shoulders for not including people of color into the Church they’re only fooling themselves. If Smith wasn’t racist he wouldn’t have included all the “revelations” he had into their canon. LDS scripture tells the story of Smith’s true character. My darker than acceptable skin color along with my curly black hair and eyes reminded everyone in the Church of the sin I supposedly committed in the pre-existence.
As for the intro for the 1st Declaration? Oh brother. Here’s their version of history:
“The Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that monogamy is God’s standard for marriage unless He declares otherwise (see 2 Samuel 12:7–8 and Jacob 2:27, 30). Following a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practice of plural marriage was instituted among Church members in the early 1840s (see section 132). From the 1860s to the 1880s, the United States government passed laws to make this religious practice illegal. These laws were eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.”
I’ve been working in ministry now for almost twenty years and every time I tell a Mormon the book of Jacob condemns polygamy they tell me I’ve misunderstood what it says.
As for the Church stopping the practice of polygamy in 1890 – well, just read my article from a couple of weeks ago on the Edmunds-Tucker Act. The Church didn’t stop practicing polygamy until 1904!
What the Church has done serves as a beautiful example of why it’s important to follow the God of the Bible!
The intro of D&C 132 now says;
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant and the principle of plural marriage. Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, evidence indicates that some of the principles involved in this revelation were known by the Prophet as early as 1831. See Official Declaration 1.”
Principle? Polygamy wasn’t a mere principle, it was a commandment! They referred to it this way now and in earlier years to clean it up and make it sound more presentable, but you can be assured this was an absolute command and as far as their scriptures stand today; it still is.
D&C 132:4; “For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”
And our final look at some of the changes has to do with “the most correct book on the face of the earth”.
Alma 12:31—”becoming as Gods” to “becoming as gods” (lowercased gods)
Hel. 13:17—“the peoples” to “the people”
The beauty of the Bible is that it doesn’t change – Isaiah 40:8.
The consolation for us is that God doesn’t change – Malachi 3:6.
Please, pray for the Mormon people won’t you? As they go through another change in their scripture, another explanation of why they’ve done what they have and as they have their upcoming General Conference in a few weeks – I’m praying God intervenes in the way only He can!!!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18