First off, a tip o’ the hat to WestBerkeley Flats for the heads up and humorous title.
And a nod to Joanna Brooks’ Dark Skin No Longer a Curse in Online Book of Mormon:
Chapter headings in the online version of the Book of Mormon have been changed by LDS Church officials, eliminating vestiges of racist theology that linked dark skin to spiritual accursedness.
Actually, more than a nod; a little head scratching, too. Because her final graf struck me as maybe a wee optimistic:
The present change is very much in keeping with a strong LDS institutional preference for quietly leaving historical missteps behind as it matures from an American faith with ties to a complex of Anglo-American folk beliefs into a global religion.
Why? Well, let’s call this today’s Exhibit A:
Source: Latter-day Designs
Lemuel’s example in The Book of Mormon teaches us what happens when we do not choose the right.
What happens is you wake up with a permanent tan. That’s no Anglo-American folk belief. It’s 100% Mormon and remains received truth for nearly the same percentage of LDS adherents.
In terms of LDS institutional preferences, let’s call this Exhibit B:
The original headings remained in most English editions until 2004, when Doubleday published the first trade version of the LDS scripture and implemented the editing.
Until this month, the 1981 headings remained in the churchs online version at lds.org. When the church upgraded its website, the Doubleday changes were included online. The former version will continue for now in the printed English versions.
The Mormon church is leaving its historical missteps behind so quietly that they’ve decided to let a gentile book publisher lead the way.
Further reading: You can change chapter headings, but you cannot change history … the only way to remove the racial implications of Book of Mormon teachings is to change the text of the Book of Mormon itself.