Posted by: Jay | November 12, 2007

Significant Book of Mormon Introduction Change


I thought I’d just post this since it is (IMO) the biggest thing in the LDS Church since blacks received the priesthood. Last week it was reported that the LDS Church is going to change the introduction page of the Book of Mormon. It now says, “… all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” In future editions the words “principal ancestors” will be changed to “among the ancestors”. This change is huge when you consider that for over 150 years the LDS Church has maintained, or at least not debated the general perception, that Native Americans are all descendants of Lamanites, even though archaeological and DNA evidence do not support such a view. This change seems to indicate that the Church is acknowledging the problems that are associated with such a belief. I wonder if this upcoming change will be made widely known among the membership and if it will affect the testimonies of lay members. I think this is a great step in a positive direction. It shows that the Church can step back from long held dogmatic views and take a different, more accurate stance. I applaud the LDS leadership for making the change.


  1. A small but significant correction is that the change is not on the TITLE page, which was written by the hand of Mormon himself, but rather the change is to change wording in the “Introduction” to the Book of Mormon. It is not part of the original Book of Mormon, but only later added as … a helpful introduction.

  2. Dixee,
    You are correct. There is a big difference between the title page and the introduction to the BOM. I made the change. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. I think the reason for the change is because we are learning even as LDS. Not everything was revealed at the time of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith might have known it but did not explain it. Having researched the topic about the DNA issue I have read about the X factor which a group of people in the great lakes region carried. The were the Hopewell Tribe, that were destroyed around 400 AD according to scientists. Many are starting to believe the Narrow Neck of land was in the Great Lakes region. The reason the Lamanites were so plentiful so quickly above that of the Nephites was because they married people already of the region. This would explain how they had their skin change colors as well.

    I think the concern about DNA and location are not completely know but the truth is exciting to research.

    Those who think that the church has all the answers do not understand the church. They have answers pertaining to matters of salvation but these types of answers as to location DNA and culture and much more will be found step by step. I believe that not all is revealed yet. If it was Faith would not be required of people and those who would know all the truth would be held condemned to the knowledge they sin against.

  4. I wanted to say many of the above statements are not doctrine but are good speculations because we do not have the answers on it again.

  5. Can you explain the “X factor”, I’m not sure to what you are referring. If you have an article please reference it so we can all read it. Thanks.

  6. The term “principal ancestors” was added to the 1981 edition, it was no where to be found before that. It is a good thing they are finally getting rid of it as it has no basis in fact at all. My guess is the committee who wrote the intro prior to the 1981 edition being released were “lifers” in the church and going off of Mormon lore they accepted as fact. The new intro sounds more accurate, I am glad the church is making the change.

  7. @joe –

    Those who think that the church has all the answers do not understand the church.

    Those who think that revelation may be subject to revision do not understand revelation. Joseph Smith didn’t write the Introduction to the Book of Mormon, it was written in 1981 by Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

    I’m glad that science once again trumps dogmatic fairytales. It’s too bad people in the church don’t see the change for what it really is.

  8. PA and BD,
    I agree with you both. Bruce R. McConkie was famous for believing old ideas and talking about them as if they were doctrine. It is unfortunate that so many leaders and the Church in general allowed these ideas about Native Americans to stand for so long. I remember on my mission to S. America how all of us missionaries thought we were teaching the Lamanites (the mission president told us this). We bought into this false idea because it was exciting.

    I do think the change is important because it shows the Church is not continuing to support false ideas. I think it would be worth while to have an institute class where these type of things are discussed. Maybe then the general membership would begin to be educated on this and many other subjects.

    • You made a good point. You went out as a missionary and lied. Every door you knocked on was a lie you added to your list of sins. It was not your fault because you belived in the church. So in a sence, the church was leading you astray into sin. You did this for two years or more. You have to ask yourslef “What other lies was I telling”. This is very dangerous ground. How do you know you are not being lead into utter darkness when lies begin to surface.
      What excuse would God have if you just preached what was found in the bible “safe ground”. I can’t help but think of those people you preached to and were mis-lead. That’s on your head.

      • Hmmm, no my conscience is clear.

  9. Not one comment has addressed the American Indian who cherishes the LDS teachings, and realizes one’s own traditions and history to be a part of it.
    This change in the introduction can put into white minds the idea that the BOM no longer applies to all tribes, and since no one can say which to apply it to, a general disregard will set in.
    I know first hand of an LDS Lakota (from South Dakota) being yelled at to go back to Mexico (from right in Utah).
    It’s easy to give your thoughts about this when it does not effect you, isn’t it? If you don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, then don’t worry about what it says.
    If you do believe in it, don’t change how you would treat others in response to this new wording.
    For Joe, in regards to the haplogroup x, they were not destroyed with the Hopewell. There is one American Indian nation with a higher percentage of this chromosome than all others and they are alive and well, along with the few other tribes that carry it.

  10. No more ites

    “Not one comment has addressed the American Indian who cherishes the LDS teachings, and realizes one’s own traditions and history to be a part of it.”

    Does he cherish that the book Of Mormon teaches his skin was darkened from originally being white?
    and that his long term hope is to become white again?

    And why do the Siberian Mongoloid Asians have the same dark skin as the American Indians ? Did the curse extend to Asia also?

    “This change in the introduction can put into white minds the idea that the BOM no longer applies to all tribes, and since no one can say which to apply it to, a general disregard will set in.”

    I have concluded that it doesn’t apply to anyone, let alone ‘which’ tribe.

  11. To Elder Joseph:

    “If you don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, then don’t worry about what it says.”

    Your conclusions are yours, and my position is neither one of support or criticism of anyone’s faith. But many LDS are racist toward American Indian when in fact LDS historical teachings indicate that the indigenous people of North America should be considered with a sacredness.

    My entire point was that the change in the introduction can make racism within the LDS people even worse.

    I hope that in your conclusions, you do not disregard the atrocities committed on the indigenous people of North America, or try to justify them under “Manifest Destiny”.

    The single largest massacre in the expansion of the Western United States occurred near Preston Idaho, and a prominent Cache Valley leader openly stated that it was God’s intervention. Does this change to the introduction mean that the murders of women and children was somehow even more right?

    In calling yourself “Elder”, do you refer to a priesthood, or a traditional indigenous term?

    As I cannot conclude your use of the word “Elder”, I also do not know how you consider the American Indian.

    My position is that if an individual chooses to believe the LDS faith, that the whites within it do not develop more racism by deciding who they thing the Book of Mormon does or does not apply to.

  12. Please leave comments not just links to other pages. Thanks.

  13. BnRnFJ Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

  14. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and is most definately our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s church on the Earth and no debate will change this fact. I say this with great respect for other churches, religions and faith groups. I love all of Heavenly Father’s children irrespective of religion, faith and creed. We all have the right, at least in this country of the U.S.A to believe what we will without decrying, hating, attacking, using derogatory language of those of different faiths and belief’s. We all will know one day who is in favor with God and who will go to other places other than heaven. We all know that some of us will go to ‘heaven’ and some of us will go elsewhere, but until then, let us treat each other with great respect as all of us are spiritual brothers and sisters and children of a loving Heavenly Father. Debate…yes but debate with love and respect.

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