Church removes racial references in Book of Mormon headings [Excerpts]
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.”
In both cases, the text itself remains unchanged.
Chapter summaries were added in the 1920s, then rewritten by the late LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie in 1981. That same year, a verse that used “white and delightsome” to describe what will happen to dark-skinned peoples when they repent was changed to “pure and delightsome.”
Critics argued the change was made to address allegations of racism, since the Utah-based faith had a racial policy that, until 1978, barred blacks from being ordained to the church’s all-male priesthood.