Friday, March 1, 2013

LDS Church Announces Release Of Updated English-Language Version Of Scriptures In Digital Format; Most Changes Are In The Study Aids

On February 28th, 2013, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the release of an updated English-language version of its scriptures, often referred to as the Standard Works and consisting of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Online and mobile versions of the new edition are available now at Annotations that readers have made in their Gospel Library accounts will automatically transfer to the new digital scriptures. This will be followed by the release of updated print editions in August 2013. All this represents the culmination of eight years of work; read a history of the LDS scriptures HERE. The changes are discussed on this video (if this video auto-starts, I'll pull it):

A bulletized 12-page summary of changes is available HERE. The summary from the first page is cross-published below:

● The quality of the font and typeface has been improved for clearer reading.

● More than 99 percent of the corrections are in the study aids (chapter summaries, footnotes, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, and triple combination index).

● Some minor typographical errors in spelling and punctuation in the text have been corrected to ensure fidelity to the earliest manuscripts and editions.

● Errors in cross-references, dated information, or misquoted text have been corrected in the footnotes, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, and triple combination index.

● In the Book of Mormon, all scripture text that is part of the translation from the plates has been placed in roman typeface. Only study helps, such as chapter headings, remain in italics.

● The style and format of titles have been standardized throughout the scriptures.

● The introductions, tables of contents, and abbreviations pages have been standardized.

● The style and language of the chapter summaries has been standardized through out the scriptures.

The remaining 11 pages contain a list of specific word/phrase changes and their locations. The Joseph Smith Papers website gives a list of changes to the Doctrine & Covenants section headings. And if that's not enough, there's a side-by-side comparison between the old and the new Doctrine & Covenants HERE.

Generating considerable commentary in the LDS Bloggernacle are the new introductions to Official Declaration 1 (1890 revelation indefinitely suspending plural marriage) and Official Declaration 2 (1978 revelation extending Priesthood membership to all worthy males). Added new introductions and historical background to both Official Declarations, and placed them in an italic typeface to indicate that they are study helps. Bloggernacle venues discussing these changes include Junior Ganymede and Millennial Star and Feast Upon The Word. The consensus is that the changes in the incorporation of the Official Declarations and in the Book of Abraham are the most significant; Joe Spencer noted that "an implicit recognition that there’s no obvious relationship between the Book of Abraham and the Joseph Smith Papyri has been worked into the introduction to the Pearl of Great Price".

By Common Consent has gone ape with four different posts on the changes, albeit one post discussing each major change. A Latter-Day Voice weighs in with enthusiasm, and we have more guarded optimism from New Zealand on KiwiMormon, where Gina Colvin is skeptical of the statement “Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice”. However, New Zealanders are subjected to much more official anti-racist propaganda than we are in the USA, so her skepticism may be understandable.

Mainstream media stories were published by KSL Channel 5 and the Salt Lake Tribune.

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