The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has just announced the online release of a new edition of the LDS scriptures, with physical copies to be made available beginning in August. Although the new version includes some spelling and punctuation changes along with minor tweaks to fonts and layout, the vast majority of the changes are to study materials, including to chapter headings and introductions to the various texts—some of them quite substantive, especially when seen as signals to an increased openness to admitting historical and doctrinal development.
In this episode, panelists Gina Colvin, Charley Harrell, and Ben Park join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in an early evaluation of the changes. Attuned to history and the way texts shape cultures, including Mormonism’s, they go over the Church’s announced reasons for doing what they’ve done with headings and section introductions, focusing on interesting specifics such as elimination of Jesus Christ from any Old Testament chapter headings. The examine the major changes to the descriptions of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, along with those for Official Declarations 1 and 2. The panel members are also excellent observers of the meta messages embedded in the changes, and they offer takes about what the Church seems to be growing more comfortable in responding to, and where it is still quite tentative.
Even if you have read the announcement articles and poked around a bit in the online versions and summaries, there is still much in this discussion that should catch your attention! We hope you will listen and contribute to the conversation in the comments below.