The Church are in the process of publishing an updated version of the Book of Mormon Institute Manual for CES classes. (They seem to be pretty busy at the moment!!!) It should be published by the end of the year. What prompted these changes and what do you hope to see from the new Manual?
There have been two previous manuals that have been produced from correlation committees, the first one I have seen but could not now find on the internet. The second manual was much smaller than the first and was published with an understanding that a new full manual would be forthcoming.
Previously I vicariously posted on ‘Academic freedom in the Church’ at MM, under James’ name. The topic of that discussion centered around whether the Church has experienced a shift toward more tolerance of differing views in light of recent press statements and interviews. This is a timely follow on. If there is more freedom and diversity in the Church, what would be the evidence for this in this manual, if at all? On hearing about this new manual I thought about what changes there might be? I considered whether the Church would present a more scholarly and diverse view of the Book of Mormon in this manual or would they retain McConkie and Fielding Smith as the ‘ghost writers’ by including a substantially larger proportion of quotations from them than others. What do you think?
Further, why do a new manual at all?
I know that Innoculation has been a running theme through the Bloggernacle as has discussion of the Book of Mormon more generally and therefore I appreciate that there is a wide spectrum of views concerning what the Book of Mormon is and how it came to us. With this is mind what would you like to see in this new manual? What writers or ideas would you like to see more of? Should there be more discussion of the translation (or revelation or writing) process? Is there a need to have a greater discussion of the Witnesses? What should be the intent of these manuals and how would they serve that purpose?