New Edition of the Scriptures

Read all about it here.

One change:  the header to OD #1–see it here.

And . . . the header to OD #2–see it here.

These are pretty significant statements.

What other changes have you noticed?

44 comments for “New Edition of the Scriptures

  1. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:27 am
  2. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

    OK, sorry for all of these comments, but I guess I sort of ended up live blogging my exploration of the changes. The changes to the header of D & C 57 are interesting–removal of criticism of Native American culture.

  3. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Nice shout out to Sister Knight added to the D &C 59 header.

  4. Robert Ricks
    March 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

    The change in the Book of Abraham description endorsing a less literal mode of “translation” that no longer directly identifies the papyri as the source seems noteworthy. Old version: “a translation of some Egyptian papyri.” New: “an inspired translation of the writings of Abraham.”

  5. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Change to D & C 87 header is interesting–removes references to “African slavery.”

    Robert, that’s very interesting.

  6. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Changes to D &C 98 header are interesting–a little more sympathetic to the Missourians.

    Changes to sec 105 header do the same thing.

  7. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

    And a shout out to Sister Clapp added to the D &C 99 header. (Note that the two women added to the headers are mentioned in connection with their deaths, but still.)

  8. mikka
    March 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

    The Bible Chronology lists The Fall of Adam as (implicitly) 4000 BC. I’m extremely uncomfortable with this.

  9. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

    D &C 132 header change implies that eternal marriage is not necessarily the same thing as plural marriage.

  10. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 10:01 am

    This link:

    Lists all of the changes.

    I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that an easy guide to all of the changes is available. (You’ll notice in the original post that I assumed that we’d need to ferret these out for ourselves.)

    There are way more change than I can do justice to in a single post, but by way of summary, I’d say that pretty much everything I’m seeing is a victory for the more modern, scholarly approach to the scriptures with a greater awareness of modern sensibilities and the removal of a few generations of unjustifiable accretions of tradition to the record.

  11. mikka
    March 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Oh, hah, haven’t read my quad in so long I didn’t realise the date isn’t a change. Still, you’d think if they want to claim no official opinion on Long Time, that should have been blurred a bit.

    What *is* interesting is that with all the spelling changes, shew is still shew.

  12. March 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I found this change most interesting: The old edition says that the Book of Abraham is a “translation from some Egyptian papyri that came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835, containing writings of the patriarch Abraham,” while the new edition says that it is an “inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri.”

    That seems to me an act of distancing the church from any claim that the papyri actually had Abraham’s words on them.

  13. Adam Greenwood
    March 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Definitely some interesting apologetics and doctrinal changes. I like this new stuff a lot.

    I’ve tried to make a list of all the important changes here:

  14. Amy T
    March 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I looked particularly for “shew” as well, mikka, since my children were made to feel uncomfortable in their early-morning seminary class recently for their pronunciation of “show.”

    (It was a good chance to reaffirm the lesson that there is no end to ignorance and that they shouldn’t take it personally, but still.)

    The changes are impressive, including the new introductions to the Official Declarations and the removal of references to the HC.

  15. Kevin Barney
    March 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm
  16. Nate R
    March 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The new edition does not seem to make many changes based on Royal Skousen’s “Book of Mormon: Earliest Text” (etc.).

    In some cases Skousen’s critical edition reverts to non-standard grammar, and there are reasons for the Church to stick with the changed grammar even if it is less faithful to the earliest manuscripts.

    But in other cases Skousen’s edition makes some significant changes in vocabulary that have NOT been changed in the new edition, which is unfortunate. For example, Skousen gives a compelling argument that in Nephi’s version of Lehi’s dream the text should be changed from “gospel of the LORD” to “gospel of the LAMB”. There are other similarly compelling changes Skousen makes which were rejected or (more likely) ignored.

  17. March 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Despite the PGP intro changes, the intro to Book of Abraham did not change as far as linking the papyrii.

  18. March 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    In my dream world, I’d like to take credit for the No Blood Before the Fall being removed. I sent a preliminary version of what became the blog post No Blood Before The Fall: Where’d That Come From? a few years ago to the curriculum department, and received an email confirmation of its being forwarded to the scripture committee.

  19. SusanS
    March 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    The typography is terrible.

  20. March 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Always exciting to see the new info/changes.

    Here’s my typically feministy take on it.

  21. Amy T
    March 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’m curiously about what you find terrible, SusanS. I don’t care for the two-column format — I’ve found it hard to read for about a decade now; I had to use an old English Book of Mormon to finish President Hinckley’s challenge back in 2005 — but other than that, it’s standard scripture typesetting.

  22. Nate R
    March 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Susan S and Amy T.

    get Grant Hardy’s “B. of M.: Readers Edition”. One column, formatted well so it is easy to read large chunks in one sitting.

    I started using this for family scripture study with my kids, because the paragraph format visually shows where the topic shifts, and so makes a convenient place to stop/start.

  23. Adam Greenwood
    March 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    On the feministy angle, the new Bible Dictionary entry on the Fall has changed to talking about the Fall of Adam and Eve instead of just the Biblical-style language of the Fall of Adam. But only partly changed. There are still a couple of references to Adam’s fall. Maybe as a shorthand or to integrate scriptural language in.


  24. CarlH
    March 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Personally, I’m pleased about the revisions–which I view as positive developments–as well about the Church’s approach in announcing them in a way that highlights them all.

    But “victory”? Over whom/what? My personal biases lead me to suspect a knuckle-dragging straw man, but one who gets dragged out pretty regularly in the bloggernacle, also usually without identification–at least when the Correlation Committee isn’t conveniently available.

  25. March 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Interesting, Adam Greenwood. Thanks for noting that. I’ll pass the info on.

  26. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    “But “victory”? Over whom/what?”

    A victory over traditions, such as the folklore surrounding the priesthood ban, that have distanced us from the truth. (I’m not big on bashing correlation myself.)

  27. Cameron N
    March 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm


    I don’t know if the typography is terrible. But I think that will be the biggest adjustment for me. I hope I don’t miss the old typography while reading the scriptures…the doctrinal minutia impacts me less.

  28. Matt Madden
    March 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    re: No Blood: They also removed the reference to no sin/children/death for “any of the earthly creations” before the fall. Now all those trilobites and dinosaurs can finally rest in peace.

  29. Erik
    March 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    @Matt Madden: while that reference has been removed, the text still says “After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal” – so the idea of no death at all before the Fall is still clearly there.

    Interpretations of the Fall as symbolic or figurative (Eden being pre-existence or what have you) are also still not consistent with the remaining commentary that “Latter-day revelation supports the biblical account of the Fall, showing that it was a historical event that literally occurred in the history of man.”

    Still got some catching up to do.

  30. Cameron N
    March 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Or do we have some catching up to do? Still looking through that tarnished mirror…

  31. Matt Madden
    March 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    @Erik: Agreed.

    Similarly, the apparent effort within the PoGP intro to distance the book of Abraham from the papyrus translation “theory” is completely undermined by the continued presence of the papyri facsimiles in the canon and the heading “Translated from the Papyrus, by Joseph Smith” still glaring from the top of Abraham. (Note that part is not in italics, meaning it’s part of the canon and not a study aid. The COB bureaucrats may have some leeway with the study aids and front matter, but darn that canon! What can you do?)

  32. Eric Facer
    March 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Does anyone know if there have been changes to the chapter headings/summaries in the Old and New Testaments? Several of the ones in 1981 edition are questionable or are just plain wrong, a product of Brother McConkie’s effort to construe scriptural passages to fit the Mormon narrative.

  33. Shelama
    March 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune: “”Pretty much everything I’m seeing is a victory for the more modern, scholarly approach to the scriptures with a greater awareness of modern sensibilities,” Mormon blogger Julie M. Smith writes at,…”

    Well, maybe, as long as one recognizes that the Mormons totally eschew a “scholarly” approach to the Bible and pretty much silently default to dismal, pathetic Bible apologetics at the level of Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig or maybe Tom Wright. Or none at all.

    What else can they do? Joseph Smith told them they believe the Bible to be the word of a god. And, for no good reason, they just do.

    While BYU-Neal Maxwell and FAIR “scholarship” labors hard on uniquely Mormon scripture – more than good enough to convince the already believing – where is the modern, serious, critical “scholarship” arguing for Genesis as either divine or reliable history? Or authorship of Torah and on through the Deuteronomist?

    Or the Gospels as reliable history by eye-witnesses?

    You know, little, inconsequential things like that?

  34. Eric Facer
    March 1, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    @Matt Madden: Fortunately, labeling something “canon” doesn’t make it true.

  35. Julie M. Smith
    March 1, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Re #34: yes, there are changes to the chapter headings in the Bible. Not a bunch, but some, and some are at least somewhat significant. I’m up to Numbers 11. When I finish, I’ll post. :)

  36. Eric Facer
    March 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    #17 Kevin Barney: Kevin, what difference does it make whether you call it the Gospel According to St. Matthew or the Testimony of St. Matthew when virtually all biblical scholars agree that these four men did not write the books of scripture that bear their names? Rather, they are compilations of Christ’s teachings and the history of His time that have multiple authors and editors and that were assembled after most, if not all, of these for apostles had died.

  37. Dean H.
    March 2, 2013 at 3:16 am

    It is interesting to me how differently we sometimes interpret words. #4 I always thought the header in D&C 57 was more a criticism of Western Missouri (the Wild Wild West) than of Native American culture. #11 I thought the old heading for D&C 132 suggested eternal marriage is not the same thing plural marriage (and was confirmed by vv 15-19).

    I mostly am enjoying the changes. But I will really miss the typo “sinnner” in Luke 7:39 (that’s 50% more sin). I have used that for years to illustrate that we can believe a text is inspired while still containing the “mistakes of men” (BoM title page). To me it was a clear (and fun example), and a great set-up for a class discussion about what is inspired writing. How will I ever find another typo?

  38. Kevin Barney
    March 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Eric, you raise a completely separate question. If we’re going to purport to represent emendations to the text from the JST manuscripts, we need to represent such emendations accurately.

  39. Reeder
    March 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    @Dean H.: After checking my copies of the scriptures, it looks like the Luke 7:39 “sinnner” reference (which I had never noticed) was removed with the 2003 edition (along with “atonenent” in the Alma 34 chapter heading, which I had). One that was noted as removed in this edition is “the the” in Doctrine and Covenants 104:39. I’m a little disappointed never to have noticed that one until now. Maybe there are still others!

    One other comment on the revisions: references to the unusual names formerly used in Section 78 and elsewhere have been removed. That’s fine, of course, but besides being an interesting footnote, a connection with Joseph Smith and “Gazelem” of Alma 37:23 is gone.

  40. March 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    #37 – Julie, please leave a link here when you do.

  41. Bruce Forbes
    March 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I have not been able to get the .pdf of the 2013 edition of the Bible to download. It gets about halfway and stalls out. The Triple downloaded fine. Has anyone else had this same problem? Could anyone who has it downloaded send it to me as an attachement? I’m dying to look it over!

  42. Mark Pickering
    April 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Nate R.,

    I just heard from Skousen himself today at a conference that the new edition does not adopt any of his changes. But he did say that the Yale UP edition of the Earliest Text will be available in PDF through Amazon in May.

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