Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose I told you there were thousands of errors in the first edition of the Book of Mormon–not necessarily in every copy, but in the first edition as a whole–or more precisely that there are nearly 4000 changes between the first edition and the 1981 edition. Would that shake your testimony? Should it?
Suppose I said it differently, “The Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth, has 3,913 corrections.” (Read that with a sneer. Those or similar words begin Jerald and Sandra Tanners’ classic 3,913 Changes in The Book of Mormon.) Would my words shake your testimony? Should they?
My guess is that the answer to either question would be “No.” No, the fact of changes, corrections and errors in the Book of Mormon don’t upset or unsettle you, and no, you don’t see any reason why it should. And that lack of seeing doesn’t indicate some willful blindness on your part, some desire to avoid unpleasant facts, some lack of serious thought about the implications changes in sacred texts. Indeed, if I pushed you on it you would probably quote the first section of the Doctrine & Covenants,
“These commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.”
You might say something about the scriptures not being dictation, that prophets write in response to a command to write the vision,
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
or even invoke Moroni’s comment about the imperfection of prophets,
Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
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