Church leaders have long maintained public ambiguity about the history of the ban and its end; they have rarely acknowledged the ordination of early African-American Mormons nor have they cited anti-racist teaching in the Book of Mormon in connection with the Church’s own troubled history on race. The new heading historicizes the ban (suggesting the influence of a robust Church History department) and depicts it as a contradiction to the original impulses of the faith, not corrected until 1978. The heading does, some commentators have noted, offer continuing cover to Brigham Young, whose on-the-record racist statements to the Utah legislature suggest his influence in the evolution of a non-ordination policy. Commentators also note the absence of reference to the fact that black women were not historically admitted to LDS temple worship until the 1978 announcement.And the Mormons have revised some of their historiography as well.
Another significant change is to the introduction to the Pearl of Great Price, a book of scripture long presented as a direct translation of Egyptian papyri obtained by Joseph Smith but shown by Egyptologists to have no connection to their source material. The new edition now characterizes the Book of Abraham as an “inspired translation” of the papyri. Changes to the introduction to the now-canonized official announcement of the end of institutionally-sanctioned polygamy also suggest an effort to historicize polygamy and connect it with Book of Mormon teachers that teach monogamy as “God’s standard.”Oh what a tangled web they've woven themselves.