Question: Why were the chapter headings in the Book of Mormon modified to remove "skin of blackness"?

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Question: Why were the chapter headings in the Book of Mormon modified to remove "skin of blackness"?

Chapter headings modified in the 2006 Doubleday edition of the Book of Mormon reflect the view of the curse being a separation from the presence of the Lord, rather than a "skin of blackness."

Some recent changes in the Book of Mormon's modern chapter headings further reinforce the idea that the "skin of blackness" was actually a separation from the Lord.

These headings are not part of the translated text and were never present in the 1830 edition. The most significant expansion of chapter headings occurred in the 1981 edition of all of the Standard Works. Changes made in the chapter headings of the 2006 Doubleday edition reflect the view of the curse being a separation from the presence of the Lord, rather than a "skin of blackness." Note the following two changes to the chapter headings between the 1981 and 2006 (Doubleday) editions (emphasis added): [1]

Chapter Chapter 1981 (Official LDS Church Edition) 2006 (Doubleday Edition)
2 Nephi 5 Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites. Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cut off from the presence of the Lord, are cursed, and become a scourge unto the Nephites.
Mormon 5 The Lamanites shall be a dark, filthy, and loathsome people Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites will be scattered, and the Spirit will cease to strive with them

Notes

  1. No More “Skin of Blackness”?: Race and Recent Changes in the Book of Mormon