“Scales of Darkness Shall Begin to Fall”

Brant Gardner

Once again we have verses that have had a modern reading with racial overtones. In this case, however, it is clear that the “scales of darkness” must refer to something rather than skin color, and this darkness will fall from their eyes and not from the skin. The transformation into pure and delightsome is not based on an alteration of a physical trait, but the alteration of a spiritual trait, and one that is dependent upon the reception of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is the immediate precedent in verse 5.

Variant: The printer’s manuscript, the 1830, and 1837 editions of the Book of Mormon all have the phrase “white and delightsome” rather than “pure and delightsome.” The word “pure” was first introduced in the 1840 edition, but then the word “white” returned for all editions until the 1981 edition. That source also notes a somewhat similar usage for “white”:

Dan. 12:10

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Book of Mormon Critical Text. FARMS 1987, 1:277).

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon