“They Shall Be a Pure and Delightsome People”

K. Douglas Bassett

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Millet and McConkie, 1:355-356

“Except the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon, in all editions prior to 1981 this verse read ‘a white and delightsome people.’ The 1981 change was made in conformity with the 1840 edition (the only one personally revised by Joseph Smith) where the word ‘pure’ rather than ‘white’ is found. Commenting on this point, Robert J. Matthews wrote: ‘The decision to use ‘pure’ in this passage was made not on the basis of the original manuscripts (as were most other cases) but on the 1840 revision by the Prophet Joseph Smith and the judgment of the [current] living prophets. This correction does not negate the concept that future generations of Lamanites will become white, but it removes the concept that one has to be white to be delightsome to the Lord.’” (Rodney Turner, Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure, ed. by Nyman and Tate, p. 156)
“We were recently with the Navajo Nation at Window Rock in Arizona… . It was difficult to hold back the tears as we mingled with these sons and daughters of Father Lehi. In my imagination I have seen him weeping for his progeny who for so long have walked in poverty and pain. But the shackles of darkness are falling. Some of them now are men and women of achievement. They have partaken of the fruits of education. They have come to know and love the gospel. They have become pure and delightsome. But there is so much more to do among them. Alcohol and drugs literally destroy many of them. We must do more to help. As I look to the future, I envision the Spirit of the Lord being poured out upon these people. Education will unlock the door of opportunity, and the gospel will bring new light and understanding into their lives.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1997, p. 67)

Latter-Day Commentary on the Book of Mormon