Back in June of 1980, Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave a very famous (infamous) talk to the students of BYU. In it he outlined seven things that seems to be bothering him about perceived beliefs of Mormons, and proceeded to explain why these things were wrong.

The seven heresies are:

Heresy One: God is Progressing in knowledge and is learning new truths.

Heresy Two: A joint belief in organic evolution and revealed religion can be harmonized.

Heresy Three: Temple marriage assures us of exaltation.

Heresy Four: Salvation for the Dead offers men a second chance at salvation.

Heresy Five: The doctrine of Eternal Progression can also apply to individuals in progressing between kingdoms.

Heresy Six: The Adam-God Doctrine as espoused by Brigham Young and currently believed by various fundamentalist sects.

Heresy Seven: Individuals must be perfect to acquire salvation.

He said some pretty harsh things about these topics, so harsh that the church chose to alter the official transcript of his talk, to “tone it down”

You can listen to the original audio of his talk here, and you can read what church’s transcript of the talk here.

They are quite different in some places. So different, that even FairMormon (now known as FairChurchofJesusChristofLatter-day Saints) did a side by side comparison here, with the only comment that the talk was “softened significantly in the printed version to be more inclusive of different opinions.”

This is all new to me. I knew of the talk, but did not know of the changes the church made to it. I borrowed the below comparisons that a friend of mine put together. Some of the more significant ones to me are:

Audio: “There are those who say that revealed religion and organic evolution can be harmonized. This is both false and devilish.”

Transcript: “There are those who believe that the theory of organic evolution runs counter to the plain and explicit principles set forth in the holy scriptures as these have been interpreted and taught by Joseph Smith and his associates. There are others who think that evolution is the system used by the Lord to form plant and animal life and to place man on earth.”

Whoever edited the talk took out the definitive statement “false and devilish” and replaced it with some statements on what some people believe.

Audio: “Do not be deceived and led to believe that the famous document of the First Presidency  issued in the days of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled “The Origin of Man” means anything except exactly what it says.”

Transcript: “Should we accept the famous document of the First Presidency issued in the days of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled “The Origin of Man” as meaning exactly what it says?”

Here they turned a another definitive statement into a question.

Audio: [following the story of a non-member man who smoked, drank alcohol, and told “bawdi stories” but assumed his LDS wife would have his temple work done after he died.]

“He died and she did and it was a total and complete waste of time.”

Transcript: “He died and she had the work done in the temple. We do not sit in judgment and deny vicarious ordinances to people. But what will it profit him?”

Wow! Temple work for the dead is a total and complete waste of time! No wait, we can’t let the members know this, so lets change this sentence to say exactly the opposite of what Bruce said!

And finally:

Audio: [at the end of his talk] “Now I have deliberately read portions of my talk tonight because I wanted the words to be the way you heard them, so that I would be on record on the matters that are involved, and so that as far as I am concerned the word would have been said in the plainness that I have given it, and those who heard would then be accountable themselves for their reaction to it.”

Transcript: This was completely left out of the transcript!

The irony of his last statement, and the church’s treatment of it, is leaving poor old BRM rolling over in his grave! In fact this change is so full of irony, that even FairMormon couldn’t stomach it, and they (mistakenly?) put this statement in the “transcript” side (meaning BRM did not say it, but was added later by an editor).

What are your thoughts? What other changes in his talk do you find interesting?