I'm a fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (hereafter referred to as MST3K). It's one of those annoying 'quotable' shows. Rather than delve into what could be a long drawn-out explanation of the plot I will jump right into the quote I want to share. One of the characters has just finished explaining a risky plan of action. Another character then asks, "So what's in it for us? And by 'us' I mean, 'me'."
I've been wondering lately, especially after reading The Grammar of Inequity, why we still use words in church discourse and scriptures that need to be explained? Why are many phrases followed by "and by [X] I mean [Y]" in a fashion similar to the line I quoted above. There are many, formerly gender-neutral words that are now gender specific. There are other euphemisms, and all sorts of archaic words. I can think of all sorts of good reasons to publish/retranslate the Bible (and maybe the Book of Mormon too), but can only think of a few reasons to keep it how it is.
I think that the major reason that the Church still uses the KJV Bible is because of the many slanders we have recieved due to the Book of Mormon. While other denominations have re-translated the Bible endlessly in efforts to make it easier to understand, easier to read, and (subconciously) more favorable towards their doctrines. I think the LDS Church is afraid to retranslate, (or even publish with JST in line) the Bible lest they be accused of altering what is there. We're condemned enough for 'adding' to it, that we'd rather use the older versions to increase our credibility. Almost as if to say "See? We still use this old version of the Bible! We don't want to change anything about it because we think it is correct enough as it stands."
The next most LDS reason to keep it how it is would be: distribution. If the church did put out whole new translation of the Bible then all the members would eventually have to get a new one. For many members they are lucky enough to have scriptures at all, buying a new set would be a huge burden. If the new translation altered, or deleted verses, then all of the Manuals, and church publications would have to be checked and edited for accuracy. That also brings up the questions of old General Conference talks, and magazines that are available to the membership. Should we go through those and change those quotes to match? Should we just provide the new references for the correlating verses? It would be a correlation committee nightmare!
The next reason would be the perks of ambiguity. If the meaning is ambiguous then members have to pray and research to understand. Such prayer and research shows committment and sincerity, which is rewarded with deeper understanding and companionship of the spirit. Were the scriputres easy to understand we would take everything at face value, and feel little need to put serious effort into scripture study.
A bigger reason may be a fear on behalf of the leaders of being 'the next Bruce R. McConkie.' Br. McConkie may have felt he was inspired in everything he wrote in Mormon Doctrine, but it later became painfully clear that he was not. No matter how legitimate anything else he had to say was, the statements that were untrue haunted him until his death, and continue to tarnish the image of the church. No one wants that legacy, and so the brethren fear to make any statements or interpretations that they are not certain is divinely inspired. The Bible is a veritable mine-field of potential misinterpretations.
Lastly, these men aren't career scriptorians, or theologians. They don't have the greek, the hebrew and the ancient middle-east history to put much of the scriptures into context. The people who do have that knowledge don't have the priesthood keys.
A few other reasons are: Sometimes ambiguity is good. No one wants to explain to an 8 year old why Lot had sex with his daughters, but kids just gloss over Lot 'knowing' his daughters (normally). Archaic language sounds cool, and just feels more formal. We tend to think more of respecting God when we use 'thees and thous' though it comes at the expense of intimacy. Lastly we can always say "and by [X] they mean [Y]" allowing us a great deal of flexibility in interpretations that may later prove to be false.
So, I'd just like to say that I know the scriptures are true, and by that I mean I'm pretty sure that most of what they say is probably what God wants them to say.