Elder McConkie, I think, made large contributions to the Church. He systematized and provided the only real encyclopedic Gospel reference book in a time when computers filled rooms. I think he provided some things the Church needed at a particular time. That time appears to have passed.
The following should be taken with a grain of salt. I have sources, but most of them are shadowy people I’ve met in dark parking garages.
Mormon Doctrine, written by a member of the 70 in 1957, has outlived its usefulness. High church leadership intended The Encyclopedia of Mormonism to replace it (which has unfortunately not come to pass), and Deseret Book will not republish it after the current printing sells out.
The man’s testimony still stands, but his intellectual contributions have been surpassed.
don’t see this as a tempest in a teapot, and it changes very little. The intro as written (“ primary” “principal ancestors”) still allows for the presence of peoples other than those in the Book of Mormon, something Elder McConkie believed. As changed, it still allows Book of Mormon genes and descent to Native Americans whether in North or South America. It’s not doctrinal revisionism, nor is it messing with any canonized text. I don’t see much of a difference, except that it diffuses absolutist misreadings.