The topic of divorce was important in New Testament times and is even more important in our day, unfortunately. For Christians seeking to understand what the Bible has to say about divorce, there's an inconvenient obstacle that is rarely acknowledged by many "mainstream" preachers of the Bible: occasional conflicts in the ancient manuscripts that are available for translators to use. Some Christians grow up with the impression that translators simply use the ancient Greek text for the New Testament and the ancient Hebrew text for the Old Testament, texts that have been perfectly preserved with the original words of the authors. It's far more complex than that. The question of divorce illustrates some of the challenges that translators may face in preparing modern versions of the Bible, as John Gee explains in "The Corruption of Scripture in Early Christianity," a chapter in Noel Reynolds' book, Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy (see the original chapter for footnotes):
Consider the text of Matthew 19:9 where Jesus identifies who commits adultery in the case of divorce and remarriage. The passage is not preserved before the fourth century when there are three major variant traditions, one of which reads: "whosoever divorces his wife except by reason of sexual immorality makes her commit adultery and whosoever marries the divorced woman commits adultery;" another reads: "whosoever divorces his wife except for adultery and marries another commits adultery;" a third reads "whosoever divorces his wife except for adultery and marries another commits adultery himself and whosoever marries the divorced woman commits adultery." Here, between the variants, we have Jesus making opposite rulings about who is guilty in case of divorce. We have no way of knowing which of the textual readings, if any, is correct, but we know that at least two cannot be. We cannot appeal to the earliest text because all the variants are attested in the fourth century when the earliest manuscripts appear. The matter discussed in this passage is a very practical one with significant implications for Christian practice, one where the text is significantly corrupted, and the manuscripts reflect various biases.Until reading Gee's chapter, I didn't recognize that there was a question mark over that verse. If anything, it should make us more cautious in applying that passage.
Such challenges are not unique to the Bible. There are uncertainties in the original manuscripts for the Book of Mormon, for example, in addition to printer's errors, and then there will be errors in translation for other languages, just as there will be in the Bible. We are grateful for the majesty of the scriptures, but must recognize that anything that has gone through human hands--the hands of scribes, translators, and printers, and even the hands of mortal authors, however prophetic and inspired--can have imperfections. Don't let that inconvenient truth shake you from the truths that have been revealed. It's an imperfect world, but we do have scripture and we do have modern prophets and apostles who can continue to guide us in the pattern that Christ established in the original Church of Jesus Christ.