Chapter

Introduction

Terryl L. Givens

in By the Hand of Mormon

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138184
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834211 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019513818X.003.0001
 Introduction

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Scripture is a function of the ways in which texts become sacred through their employment or status in a religious community. To understand a scripture, one must understand the ways in which that work has exerted its authority over the lives of believers. The Book of Mormon has served in a variety of roles, for both detractors and believers, which have shifted over the years. Four principal roles have been: 1) sacred sign of the last days, and of Joseph Smith's divine calling; 2) a factual account of the pre‐Columbian peopling of the Western hemisphere by Israelite migrations around 600 bc; 3) the imaginative creation of a nineteenth‐century religion maker; and 4) a new American Bible. The unprecedented growth of this potentially new world religion is making an understanding of its core scripture increasingly imperative.

Keywords: American Bible; Book of Mormon; Israelite migrations; sacred sign; Joseph Smith; scripture

Chapter.  2032 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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