“A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”: The Book of Mormon as Sacred Sign

Terryl L. Givens

in By the Hand of Mormon

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138184
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834211 | DOI:
 “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”: The Book of Mormon as Sacred Sign

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In the context of 19th‐century American millennialism, many early converts to Mormonism heralded the Book of Mormon as a sign of the end times. In an era of many prophets and visionaries, the Book of Mormon was offered as tangible proof that Joseph was an authentic prophet. Joseph Smith's emphatic literalism and appeal to physical and historical evidence made him both more threatening and more attractive than a Jacob Boehme or an Emanuel Swedenborg. The story of angels, seer stones, and gold plates, thus displaced a focus on the Book of Mormon's content, for both critics and believers.

Keywords: angels; Book of Mormon; gold plates; Jacob Boehme; millennialism; prophets; Joseph Smith; seer stones; Emanuel Swedenborg; visionaries

Chapter.  12761 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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