Myth, Materiality, and Book of Mormon Apologetics
A Sacred Text and its Interpreters
Keywords:Alternative archaeology, Mormonism, Book of Mormon, LDS Church
The Book of Mormon, first published in 1830, presents a detailed account of the migration of several groups from the ancient Near East to the Americas, and how these groups became the ancestors of the Native Americans. The description of these migrations fits well with common early nineteenth-century beliefs about the origins of the indigenous populations of America, but contradicts in numerous ways the scientific consensus that emerged roughly a century ago. Key apologists have constructed a range of arguments for the literal truth of the Book of Mormon account. This article examines the structure of a number of common apologetic arguments, and shows how interpretive commentary can project new meanings on a canonical text.
Asprem, Egil. 2015. “Dis/unity of knowledge: Models for the study of modern esotericism and science.” Numen 62: 538–567. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685276-12341391
Gardner, Brant A. 2013. “From the East to the West: The problem of directions in the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 3: 119–153.
Genette, Gérard. 1997. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511549373
Godfrey, Kenneth W. 1989. “The Zelph Story.” BYU Studies 29: 32–56.
Grayson, Donald K. 2007. “Deciphering North American Pleistocene extinctions.” Journal of Anthropological Research 63: 185–213. https://doi.org/10.3998/jar.0521004.0063.205
Hamblin, William J. 1993. “Basic methodological problems with the anti-Mormon approach to the geography and archaeology of the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2: 161–197.
Hamblin, William J. and A. Brent Merrill. 1990. “Swords in the Book of Mormon.” In Warfare in the Book of Mormon, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin, 329–351. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.
Hammer, Olav. 1997. “New Age religion and the sceptics.” In Handbook of New Age, edited by Daren Kemp and James R. Lewis, 379–404, Leiden: Brill.
Hansson, Sven Ove. 2017. “Science and pseudo-science.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/pseudo-science/.
Haynes, Gary. 2002. “The catastrophic extinction of North American mammoths and mastodonts.” World Archaeology 33: 391–416. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438240120107440
Hoskisson, Paul Y., ed. 2001. Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center.
Kelley, David H. 1960. “Calendar animals and deities.” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 16: 317–335. https://doi.org/10.1086/soutjanth.16.3.3629035
Larson, Stan. 1997. Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Freethinker Press.
Lee, Martha F. 2005. “Nesta Webster: The Vice of Conspiracy.” Journal of Women’s History 17: 81–104. https://doi.org/10.1353/jowh.2005.0033
Lewis, James R. and Olav Hammer, eds. 2011. Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science. Leiden: Brill.
Lincoln, Bruce. 1994. Authority: Construction and Corrosion. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Martin, Paul S. 1973. “The discovery of America.” Science, New Series 179: 969–974.
Mauss, Armand. 1994. The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
McGuire, R. H. 1992. “Archeology and the first Americans.” American Anthropologist 94: 816–836. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1992.94.4.02a00030
Oaks, Dallin. 2001. “The historicity of the Book of Mormon.” In Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, edited by Paul Y. Hoskisson, 237–248. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center.
Palmer, David. 1981. In Search of Cumorah. Bountiful, UT: Horizon. Special collection.
Perego, Ugo A. and Jayne E. Ekins. 2014. “Is decrypting the genetic legacy of America’s indigenous population key to the historicity of the Book of Mormon?” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 12: 237–279.
Roberts, B. H. 1909–1911. New Witnesses for God. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press.
Roper, Matthew. 1996. “Eyewitness descriptions of swords in the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5: 150–158.
———. 1997. “On cynics and swords.” FARMS Review of Books 9: 146–158.
———. 1999. “Swords and ‘cimeters’ in the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8: 34–43, 77–78.
———. 2015. “John Bernhisel’s gift to a prophet: Incidents of travel in Central America and the Book of Mormon.” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 16: 207–253.
Silverberg, Robert. 1969. Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society.
Sjodahl, Janne. 1927. An Introduction to the Study of the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press.
Sorenson, John L. 1985. An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Books.
———. 1992. The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book. Provo, UT: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.
———. 1992a. “When Lehi’s party arrived in the land, did they find others there?” Journal of Mormon Studies 1: 1–34.
Southerton, Simon. 2004. Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church. Salt Lake City: Signature Books.
Sperry, Sidney B. 1968. Book of Mormon Compendium. Salt Lake City: Deseret Books.
Thomas, Cyrus. 1894. Report on the mound explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology. 12th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology for 1890-1891.Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
Wauchope, Robert. 1962. Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents: Myth and Method in the Study of the American Indians. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Welch, John W., ed. 1992. Reexploring the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Deseret Books.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.