By Grant Hardy
Mark Twain as soon as derided the ebook of Mormon as "chloroform in print." lengthy and complex, written within the language of the King James model of the Bible, it boggles the minds of many. but it's certainly the most influential books ever written. With over one hundred forty million copies in print, it's a significant textual content of 1 of the most important and fastest-growing faiths on this planet. And, furnish Hardy exhibits, it is from the coma-inducing doorstop caricatured via Twain.
In Understanding the publication of Mormon, Hardy bargains the 1st entire research of the work's narrative constitution in its one hundred eighty 12 months background. in contrast to almost all different contemporary global scriptures, the booklet of Mormon provides itself as an built-in narrative instead of a sequence of doctrinal expositions, ethical injunctions, or devotional hymns. Hardy takes readers via its characters, occasions, and ideas, as he explores the tale and its messages. He identifies the book's literary innovations, comparable to characterization, embedded files, allusions, and parallel narratives. no matter if Joseph Smith is considered writer or translator, it truly is noteworthy that he by no means speaks in his personal voice; relatively, he mediates approximately every little thing in the course of the narrators Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Hardy indicates how each one has a particular voice, and all are woven into an fundamental whole.
As with any scripture, the contending perspectives of the publication of Mormon can appear irreconcilable. For believers, it's an exact ancient record, transmitted from old the United States. For nonbelievers, it's the paintings of a nineteenth-century farmer from upstate ny. Hardy transcends this intractable clash through supplying a literary process, one applicable to either historical past and fiction. whether readers have an interest in American heritage, literature, comparative faith, or maybe salvation, he writes, the booklet can top be learn if we study the textual content by itself terms.
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Additional info for Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide
Nephi often claims that he cannot include everything in his record (1 Ne. ), but it is difﬁcult to avoid the suspicion that something is being suppressed here. 18 understanding the book of mormon Watch how skillfully the narrator handles this: And it came to pass that we took the Plates of Brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of our father. [No mention here of Laban’s sword, which we know from later verses (2 Ne. ] And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was ﬁlled with joy [this is where we might expect Lehi to say something, but our attention is immediately shifted to Sariah], and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.
Latter-day Saints, following hints in the Book of Mormon itself (1 Ne. 9:5, 19:3; W. of M. 1:6–7), interpret this as an example of God’s foreknowledge. 21 In either case, the basic structure of the Book of Mormon is as follows: Small Plates of Nephi—1 Nephi through Omni (150 pages) Mormon’s explanatory comments—Words of Mormon (2 pages) Mormon’s abridgment of the Large Plates of Nephi—Mosiah through ch. 7 of Mormon (380 pages) Moroni’s additions to his father’s records—ch. 8 of Mormon through Moroni (50 pages)22 It appears that after the loss of the ﬁrst part of the manuscript, Joseph continued his dictation with the book of Mosiah, worked his way to the end of Moroni, and then produced 1 and 2 Nephi, the books that now stand at the beginning of the text.
8 of Mormon through Moroni (50 pages)22 It appears that after the loss of the ﬁrst part of the manuscript, Joseph continued his dictation with the book of Mosiah, worked his way to the end of Moroni, and then produced 1 and 2 Nephi, the books that now stand at the beginning of the text. 23 These ten observations give a basic overview of the Book of Mormon, but they do not make a strong case for reading it carefully. Indeed, several of them seem to suggest just the opposite. Certainly the book matters to Latter-day Saints, but are the details engaging enough to sustain the interest of readers who a brief overview 11 are not already committed to the faith?