Abstract and Keywords
This chapter provides an overview of the contents of the Book of Mormon and its reception by both Latter-day Saints and outsiders. Unusually for world scripture, the Book of Mormon appeared before there was a community of believers, and the complete text was regarded as canonical from the beginning, equal in authority to the Bible. The Book of Mormon is also atypical in that it takes the form of a coherent, integrated narrative, related by specific named narrators. The theology focuses as much on the destiny of the house of Israel as on Christian salvation of individuals. Because of its claims of miraculous origins—written by transplanted Jews in the Americas, then translated from gold plates through seer stones—questions of historicity have often preoccupied readers. Although earlier generations of Mormons tended to preach from the Bible, the Book of Mormon received increased attention in the later twentieth century.
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