Next year, we’ll be studying The Book of Mormon in the Come, Follow Me program for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During this year’s study of the New Testament, I’ve benefited from reading complementary material, such as — as I was reading Romans — Adam Miller’s excellent Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan: An Urgent Paraphrase of Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
What are your favorite books that you’ve read or that you are anticipating reading to accompany your study of the Book of Mormon?
I’ll put some of mine in the comments below to get us started, but I’d love to hear yours.
Several years ago, I read and loved Grant Hardy’s Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (https://amzn.to/2XyxUiB). This is from the Publisher’s Weekly review of it (http://bit.ly/2O2MU5e): “Hardy takes the Book of Mormon seriously as a complex, multivocal document by analyzing the contributions and perspectives of the three men who purport to be its primary narrators: Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Hardy teases out the unique voice of each narrator, showing particular nuance as a student of character. He has great skill in reading between the lines—in the Book of Mormon, what is implied is often more intriguing than what is made explicit, and the editorial omissions of a redactor like Mormon can be revealing gaps.”
I’m looking forward to reading at least one from a series of conference proceedings on specific chapters in the Book of Mormon. Two are A Dream, a Rock, and a Pillar of Fire: Reading 1 Nephi 1, edited by Adam Miller, and Christ and Antichrist: Reading Jacob 7, edited by Adam Miller and Joseph Spencer.
This is a great idea, and I’m interested to see what everyone suggests. I feel a bit behind on reading Book of Mormon scholarship, but I’m excited to dig into Grant Hardy’s Study Edition of the Book of Mormon, Terryl Givens’s By the Hand of Mormon, and Jeffrey R. Holland’s Christ and the New Covenant this coming year.
For a chapter-by-chapter reading guide, I’ve benefited in the past from James Faulconer’s The Book of Mormon Made Harder, which has a series of questions for each chapter that made me realize I had not been studying the book as closely as I’d thought.
Brant Gardner’s work has been my latest favorite: https://www.amazon.com/Traditions-Fathers-Book-Mormon-History/dp/1589586654
I look to scholars who offer close readings (such as Spencer and Hardy), as well as those who show that apt contextualization can illuminate and expand my understanding. Soil, time and nurture affect the harvest we get from the seed.
Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem. (disclaimer, I have an essay in the book)
Nibley’s volumes. Still relevant. See Freemen and Kingmen in the Book of Mormon, for example, and why certain church members were attracted by Amalekiah.
Sorenson’s Mormon’s Codex, which is a high res version of Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Gardner’s Second Witness books, Larry Poulson’s essays at FAIR (since his amazingly insightful website is down)
An Other Testament by Joe Spencer
Understanding the Book of Mormon by Grant Hardy
the two “Know Why” volumes from Book of Mormon Central
Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount by John W, Welch. He was the first to show that 3 Nephi is an endowment. He has taken things much further in materials presented as part of the proceedings here:
Echos and Evidences of the Book of Mormon
Robert Alter’s The Art of Biblical Narrative, and Alan Goff’s essays showing the same art casting light on the Book of Mormon Narrative.
Margaret Barker’s The Great Angel and The Older Testament, which had a profound effect on how I read the Book of Mormon. After she read it, prodded by my essay in Glimpses, she said “I was amazed at how much I recognized.”
I agree with Kevin’s list here (esp. Glimpses and Second Witness) although Mormon’s Codex was a slog for me. I also highly recommend The Book of Mormon Reference Companion edited by Dennis Largey and include Jack Welch’s Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon as well as Avram Gileadi’s Studies in the Book of Mormon (Kindle version $2.99). Kevin and I will be discussing other titles monthly on our Interpreter Radio broadcasts.
PS I’ll deeply miss Clark Gable discussing this year’s study in particular.
Great suggestions in the previous comments. Here are some additional resources I plan on utilizing along with studying the Book of Mormon next year, some of which have been sitting on my shelf for some time and I now finally hope to read through:
John W. Welch, The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon, 2008 (it is very interesting reading the BoM through the lens of Jewish law – not just for lawyers…)
Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon, 1997
E. Douglas Clark & Robert S. Clark, Fathers and Sons in the Book of Mormon, 1991 (As a dad to sons, I look forward to some insights for my personal situation)
Larry E. Morris, A Documentary History of the Book of Mormon, 2019 (am looking forward to learning more about the coming forth of the BoM)
There are also some Sperry Symposium volumes with a focus on the BoM which I plan to look through – the quality of the contributions here vary widely though. Also planing to read studies from the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and Interpreter.
What I’d really like to see is Volume 3: Nephi and the World of the Book of Mormon by Holtzapfel et al.
I find “This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology”, by Charles Harrell to be very useful in situating the Book of Mormon’s teachings on the basic doctrines typically discussed in Sunday School in the context of the Old and New Testament’s teachings and the Church’s current teachings.
For those interested, _New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology_ is available online for free courtesy of Signature Books…
Thank you all for these great suggestions! I’ve clearly got a lot of reading to do this year. Please keep the suggestions flowing!
Other works worth reading…
• _Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon_
… and the first two chapters following the “Introduction” (chapter 1) in this volume…
• _ Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources
My reply is going to sound boring compared to some already given. I’ve never actually read the LDS Institute manual for the Book of Mormon, so I will be doing that. Also, I will be using the ‘Book of Mormon Reference Companion’, Dennis L. Largey, ed. (Deseret Book), to research topics and people and for its summaries and outlines on each of the books in the Book of Mormon.
2020 is going to be a slightly easier year, as this year I read both the Institute manual and Alfred Edersheim’s ‘Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah’ along with the New Testament, and that is not a casual book.
Any advice on buying these without using amazon? Don’t support tax dodgers) that will deliver to Australia. Barnes and Noble don’t deliver.
I teach a Book of Mormon class for two hours once a week at my local state prison. I have 10-20 men who attend each week. The group is exclusively composed of serious sexual offenders, typically child molesters.We have former bishops high councilmen, elders quorum presidents etc. Most are RMs and most endowed. Most really know their scriptures and since the average sentence is 20 -40 years they have time to truly ponder what they study. We generally examine short sections in depth. It took us a year to work through I Nephi and we are moving at the same pace through Second Nephi. It has been a wonderful experience for me and they say that it is the highlight of their week I have found Gardner’s Contextual Commentary most helpful. Spenser’s Vision of All was helpful for the Isaiah sections.Surprisingly Damon Smiths Cultural History has also proved helpful . Snuffer 18 Verses also offered valuable insight as did A Dream ,aRock and a Pillar of Light Adam Miller editor.Fleeing the Garden from the same series offers interesting insights into the issues of 2 Nephi 2 as does Blake Ostlers work on the Atonement Fire on the Horizon. I could go on but won’t. Hope these suggestions prove helpful.
What a great service! I’d suggest you add to your list Brad Kramer’s “Beholding the Tree of Life: A Rabbinic Approach to the Book of Mormon” from Kofford Books. I haven’t looked at his new one yet.
Terry. Thanks for the suggestion. I welcome any others you might have. I can use all the help I can get.
Geoff, you can order the two books I noted directly from Oxford University Press…
• _Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon_
• _Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources_
The Neal A. Maxwell Institute at BYU is about to begin releasing a series called The Book of Mormon: Brief Theological Introductions. 12 authors tackle individual books (with a few combined), each with a different approach, looking at the theological richness of the scripture. I’ve read the first two volumes and am really excited for the whole series. I’ve been interviewing the authors on the Maxwell Institute Podcast. We expect the first volume to be available in Utah right before Christmas, and to larger markets and online shortly after that.
Can’t wait Blair! I had a few hours on a plane to read the Lost 116 pages. While I can’t speak for the analysis of what they may have contained, Don Bradley’s story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and its translation was absolutely compelling. His approach to those stories is unique and original.