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Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon$
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Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190221928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190221928.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 April 2021

“The Writing of the Fruit of Thy Loins”

“The Writing of the Fruit of Thy Loins”

Reading, Writing, and Prophecy in The Book of Mormon

(p.184) 7 “The Writing of the Fruit of Thy Loins”
Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon

Laura Thiemann Scales

Oxford University Press

Although it has frequently been acknowledged that first-person narration is a crucial component of The Book of Mormon’s structure, no critic has fully analyzed the nature of narrative voice in The Book of Mormon or placed its prophetic voice in historical context. This essay shows how the centrality of first-person prophet–narrators in The Book of Mormon fundamentally changed the standard narrative practice of scripture. The piece situates the text’s prophetic voice in the context of early nineteenth-century religious culture: a world of evangelical preachers, self-proclaimed prophets, historicist biblical scholars, literary Transcendentalism, and popular spiritualist mediumship—all of which produce texts that collapse narrative categories and transform the relationship between human and divine. In doing so, it moves beyond the commonplace that personal revelation is the primary distinction of LDS and Second Great Awakening–era scriptural and spiritual practice; instead, its key characteristic is the always-mediated nature of that revelation.

Keywords:   The Book of Mormon, first person, narrators, prophecy, revelation, scripture, Second Great Awakening

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