Parents challenged the Book of Mormon, the Quran in this Utah school district. Here’s what happened next.

The review of the religious titles took eight months in Davis School District, which previously took heat for banning the Bible before later reversing that decision.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A collection of copies of the Book of Mormon is seen on the shelf in Millcreek, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. The religious text, along with the Quran, was challenged in Davis School District, which recently made final determinations with both complaints in January 2024.

After uproar over its initial decision to ban the Bible — which was later reversed — a Utah school district has been trying to better separate the wheat from the chaff in determining which religious books can stay on library shelves.

And it has decided all of them are good books.

Earlier this year, Davis School District concluded its long pending reviews of both the Book of Mormon, which is the foundational scripture for the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Quran, the holy book for Islam. They will remain in schools for any student to check out, a spokesperson for the district confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The genesis of the issue came in December 2022 with a parent taking on the state’s strict, conservative-driven law for what books are allowed in schools. It snowballed in the northern Utah school district, drawing nationwide attention.

The parent said they were frustrated by what books were being removed from K-12 libraries — mainly those around the LGBTQ community — under the law that banned anything deemed “pornographic or indecent.” So they filed a complaint in December 2022 about the Bible, saying that if the other titles were being pulled so should the religious text for being “one of the most sex-ridden books around.”

Last June, a district committee of parents assigned to review book challenges agreed. The committee determined, according to the law, the book contained too much “vulgarity or violence” for elementary and middle school audiences and would be removed for those students, while remaining in place at high schools.

The decision immediately created a storm, with some residents agreeing with the decision and others — including state lawmakers — accusing the district of “embarrassing” the state and those of faith and misinterpreting the law.

The district’s school board quickly reversed the Bible ban.

But before it did, that same month, came the additional complaints filed over the Book of Mormon and, later, the Quran. The challengers for those titles said the texts, similar to the Bible, contain lewdness and violence, including battles, beheadings and kidnappings.

The reviews for the two religious titles took eight months to complete in the aftermath of the baptism by fire with the Bible, with decisions made earlier this year in January.

(Associated Press | Wong Maye-E) A volunteer with Muslims Giving Back reads her Quran in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on Monday, April 27, 2020.

Both decisions — which are posted on Davis School District’s website — cited Utah law, saying they are not in violation of the standards. There was no elaboration beyond that. The final decisions reads only, “retained.”

Under the law, if a book contains anything considered pornographic, it must be immediately removed from school library shelves; that’s known as a “bright line” rule. But if it doesn’t meet the definition of pornography, a challenged title must be reviewed in whole for its literary value, which is what happened with the Bible.

The law was updated with a bill during the recent legislative session to make it easier to ban books statewide. Those revisions have not yet been signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox; advocates have urged him to veto it.

Under the law, as it stands, hundreds of books have been removed at schools statewide.