Book of Mormon now challenged in Utah school district that banned the Bible

Book removal requests are snowballing in Davis School District, which has become a battleground in the fight over literature.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A collection of copies of the Book of Mormon photographed on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. Davis School District received a challenge to the Book of Mormon being in school libraries on Friday, June 2, 2023.

The Utah school district that just banned the Bible in elementary and middle schools received a new request Friday targeting another religious text: the Book of Mormon.

A spokesperson for Davis School District confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune the latest book challenge, which is aimed at the foundational text of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The request calls for the book to be reviewed for containing violence, which includes battles, beheadings and kidnappings among its stories. Members of the faith believe the text was translated from golden plates by church founder Joseph Smith.

{Read more: Just how graphic is the physical and sexual violence in the Book of Mormon?}

The complaint is the latest in a snowballing process for reviewing school literature in Utah.

A law was passed in 2022 to allow parents to submit requests for removal of books containing any “pornographic or “indecent material.” That was spurred by conservative groups largely targeting texts written about the LGBTQ+ community.

A parent in Davis School District said they became frustrated by how that law was being used, so they decided to file a request for review of the Bible. They called the scripture “one of the most sex-ridden books around” and said, as such, it fit the definition for porn.

The committee that reviewed the complaint determined in a decision released Thursday that the book did not violate the law. As such, it will be kept on the shelves in high schools in the district, said Davis spokesperson Christopher Williams.

But the members did decide that “vulgarity or violence” in the religious book was not age-appropriate for elementary and middle school students. The King James Version of the Bible has been removed at those schools, though Williams said other translations of the book remain. There is one junior high that has another translation and two elementary schools.

Those will remain, Williams said, because those versions were not challenged.

Now with the Book of Mormon challenge, the district will form another committee to review that book to determine if it violates the law.

The Tribune has filed a records request to obtain a copy of that complaint, which the district declined to immediately provide.

Williams said there have not been complaints filed on other religious texts, such as the Quran.