‘Mormon Land’: What Latter-day Saints get wrong about the Book of Mormon

Author of recently released Annotated Book of Mormon says lessons can be learned from the imperfect people who populate Mormonism’s most revered text.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Jesus teaches inhabitants on the ancient Americas in a scene from the "Book of Mormon Videos" series.

Grant Hardy is among the preeminent scholars of the Book of Mormon.

The North Carolina history professor has produced two volumes on Mormonism’s sacred text: a study edition from Brigham Young University’s Maxwell Institute, and a reader’s edition from the University of Illinois Press — and now, from Oxford University Press, a third, The Annotated Book of Mormon.

His latest effort is hailed as “the world’s first fully annotated, academic edition of the Book of Mormon.” Indeed, its 900 pages have almost as many footnotes and commentary as the text itself.

Hardy lays out the narrative like a series of stories, not as short verses, with extensive commentary and analysis about important themes, biblical connections and symbolic meanings. At the end, he adds essays to explore various ways of thinking about the Book of Mormon — as literature, ancient history, fiction, revealed scripture and world scripture.

(Rick Bowmer | AP file photo) The Book of Mormon.

On this week’s show, he talks about this massive undertaking; what Latter-day Saints often get wrong about their foundational text; why context matters when reading it; how the Book of Mormon compares and complements the Bible; and why, as a believer in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as a scholar, he finds the book “amazingly coherent and consistent.

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