The Interview: In a recent article published in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship titled “Et Incarnatus Est: The Imperative for Book of Mormon Historicity,” Stephen Smoot maintains the credibility of the Book of Mormon is intricately linked to its historicity.
As explained in the paper’s abstract:
Some have come to insist that the Book of Mormon should be read as inspired fiction, which is to say that readers, including Latter-day Saints, should abandon any belief in the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text and instead should see it as an inspired frontier novel written by Joseph Smith that may act as scripture for those who follow his teachings. This paper provides reasoning to reject this proposition as not only logically incoherent but also theologically impotent. It raises the objection that this position fundamentally undercuts the credibility of Joseph Smith. The Prophet’s direct claims concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as well as how the Book of Mormon presents itself to the world do not easily permit any leeway for a “middle ground” on this matter.
In this episode, Smoot further discusses his views on the importance of the Book of Mormon and responds to some of the countertheories proponents of an inspired yet fictional Book of Mormon have put forth over the years to counter the importance of Book of Mormon historicity.
About Our Guest: Stephen Smoot earned his master’s degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations with a concentration in Egyptology. His work on biblical and Latter-day Saint topics has been published by the Religious Studies Center, BYU Studies, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, and the Interpreter Foundation. He currently works as a research associate for Book of Mormon Central.
Transcript: For a transcript of this podcast (once its available from LDS Perspectives), go to http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2019/02/20/historicity-book-mormon/.
This podcast is cross-posted with permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.
Correction for second paragraph, should read “were needlessly word-soiled.”
Darn it, glen—forgetting to proofread.
Speaking from my family’s German, Smoot ist gut! In our current age, we need light for the fight, and Smooter renders quality light-speak. It is so welcome. We have a pining need for good, responsible thinkership to speak to and for the Faithful. For us, it fills the air with intellectual oxygen.
For several decades, we have received taint and toxic ooze—sophisticated and thoroughly annotated—from the Liberal journals. It was fad diet that sickened, but it found maddening acceptance. Even the things they got right (blacks & Priesthood) we needlessly word-soiled with infectious slant. Mormon liberals had excellent ‘prophets’; their founding one contended (dispassionately of course) with a beloved apostle over the man’s pet theory that God was an incomplete god. He agreed to stop promulgating the teaching, but promptly went back on his word after the apostle’s passing. So much for integrity. . . coming from a pedestal’d writer who effusively demanded the right for ‘integrity of thought.’ But their wordcraft was very effective, so there were casualties. One of the journals took, of all things, a symbol from a Latter-day Saint Temple as its namesake and image piece.
With all that, there has come a fatigue. We need, many of us, a change in the air. God birthed Interpreter after The Lord’s University succumbed to the Taint. Faithful’s like Stephen and others give word to be heard. FairMormon has ceased providing Libs with pulpits at their conferences and in so doing has returned to its mission statement. Bravo them. I hope, I pine, for a relief that will involve a heralding of new time. I feel a profound impression that the Church may take broad, comprehensive actions to purify its culture and to weed its garden. I see Deseret Book shut down and replaced with a new outlet that will be overseen by general authorities, and will carefully refuse to publish Progressive thought rot. I see an Institute at BYU shut down. And I envision quasi-apostate journals officially called out By Name, and given that very designator.