Jan 23, 2020
The Book of Mormon occupies a key place in the history of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and very much so in
many persons' faith journeys. For some, encounters with the book
completely changed their lives, offered meaning and a sense of a
God who is alive and still speaking. But for many Latter-day Saints
themselves, the book has become problematic. Some question its
historicity, its origin stories, its teachings, as well as struggle
with how it is seen within the tradition, and especially how it is
talked about on Sundays and in other gatherings. For them, the Book
of Mormon has become a stumbling block, and for many of these
perhaps a reason they feel they can no longer associate with the
church and LDS community.
In this episode, Latter-day Faith host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by his longtime friend, mentor, and discussion partner, Charles Randall Paul (Randy), to consider the Book of Mormon with different lenses, many of them personal. Their discussion begins with each of them sharing the story of their "love affair" (one that hasn't always felt easy) with this book. They then move on to discuss it on different levels and from different approaches that have helped them retain a positive relationship with it, regardless of its historicity or other problematic areas. Randy shares how he has been helped by considering the many genres one finds in the book (in the same way as one finds in the Bible and the sacred texts of other traditions). And then they both reflect upon the term "scripture" and what it means for something to be considered as such. What is going on within us as individuals when we grant something the status of scripture, and what roles do scriptural texts and what they contain function within a faith community?
The discussion herein might be summarized as reflections on each of the participants' life-long wrestles with the Book of Mormon, including their gratitude for all it has brought to their lives, even despite the pain of frustrations and loss they've felt or certain transitions their encounters with the text and its context have forced upon them.