Q&A with Paul Gutjahr on the Book of Mormon: A Biography

Christopher Jones

Over at the Juvenile Instructor, Paul Gutjahr, professor of English at Indiana University, answers questions submitted by readers about his latest book, The Book of Mormon: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2012). I haven't yet read the book, but based on the few reviews I've read and this interview, I plan to pick up a copy soon a dive in. It sounds like it would be a great text to use to introduce students to Mormonism's most famous religious text.

Included below is a brief excerpt from the Juvenile Instructor interview with Professor Gutjahr. The full Q&A can be read here.

Q. The Book of Mormon is often called the “Mormon Bible.” In your reception history, in what ways is this comparison apt, and in what ways does it fall apart? 

 A. Calling the Book of Mormon “the Mormon Bible” is apt because it stands as the fountainhead and chief credentialing document of the religious tradition.  It becomes less apt when one considers the long history of the Mormon Church not paying as much attention to its signature text as, let us say, American Protestants have paid to their Bible.  There are decades of Mormon history that seem to be less interested in the book than one might expect.  American Protestants have revered and used the Bible to a much higher degree since the time of the Puritans. That may be changing a bit now, but American Protestants have traditionally held a closer relationship to the Bible than Mormons have to their “Mormon Bible.”


Gerardo Marti said…
I read this book last month and very much enjoyed it. It is engaging, well-written, and contains several surprises. One surprise for me was learning about LDS involvement in the Hollywood film industry in putting stories from the Book of Mormon on film. Great read.

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