Scripture is a function of the ways in which texts become sacred through their employment or status in a religious community. To understand a scripture, one must understand the ways in which that work has exerted its authority over the lives of believers. The Book of Mormon has served in a variety of roles, for both detractors and believers, which have shifted over the years. Four principal roles have been: 1) sacred sign of the last days, and of Joseph Smith's divine calling; 2) a factual account of the pre‐Columbian peopling of the Western hemisphere by Israelite migrations around 600
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