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By the Hand of MormonThe American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion$
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Terryl L. Givens

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513818X.001.0001

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“Devices of the Devil”: The Book of Mormon as Cultural Product or Sacred Fiction

“Devices of the Devil”: The Book of Mormon as Cultural Product or Sacred Fiction

Chapter:
(p.155) Six “Devices of the Devil”: The Book of Mormon as Cultural Product or Sacred Fiction
Source:
By the Hand of Mormon
Author(s):

Terryl L. Givens (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019513818X.003.0007

Critics and cultural historians have proposed a variety of explanations for the Book of Mormon's origin. Outright fabrication, automatic writing, and plagiarism of either Solomon Spaulding or Ethan Smith were early theories (the latter two still having defenders). Environmental explanations have proliferated in recent years. Scholars have alleged parallels with masonry, an early American magical worldview, and nineteenth‐century religious controversies. Under pressure to accommodate naturalistic models of authorship, some scholars propose a model of inspirational fabrication – but such a compromise would necessarily entail the loss of the Book of Mormon's scriptural status.

Keywords:   environmental explanations, magical worldview, masonry, naturalistic models, Ethan Smith, Solomon Spaulding

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