In reading books, genre is a key consideration. And whether one reads the Book of Mormon from the perspective of American history, American literature, or world scripture, it is important to recognize that it is a narrative, presented as the interlocking writings of named, self-revealing narrators (something like Nabokov's Pale Fire). This makes it rather unusual for a sacred text of the last thousand years. For instance, the Adi Granth of the Sikhs is an anthology of splendid poetry. The Book of Mormon features poetic passages as well, but they are always set within a broader narrative framework. Rather than being “chloroform in print,” as Mark Twain famously observed, the Book of Mormon, like Wagner's music, is “better than it sounds.”
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