Friday, September 02, 2005

Book of Mormon Citations

This fascinating article follows the use of the Book of Mormon in proselytizing, General Conference citations, and other indicators of interest in the Book of Mormon among Latter-Day Saints. Interesting factoid: Book of Mormon citations in General Conference peaked at 40% (meaning that 40% of scriptural citations came from the Book of Mormon) around 1986 (when President Benson exhorted people to make better use of the Book of Mormon) but before that were at around 10-20%. After that they have been around 25%.

I think it's intriguing that so little use has historically been made of the Book of Mormon. Early Church members defended their faith mostly on Biblical grounds. It certainly puts the lie to the commonly held idea that Mormonism draws its scriptural support primarily from the revealed texts and not from the Bible. Before the 1980's spike in BoM citations, citations from the revealed texts (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) combined was around 40%, suggesting that whatever the conventional wisdom might say, Biblical sources are definitely a sine qua non of Mormon doctrine.

Link via FAIR, which, by the way, is an excellent website for LDS apologetics. Both member and non-member will find excellent and scholarly explanations and defenses of LDS doctrines there, plus answers to some of the more esoteric questions people sometimes ask (such as the meaning of the stars on the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple).