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Et Incarnatus Est: The Imperative for Book of Mormon Historicity

TitleEt Incarnatus Est: The Imperative for Book of Mormon Historicity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSmoot, Stephen O.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsBook of Mormon; Historicity; Inspired Fiction; Smith, Joseph, Jr.

Some have come to insist that the Book of Mormon should be read as inspired fiction, which is to say that readers, including Latter-day Saints, should abandon any belief in the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text and instead should see it as an inspired frontier novel written by Joseph Smith that may act as scripture for those who follow his teachings. This paper provides reasoning to reject this proposition as not only logically incoherent but also theologically impotent. It raises the objection that this position fundamentally undercuts the credibility of Joseph Smith. The Prophet’s direct claims concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as well as how the Book of Mormon presents itself to the world do not easily permit any leeway for a “middle ground” on this matter.