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Understanding How the Scriptures Came to Be

TitleUnderstanding How the Scriptures Came to Be
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsRoach, Jennifer
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
KeywordsBook of Abraham Translation; Book of Mormon Translation; Continuing Revelation; Joseph Smith Translation; Prophet; Revelation

A new book by Mike Ash examines to what degree the human mind is involved in receiving revelation. Ash sums up his view by saying, “prophets have a special calling, but not a special brain.” He then spends 700+ pages describing what that means and how it works. In essence, prophets do not go into a trance-like state, put a pen in their hand, and engage in a process of automatic writing only to wake from the trance and read what has been given. Instead, Ash helps us see how God uses the brains and personality of any particular prophet to bring His word forth. God does not bypass the prophet’s humanness; rather, He relies on it to contextualize His words for a particular people in a particular time.

Review of Michael R. Ash, Rethinking Revelation and the Human Element in Scripture: The Prophet’s Role as Creative Co-Author (Redding, CA:, 2021). 770 pages. $34.95 (paperback).