Since the possibility exists that our country may elect its first Mormon president in 2012, it’s important for voters to learn something about its Sacred Scripture. The Book of Mormon: a Biography is the newest offering in the “Lives of the Great Religious Books” series. It is accessible to the layperson and does a fine job of educating the reader and comparing the Book of Mormon to the Bible. It profiles Joseph Smith, who was visited by the angel Moroni and instructed to unearth the gold plates that contain the revelation of Jesus to the New World. The book then details Smith’s efforts to translate the plates and have them published in 1830. This event marked the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the book also covers the growth of the church after Smith was murdered in 1844. Positing that the Book of Mormon has become part of our culture, Gutjahr also surveys performing arts, graphic arts and publishing history to discover the ways it has been treated in print, on canvas, on film and, most recently, on Broadway.
If you enjoy this book, you will also like Bible: the Story of the King James Version 1611 – 2011 by Gordon Campbell.