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Posted by: Exmosis ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 12:20PM

Interesting. Is this guy (author of Kingdom of Nauvoo https://wwnorton.com/books/9781631494864) doing some major mental gymnastics or is his work part of mainstreaming that allows greater discussion?

https://benjaminepark.com/blog/

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Posted by: Osmosis ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 12:59PM

Exmosis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting. Is this guy (author of Kingdom of
> Nauvoo https://wwnorton.com/books/9781631494864)
> doing some major mental gymnastics or is his work
> part of mainstreaming that allows greater
> discussion?

The latter. It is a work of post-colonial era American literature and should be treated as such. A lot of people have read it or being exposed to it, more so than Hawthorne, Melville or even maybe Dickinson.

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Posted by: ookami ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 04:44PM

I know the BoM's place in American literature: the recycling bin.

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Posted by: Josephina ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 05:10PM

I was very bad. I didn't want it in my recycling bin, so I threw it in a dumpster. Along with all the other Mormon literature and DVDs.

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Posted by: ookami ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 05:17PM

Close enough.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 01:57PM

I put JW or Christian Science type stuff deep in the bin, just so curiosity-readers don't pick it out.

Minor point to Osmosis, above: Instead of terming it "post-Colonial," I would call it "Federalist" or "early American Republic."

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 03:42PM

Along with your list of Theosophy, seances, Quimby, and others, Christian Science is worth including. As I've posted elsewhere, Mary Baker Eddy was a student of Quimby. Her "discovery" of Mind-healing soon followed Quimby's death in 1866. It took her time to "study" and develop her discovery: "Science & Health" went through many, and very extensive revisions before arriving at the 32nd edition used since her death.

Eddy went to great lengths distinguishing her religion from Theosophy. Here's a picture of a Theosophical temple in Boston--now retail and commercial. The architecture is "Richardsonian," a stone style which reached its apex with Trinity Church (Episcopal), a mere two blocks away (link #2):

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/first-spiritualist-temple

https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:37720s32m


Worth noting is that Eddy was quite involved in Spiritism (seances) while writing Science & Health. One of the concepts she adopted was the ever-upward evolution of the soul after death: one can expect to move to higher and higher planes of spiritual existence, never downward (as in Hinduism). This concept must bring hope to many a sinner and sociopath.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 04:46PM


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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 04:53PM

Marvel comic book heroes have more believers.

Maybe at Conference, they should encourage people to dress up as their favorite mormon hero/heroine? Then the words "April Comic-Con" and "October Comic-con" would have more meaning to me.

What costume appeals to you?

<sigh> I'm epidermically constrained, so I'd just go as 'random Lamanite coffee drinker'.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2020 05:16PM by elderolddog.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 05:39PM

I would place it between Henry Darger's "Realms of the Unreal" and Castaneda's "The Teachings of Don Juan."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2020 05:41PM by donbagley.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 05:41PM

Looking at this historically, the Book of Mormon does legitimately occupy a place of significance within American literature and American religious evolution.

Because I grew up in a (non-Mormon) family, with a maternal side family who was, almost to a person, continuously, and often very deeply, involved in this particular American religious evolution, I would definitely place the B of M on the same religious spectrum as the seminal religious/"mystical"/"ancient Egyptian" creative works of the 1800s.

Although these apparently quite different religious groups were often decidedly different from each other in practice, collectively they each contributed to this evolution which continued on, and increasingly, throughout the following century (1900s).

In a specifically, and I think uniquely, American cultural period which included the transcendentalists (my homage to Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the seminal contributors to my life from eleventh grade on), Phineas P. Quimby, Helena Blavatsky (Theosophy), the Rosicrucian Order, everyone involved in seances, "readings" and other kinds of divination, and the "new" discoveries in what is now called "Egyptomania" [Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptomania], my personal opinion is that the Book of Mormon definitely deserves its own recognition.

Regardless of what happens in the future, the Book of Mormon has earned its own place among the many varieties of what we can now (in retrospect) see as specifically "American religion" which sprang up during a most fertile religious renaissance in the United States during the nineteenth century.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2020 05:53PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: jay ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 03:01PM

Quick question Tevai.

How many times have you read the Book of Mormon?

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Posted by: sd ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 06:58PM

Uh, Bum Waddie?

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Posted by: numbersRus ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 07:22PM

A literary genious of his time, Twain noted the BoM's place in American Literature was a cure for insomnia.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: January 03, 2020 08:01PM

numbersRus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A literary genious of his time, Twain noted the
> BoM's place in American Literature was a cure for
> insomnia.

From what excerpts and descriptions of the Book of Mormon I have read here on RfM, granted.

But beyond being an aid for insomnia, the BoM is also evidence: evidence of "where"--mentally, intellectually, spiritually--a significant percentage of Americans in the 1800s were, during the time of its creation and afterwards.

It can be seen as a diagnostic test of the American people of that era--because if no one had been interested in the content, or if no one had accepted the belief system--then it never would have become a religion which still exists in the twenty-first century.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: January 04, 2020 07:35AM

While I agree with your analysis, I'd hesitate to make the BofM a must read for any Honors English class. Unlike, say, Beowulf or even Little Women, the BofM's message is very narrow and not very true.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 01:31AM

blindguy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While I agree with your analysis, I'd hesitate to
> make the BofM a must read for any Honors English
> class. Unlike, say, Beowulf or even Little Women,
> the BofM's message is very narrow and not very
> true.

I agree.

When I wrote my post, I was thinking more along the lines of an American history class.

At that moment when I was writing, I wasn't thinking of literature at all!

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Posted by: outin76 ( )
Date: January 04, 2020 04:34AM

Does any one know what the figure is for total number of BoM printed and would any other American book match it, in this regard.

outin 76

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Posted by: Bishonen ( )
Date: January 04, 2020 05:23AM

outin76 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does any one know what the figure is for total
> number of BoM printed and would any other American
> book match it, in this regard.

Millions, but these are not sales in the main, but giveaways. There are however multiple editions, including ones by mainstream publishers such as Penguin.

L Ron Hubbard's novels, however, have sold millions. They may be being bought by Scientologists, but most of the people are buying them.

The most translated works are the two Alice books by Lewis Carroll, Le Petit Prince, Asterix... Children's books.

As a rule, best seller lists omit religious works. Otherwise the Bible and Qu'ran would come top all the time.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 09:17AM

I think it depends how you define the term "literature". I do not believe you can place the BoM in the same category as classic literature, certainly in terms of writing style, but perhaps it is important in a category under folk literature.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 09:28AM

The Eagles are classified as classic rock.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 01:22AM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 03:45PM

More of a Fleetwood Mac man, are you Dave?

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 11:15PM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 11:17PM

Bee Gees, then, in their mid-1970s disco incarnation?

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 10:26AM

Perhaps the BoM is classic folk literature.

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Posted by: Exmosis ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 11:00AM

Wasn't the B o M touted as "scripture" for decades, pretty much since the church's inception, meaning directly translated as the word of God?

So now if being touted as literature, does that mean that the prophets and other leaders were wrong in calling it scripture previously? Does that make them false prophets and leaders ?

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 12:27PM

Exmosis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wasn't the B o M touted as "scripture" for
> decades, pretty much since the church's inception,
> meaning directly translated as the word of God?
>
> So now if being touted as literature, does that
> mean that the prophets and other leaders were
> wrong in calling it scripture previously? Does
> that make them false prophets and leaders ?

Exmosis:

Please reference where it's now being touted as literature (by members or GAs).

that would be quite a shift for ChurchCo!!

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Posted by: jay ( )
Date: January 05, 2020 02:58PM

It's up there.

Interestingly, the Church just announced that they've finished studying the Book of Mormon and they're going to spend the next seventy five years reading & discussing Moby Dick.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 04:57AM

There's a difference between "literature" and "historical document." The US constitution, the specious Protocols of the Elders of Israel, Mein Kampf, and the Daily Herald are all historical documents but none of them really qualify as literature.

The BoM will be read for decades, maybe even for a couple of centuries, as an historical artifact but I doubt anyone will treat it as pure literature.

In some future college course catalogue: 19th Century Religious History, yes; but Great American Novels, no.

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Posted by: jay ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 01:55PM

i thought you said historical artifice.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 06, 2020 11:18PM

That works too.

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