Presentation on theme: "Book of Mormon Historicity: Jon Adams A special thanks to my Facebook friends LDS Beliefs and Their Implications."— Presentation transcript:
Book of Mormon Historicity: Jon Adams A special thanks to my Facebook friends LDS Beliefs and Their Implications
The Book of Mormon Published in 1830 Purports to be a translation by Joseph Smith of a record of Gods dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas... BoM peoples are among the principal ancestors of today's Native Americans.
Why? Because its interesting!
Seriously, why? Mormonism's relevance –Political/cultural influence –13 million members –Latin American growth 1964: < 1% 2004: 37% Beliefs matter –Inform actions and attitudes –Importance of racial sensitivity in an increasingly diverse LDS Church
Previous Research Most literature on LDS Church and blacks –Slavery, Civil Rights Era and pre-1978 priesthood ban Religious folklore about race pervasive among Mormons (Wilson) –Found in LDS scriptures White and delightsome –Spencer W. Kimball's Oct 1960 talk
Previous Research, cont. Murphy's Lamanite Identity –Native/Latin Am. Mormons identify as descendants of BoM peoples –Conflate native folkore with Mormon folklore –Tension with white church hierarchy 1989 excommunication of George P. Lee
Methods Created a 10-question BoM survey –Demographic questions (gender, age, etc.) –Questions about BoM, faith, and racism Sent the survey to 200 Mormon friends via Facebook 115 responded –Response rate: 57%
Book of Mormon Beliefs BoM historical? –Yes: 90% –No: 10%
Book of Mormon Beliefs Historicity important to testimony? –Yes: 51% –Somewhat: 24% –No: 26%
Book of Mormon Peoples Who are BoM descendants? –Mesoamericans: 58% –Native Am.: 56% –South Am.: 51% –Pacific Islanders: 38% –Not sure: 38% –None: 6%
Book of Mormon Peoples Book of Mormon peoples... –Lost the promised land due to sin: 66% –Had their skin literally darkened due to sin: 53% –Are a covenant people like the Israelites: 88% –Should have a more prominent role in LDS Church: 6% –Should be prioritized in missionary work: 6%
Racism Is racism a problem in the LDS Church today? –Yes: 14% –Somewhat: 38% –No: 43% –Not sure: 9%
Discussion Support for Murphy's Lamanite Identity theory –All Hispanic respondents report high activity and believe BoM to be historical –43% of Hispanic respondents believe BoM peoples lost land and had skin darkened because of unrighteousness(!) –43% of Hispanic respondents believe BoM descendants should have a more prominent role in the church vs. 4% of non-Hispanic respondents –86% of Hispanic respondents identify Meso/South Americans as BoM descendants
Discussion, cont. Racism? –71% of Hispanic respondents believed it's at least somewhat of a problem in the church vs. 48% of non-Hispanics respondents Disparity between BoM scholars and Mormon laity –Only 41% of Dialogue's subscribers believed that the BoM is a historical document vs. 90% of my respondents who believe the same
Further Research The need for a systematic survey of Mormons both inside and outside the U.S. Exploration into the rift between Mormon scholars and Mormon laity Exploration into why people come to disbelieve in the BoM's historicity