University of Utah to offer course on literary qualities of Book of Mormon

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  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 10:41 p.m.

    Mormon Church President Thomas S. Monson was the keynote speaker at the U of U';s commencement exercises a few years ago and was given an honorary doctorate degree and was honored at half time recently of a football game as a super fan. The U of U is an excellent place for this class. Good luck with the class.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Aug. 15, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    @ Henry Drummond - San Jose, CA - "....Even though I am not LDS I have read the book and it is a great window into the theological concerns of the day. As Alexander Campbell observed, the Book of Mormon does in fact address and resolve all the great controversies of the time."

    Henry, that is a nice compliment you gave the (LDS church as a whole) based on your observations of the Book of Mormon. Simple, honest introspection reveals that no honest man would lie about it's origin and no dishonest man would write something so powerful in it's repeated insistence to live a godly and honorable life.

    Have you ever thought of joining us?

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Aug. 15, 2013 5:24 p.m.

    WOW! To the comments suggesting that the purpose of the course is to knock the book and mormons!
    I don't know that University, but most Americans would find that calling it a center for anti-mormonism, while it is located in Utah, and depends on mormon donors, a mormon-dominated State Government, etc, is pretty extreme.
    Some religions welcome study and questioning. Members of the lds church, particularly in smaller cities, have a reputation suggesting that any questioning of the perfection of the books, the religion, church leaders, etc, is to be met with hostility

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    Why do I see most of the discussion in this class tending to DIS the Book Of Mormon... probably because I graduated from the University of Utah and I know how the discussions went in all my Humanities courses at the U when religion came up.

    Great school, just knowing the student body in general, it's not a good place to get an objective take on religious topics, or a fair shake for anything Mormon related.

  • Incite Full Layton, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 1:00 p.m.

    I love the Book of Mormon. I'm also a writer, and find certain passages of the Book of Mormon to be brilliant and poetic and powerful. The U students will be lucky to get to study it.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    Can a liberal University really do this justice?

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    If this truly is a course to study the literary qualities of the Book of Mormon, instead of bashing, it will become readily evident to the honest in heart that the Book of Mormon originates from ancient Semitic literary influences, and NOT from anyone's 19th century, western-influenced imagination.

    Hebraisms (literary influences from Hebrew grammar and sentence structure), are abundant in The Book of Mormon including: simile curses, poetic parallelisms, repeated alternates, prophetic perfect case, climax, prophetic speech formula, compound prepositions, plural amplification, number usage, construct state, many “ands”, repetition of the possesive pronoun, emphatic pronoun, word order, adverbials, cognate accusative of “possess” and “inheritance”, "if/and" conditional sentences, relative clauses and chiasmus.

    The Book of Mormon also includes quotes from Isaiah sourced back to at least 600 B.C. It is interesting to note that the Book of Mormon Isaiah texts match closely to the Dead Sea Scrolls, while the Isaiah texts in the King James Bible are less accurate; possibly from the Bible text being translated from one language to another.

    It would be interesting to see what honest in heart Jewish literary scholars would add to the course.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 15, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    Nineteenth century historians of religion talk about the Book of Mormon all the time, but only a handful actual analyze the text and what it meant to people at that time. Even though I am not LDS I have read the book and it is a great window into the theological concerns of the day. As Alexander Campbell observed, the Book of Mormon does in fact address and resolve all the great controversies of the time.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 10:46 a.m.


    Blanket statements and accusations are not helpful. Do you seriously believe that the LDS Church would remain a major contributor of the U of U if it was indeed the most anti Mormon school on the planet. Also, the current and previous president of the LDS Church are/were proud U of U graduates. Along with a lot of other church authorities I might add.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 15, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    How special, a taxpayer-funded course designed to demean the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. That this type of course would be taught at the most anti-Mormon institution on the planet, the University of Utah, should surprise nobody.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    Yes, study the Book of Mormon, wrap your literary minds around it's literary qualities and find that it is like an iron rod that will help you feel your way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 15, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    Years ago I took the U's course in the English dept. on the Bible as literature. The professor was Jack Something, and he was terrific. He never demeaned any religious interpretation. The purpose of the class was to understand the many different kinds of writings in the Bible and their qualities. I learned to love the poetry of the Bible, which is intensely beautiful. I trust the U to give the BoM a respectful treatment.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    This could be interesting to have an actual academic level discussion on the literary qualities of the Book of Mormon. That makes much more sense than having a professor or an aid give a rant on the book, quoting what they have read from commentators on the internet.

    Just saying it will be more meaningful and interesting to have an open dialogue, in which students and the professor can have a discussion.

    About time a University expands their courses to start including scriptures etc. We spend soo much time reading novels and literary classics which some hold in high regard, but, hold very little in substance and value. If we as a society are willing to focus on lesser things, then why not focus on literature that has actually changed course for society.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 15, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    It will only be a few years and this will be a Mormon bashing course. It will not explore the chiasmic forms of Hebrew literature or the contrasting parallelisms found in it. This is how it will go down, Step 1) pretend to be very excited to teach the great literary work found in the Book of Mormon and its contributions. Step 2) Get accepted and approved to teach a University course on it. Step 3) Tear it to shreds.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    Surprise, surprise......The LDS Church is a major contributor to the U of U. Always has been. The Church recently donated $4.4 million for the construction of a new law school building at the U. I am not saying there is any connection to donations and courses taught on campus, in fact, I support the idea of teaching religious courses at public universities. Too often, religion is run off of college campuses. Great opportunity for those who want to study the literary contributions of the Book of Mormon.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 7:27 a.m.

    Literary qualities? Really?

    I wonder if this study will expand to other courses in religious books such as ________ (insert here)?

  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    Aug. 15, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    I think there's something incomplete about the writer's reporting on this planned course. A course that takes up the study of a text or texts in an academic setting will always engage with questions of what it communicates to readers about itself, and how readers have received and interpreted the text over the course of its life. It's hard to imagine an approach that doesn't consider the text to be an instance of early 19th century US frontier literature. I wonder what the course is really up to. The idea is tantalizing but the course makes no sense as described. The title itself is misleading. It would be more accurate, i believe, to describe it as a course on the textual qualities of the BOM; using the term 'literary qualities' is a bit of misdirection or misunderstanding.

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 2:24 a.m.

    The U is resembling BYU more and more. Only at BYU taking the Book of Mormon class is mandatory.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    Aug. 15, 2013 12:46 a.m.

    The University of Utah is in deep water. Better stick with "Songs of Solomon" and the like.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Aug. 15, 2013 12:27 a.m.

    I am sure that colleges in Vermont teach classes on making maple syrup.
    Colleges in Kentucky teach classes on tobacco.
    I am not saying the course on mormon lit is wrong -- I am saying it's obvious.

  • JimE Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 14, 2013 10:52 p.m.

    Will it be taught by Rob Decker or Sylvia Johnson? TIC
    Actually, glad to see them do it.