The Historicity of the Book of Mormon with Stephen Smoot

Lost 116 pages of the book of mormon

In this Latter-day Perspectives podcast episode, Stephen Smoot of Book of Mormon Central discusses his views on the importance of the historicity of the Book of Mormon and responds to some of the countertheories that are circling about that attack the authenticity of the gold plates and the ancient record.

Some have come to insist that the Book of Mormon should be read as inspired fiction, which is to say that readers, including Latter-day Saints, should abandon any belief in the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text and instead should see it as an inspired frontier novel written by Joseph Smith that may act as scripture for those who follow his teachings.

Laura Hales interviews Smoot soon after he returned home to Utah from Toronto where he finished up his Master’s Degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations with a concentration in Egyptology. The podcast interview between Hales and Smoot specifically focuses on Smoot’s article published in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship titled “Et Incarnatus Est: The Imperative for Book of Mormon Historicity,” Stephen Smoot maintains the credibility of the Book of Mormon is intricately linked to its historicity.

The article can be downloaded in .pdf by clicking on this link > Download “The Imperative for Book of Mormon Historicity”

The article’s abstract states:

Some have come to insist that the Book of Mormon should be read as inspired fiction, which is to say that readers, including Latter-day Saints, should abandon any belief in the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient text and instead should see it as an inspired frontier novel written by Joseph Smith that may act as scripture for those who follow his teachings. This paper provides reasoning to reject this proposition as not only logically incoherent but also theologically impotent. It raises the objection that this position fundamentally undercuts the credibility of Joseph Smith. The Prophet’s direct claims concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as well as how the Book of Mormon presents itself to the world do not easily permit any leeway for a “middle ground” on this matter.

Stephen Smoot explains what apologetics is, essentially the defense of a principle, and explains that he is interested in apologetics for personal and theological reasons.

He mentioned that soundbites and memes can go viral and many are deceptive and flat-out false. He engages in this work because he has a desire to set the record straight and correct misperceptions about the Book of Mormon. 

Hales and Smoot discuss the historicity of the gold plates, the purpose of Book of Mormon apologetics, and other Latter-day Saints scholars who have taken upon themselves a similar cause as Smooth, such as Richard Bushman, Dr. Louis Mitchley, and Grant Harding.

Transcript:  For a transcript of this podcast, go to LDS Perspectives Podcast.

About the Guest: Stephen Smoot earned his master’s degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations with a concentration in Egyptology. His work on biblical and Latter-day Saint topics has been published by the Religious Studies Center, BYU Studies, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, and the Interpreter Foundation.


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