I sent the following this afternoon:
After several years of enjoying your column in _______, I’m sorry that my first email to you is to quibble. In your current piece, about the Texas child-seizure debacle, you begin by dismissing The Book of Mormon as “the literary and religious equivalent of L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth.”
The vague commingling of The Book of Mormon with Scientology aside, your judgment smacks of something that I’ve never seen in your work before: lack of sufficient information. No doubt you’re familiar with The Book of Mormon; you may have even read it (or parts of it); I’m sure you’ve read more than the average person has on the subject.
But do you really know enough about it to warrant a final verdict? Are you adequately well-versed in the burgeoning field of Book of Mormon research, both secular and spiritual, to have an educated opinion?
For example, regarding the large body of research that rationally places the Book of Mormon text in an authentically ancient locale, consider the survey given here: www.MormonEvidence.com. Such an overview of the facts may not convince someone, even a logical type with an open mind, that the text truly is authentic, but it shows that it may very well be, that the evidence tends to suggest the plausibility of that theory, and that it is not to be dismissed.
Or perhaps you’re given to denigrate The Book of Mormon because you feel it doesn’t measure up as literature or as a Christian document. The tip of the iceberg in correcting those erroneous assumptions would include these two essays by University of North Carolina English professor Richard Rust: http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=62&chapid=710 and http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=62&chapid=712 , as introductions to its under appreciated literary value; and this essay, by a man I know to have been a prophet of God, is deeply rooted in the Christ-centric nature of The Book of Mormon: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=024644f8f206c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=2a9682178cb9b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1.
Also, I must point out the technical inaccuracy of referring to members of the FLDS church as “Mormons.” That word has always been understood to refer to members of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and not to any splinter group that may have broken off from it. The FLDS themselves would also agree with this. Calling them Mormons would be like labeling people in Brazil as Portuguese, because they may have common ancestors many generations ago and because Brazilians speak a version of the Portuguese language. Can you see the problem with this identification?
I hope this note is taken in a gracious spirit of respect for you and your work, and I do hope your references to The Book of Mormon in the future are grounded in a better understanding of it. Thank you for your time and your continued writing, which I find irascible yet erudite; in short, blissful!
God bless you!
American Literature Honors, Centennial High School
Composition and World Literature, University of Nevada Las Vegas