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Latter-day Saint Youths’ Construction of Sacred Texts

TitleLatter-day Saint Youths’ Construction of Sacred Texts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRackley, Eric D.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsBook of Mormon; Scriptural Literacy

The texts that religious youth negotiate are often deeply embedded in their sociocultural practices, which can have profound influences on their religious literacy development, construction and manifestation of religious identities, and the development of their faith. Yet, although 85% of American youth claim a specific religious tradition, literacy research has not explored how these youth construct their views of sacred texts. In this two-year qualitative study of the literacy practices of nine Latter-day Saint youth, interviews and observations were used to explore what texts these youth considered sacred and how their views of these texts were informed by their religiocultural beliefs, values, and practices. Analyses indicate that views of sacred texts were informed by the regularity with which the youth engaged with these texts and their specific personal experiences with them. This work breaks new ground in the study of religion as social practice by exploring how religiocultural ways of doing and being influenced the development of young people’s construction of sacred texts. Implications for religious instruction are provided.