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Overwriting Ether: Moroni’s Transfiguration of Jaredite Scripture

TitleOverwriting Ether: Moroni’s Transfiguration of Jaredite Scripture
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLarsen, David J.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
KeywordsAbridgment; Ether (Book of); Jaredite; Moroni (Son of Mormon); Recordkeeping

The Book of Ether is a sometimes-overlooked gem of a text within the Book of Mormon, a history within a history that deserves careful and innovative investigation. Rosalynde Frandsen Welch offers such with a novel perspective in her entry in the Maxwell Institute’s series of “brief theological introductions” to the books within the Book of Mormon. The principal focus of Welch’s analysis is on issues concerning Moroni’s editorial purposes, how he interacts with his source text, and the ethics of his agenda for his abridgment of the Jaredite record. She critiques what she sees as Moroni’s lack of interest in the Jaredite record for its own sake and his attempts to “Christianize” the indigenous religion and culture of the former inhabitants of the land he occupies. Additionally, Welch presents Moroni as offering his future audience a “reader-centered theology of scripture” that seeks to transfer the authority of Scripture from the author to the reader. This review finds some of Welch’s proposals to be problematic but recognizes the great value of her beautifully written contribution to the academic study of the Book of Ether and the Book of Mormon.