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Reckoning with Race in the Book of Mormon: A Review of Literature

TitleReckoning with Race in the Book of Mormon: A Review of Literature
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsStevenson, Russell W.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsClothing; Genetics; Lamanite Mark; Lamanites; Racism; Skin Color

Scholars of Mormonism have seen a deluge of race literature on the Book of Mormon flow over the past five years. Compared to the robust scholarship on the use of biblical literature in constructing race, Mormonism strikes one as the particularly colorful character who showed up late to the party. For a faith system that has started to imagine itself in global terms, the implications of this recent increase are profound and invite commentary from a variety of disciplines ranging from literary criticism to forensic anthropology. This review essay holds humble aspirations for itself: to trace the basic contours of racialization and deracialization in the Book of Mormon's historiographical record, illustrating how the contestedness of the racial narrative reflects a variety of needs for Mormon reception of the Book of Mormon text. To close, I will speak to the Book of Mormon's relevance as a point of entry for undermining Anglo- Saxon knowledge control.