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The Book of Mormon and the American Revolution
TitleThe Book of Mormon and the American Revolution
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsBushman, Richard L.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsAmerican Revolution; Early United States History

The late Thomas O’Dea, a sympathetic but critical scholar, thought of the Book of Mormon that too many “American sentiments permeate the work.” O’Dea purports to find evidence of nineteenth century American political culture in the Book of Mormon—for example, the prophecy of the American Revolution early in Nephi’s narrative, and later, the switch from monarchy to government by elected Judges. On first reading, both have a modern and American flavor.However, the author asserts that the Book of Mormon is not a conventional American book. Too much Americana is missing. Understanding the work requires a more complex and sensitive analysis than has been afforded it. Historians will take a long step forward when they free themselves from the compulsion to connect all they find with Joseph Smith’s America and try instead to understand the ancient patterns deep in the grain of the book.