Title

The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy

Keywords

Book of Mormon, Nephites, Mesoamerica, prophets

Abstract

Nephite apostates turned away from true worship in consistent and predictable ways throughout the Book of Mormon. Their beliefs and practices may have been the result of influence from the larger socioreligious context in which the Nephites lived. A Mesoamerican setting provides a plausible cultural background that explains why Nephite apostasy took the particular form it did and may help us gain a deeper understanding of some specific references that Nephite prophets used when combating that apostasy. We propose that apostate Nephite religion resulted from the syncretization of certain beliefs and practices from normative Nephite religion with those attested in ancient Mesoamerica. We suggest that orthodox Nephite expectations of the “heavenly king” were supplanted by the more present and tangible “divine king.”

Original Publication Citation

The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy. (Mark Alan Wright and Brant Gardner). In Interpreter: A Journal of MormonScripture1.1 (2012): 25-55.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2012

Publisher

Interpreter: A Journal of Book of Mormon Scripture

Language

English

College

Religious Education

Department

Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Share

COinS