Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Mormon studies, anti-Mormonism, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith


Latter-day Saint scholar Terryl L. Givens has recently made two extraordinary contributions to Mormon studies. The first, Viper on the Hearth: Mormons,Myths, and the Construction of Heresy, was published by the prestigious Oxford University Press in 1997 and received virtually uniformly glowing reviews. If one wishes to understand the complex of interests and motivations—pecuniary, personal, and ideological—that fuel both sectarian and secular anti-Mormonism, Viper is the book to consult. The editors at Oxford appreciated the merits of this well-written, informative book and invited Givens to publish again with them. The result is By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion, published this year.