Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Jessica Slayton


The Book of Mormon, narrators, memory, visual art, Bible


The Book of Mormon, told by a variety of narrators over a period of hundreds of years, is deeply concerned with remembrance and the written production of memory. As each narrator grows old and finishes his time recording the events of his people, he hands down the plates to a son or other trusted, younger male companion to continue writing the history and preserving the memories of their people. In this paper, I'd like to argue that nineteenth-century visual art becomes a continuation of the concern for and production of memory so present in The Book of Mormon itself. The book's proclamation of itself as Bible-"And because my words shall hiss forth-many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible"-establishes its reliance on its own participation in the production of memory and highlights its own limited ability (given its status as a completed text) to continue the process of memory generation. I will first examine how The Book of Mormon presents the recording of memory and then turn to C. C. A. Christensen as a case study on how visual art entered the Mormon religious sphere in the nineteenth century as a way of re-recording the stories.