Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Rosalynde Welch


fears, faith, Latter-day Saint, academic sophistication, critical interpretations


With fears of faith crisis and disaffection rising like seawater, Latter-day Saint apologetic discourse has gone forth, like Noah's dove, in search of living branches in which the sap runs. Defenders of the faith, including those addressed here, have returned with new academic sophistication, new critical interpretations, and new methods to address doubt among Latter-day Saints. In this review essay, I propose a pair of critical terms, the semantic and the performative, with which to consider this new apologetic discourse. I open with a brief reading of chapters 8 and 11 of 1 Nephi-Lehi's dream of the tree and Nephi's messianic vision-which, I'll argue, offer a neat bifocal lens with which to consider these two modes of religious expression.