Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


race, scripture, historical works, The Book of Mormon


Different approaches to reading The Book of Mormon have influenced the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' teachings from 1830 to the present day. Scholars have long recognized that the definition of "Lamanites," one of the primary groups described in the book, has shaped missionary work, Church policy, and public outreach. Indeed, in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith received a revelation sending four missionaries to preach "among the Lamanites," perhaps the first justification for preaching among Indigenous peoples. Recent teachings have expanded the definition of Lamanite to include Native and Indigenous peoples on both American continents as well as Polynesians