Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Davis Bitton


Criticism, Language, Modern Church, B.H. Roberts, History, Authenticity as a Historical Record, Scholarship


Brigham Henry Roberts, a Book of Mormon scholar in the early twentieth century, was a pioneer in his field. He conducted research regarding the culture and the geography of the Book of Mormon peoples in an attempt to determine the setting of the Book of Mormon. His extensive work in this area has significantly influenced the progress of Book of Mormon research. Roberts also enthusiastically defended the book when others criticized it. He was able to do so effectively because of his study of and familiarity with the Book of Mormon. Roberts did, however, have a few limitations, the most detrimental being his unfounded assumption that “the narrow neck of land” in the Book of Mormon is the Isthmus of Panama. Yet, Roberts’s pioneering efforts remain today a crucial catalyst to modern analytical studies of the Book of Mormon.