Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Mormon Studies Review


Samuel M. Brown


LDS translation, mormonism, Mormon history


As I wander ever more deeply into the semantic labyrinths of early Mormon translation, I find myself confronting ubiquitous objects that matter for more than their mere physicality. Seer stones, interpreters, gold plates, Egyptian papyri, locks of hair, underclothing, and scores more. Mormonism is saturated with such objects, pregnant with what some scholars call “abundance” or “real presence.” Mormons don’t call them “relics,” afraid to conjure (that fraught word!) Catholic altars, corpses, and catacombs. Mormons are no idolaters, so there must be no relics. But we who think academically about Mormons may do well to acknowledge the deep kinship Mormons have with others who have cherished manifestations of the divine in time and space.