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The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #219)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  127 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
With over 140 million copies in print, and serving as the principal proselytizing tool of one of the world's fastest growing faiths, the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly one of the most influential religious texts produced in the western world. Written by Terryl Givens, a leading authority on Mormonism, this compact volume offers the only concise, accessible introduction to t ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Jacob Lines
Oct 09, 2015 Jacob Lines rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-of-mormon
This is a very good book. Givens is a gifted researcher, reader, and writer, and I have loved his work for years, especially By the Hand of Mormon, which I have also reviewed here. This is an academic introduction to the Book of Mormon written by a faithful Mormon. It is not about whether the book is true, but about the contents of the book. Givens explains the structure of the book, explores several main themes that run through it, and mentions some of the stories and people found in it. He als ...more
David S. T.
Feb 26, 2012 David S. T. rated it liked it
I should start by saying that I'm not a Mormon so that biases my opinion. I picked this book up shortly after reading Bushman's excellent very short introduction to Mormonism, that book addressed many of the questions / problems people have with the Mormon church, didn't try to hide the worst stuff and then in an apologetic fashion presented his views on them.

I'm in the process of reading the Book of Mormon now, and I find that because of my lack of familiarity with the plethora of characters an
Mark Nenadov
Jan 14, 2012 Mark Nenadov rated it it was ok
Shelves: mormonism
An sympathetic look at the Book of Mormon. (Note: Mormonism as a religious system is based on a sprawling set of doctrinal and historical falsehoods. I basically see the Book of Mormon as a non-Christian, revisionist look at Biblical and American history from a sect that draws on Christian imagery but completely twists and rejects its Christianity's central teachings-such as monotheism.)

While I cannot recommend this book due to its sometimes overly sympathetic bent to clear falsehoods, I did fi
Dec 14, 2014 Stu rated it it was ok
Terryl Givens' gloss on Mormon scripture has its good points, especially in its elucidation of major themes in The Book of Mormon and its relatively late ascension as scripture co-equal to the Bible in LDS religious education. Givens was ultimately disappointing, however, in the tantalizing points that he failed to address.

Though the Short Introduction goes on at length about how central the idea of Christ is in The Book of Mormon, the author does not include Jesus' appearance in the New World
Daniel Wright
Jan 27, 2015 Daniel Wright rated it did not like it
The author complains that much attention is paid to the Book of Mormon without much attention being paid to its contents, and in doing so misses that this is the big problem with the way LDS treat it. It does not come as a surprise that its use was all but discouraged by the for most of a century and a half, before taking on enormous significance only in the last thirty or so years.

Part I: The Book of Mormon speaks for itself
Chapter 1: Origins, narrators and structure
Chapter 2: Themes
Chapter 3:
Mar 28, 2011 Rob rated it it was amazing
Great book. Worth buying and reading for chapters on the themes of the Book of Mormon alone. He highlights some themes and make arguments that even long-time readers of the Book will find interesting, new and worthwhile. I really enjoyed it.
Jan 06, 2015 Trisha rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, scholarly look at the Book of Mormon. The author does a great job of breaking down the actual *structure* and *content* of the religious text--rooting his analysis and commentary on the work as that of literature, not as that of religious doctrine--before moving on to the significance of the text in broader social and political context. I'd recommend this read to anyone who is interested in the Book of Mormon, whether they are LDS or non-LDS. I'd also recommend the "A Very Short I ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Milo rated it liked it
Not to be confused with the celebrated west end production.
Karl W.
Oct 23, 2009 Karl W. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, lds
This truly is an amazing little book. Terryl Givens does a fine job of pulling off what seems to be an impossible task -- summarizing the Book of Mormon in a little book of about 130 pages. But he makes it look easy as he identifies themes, highlights key passages, offers sharp little insights, and even finds time to mention some of the criticisms and problems that the Book of Mormon has faced since its inception. Naturally, given the short space allotted him, Givens at times seems to be rushing ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Vishal rated it really liked it
Shelves: mormonism
The Book of Mormon (BoM) occupies a unique place as a piece of sacred scripture in the American religious milieu since it was published in 1830. To its critics and detractors, it is at best a piece of dull fiction ("chloroform in print", according to Mark Twain), and at worst, a blasphemous religious text that guarantees to put anyone believing in it on the sure road to perdition. But, to those that staunchly affirm the biblical truths contained and expounded in it, it contains the inspired Word ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-of-mormon
I got this book to give to my more sophisticated friends in case they wanted to know about the The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Givens' engaging writing shines through once again. He starts with the Book of Mormon's content as opposed to the controversy around the Book, as what is usually done in academic treatments of the book. As a believer who's read the BoM eleven times, I especially enjoyed his breakdown of the Book's major thematic elements.

I think Givens should be t
Feb 12, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction. I've always been skeptical of summary books, and have had less than thrilling experiences with some. But I am very impressed with the 'Very Short Introduction' series. So far, I've read three and all three were about subjects I have more than an 'introductory' knowledge of. I was impressed by all of them. Very highly recommend.
Apr 21, 2010 Joni rated it liked it
Shelves: 6b
This was a pretty good book. It gave a clear introduction to the subject of LDS faith. The only thing I didn't like was how the author kept a very critical attitude throughout the book. It was as if he were trying to prove how unbiased he was or something. He took every part of their beliefs and discussed it in an extremely skeptical, almost insensitive, manner. I'm not LDS, but I do think religious tolerance is missing in our society and painting religions in such a negative light is going to h ...more
Kenneth Bohn
Dec 11, 2015 Kenneth Bohn rated it liked it
I picked up this book as a crash course because I have a Mormon friend and I wanted to get a little glimpse into his world. This book was very helpful as a high level overview. I would recommend it to any outsiders wanting to gain insight.
May 23, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds
The title says the book is a very short introduction. That title is just the name for a series of books, a la the Dummies series. This book by Givens seems to follow a format specified by the publisher, but I could be wrong. I thought the type face was too small and the margins too narrow. If the book had received normal publishing layout it wouldn't be so short. That said, I have become a fan of Mr. Givens' writings and hope to read more. His subject, the Book of Mormon, is complex, rich, and c ...more
Feb 27, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an unexpected treasure. I found this book just browsing the library shelves. This is everything I hoped for in Given's By the Hand of Mormon, but sadly that book was not I wanted. Additionally, since this book was just 125 pages, it is a quick read.

Ch 2 "Themes" dragged just a little bit for me, but Ch 3 "Stories" and Ch 5 sections "Fortunate Fall" and "Atonement" had key insights that just wowed me. How is that a book I've read a dozen times just keeps surprising me?
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it

~4.6 hours

Fab series this, just right for a quick refresh or a peek into a subject that one is curious about. All are unbiased erudite, and entirely objective essays.

As Romney stands up for the presidency of USA within the next few days, I found this an enlightening look into the mindset of a cult built on badly-written fanfic.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle, Metaphysics

3* Ancient Egypt
3* Paul
4* Witchcraft
CR The Book of Mor
Oct 28, 2013 Aaron rated it really liked it
For just a few dollars more, you can get Givens' fuller treatment of the Book of Mormon -- "By the Hand of Mormon" -- to which this Very Short Introduction adds nothing new. I'm still giving this book four stars, however, because it does exactly what its title claims; it provides a very short (and good) introduction to a very complex and important book.
Nov 18, 2012 Morgan rated it it was amazing
I remember just *loving* this when I read it. But....I can't remember exactly why anymore (perhaps just because I have a tiny small crush on Terry?) But I guess that just means it's time for me to re-read!
Aug 17, 2012 Zachariah rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
Nice introduction.

I preferred the last half to the first. The first had an overview of the contents of the book, which was boring as all get out, though I'm sure it was a fine summary.
Oct 10, 2009 John rated it liked it
The author uses an abundance of scholarly vernacular, but the overall point is well made: the book (of Mormon) is good literature, if not great scripture.
Sep 03, 2012 Brad rated it liked it
I listened to this book. It provided a good introduction to the Mormon religion.
Mar 26, 2012 Saskia rated it really liked it
Good, concise introduction to the Book of Mormon.
Douglas Koehne
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Søren Holm rated it it was ok
Jul 24, 2016
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Terryl L. Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did his graduate work in Intellectual History (Cornell) and Comparative Literature (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill, 1988), working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures. As Professor of Literature and Religion, and the James A. Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Rich ...more
More about Terryl L. Givens...

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