A New Witness to the World

Book Notice

A New Witness to the World, by Robert A. Rees (Salt Lake City: By Common Consent Press, 2020)

This book provides a series of essays that analyze and contextualize the text of the Book of Mormon while providing Professor Rees’s faithful perspective on the text. Though each essay stands on its own as a separate work, the later essays, handling the context of Joseph Smith’s work as a nineteenth-century American writer, do reference and build off one another. These later essays handle the backgrounds and processes of various American writers contemporary to Joseph Smith, providing an effective survey of the literary milieu into which the Book of Mormon first entered; the earlier essays are more focused on the text of the Book of Mormon itself, looking at how it handles the stories of its individual figures, from Nephi to Ammon to those Nephites and Lamanites who lived for two hundred years in peace. Deeply present in every essay is Rees’s own testimony of the Book of Mormon and its importance in a faithful life.

This text is both devotional and academic and will be valuable to those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the Book of Mormon through study and also through faith. It is written for faithful members of the Church, both those engaged in scholarly study of the Book of Mormon and those seeking to increase their faith. Ultimately, Rees concludes that “the primary message of the Book of Mormon from beginning to end is love” (229), and his own witness throughout this book reinforces that assertion.

 

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