Nephite Culture and Society

Book Notice

Nephite Culture and Society: Collected Papers, by John L. Sorenson (New Sage Books, 1997)

The Book of Mormon is a record left by real people, who lived in real families, who sailed across real oceans, and who behaved in anthropologically reasonable ways. John Sorenson, known to many for his insights into Book of Mormon geography, culture, and society, collects in this volume eight of his miscellaneous papers, two of which are previously unpublished.

Sorenson is at his best when he describes such things as the individuals in Lehi’s party and what can be known about the elusive substratum of Mulekite culture in Zarahemla. Perhaps most memorable in this book are his arguments that when Lehi and Mulek arrived in the Western Hemisphere, they found other people already there. Sorenson’s hallmark is finding patterns of civilization, and this book offers insightful generalizations about Book of Mormon settlements, conflicts, and political economics.

Learning to read the Book of Mormon with utmost attention to detail is an art. When it comes to culture and society, no one has mastered that art of cultural realism or applied it more sensitively than Sorenson.


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