The Gospel of John as Literature



If I were challenged to name my favorite literary work, my thoughts would quite naturally turn to those remarkable novels by Russian authors—The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, or Doctor Zhivago— which, in my opinion, have no equal and even rank among the world’s semisacred books. I would be hard pressed, however, to choose among the Russians, universal and profound as their writing is for me. If pressed, I would probably settle for The Brothers Karamazov, whose epigraph, incidentally, is from the Gospel of John.

Each in his unique way, our greatest writers and the life they depict cry out, often tragically, for that controlling, mediating, comforting, inspiring voice of one who can alone assure us that the universe is not cruelly indifferent to our circumstances and ultimate fate. Intentionally or not, their works point to the Savior. But there are other writings that emanate from the Savior and in which his very voice calls to us. (See D&C 18:34–36.) These of course are the scriptures. And if I were cast upon a desert island with only one book to sustain me for the rest of my days, I would want that book to be the Gospel of John.


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