Likening in the Book of Mormon: A Look at Joseph M. Spencer's An Other Testament: On Typology
Doctrine and Covenants section 84 places Latter-day Saints under condemnation "until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon" (D&C 84:55–57). From the beginning of the Restoration, neglect of the Book of Mormon has been a hallmark of both those who accept and reject it. Before the 1980s, Latter-day Saint readings were often characterized by summary, with little or no exegetical analysis. Readings by Book of Mormon critics were similarly superficial, dismissing the book as not worthy of their attention. The value of capable and close readings of the scripture became more apparent with the work of Hugh Nibley and John W. Welch and continued with the work of FARMS. Quality work continues today with talented readers such as Grant Hardy and Terryl L. Givens. Joseph Spencer's book An Other Testament, published by the Salt Press in 2012, builds insightfully upon the works of those who have gone before and takes Book of Mormon analysis to a new apex, setting the standard very high for any who follow. If anything, the book itself deserves close reading because it teaches the method and results of close reading.