The Gentle Blasphemer: Mark Twain, Holy Scripture, and the Book of Mormon

Title

The Gentle Blasphemer: Mark Twain, Holy Scripture, and the Book of Mormon

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication

1971

Authors

Journal

BYU Studies Quarterly

Pagination

119-136

Volume

11

Issue

2

Terms of use

Items in the BMC Archive are made publicly available for non-commercial, private use. Inclusion within the BMC Archive does not imply endorsement. Items do not represent the official views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of Book of Mormon Central.

Bibliographic Citation

Cracroft, Richard H. "The Gentle Blasphemer: Mark Twain, Holy Scripture, and the Book of Mormon" In BYU Studies Quarterly, Vol. 11. 1971:119-136.

Abstract

Chapter Sixteen of Mark Twain’s Roughing It begins, “All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the ‘elect’ have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it.” Conversely, all Mormons have heard of Twain’s caustic burlesque on the Book of Mormon, but none seems to have taken the trouble to demonstrate to Gentiles that Twain was obviously one of the multitude who had not read the book. Indeed, the four chapters in Roughing It(1872) devoted to the Mormons and their “golden Bible” continue to evoke hilarity from Latter-day Saints, not only because of the burlesque on sacred Mormon institutions, of which Twain was understandably but appallingly ignorant, but also because of the amusingly evident fact that if Twain read the Book of Mormon at all, it was in the same manner that Tom Sawyer won the Sunday School Bible contest—by cheating.

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