Saturday I spoke at the Compassionate Boldness Conference in Salt Lake City. This conference is dedicated to equipping Christians to enter into meaningful discussions with Latter-day Saint friends, combining confidence about the truth with loving concern for the person.
My seminar was entitled “‘Likening the Scriptures to our Lives’: The Book of Mormon in LDS Experience.” Here is an abstract of what I shared:
Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the keystone of the Mormon religion. This reflects not only the foundational claims the book makes, but also its formative role in defining the culture and identity of Latter-day Saint people. The Book of Mormon undergirds their confidence in Joseph Smith, reinforces their basic beliefs and perspectives about life, and models essential LDS values and experiences. Latter-day Saints see their own lives in Book of Mormon stories and characters, and find spiritual guidance and comfort in its pages. We can address our witness to the LDS people more effectively by understanding their multi-faceted relationship with the Book of Mormon.
My presentation covered four points. First, I explained my approach as one informed by missiological reflection, and how this might be different from how the Book of Mormon has been approached in the past. Second, I explored five basic ways the Book of Mormon is actually used and experienced in LDS life. Third, I considered how the Book of Mormon acts to shape LDS culture, including three specific examples. Fourth, I reflected on some of the practical implications of this understanding for our witness.
I will summarize some of my presentation in upcoming posts, and I will try to find time to work up the talk into a publishable article. If you want to hear my presentation or others from the Compassionate Boldness conference, go to http://store.mrm.org/compassionate-boldness-2009-audio-2-99-per-mp3.html
It was an enriching event. I made some new friends and caught up with some old ones, and the presentations were well done.