The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon

TitleThe Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWelch, John W.
PublisherProvo: BYU Press/Maxwell Institute for Religious Research

The close readings in this book bring many new details to light, making the legal cases in the Book of Mormon clear to ordinary readers, convincing to attorneys, and respectable to scholars of all types, whether Latter-day Saints or not. All readers can identify with these compelling legal narratives, for they address pressing problems of ordinary people.

Because the Nephites strictly observed the law of Moses until the coming of Christ, this book examines the laws, arguments, verdicts, and punishments of these cases in the light of biblical law. By reading these texts with legal principles and procedures in mind, this study sets out to do for the Book of Mormon what biblical scholars have done for the Bible. This provides a point of entry into these key episodes in Nephite history.

As Terryl Givens comments, and as this book shows, "The Book of Mormon is coming to be studied as an important text in its own right, one with literary richness, structural complexity, and a coherent worldview and narrative voice."

The legal principles explained in this book add life to the messages of the scriptures, particularly the ideal of righteous judgment. The ancient scriptures extend a poignant invitation to the modern world to "judge righteously" (Deuteronomy 1:16) and to "do good continually" (Alma 41:14).