Open Canon

Scriptures of the Latter Day Saint Tradition

The publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830 began a new scriptural tradition. Resisting the long-established closed biblical canon, the Book of Mormon posited that the Bible was incomplete and corrupted. With a commitment to an open canon, a variety of Latter Day Saint denominations have emerged, each offering their own scriptural works to accompany the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other revelations of Joseph Smith. Open Canon breaks new ground as the first volume to examine these writings as a single spiritual heritage.

Chapters cover both well-studied and lesser-studied works, introducing readers to scripture dictated by nineteenth- and twentieth-century revelators such as James Strang, Lucy Mack Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Harry Edgar Baker, and Charles B. Thompson, among others. Contributors detail how various Latter Day Saint denominations responded to scriptures introduced during the ministry of Joseph Smith and how churches have employed the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Lectures of Faith over time. Bringing together studies from across denominational boundaries, this book considers what we can learn about Latter Day Saint resistance to the closed canon and the nature of a new American scriptural tradition.
Christine Blythe is the William A. Wilson Folklore Archives Specialist at Brigham Young University and a scholar of vernacular religion and belief. From 2017 to 2021 she was editor of the Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies and is currently co-president of the Folklore Society of Utah.

Christopher James Blythe is assistant professor in English at Brigham Young University. He is currently coeditor of the Journal of Mormon History and co-president of the Folklore Society of Utah. Blythe is the author of Terrible Revolution: Latter-day Saints and the American Apocalypse.

Jay A. Burton is an archivist and Church history specialist in the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a founding editor of the Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies
Table of Contents:

Churches and Movements
Select Chronology
Sources and Abbreviations

Philip L. Barlow

Part I: Introductory Essays
1. Opening the Canon: A New Scriptural Tradition
Christopher James Blythe
2. Anchored in Revelation: Scripture and Schism in the Restoration
Laurie F. Maffly- Kipp
3. Revelation, Scripture, and Authority in the Latter Day Saint Diaspora, 1840–1870
Richard L. Saunders

Part II: Reception of Joseph Smith’s Revelations
4. Books of Mormon: Latter- day Saints, Latter Day Saints, and the Book of Mormon
Joseph M. Spencer
5. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot): A Solae Scripturae Mormonism
Chrystal Vanel
6. Joseph Smith’s Letter from Liberty Jail: A Study in Canonization
Kathleen Flake
7. Lectures on Faith in the Latter Day Saint Tradition
Richard S. Van Wagoner, Steven C. Walker, Allen D. Roberts, and Christine Elyse Blythe

Part III: Case Studies in New Scripture: Nineteenth Century
8. Lucy Mack Smith and Her Sacred Text
Janiece Johnson
9. Strangite Scripture
Christine Elyse Blythe and Christopher James Blythe
10. The Book of Enoch “Revised, Corrected, and the Missing Parts Restored”
Christopher James Blythe
11. William Bickerton’s Cooperative Views on Scripture and Revelation
Daniel P. Stone
12. Scriptures for the Children of Zion: The Revelations of Sidney and Phebe Rigdon
Jay Burton

Part IV: Case Studies in New Scripture: Twentieth and Twenty- First Centuries
13. Harry Edgar Baker and The Word of the Lord
Thomas G. Evans and Christopher James Blythe
14. The Levitical Writings of the House of Aaron
Casey Paul Griffiths
15. The Hidden Records of Central Utah and the Struggle for Religious Authority
Christopher C. Smith
16. Matthew Philip Gill, Joseph Smith, and the Dynamics of Mormon Schism
Matthew Bowman


Praise and Reviews:“A collection that treats the still-proliferating scriptures of the still-diverging branches of the Latter Day Saint movement both as a common phenomenon and as individual phenomena meriting equal intellectual seriousness and scholarly rigor is long overdue. This volume will be a landmark in Latter Day Saint studies.” 
—Jared Hickman, associate professor of English, Johns Hopkins University, and coeditor of Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon