Coming this September: Schooling the Prophet: How the Book of Mormon Influenced Joseph Smith and the Early Restoration, by Gerald E. Smith

07.30.2015 | The Maxwell Institute

According to author Gerald E. Smith, Joseph Smith wasn’t merely the Book of Mormon’s prophetic translator; he was also a student of the sacred record.

This September the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is releasing our latest title: Schooling the Prophet: How the Book of Mormon Influenced Joseph Smith and the Early Restoration. This book offers evidence that the Latter-day Saint prophet was quietly influenced by one of the most important sources of religious thought and sacred protocol that he knew—the Book of Mormon—on issues such as the nature of God, priesthood, and the temple.

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The book is available for pre-order at It will be officially released on September 1. A digital edition will be available soon. 

Advance Praise

“It may seem odd to speak of the Book of Mormon’s influence on the Mormon prophet. And yet, whether you believe he produced that record ‘by the gift and power of God’ or in a brazen act of pious deception, the ideas, doctrines, and practices detailed in that volume undoubtedly pervade the restoration project of Joseph Smith. Gerald Smith has done important work in exploring just how extensive that interpenetration was. While it may be true that the Book of Mormon functioned primarily as a sign, or an evidence, of Joseph’s prophetic authority, the fruits of research like Gerald Smith’s tells us we have inadequately appreciated how extensively Joseph drew upon the record in conceiving and executing his vision of priesthood, theology, church organization, ordinances, temple building, and other areas.”

—Terryl L. Givens, author of By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a World Religion and The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction

“With great attention to historical detail, this book brings to light the critical and often overlooked influence the Book of Mormon had on the restoration of the priesthood, church administration, temple, and other ordinances revealed to Joseph Smith. Gerald Smith’s portrayal of the Prophet’s schooling illuminates a pattern God still uses to teach his children.”

—Barbara Morgan, Director of Boston LDS Institute and Assistant Professor of Religion, Brigham Young University

“Gerald Smith asks a pertinent question: How did the Book of Mormon influence Joseph Smith’s Restoration? He has thought long and hard about the issue and gives us here the results of his investigations. His answer: From temple culture and the priesthood to the doctrine of God and baptism, the Book of Mormon profoundly shaped the doctrines and practices of the restored Church.”

—Richard L. Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University and author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

“Painstakingly researched and carefully written, Gerald Smith’s Schooling the Prophet shows how deep—as the subtitle of the book states—was the influence of the Book of Mormon on Joseph Smith and the early restoration. Gerald Smith’s study demonstrates how profoundly—and paradoxically, since Joseph Smith only occasionally cited it—the Book of Mormon shaped early Latter-day Saint theology and practice, including baptism, the sacrament, the temple, and the concept of Zion. Warmly to be recommended.”

—Stephen D. Ricks, author of numerous FARMS publications and professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Brigham Young University

About the Author

Gerald E. Smith teaches religion courses for the Boston LDS Institute of Religion. He is a business professor at Boston College in the Carroll School of Management, advisor to American and European business leaders, and advisor to religious educators with the Roche Center for Catholic Education and  the Lynch School of Education. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, his MBA from Harvard Business School, and his doctorate from Boston University.