Carole Mikita ReportingWhile you're working on that summer reading list, here's another list of books you may want to consider--"20 Books That Changed America.”
The list is in this month's Book Magazine and right there with familiar works like 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath"... is "The Book of Mormon.”
In honor of America's birthday, "Book Magazine" writers say they decided to find 20 novels or nonfiction works that had the greatest effect on the history of our country. Included in the list is Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense,’ 'A Vindication of the Rights of Women' by Mary Wollstonecraft and 'The Book of Mormon.’
Richard Cracroft has just written an article about the book's public image; he thinks its inclusion on this list, with other significant works, is no small thing.
Richard Craycroft, Ph.D./ Professor Emeritus BYU: "I think it's exciting, I think it's an exciting admission that the Book of Mormon may be something or may mean something or maybe these Mormons are onto something."
'The Book of Mormon' is the only religious writing on the list. Others called for freedom or changes that made life in America better.
The one thing that all the books on the list have in common is that at the time they were published and printed each one was considered controversial.
Robert Millet, Ph.D./BYU: "The more that it's discussed and the more that it's talked about, the more curious people become as to what it is and what are people so upset about it. One of the issues that many of these books on this list have in common is that they were spawned in controversy."
Having a book on this list, scholars agree, is a win-win. It allows the faith a place in history and gives readers a chance to examine a publication they might not otherwise have picked up.
Tom Alexander, Ph.D./ BYU & U of U: "People in the United States, at a much higher level than in western Europe, profess to be believers. And I think in order to understand the United States, you have to understand the role that religion has played in the history of this country."