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The Concept of Holiness in the Book of Mormon: A Thematic Textual Analysis

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Rebekah Wilson

This article presents a thematic analysis on the concept of Holiness as presented in the primary source text of The Book of Mormon. Fields of academic inquiry including counseling psychology, humanities, sociology and anthropology have seen a recent surge of interest in the meaning and experience of holiness in the midst of the 21st century's interfaith and multiculturalist trends. This paper seeks, in part, to contribute to this scholarly conversation by presenting a multifaceted description of this text's perspective on the meaning and lived experience of holiness. We began this project by conducting an exhaustive thematic analysis of the text by searching for key terms directly related to the overarching theme of holiness including (together with their grammatical derivatives) holy, unholy, holiness, sanctify, sacred, consecrate, desecrate and sanctification. Having found 17 themes in our primary analysis, we then conducted secondary and tertiary analyses of salient themes to arrive at three principal thematic categories: God as holiness, dispositional holiness and reciprocal holiness. Each of these thematic categories include multiple subthemes. The first theme describes how various facets of the nature of holiness itself are seen as synonymous with God's character, attributes and actions. The second makes the dual assertion that one's disposition can be both an initiating catalyst for holiness as well as a consequence of the experience and pursuit of holiness. The last theme suggests that holiness can only be fully realized by the mutual participation of both God on one hand and humanity on the other. We hope that this research will contribute to growing contemporary discussions regarding holiness by examining the meaning of holiness based on primary analysis of this sacred text.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION C (1:45-3:15PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Isaac Calvert
Location: Alumni House, BOYER ROOM (2:05pm)