The Book of Mormon helped launch one of America’s most successful religions, and millions around the world accept it as scripture. It is thus one of the more influential books to have been published in the United States. Ironically, precisely because of its role in the founding of Mormonism, the text of the Book of Mormon has often been ignored. Recently, however, the Book of Mormon has begun to attract the attention of scholars whose interest in the text goes beyond either religious devotion or the academic study of Mormonism. Rather, they look to the text as a literary creation of interest in its own right. This article brings this new approach into dialogue with the influential legal theory of Robert Cover. In so doing, it breaks new ground in the study of law and literature and shows how a close reading of the Book of Mormon text reveals a subtle debate about the nature of rule following that intersects with contemporary discussions in legal theory. These narratives illustrate an important feature of what we might call the phenomenology of legal experience, namely the way in which law carries within itself—rightly or wrongly—claims to transcendence.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

11 British Journal of American Legal Studies 297-322 (2022)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Jurisprudence Commons