Stephen D. Ricks
When we launched the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies a little more than a year ago, I indicated my belief that no single group of Latter-day Saints had exclusive or "privileged access" to the Book of Mormon and expressed the hope that the Journal would be supported by contributions from a diverse group of students of the Book of Mormon writing on a wide variety of topics. I am gratified by the response we have had, reflected in the varied backgrounds of the contributors and the wide range of topics covered in this number of the Journal. Among the contributors to this issue are students and teachers, academics and nonacademics, professional people and retirees. The most notable common characteristic of this group is their shared commitment to the value of the Book of Mormon and their desire to plumb its depths and discover its riches. The articles, too, span a wide range of topics: the implications of competing claims concerning the historicity of the Book of Mormon (a "hot topic" that we will be revisiting in future issues); the Book of Mormon in its New World setting; the theological, ritual, cultural, linguistic, literary, economic, and historical trajectories of the Book of Mormon; the Book of Mormon in the modern Church; and perspectives on the on-going polemic against the Book of Mormon. Future issues will reflect an equally wide range of subjects and approaches.
We wish to thank Melvin J. Thorne and Brent Hall, who provided timely assistance in the preparation of this issue.