Religious expert analyzes text in Elizabeth Smart case

SALT LAKE CITY — An expert in religious texts testified Friday that the writings of the former street preacher accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart drew heavily from other religious works, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

As the trial for Brian David Mitchell enters its final phase, the testimony of Brigham Young University professor Daniel C. Peterson seemed to support the prosecution’s contention that the defendant is a smart, cunning person — an argument that runs counter to defense attorneys’ claims that he is mentally ill and can’t be held responsible in the case.

Peterson was the first in a string of witnesses federal prosecutors called on Friday to help shape a portrait of Mitchell’s character. He told jurors that the 27-page “Book of Immanuel David Isaiah,” thought to be an expression of Mitchell’s religious beliefs that spells out his divinely inspired calling to battle the Antichrist at the end of the world, was not an entirely original work.

“One of the things that strikes me about the (book) is the barrenness,” Peterson said. “In terms of doctrine, there’s nothing new.”

Peterson said the book, dated April 2002, and a subsequent edition drafted after Mitchell’s 2003 arrest quotes heavily from the Bible, particularly the Old Testament and its Book of Isaiah, the Book of Mormon and hymn books. The book also draws from modern writings, including Betty Eadie’s story of her near-death experience, “Embraced by the Light.”

“I think the composition of these writings is much the way a student would compose a term paper,” Peterson said.

– Source / Full Story: Religious expert analyzes text in Smart case, Associated Press via Yahoo! News, Dec. 3, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday December 6, 2010.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at