For the online essay of the week, go read On Wagging the Dog by Kevin Christensen, from the May 2004 Sunstone. It's short, only four pages! Christensen is responding to several articles in the March 2004 Sunstone grouped around the theme "Reframing the Book of Mormon." Christensen refers sympathetically to other instances of bottom-to-top inspiration in the Church as the tail wagging the dog, but argues that buying into this more radical reframing effort "would amount to their not only wagging the dog, but also stuffing and mounting it as well." Hats off to Sunstone for publishing a "rebuttal" view--not a practice followed by all Mormon Studies publications.
Christensen recognizes diverse ways that a person might accept, read, or profit from the Book of Mormon, and recognizes that it "can also, therefore, be approached profitably as myth." But while it's okay to note "mythic patterns" in some BoM events or texts, Christensen objects to the broader mythic approach: "[S]omething fundamentally important is missing from the mythic approach: the discovery of key historical events in which the work of God seems manifest." It's not reframing he objects to--he's open to FARMS scholars reframing the BoM apologetically, retaining a measure of historicity, but quite unwilling to follow scholars who would reframe the BoM critically. But I don't see this as a dispute about myth versus history, just a debate about what, in fact, is historical.
THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES CHARITABLY, stating that "the presence of [a mythic approach] is healthy both for a religious tradition and for individuals," but adds his opinion that "to adopt a mythic approach as a replacement for, rather than a complement to, historicity, would be suicidal for our faith community. We'd fall apart." I doubt the Church would fall apart--we've been through worse, and one should never underestimate Mormon resiliency. What do you think?