No shortage of scripture

Americans remain the most religious of the developed nations, and our religiosity is a major export, thanks to an equal amount of missionary zeal. American Scriptures: An Anthology of Sacred Writings features American versions of holy writ, starting with Thomas Jefferson’s old-fashioned cut-and-paste job on the story of Jesus. While some writings are historically well-known—the Book of Mormon, Science and Health With a Key to the Scriptures or Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman’s Bible—there are some equally interesting, lesser-known bits, like a revelation from a schismatic Mormon, the founding revelation of the Shakers, the Oahspe Lodge of Faithists’ “New Bible,” the “Aquarian Bible.” Putting them all together like this gives us a good look at how the American obsession with truth with a capital “T” drives our variegated versions of faith to continue splitting hairs and counting angels dancing on pinheads. It’s a very necessary and helpful perspective.