Emotional Feelings as a Form of Evidence: A Case Study of Visceral Evidentiality in Mormon Culture

John Wakefield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper uses the cultural scripts method (Goddard and Wierzbicka 2004) to develop a set of scripts which are proposed to articulate some of the sociopragmatic knowledge held by the speech community popularly known as the Mormons, and officially known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). These scripts focus on the value that Mormons place on using feelings as the best and ultimate form of evidence for verifying the truth of anything related to their religious beliefs, and they are proposed to account for the linguistic behavior of Mormons in relation to their knowledge claims, in relation to their stated source of this knowledge, and in relation to their sense of duty to cause others to acquire this knowledge. The scripts in this chapter are supported by linguistic evidence, which comes primarily from the discourse of respected members of the LDS community. The online searches for evidence and the formulation of the scripts were guided by my intuitive knowledge as an L1 speaker of “Mormonese,” having been born and raised within the Mormon community. Basing beliefs on feelings is a value that most cultures and individuals possess to some degree, and the things that are “proven” by one’s feelings to be true will vary depending on the specific belief system of the culture or individual. I refer to this phenomenon as culturally-constructed visceral evidentiality (CVE). The LDS community overtly articulates the value of visceral evidentiality to an unusual degree, so this speech community provides an excellent opportunity for analyzing the characteristics of a specific case of CVE.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society
EditorsAlessandro Capone, Jacob L. Mey
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319126166
ISBN (Print)9783319126159, 9783319371832
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cultural scripts
  • LDS church
  • Pragmatics and culture
  • Visceral evidentiality


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