The Book of Mormon and Other Mormon Scripture
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often nicknamed Mormons) believe that the Book of Mormon is scripture. This does not mean, however, that they do not accept the Bible as scripture as well. Most Christians accuse Latter-day Saints of having a “Mormon Bible.” This is not true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the King James Version of the Holy Bible as its English Bible all over the world. Obviously, different translations are used in different languages, but the KJV is considered the most accurate translation available in English. Latter-day Saints do have their own edition of the KJV published with footnotes and references to other scripture, but the translation is the same as any other copy of the KJV.
The Bible is considered to be the word of God by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, it has been revealed that many plain and precious truths have been lost from the Bible over the course of nearly two thousand years. Some things were lost through the translation and transmission of the text. Other truths were lost due to the wickedness of men who changed doctrine to fit their own preferences.
The Book of Mormon is a companion book of scripture to the Bible. It is a religious and historical record of two different groups of people who were led to the Americas by the hand of God. This record was kept for more than 1000 years before it was buried to protect it from being destroyed. For hundreds of years it sat buried until the time was right for it to come forward, and God led a young boy by the name of Joseph Smith to find the record. Joseph Smith was called of God to be the first prophet of our dispensation. A dispensation is a period of time when the fulness of the gospel is on the earth. Due to the wickedness of men, the fulness is eventually lost in each dispensation. Then a prophet must be called again in order to restore the fulness. After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, His apostles were systematically martyred. The fulness of the gospel lost fairly quickly. In 1820, though, God and Jesus Christ visited the young boy named Joseph Smith and called him to restore the gospel in our day.
Joseph Smith was able to find and translate the ancient record that was then published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. This book does contain the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a companion book of scripture to the Bible because it restores and clarifies doctrine lost from the Bible. It is another testament that Jesus is the Christ, the immortal Son of God. Reading the Book of Mormon brings a power into the reader’s life that cannot be gained in any other way. The Spirit of God can testify directly to the heart of whoever reads this sacred text.
Latter-day Saints believe there is other scripture in addition to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Unlike most other Christians, “Mormons” believe that God has not ceased speaking to His people. Thus, He is constantly adding to our scripture. The Doctrine and Covenants is another book in the Latter-day Saint canon. It contains many modern revelations which were given in answer to questions asked about the gospel. Most of these were given to Joseph Smith, though some were given to other church leaders.
The Pearl of Great Price is the last of the four printed books which make up the Latter-day Saints’ standard works (or canon). However, as stated above, Latter-day Saints believe that God continues to speak to us today through His prophets. Thus, the words of modern-day prophets are also valued as scripture. Twice a year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a General Conference in which church leaders speak to members worldwide and share spiritual messages with them. These words are considered inspired and are also scripture.
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