Book of Mormon and Other Mormon Scripture
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often misnamed the Mormon Church) accepts the Bible as Mormon scripture and considers it to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. However, modern revelation has shown that many plain and precious truths have been lost from the Bible. Some things were lost in translation, some were lost in the transmission, or passing on, of texts, and other things were lost because wicked men deliberately took them out of the record.
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text similar to the Bible. It is a second testament that Jesus is the Christ. It is the record of a people who left Jerusalem in 600 A.D., before its destruction. This group of people was led by revelation to a promised land, the American continents, and built up civilizations here. The Book of Mormon chronicles their dealings with Jesus Christ, their times of righteousness and times of wickedness, and finally, the destruction of a race because of their wickedness. The record was buried by the last righteous man, Moroni, and stayed hidden for about 1200 years.
In 1820, a fourteen-year-old boy was confused about which of the many Christian denominations he should join in his area. They all seemed to conflict with each other. He read James 1:5, where James instructs, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” This young boy was Joseph Smith. He did pray, and in response to his prayer, he received a marvelous vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They told him the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ had been lost from the earth, and none of the churches had the whole truth; therefore, Joseph should not join any of them. Three years later, Joseph turned to God again in prayer and received another vision, this time of an angel named Moroni, the same Moroni who had buried the ancient record 1200 years earlier.
Moroni showed Joseph where the record was hidden. Over several years, he prepared Joseph to receive these plates. Joseph learned that he could not use the plates for any temporal needs, such as supporting his poor family. These plates were to bring about the purposes of God and could not be used for personal gain. Joseph translated the ancient record through the power of God and published it in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. This book was never meant to replace the Bible, but is meant as a complementary book of scripture. The two used together show that Jesus is the Christ, that He loves all of God’s children, and that He continues to speak to them as long as they will listen.
Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) accept the Bible as holy scripture as well as the Book of Mormon. Other Mormon scripture includes the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of modern revelations (Mormon scripture), given mostly to Joseph Smith, about how The Church of Jesus Christ was to be organized on the earth in our day. Many times people are called to repentance, both as individuals and the church as a whole. There are many revelations restoring lost truth, like the proper method of baptism (by immersion by one having authority), the sacramental prayers, the laying on of hands to heal, and the organization of the church. The Doctrine and Covenants is truly a testament that God continues to speak today and that miracles are a part of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Pearl of Great Price is a collection of ancient scripture. It contains four books: Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith—Matthew, and Joseph Smith—History. It also contains the Articles of Faith, thirteen statements declaring basic Mormon beliefs. Here is a breakdown of the Mormon scripture in the Pearl of Great Price. “Selections from the Book of Moses” was a portion of scripture revealed to Joseph Smith during his translation of the Bible. It contains a portion of Moses’ record which had been lost. The Book of Abraham is a translation by Joseph through the power of God of an ancient papyrus that came into the possession of the church. It contains three facsimiles of illustrations from the original text. Joseph Smith—Matthew is another portion of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, showing changes to words and additions of lost text. Joseph Smith—History is Joseph’s personal account of his first vision and subsequent experiences leading to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In addition to the four books of Mormon scripture contained in the Latter-day Saint canon, Mormons believe in continuing revelation. There is a living prophet on the earth today, and God speaks to him. The 15 men who lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the three members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) are sustained by church members as “prophets, seers, and revelators.” They receive revelation for the church and the world, making God’s will known to mankind.
Get a free copy of The Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ)