The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is commonly nicknamed the “Mormon Church” by those of other faiths, has a large canon of scripture. Whereas most Christian religions only accept the Bible as the word of God, the LDS Church has four canonized books of scripture: the Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon (a book of scripture about Jesus Christ’s dealings with some of the inhabitants of ancient America), the Doctrine and Covenants (a collection of modern-day scripture, most of which was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith), and the Pearl of Great Price (a modern collection of ancient scripture).
Latter-day Saints believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. This means that Latter-day Saints believe it once contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but over time many of these simple and precious truths were lost. Some were lost through the transmission and translation of ancient documents. Others were lost because designing men did not like what they found in it and deleted many things.
The Book of Mormon
Mormon doctrine teaches that God foresaw that many things would be lost from the Bible, so he prepared another record containing the fulness of the gospel and preserved it to come forth in the latter days. This book of scripture is now known as the Book of Mormon and is a record which ancient inhabitants of the Americas kept of Christ’s dealings with them. In the early 1800s, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to a boy named Joseph Smith and revealed many of these things to him, calling him to be a prophet and to restore the truth to the earth. An angel named Moroni, he who had buried the record as one of the last acts of his life, led Joseph Smith to its hiding place. Joseph Smith then translated the text through the power of God.
The Doctrine and Covenants
Latter-day Saints believe that God still speaks to His children today. When Joseph Smith was called to restore the church of Jesus Christ in its fulness, he constantly sought the Lord’s help through prayer. He received answers to his questions through revelations. Many of these revelations are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, and they reveal God’s will about His people in our day.
The Pearl of Great Price
Joseph Smith undertook a translation of the Bible through the power of the Holy Ghost, under direction from God. In reading parts of the Bible, he was inspired to write things which had been lost from the original text. Many of these things are recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. In addition, an ancient papyrus scroll came into the hands of the early Saints which was a record of Abraham from his time in Egypt. This was also translated by Joseph Smith and is published in the Pearl of Great Price.
In addition to these four books of scripture, Latter-day Saints believe that God continues to speak through his prophet today. Church leaders called General Authorities are also considered to speak the word of God in their callings. All these sacred words are considered to be scripture as well, and are treated as such.
Doris White is a native of Oregon and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and a minor in Editing. She loves to talk with others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.