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The Book of Mormon has drawn criticism from many Christians because it is accepted in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as legitimate scripture, despite other denominations’ insistence that the Bible is the only valid of word of God that will ever be available to us. Nevertheless, the Bible itself suggests God has always had more to say and that continuous revelation is part of the gospel’s very essence.

Revelation Beyond Revelation

Scriptures open to Acts 27. Courtesy of the LDS Media Library.

Some Christians believe that Revelation 22:18 is proof enough that no other scripture could ever exist. However, it’s unlikely that the word “book” in that verse is referring to the Bible, since it hadn’t been compiled as we currently know it. Another translation for the word could have been “scroll,” which means that the verse was about Revelation itself. Since prophets have specific authority given to them to reveal doctrine about God and His gospel, the verse makes sense in such context; the revelations of the book were John’s to disclose. (Besides, if every such scripture were taken so literally, there would have been nothing after Deuteronomy 4:2.)

In truth, councils of men—not unlike the famous Nicene Council—usually decided what could be considered scripture and what could not, bereft of the guidance of prophets. Various versions of the Bible existed, and some did not include the book of Revelation at all. The King James version is now the one most widely used, and it was not compiled until 1611. According to Jewish tradition, the Old Testament books are organized first by those considered to be written by Moses and then in order of those regarded as most important to least important. Christian versions of the Bible often order the Old Testament books first by historical significance, then sacred poetry, and finally, ancient prophecies. The New Testament begins with the four gospels, followed by the letters of the prophets to the Church in order of size (biggest to smallest), with Revelation tacked on at the end. In fact, the Apostle John wrote his epistle to church members of his time period sometime after writing Revelation. Also, he is believed to have died earlier than most of the other Apostles. Clearly, chronological order was not a concern for those who created the Bible as we know it. For all these reasons, Revelation—nor any other part of the Bible—cannot reasonably be upheld as the final word of God.

Moses and the Tablets, by Jerry Harston. Moses was among the many prophets who contributed scriptural writings that were later compiled into the Bible familiar to us today. Courtesy of the LDS Media Library.

Furthermore, there are several mentions of scriptures that have been lost throughout both the Bible and Book of Mormon. If it’s possible for scriptures to be unknown to the world, then it stands to reason that they may one day be discovered, as the Mormon Church believes the Book of Mormon was.

He Continues to Speak

We know that God will always work with prophets to ensure that we have guidance, and we also know that He will continue enlightening us with knowledge and power as we become capable of comprehending it, little by little. Considering the Mormon belief in eternal progression on top of all this, it’s only natural to believe that the Bible is not the only authority on gospel truths, and we may yet be blessed with more books of scripture beyond the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. It is a testament of God’s love that He speaks to everyone and will continue to speak.

Woman reading the Book of Mormon. Courtesy of the LDS Media Library.

About Ashley Morales

Frequently whimsical and overly optimistic about how much time it will take to do things, Ashley Morales is deeply passionate about the gospel and all kinds of creativity. Her hobbies include philosophically analyzing nearly every book, play, video game, and movie that she consumes, writing music and short stories, promising herself that she will finish writing her novels, going to sleep too late, eating foods she’s never tried, putting off cleaning her house, browsing Zillow, spending as much quality time as possible with her wonderful husband, trying to be a good mother to her fantastic children, and never finding the balance between saying too much and too little. One day, she hopes to leave a positive mark on the world and visit every continent (except Antarctica) with her family.

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