Most religions include some form of sacred texts and writings. These texts generally consist of teaching or stories about their beliefs. They also include information for ethics and rituals that are part of that specific religion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints calls their sacred texts scriptures. Their scriptures include the Old Testament and New Testament in the King James Bible. Also, they have The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also, includes other specific writings written by more current presidents of their church, not in their scripture canon or collection of books.
King James Bible
The Bible includes the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament deals with the rules and interactions of God’s people before the coming of Jesus Christ. The New Testament includes teachings of the life of Jesus Christ and just after. It also includes letters from early church leaders such as Paul.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints specifically uses the King James Version rather than more modern versions. In August of 1992, the presiding presidency released a letter explaining that “latter-day revelation supports the King James Version in preference to other English translations.” This version of the Bible has been used since Joseph Smith, the first president.
An article of faith from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says that they “believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” Basically, they believe that the Bible contains errors, some deliberate, most from mistranslations. Still, they believe that the Bible contains truth and their leaders encourage their members to read and study it.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
One of the more controversial sacred texts the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints uses is the Book of Mormon. People used this book to give this church the nickname of Mormons. The official name of the book is The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Though most people call it The Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith says he received the book from an angel. According to the records written by Joseph Smith and historians, an angel named Moroni visited Joseph Smith and led him to a set of golden plates. Moroni introduced himself as the last prophet to write on these plates. He charged Joseph Smith with the protection of the plates. Joseph Smith was also to translate the plates with help from God.
The translated gold plates became named the Book of Mormon after one of the prophets in the book who compiled hundreds of years into one book. The Book of Mormon tells about ancient people that lived on the America Continent and their interactions with God. It talks a lot about the prophecies of Christ and includes a visit from Christ after his death and resurrection.
As the only person to translate The Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith, members maintain that the book does not contain errors that take away from the teachings in it. Joseph Smith says he gave the gold plates that he translated back to Moroni when he finished. Often people try to use the Book of Mormon to prove Joseph Smith a prophet or a fraud.
Members use the Book of Mormon along with the Bible and other sacred texts. In fact, most members have scriptures that include footnotes linking passages to passages in the other books such as the Bible. Leaders encourage members to study the Book of Mormon daily and to follow its teaching.
Sacred Texts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint Part 2
Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints uses at least four different sacred texts or scriptures, I have split my information about them into two parts. In my next post, I’ll tell about the Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and other sacred writings. I’ll include a full bibliography in part two.