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Mormon Books

The Mormon canon of scripture is often referred to as the “standard works.” It contains the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

The Bible

The Bible is the first of the Mormon books and contains the everlasting gospel. Mormons use the King James Version of the Bible because Church founder Joseph Smith performed a revision of that version of the Bible by revelation, correcting finer points that had been altered or omitted over the years of transcription and translation. It is because of this that one of the Mormon Articles of Faith states that “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” The Mormon Church prints the King James Bible with Joseph Smith Translation corrections as footnotes.

The Book of Mormon

This Mormon book is an ancient record of God’s dealings with a people on the American continent. It contains records of this people for a thousand years, from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. The Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ. It is a companion volume to the Bible. It too, contains the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon in no way diminishes the importance of the Bible, but is often given more attention because it is a belief unique to Mormons. This Mormon book has been called the keystone of the religion. Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon. The final author had buried it around 400 A.D. An angel visited Joseph Smith and revealed the place of its burial. Joseph unearthed it and found a record written on golden plates. He commenced a translation by the aid of two seer stones buried with the plates. From the translation, Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon in 1830, just before organizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon is the tool by which one is converted to the Mormon Church. Its truth verifies the claim of Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Mormon Church as the kingdom of God on earth.

The Doctrine and Covenants

This Mormon book is a series of revelations, most received by Joseph Smith, beginning with the angel’s appearance to Joseph Smith in 1823, and the most recent addition being in 1978. Its purpose is the establishment and regulation of the Church of Jesus Christ. Many of the revelations were received as answers to the prayers of Joseph Smith concerning specific points of doctrine and governing of the Church. Many other revelations were directed as counsel or commandment to specific people, but the principles contained in these revelations are now applied to the followers of Christ generally, and many points of doctrine are clarified or revealed in the Doctrine and Covenants.

The Pearl of Great Price

This Mormon book contains five sections. The first is the Book of Moses. When Joseph Smith was doing a translation of the Bible he greatly expanded upon sections of the book of Genesis. The Creation and the account of the Fall of Adam are both given in more detail, as well as mention of the generations following Adam, particularly Enoch. Next is the Book of Abraham. This is a translation of Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith acquired in 1835. It is the writings of Abraham, with an account of his life in Egypt, as well as a vision that he experienced where he saw the stars and planets, the dwelling place of God, and was shown the Creation. Then, Joseph Smith-Matthew is also taken from the Bible translation and is Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the second coming. After that, Joseph Smith-History is an account written in 1838 by Joseph himself, of the creation and rise of the Mormon Church, beginning with Joseph’s first vision in 1820. Last are the Articles of Faith. These are thirteen statements summarizing the core beliefs of Mormonism. Joseph Smith included these in a letter to a Chicago newspaperman who was inquiring about the Mormon’s beliefs.

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