Because the Mormon Church
believes in the doctrine of continuing revelation, Mormons have an open
canon of scripture, all of which complement and are supplementary to
each other, and that thus far contains the Bible, the Book of Mormon,
the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Mormons also
view the proclamations and written words of the Prophet and leaders of
the Church (General Authorities) to be modern-day revelation that can
be viewed as modern-day scripture.
Mormons believe the word of God is contained within each book of
scripture. It is the privilege and duty of each member of the Mormon
Church to become well acquainted with the Lord's word. Through daily
scripture study and prayer, Mormons learn important truths and are
blessed with the ability to obey the Lord's commandments. Mormonism
teaches that the Spirit of the Lord will dwell with those who study the scriptures and pray to the Father to know for themselves what is true.
The Holy Bible, King James Version, is the English version of the Bible used by Mormons.
Members of the Mormon Church believe this translated version is the
closest to the truth, as the Bible did undergo many alterations over
the course of its existence. Each member of the Mormon Church should
study the Old and New Testament and pray to know the truths contained
in these records. Mormons believe that the Bible is a library of
writings that contains records of divine revelation from the Lord to
His servants on earth. The Old Testament is the record used by the Jews
of Palestine in the first century AD. It contains the record of the
original law given to Moses. The New Testament records the new covenant
brought to the Lord's people when Jesus Christ came to earth.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ,
specifically His visit to the inhabitants of the American continent.
Mormons believe the Lord appeared to these people shortly after His
ascension to Heaven from Israel. The Book of Mormon
is an essential part of Mormonism and contains truths pertinent to each
individual's salvation. The Book of Mormon is made up of records and
prophecies of the people who inhabited the Americas for centuries
before and after Christ was on the earth. These people are know in
Mormonism as the Nephites and the Lamanites (another civilization
accounted for in the Book of Mormon is the Jaredite nation). When the
Lord came, He established His Church among the people of the American
continent. These records were finally quoted and abridged by a prophet
named Mormon, who, following divine guidance, delivered the account to
his son Moroni. Moroni added some words of his own and then hid the
plates. Mormons believe in 1823 the same Moroni appeared as a heavenly
messenger to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him about the
ancient record. Through the power and guidance of God, Joseph Smith later received and translated the Book of Mormon into English.
The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations
and records of the early Mormon Church, during the Church's restoration
on the earth in the early nineteenth century. The Doctrine and
Covenants was originally known as the Book of Commandments and contains
the divine instruction given to the Prophet Joseph and other leaders on
how to organize the Mormon Church. Mormons believe that the Lord was
personally guiding the early leaders of the Church.
The Pearl of Great Price, as described in its "Introductory Note,"
is a "selection of choice materials" that relate to the faith and
doctrine of the Mormon Church. Much of this material was received by
Joseph Smith through revelation and translation. It contains selections
from the book of Moses, the book of Genesis, and Joseph Smith's
translation of the Bible, which translation he began in 1830. Also
contained in the Pearl of Great Price is the book of Abraham, which is
a translation of some Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith received in
1835. Also as part of the Pearl of Great Price is the Joseph
Smith--History, which contains excerpts from Joseph Smith's personal
record and official testimony. Lastly, the Pearl of Great Price
contains the Articles of Faith, which are thirteen enumerations of Mormon beliefs written by Joseph Smith.
For more information about the Prophet Joseph Smith
The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith - American Prophet
Joseph Smith Daguerreotype
Fulfilled Prophecies of Joseph Smith
BBC - Religion & Ethics - The Story of Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith: Biography and Much More From Answers.com
Joseph Smith - Lightplanet