The "Standard Works of the Church"
for the Mormons are fourfold: the Bible
, Book of Mormon
, Doctrine and Covenants
, and Pearl of Great Price
. These constitute the written authority of the LDS church. In addition, since Mormons believe in continued revelation, new books approved by the President can be published by or for the church and be considered authoritative
Every person in the church can receive private revelations, but only the President can speak with authoritative revelation for the entire church; he is "a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet." [Joseph Smith, Doctrine and Covenants, sect. 107:92]
Mormons not only claim to be Christians, but to be the only true Christians. According to them, the early Christian church went through an apostacy, lost the true teaching of God, and is built on a Bible that, according to them, is translated incorrectly and is missing many books.
Interestingly, while LDS Church president Gordon Hinckley assures the press that "[t]he New Testament is a fundamental scripture for us," (Note 1) he fails to point out the Mormons' bias against the Bible.
Article 8 of the Mormon Articles of Faith (Note 2) says, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it has been translated correctly." This approach allows Mormons to ignore key Bible Scriptures which refute Mormon doctrines. Bible verses used to counter Mormon teachings are brushed off in favor of passages from the Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures (as well as ongoing revelation that often contradicts previous LDS Church teachings).
It should be noted that the LDS Church has published its own version of the King James Bible, incorporating footnotes explaining what corrections from Joseph Smith's "inspired version" of the Bible (a version full of errors and plagiarized material) should be taken into account.
However, in spite of their efforts at revisionism, Mormons have not been able to support their claims. On the contrary. While Mormon allegations regarding the Bible and the course of Christianity are refuted by history, archeology, and other sciences, the scriptures of the Mormon church are problematic at every turn. Far from showing us so-called 'restored truth,' they are testimonies to the deceptive nature of Mormonism.
Consider, for example, the problems surrounding the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith said:
I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book upon the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.
Source: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1978, 4:461
However, over 9,000 corrections in grammar and spelling (as well as changes distorting the original text) later, that claim can be considered ludicrous.
But there's more.
At best, the Book of Mormon was written using occult methods. It is also known for - among other things - its plagiarism of the King James Bible (using Victorian english in what is supposed to be an American translation of an ancient, historical record), the absence of archeological and historical records supporting the book's story, as well as an array of anachronisms.
Mormons currently have their hands full trying to defend the Book of Mormon against scientific facts that disprove it:
Plant geneticist Simon Southerton
was a Mormon bishop in Brisbane, Australia, when he woke up the morning of Aug. 3, 1998, to the shattering conclusion that his knowledge of science made it impossible for him to believe any longer in the Book of Mormon.
Two years later he started writing "Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church
," published by Signature Books and due in stores next month. Along the way, he found a world of scholarship that has led him to conclude The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belief is changing, but not through prophesy and revelation.
Rather, Southerton sees a behind-the-scenes revolution led by a small group of Brigham Young University scholars and their critics who are reinterpreting fundamental teachings of the Book of Mormon in light of DNA research findings. Along the way, he says, these apologist scholars, with the apparent blessing of church leadership, are contradicting church teachings about the origins of American Indians and Polynesians.
"You've got Mormon apologists in their own publications rejecting what prophets have been saying for decades. This becomes very troubling for ordinary members of the church," Southerton said.
And surprisingly, despite Smith's claim that the Book of Mormon is "the keystone of our religion," it is noted for its absence of key Mormon doctrines.
[See this entry for more on the Book of Mormon]
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