Thursday, July 10, 2008

Additional Scripture?

Most Christian religions believe that there is no scripture outside of the Bible. However, most religious scholars will agree that many books of scripture were lost during the compilation of the Bible. In our religion, we believe that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. But we also believe that additional scripture could be found. We also believe that further revelation may come, and it should be included in modern day scripture.

Let's imagine that diggers at an archaeological site found additional writings of Paul. Would we immediately discount them simply because they weren't originally included in the compilation of the Bible? Why should we be afraid of truth? If it is scripture, then let it be. If it isn't, then we can discount it. But simply closing our eyes and refusing to read it, simply because it wasn't included in the original Bible, does not help us to be seekers of truth. Now let's imagine that we can't verify that Paul was indeed the writer. Do we wholely reject the writings? Or can we study them with the intent to see if there could be truth in them? We should never be afraid of truth, but should press forward relying upon the guidance of the Holy Ghost to help us to discern truth from error. A scripture in the Book of Mormon teaches more about this idea:

"6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them." Moroni 10:6-8

In our religion we have additional scripture. We embrace the Bible as the word of God. We study it, we love it, we revere it. But we do not believe that God has closed His mouth. We have the Book of Mormon which we believe is scripture that came from those who lived in the ancient Americas. We believe that after Christ arose from the dead, that He visited these people in the Americas, and gave them His Gospel. The Book of Mormon contains a very important promise. It says,

"3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:3-5

I would encourage you to follow this promise. Do not discount the Book of Mormon simply because it wasn't included in the Bible. Do as it's writers ask and read it with pure intent, having faith in Christ that He will guide you to know if it is true. You can read it online by clicking here or you can click here to find information about how you can get a free copy.

I hope that you will study it with the intent to know if it is true. Those who read it with the intent to "prove it wrong" are not those who are honest seekers of truth. The Holy Ghost will help those who are humble, and who ask God for help in discerning.


Looney said...

Just a bit curious about how the Mormons view the third wave charismatics on this point. Some of them also seem to think that there is additional revelation which is happening today.

I tend to be a little more relaxed about things. John 21:25 says the following:

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written".

Yes, I believe that Jesus has done many things on Earth since the resurrection. Testimonies similar to what Paul had on the road to Damascus exist today, but I have no resources to investigate nor could I. Thus, I usually approach the question of what should or should not be included with the question, "Is what we have sufficient?". Or to put it another way, is anything missing from the plan of salvation that the Bible gives which the book of Mormon includes? If so, what is it and why is it significant? The same question I would pose to the charismatics who talk of additional revelation and also to groups like the Shakers. What do you think? Should we be longing for the books that John says could fill the whole world?

Ruth said...

I've been wondering why LDS consider only the King James version of the bible to be valid.

Delirious said...

Let me answer Ruth's question first becaue I want to make a separate post to answer Looney's questions.

One reason that we use the King James version is that in 1979, our church published a King James version that includes the following:
(1) the text of the King James Version;
(2) cross-references to latter-day scriptures—Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price;
(3) excerpts from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible;
(4) explanatory footnotes showing alternate readings from Greek and Hebrew;
(5) footnotes showing clarifications of obsolete words and idioms in the English language;
(6) new interpretive chapter headings;
(7) a topical guide;
(8) a Bible dictionary; and
(9) a selection of maps.

This new edition allows us to cross reference the Bible with the Book of Mormon. We can use the topical guide to study any subject in both books. For example, if I want to study about "tithes", this topical guide will give me a list of scriptures both in the Bible and Book of Mormon, as well as addtional scripture.

I personally love the beautiful wording of the King James version. While some find it difficult to read, because I have studied it throughout my life, I have come to love the imagery and wording. I happened upon this quote in an article about how the Bible came to be:
"In fact, the King James Version most likely can never be completely replaced because it is such a vital part of the heritage of English-speaking nations. Its language that has become “part and parcel of our common tongue—bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh.” 37 In one fifty-year period alone, this Bible was the source of more than eleven hundred titles of published books, a credit to its “terse and telling imagery.” 38 And everywhere in our language are its unforgettable phrases: “the apple of his eye” (Deut. 32:10; see Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2), “the signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3), “a pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46), “a labor of love” (1 Thes. 1:3), “straining at a gnat” (Matt. 23:24), “a thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7)." (How the Bible came to be, Ensign magazine August1987)

There are other good translations, but we have decided to use this one to standardize our curriculum throughout the church. Everywhere throughout the world, congregations use the same lesson manuals when studying the Gospel. We all use the King James version as a matter of standaradization.

In addition, I do worry about other translations that are put in modern English because sometimes subtle meaning can be lost. My husband has a Bible that includes 4 different translations, and he loves to study all four. But I'm sentimental, and still love the wording of the King James Version. In fact, whenever I read scriptures from other people's blogs, I have to look them up in the King James version to see which scripture it is. Unless I hear it the way I grew up learning it, I am not sure to which scripture they are referring.

Well, I've written a book here, so I hope it answers your question. ;) lol

Ruth said...

Yes thanks that does answer my question. So it's not that they think other's are invalid?

I too have many King James scriptures close to my heart that I memorized in my childhood. I love that there are so many different translations though because it helps me think things through.