The LDS church has 4 books of canonized scripture. They include The Bible (King James Version), The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. The last three were of course brought to light during the life of Joseph Smith. Below is a brief intoduction into each.
The Bible they use is the standard King James Version because they believe that it is the most accurate English translation. It has been painstakingly cross-referenced to the other books in the canon and has their own summary before each chapter which I will show you an example of in the next post. Joseph Smith began to correct the KJV due to many perceived errors. He died before he could finish this work. I am not a biblical scholar so I do not know if his claims to errors are valid so I will not comment on that. I do however, find it odd that no Mormon Prophet since his death has found it necessary to pick-up where he left off and finish his corrections.
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel. The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on 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.”(Introduction of the BoM)
The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations given for the establishment and regulation of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days. Although most of the sections are directed to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the messages, warnings, and exhortations are for the benefit of all mankind. Doctrine and Covenants is unique because it is not a translation of an ancient document, but is of modern origin and was given of God through his chosen prophets for the restoration of his holy work and the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in these days.(Introduction of D&C)
The Pearl of Great Price is a selection of choice materials touching many significant aspects of the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These items were produced by the Prophet Joseph Smith and were published in the Church periodicals of his day.
Following is a brief introduction to the present contents:
Selections from the Book of Moses. An extract from the book of Genesis of Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, which he began in June 1830.
The Book of Abraham. A translation from some Egyptian papyri that came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835, containing writings of the patriarch Abraham.
Joseph Smith—Matthew. An extract from the testimony of Matthew in Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible.
Joseph Smith—History. Excerpts from Joseph Smith’s official testimony and history, which he prepared in 1838
The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A statement by Joseph Smith published in the Times and Seasons March 1, 1842
(Introduction of TPoGP)
I know that the idea of scripture in addition to the Bible is something that non-Mormons don’t understand so the next few posts will address the LDS justification for having such scriptures.