Some people not familiar with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) think that they don’t believe in the Bible. D. Lauritsen, a Mormon professor, answers this question in the article below to help clear up this misconception. One reason people have this misconception is because we use additional scriptures such as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the American continent. But in fact, quite the opposite is true. Latter-day Saints cherish the Bible and follow its teachings. Members use the Book of Mormon as a companion to help support the Bible, not to replace it. I’ve received much comfort and direction myself from passages in the Bible.
Do Mormons Believe in the Bible?
Brief Answer: yes. The Latter-day Saints not only believe in the Bible, they love the Bible. They study it and apply it in their daily lives. In fact, it was Joseph Smith’s study of the Bible—specifically James 1:5— that prompted the young farm boy to “ask of God” in faith and humility. The answer that God gave to Joseph’s humble prayer was momentous. (God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to the boy and restored the original Church of Jesus Christ to the earth).
Detailed Answer: It is fair to say that, generally speaking, the Latter-day Saints believe in the Bible more fully and literally than their mainstream Christian neighbors do. While such a bold statement is in no way meant to criticize mainstream Christians in their love or study of the Bible, the statement is nevertheless based squarely on Peter’s sobering words to the ancient Saints. Knowing that he would soon be martyred (2 Peter 1:14–15), Peter warned the early Saints that “there shall be false teachers among you, who shall bring in damnable heresies. . . . And many shall follow their pernicious ways” (2 Peter 2:1–2). Peter clearly foresaw, among these “damnable heresies” and “pernicious ways” that would creep into the Church, that men would attempt to twist or alter the meaning of the scriptures according to their own ways of thinking or for their own selfish ends. Thus Peter declared in no uncertain terms, “Knowing this first, than no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20–21, emphasis added).
These “holy men” of whom Peter spoke were none other than those chosen and ordained like himself—the Lord’s ordained apostles and prophets. In other words, the Lord chose to reveal his doctrine first to his prophets and apostles, and then by means of apostles and prophets, to the rest of his children. In like manner, because scripture came from God to man by means of his chosen and ordained apostles, no man has the right to interpret the scriptures except he be an ordained prophet or apostle of the Lord. Hence, the LDS belief in the Bible is not just based on the individual Saint’s acceptance of biblical teachings; it is based on the testimonies of all of the Lord’s prophets and apostles, whether they were the Lord’s ancient apostles or his living apostles today.
Mormons believe in the Bible. Learn more at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
The Book of Mormon is a companion to the Bible. Request your free copy today.
Visit a local meetinghouse.
D. Lauritsen, Mormons Under a Microscope, (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2010), 12-13.