|The Mormon Church regards four books as official scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
English-speaking members of the Mormon Church read the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV used by the Church includes footnotes cross-referencing to other scriptures, as well as a dictionary, maps, and a topical guide . Mormons believe that the Bible is the word of God and study it carefully. The Sunday School class called “Gospel Doctrine,” which is attended by most adults, spends two years of every four studying the Bible.
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, is a compilation of various ancient works. The Book of Mormon tells the story of a group of people who left Jerusalem around 600 B.C. and traveled to America. It tells of their dealings with God, and is another testament of the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon prophets directed their people to live according to the dictates of the Law of Moses, looking forward to the coming of Christ. Christ visited these people after His resurrection, and He established His Church among them, just as He did in the Holy Land.
There are fifteen sections in the Book of Mormon, and the book can, for the most part be read in chronological order when read from front to back, the exceptions are the Book of Ether, which is a record of a people that lived on the land long before the Book of Mormon people and the Words of Mormon, which is an explanation by Mormon (the ancient prophet who was given the responsibility by God to abridge the records of the Book of Mormon people) of how and why he is abridging the records.
The Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is made up of numerous revelations received by latter-day prophets of the Mormon Church. Most of the revelations were received by Joseph Smith and include instruction from the Lord on how the Church should be run. The “Book of Commandments” was published in 1835 (the name later changed to the Doctrine and Covenants). A few additions were made by prophets following Joseph Smith, which can be found in sections 135, 136, 138 and Official Declarations 1 and 2.
The Pearl of Great Price
The Pearl of Great Price is a compilation of four items that contain important doctrinal information. The first section is the book of Moses. The book of Moses was received as revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The book tells what Moses learned when he spoke to God face to face on the mount. The next section is the Book of Abraham. In 1835 a man came to Ohio with an exhibit of four recently-discovered Egyptian mummies and some rolls of papyrus with ancient writings on them. Joseph saw the mummies and the scrolls and the spirit prompted him that the writings were about Joseph and Abraham in Egypt. The Church purchased the mummies and scrolls. Joseph Smith translated one of the rolls, which told of a vision of Abraham wherein he learned about the premortal life, and the creation of the earth. The next section is made up of Joseph Smith’s translation of Matthew, and Joseph Smith’s history. The final section is the Articles of Faith. These were written in response to a man named John Wentworth who had asked Joseph Smith to explain the main principles and doctrines of the Mormon Church.
Go to the next article in the Beliefs section: Beliefs about God.