Which Scripture is most Important: Bible, BOM, D&C, PGP, or Prophets?

By: Graceforgrace
February 3, 2013

A few weeks ago, in Gospel Principles Sunday School class, I taught about the importance of scripture.

The conversation was interesting because there were some investigators (people considering joining the Mormon church) as well as some “seasoned” Mormons in attendance.  When I asked questions about the importance of scripture, I noticed that most of the non-Mormons revered the Bible and most of the Mormons in the class acknowledged the Bible, but didn’t hold it as high as the Book of Mormon.

Mormons’ View of Scriptures

For those of you who are not as familiar with Mormons’ view of scriptures, I’ll briefly go over each scripture along with some quotes by LDS prophets on each.

The Bible

If you ask a Mormon if they believe in the Bible the answer will always be “yes”.  However, for most Mormons there is a little asterisk next to that yes because, according to Mormon belief:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (see Articles of Faith 1:8)

Mormons believe that there was an apostasy after the original apostles died and over the years, parts of the Bible were removed, therefore the Bible is not the complete book that it once was.

In fact, the Book of Mormon has scriptures that discuss the “plain and precious truths” that were taken away from the Bible, thus making the Bible an incomplete book as to containing the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith worked throughout his life on what he called the “inspired version” of the Bible, which includes additions to the King James Bible that he received through revelation.  Although he never was able to complete the version, Mormons have the Joseph Smith Translation included in many of their scriptures (they do not claim this to be the official Bible, but have it to offer “insight”.)

The Book of Mormon

In speaking about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Mormons’ founder and first prophet, declared

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 (Book of Mormon Introduction)

Many Mormon Apostles and Prophets have voiced of the importance of the Book of Mormon and even declare blessings that will come into ones’ life when studying the Book.  The late prophet, Ezra Taft Benson said:

It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. (see talk: The Book of Mormon: Keystone of our Religion)

Since this talk was given by Ezra Taft Benson in 1986, I feel that many Mormons have focused heavily on reading the Book of Mormon above any other scripture, which is what I witnessed in the Sunday School class.

Doctrine and Covenants

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) are revelations that were given to Mormon prophets (mostly Joseph Smith) dealing with various doctrines and organizational structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) that aren’t found in either the Bible or Book of Mormon in detail.

Some of the key revelations (in my opinion) include: how to receive answers to prayer, organizational structure of the Church, Priesthood defined and execution of callings within the priesthood, revelation on the Three degrees of glory (heaven), and The Word of Wisdom (no alcohol, coffee, etc.).

Other revelations that have had some controversy around them are: polygamy, temple ordinances (including eternal marriage) and baptisms for the dead

Pearl of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price (PGP) has two books (Moses and Abraham) that Joseph Smith translated from papyri that was found.  It contains more details on the first books of Genesis in the Bible.

Joseph Smith’s history is also included here.  The history is mainly his account of his First Vision, or when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him to reestablish Jesus’ church.

In addition to these books, the PGP has the Articles of Faith (similar to a Creed), a revelation from a later prophet declaring it illegal to practice polygamy anymore, and a revelation extending the priesthood to black members.

Modern Prophets

One of the unique aspects of Mormonism is the claim that their church leaders are prophets, or mouthpieces, for the Lord.  As such, most Mormons believe that the writings of the apostles and prophet found in Church publications such as the Ensign are to be considered scriptural.

Which Scripture is Most Important?

A case can be made for each scripture.  For example, without the Bible, there wouldn’t be any of the other scriptures because Joseph Smith was led to pray for guidance from a scripture he read from the Bible.

On the other hand, Mormon prophets have declared the Book of Mormon the most important book…but if Mormons only had the Book of Mormon, they wouldn’t know exactly how to run the church and additional components to the faith such as the Word of Wisdom, eternal marriage, etc. wouldn’t exist.

Finally, I can see how some people would feel that Modern-day Prophets’ revelations trump all of the other scriptures (such as doing away with polygamy and using water instead of wine for communion).

Which scripture do you think is most important?

11 Responses to Which Scripture is most Important: Bible, BOM, D&C, PGP, or Prophets?

  1. Chris on February 3, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Since the Bible contains four books that describe the Savior’s life and ministry while He was on earth and also Isaiah’s priceless prophecies of the Savior, I personally have found that the Bible has taught me more about the Savior, about my Heavenly Father, and about God’s love for me than any other of the Standard Works, which I have been many, many times.

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  2. mh on February 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    The book of Moses us not translated from papyrus. It is simply revealed directly to Joseph Smith. The book of Abraham was said to have been translated from papyrus. Joseph claimed that the papyrus also contained the book of Joseph, but that was never translated.

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  3. ji on February 3, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    This question is best pondered by individual persons, whose answers may change from time as their circumstances change. Surely, there can be no categorical answer.

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  4. will on February 3, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Book of Mormon for sure as it identifies JS as a prophet of God.

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  5. graceforgrace on February 3, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    MH,

    Woops! You are right. Thanks for the correction….so do you have a favorite scripture then?

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  6. graceforgrace on February 3, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Hi Chris,

    I think the Bible is definitely the best book to get to know who Jesus is.

    I feel the Book of Mormon is the best book that describes the gospel of Jesus clearly.

    D&C is great as far as organizational concerns for the restored church.

    I’ll be honest…PGP is out there for me…I hardly reference that except for the Articles of Faith and Joseph Smith/History.

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  7. Hedgehog on February 4, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    I grew up favouring none in particular – we read through them all as a family, daily before breakfast. I like it that way.
    My husband, on the other hand, joined the church at the time Pres. Benson gave his big talk on the Book of Mormon, and has read that daily ever since (but hasn’t really read the rest properly, if at all). We have been reading the BoM daily with our children. I do regret that we haven’t read the rest with our children yet, which I am pushing for, and which they are now also of an age to be asking for and wanting.

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  8. Mike S on February 4, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Reading the New Testament gives me the most peace and makes me feel closest to Christ. And reading the NRSV Bible is much better than the KJV – the language disappears behind the message.

    For what it’s worth, I really like: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version (ISBN-13: 978-0195289602)

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  9. Heather on February 4, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I have found that the NT is maybe my fav but that the BoM is the most sanctifying because it seems to enhance the principles spoken of in the other works. JMHO

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  10. Trev on February 7, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    I agree with graceforgrace on the first three, but I LOVE the Pearl of Great Price. Moses and Abraham in particularly have really contributed to the broad perspective I feel I’ve developed about the mission and motives of God that I look to on a smaller scale to direct my own life.

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  11. Tom Bartlett on February 7, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    The Bible definitely, because the other Mormon scriptures are a fraud.

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