Mormons and the Bible
by Sharon Lindbloom
In a discussion with an older Mormon missionary, Sister G learned that I had prayerfully read the Book of Mormon but had not found it to be the word of God. In her effort to discover what obstacle stood between me and Mormonism, we talked about a lot of different doctrinal issues. We discussed contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of God, the biblical tests of a true prophet, the authority of Scripture, and the Mormon law of eternal progression. To everything Sister G said I found myself responding with, “But the Bible says…” After about half an hour of this, Sister G grew frustrated and told me, “I know what your problem is. You have to forget the Bible.”
Ever since that long-ago encounter with Sister G I have found, in talking with Mormons, that most hold the same attitude towards the Bible–though this attitude is expressed in different ways and in varying degrees.
According to the LDS Church’s creed, the Articles of Faith, Mormons “believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Article 8), but Mormon leaders don’t believe (or teach) that it has been translated (or transmitted) correctly. Sister G’s conviction that we need to “forget the Bible” reflected what she had been taught as a Mormon; namely, that only a fool thinks the Bible alone, without clarification and correction from Mormonism’s modern scriptures and prophets, accurately reflects God’s truth (2 Nephi 29:6). In the words of Mormonism’s tenth prophet and president Joseph Fielding Smith, “Guided by the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Spirit of the Lord, it is not difficult for one to discern the errors in the Bible” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:191).
Given this prevalent attitude within Mormonism, I did a double-take when I read that Mormon Bishop David Kenley of Pennsylvania told a Lancaster Online journalist that “Mormons ‘wholeheartedly embrace’ the Bible.” In an article titled, “Mormon Moment: Defending the Faith,” Mr. Kenley explained that it is “particularly painful” when Mormonism is regarded as non-Christian “because Mormons are ‘living their lives emulating Jesus Christ in every way they can.’”
One way Mormons do not emulate Jesus is in their view of biblical scripture–because Jesus actually did wholeheartedly embrace the Bible…
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