Articles of Faith: Eight

4 Apr

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed Article of Faith 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Today I will discuss briefly the eighth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

I have found that this Article of Faith is the one most criticized by the rest of Christianity. But, before we get into that let us again note the order, in this case the order of the Articles. We started with the foundation of God and what the gospel was, moved into the organization and authority of the church, as well as the gifts of the Spirit. Now we are dealing with where we have gotten our information, or where the truths of the gospel can be found.

The gospel is taught first, and always first, from the written scriptures that God has provided to us. From the time of Adam the prophets have written the words of God for the benefit of their posterity. Enoch used the record kept by those early patriarchs in his ministry. When Abraham left Ur he took with him those same records (Abraham 1: 31). When Moses was giving the Law it was in written form, and the record of the Law was preserved by the Priests as a means of teaching Israel. When Lehi left Jerusalem the first thing his sons were sent to retrieve was the written record of God’s words. The record is of the greatest importance in preserving the gospel among men.

So, why is it that many people criticize this statement of our belief in the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the written record of the word of God? There are two things that people mention frequently.

First is the fact that we do not believe the Bible to be perfectly preserved in its current for. We believe it as far as it is translated correctly, but acknowledge that, for whatever reason, some errors have come into it through the hundreds of years of its existence. This is blasphemy to the rest of Christianity as they state that nothing in the Bible is wrong, that it has been perfectly preserved, and to say anything to contrary is to deny God’s power. I am not going to get into a debate on this subject right now. The point is that we don’t hold this view. This in no way diminishes our love, appreciation, and use of the Bible. As I frequently point out we spend two years studying the Bible, compared to one studying the D&C or the Book of Mormon. The Bible is quoted more than any other standard work, and Joseph Smith himself believed it to be of such importance that he listed it as the first of all the scriptures.

Of course the second complaint many people raise is in the fact that we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. This is another blasphemy, as they will tell you that nothing outside the Bible can be the word of God. They also make the complaint that Joseph Smith did not add to this book the qualification of translated correctly. Of course the reason for this is simple. The Bible has gone through many hands, most uninspired men who attempted to translate and transcribe it according to their own reasoning. The Book of Mormon, on the other hand, was compiled by a prophet through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, drawing on the inspired writings of other prophets. It was then translated by a prophet through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. There has not been any opportunity for the uninspired to make changes that would result in errors.

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