Mormons Studying the New Testament in 2015

The Bible and the Book of MormonThe Mormon Church’s Sunday School course of study for 2015 is the New Testament. Accordingly, Gig Harbor, WA newspaper columnist Alfred Gunn (LDS) wrote a column for The Peninsula Gateway titled, “The Bible as a treasured course of personal study.”

A central point of the article seems to be that of convincing non-Mormons that Mormons love the Bible and hold it in high esteem. Mr. Gunn wrote:

“To anyone harboring the persistent misconception that ‘Mormons are not Christians because they have their own Bible, the Book of Mormon,’ we say that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and the author of our salvation and that we believe, revere, study and love the Holy Bible. We do have additional sacred scripture brought forth by the Lord, including the Book of Mormon, which supports the Bible, never substituting for it.”

Those reading Mr. Gunn’s column, therefore, would be surprised to learn what Mormon leaders have taught about the Bible. For example, regarding the content of the Bible, Joseph Smith explained,

“There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 310. See also History of the Church 5:425)

Regarding the fidelity of the Bible, Mormon apostle Mark E. Petersen said,

“Many insertions were made, some of them ‘slanted’ for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated.” (As Translated Correctly, 4)

Regarding the accuracy of the Bible, the LDS First Presidency wrote:

“Many versions of the Bible are available today. Unfortunately, no original manuscripts of any portion of the Bible are available for comparison to determine the most accurate version. However, the Lord has revealed clearly the doctrines of the gospel in these latter days. The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas Monson, “Letter Reaffirms use of King James Version Bible,” Church News, June 20, 1992, 3)

Regarding the value of the Bible within the Mormon faith, the Church’s 13th President wrote,

“All scripture is not of equal value. The book that is the ‘keystone of our religion’ [i.e., the Book of Mormon] and that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book’ needs to be studied constantly.” (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, vii)

IcebergRegarding the value of the Bible as pertains to eternal life, LDS apostle Bruce McConkie wrote,

“It is the Book of Mormon, not the Bible, that prepares men, in the full and true sense, for the Second Coming of the Son of Man. And when the eternal ledgers are finally balanced, more souls will have been saved in the celestial kingdom — ten thousand times over — because of the Book of Mormon than have so obtained because of the Bible. It is the Book of Mormon that proves the restoration of the gospel; that converts penitent souls to its saving doctrines; that gathers Israel from all the nations of the earth; that guides and inspires those sainted souls who are preparing themselves to abide the day of the coming of the Lord; and that will continue to guide and inspire gathered Israel in the great Millennial day that lies ahead.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 394).

Regarding the need for the Bible, LDS apostle Bruce McConkie taught,

“By way of perspective, as far as gaining salvation is concerned, the Bible is far excelled—immeasurably so—by the Book of Mormon and the other latter-day revelations. These modern scriptures are in fact the ones that must be believed and accepted in order for us to be saved. If it came right down to it, those of us who live in the dispensation of the fulness of times could be saved if there were no Bible at all, because the gospel truths and powers have all been given anew to us by direct revelation.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Bible: A Sealed Book,” a BYU speech given to LDS Seminary and Institute teachers, August 1984)

This small sampling of Mormon teachings on the insufficiency, fallibility, and inferiority of the Bible is just the tip of a very large iceberg. When Mr. Gunn wrote that Mormons “believe, revere, study and love the Holy Bible,” he must have had some private qualifiers in mind that he neglected to share with his readers. For Mormonism is built on the foundation of a corrupted Bible (I Nephi 13:26) and a corrupt Christianity (JS-History 1:19) — both requiring Joseph Smith to correct and restore them.

For Mormons, the Bible can only be correctly understood in light of “the doctrines of the gospel” revealed in “these latter days.” I’ll take a look at this in my next blog post coming up on Thursday (January 15, 2015).

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Mormon Leaders, Mormon Scripture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Mormons Studying the New Testament in 2015

  1. homeschoolmom says:

    The old versions of the introduction to the Book of Mormon used to say, “The Book of Mormon… contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” But I just found out that the most recent edition of the Book of Mormon, copyright 2013, took out the phrase “as does the Bible.”

    So they have dropped all pretenses, and now it says,

    “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction

  2. falcon says:

    Do you think there’s any chance that the local LDS chapel will bring me in to teach the course on the Bible? If Mormons are Christians and they believe so strongly in the Word, what difference would there be if I were the teacher? We’ve discussed this before that if Mormons want to call themselves Christians, shouldn’t we be able to qualify as Mormons for the purpose of teaching pure and precious truths?
    The way I look at it, isn’t the BoM true as far as it’s translated correctly? OOPS! Forgot. That’s not how the Mormon Bible motto goes. It’s something in referring to the Bible like “………….as far as it’s translated correctly.” The chapel Mormons repeat this motto with great confidence and I’ve always wanted to follow-up by asking, “What does that mean?” Does anyone know what Mormons mean by that?
    Joseph Smith was such a mega prophet, seer and revelator that he translated the Bible without the benefit of even having any ancient manuscripts to work from. He must have used his magic rock in his hat like he did the BoM. He didn’t finish but there is a Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Do the Utah Mormons use it as part of their quad-pack?
    It’s sort of hilarious Mormons trying to look like mainstream Christians. How many former Mormons tell us that once they got to the contemplative stage and started seriously reading the Bible they found that it was in agreement with Mormon doctrine nor could any Mormonism be found in (the Bible).
    I wonder why that is?

  3. falcon says:

    So I’ve been wondering just exactly is “Mormon salvation”.

    Synopsis of Mormon Salvation

    You cannot be saved in your sins, (The Book of Mormon, Alma 11:37).
    By grace you are saved, after all you can do, (2 Nephi 25:23).
    You must give your best, (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.354).
    You must deny yourselves of all ungodliness, (Moroni 10:32).
    Turn from all former sins and commit them no more, (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, pp.71-72).
    If you commit any past sin again, the former sins return, (D&C 82:7).
    Therefore, in order to remain forgiven you must never commit the sin again, (Mormon Missionary Discussion F, Uniform System for Teaching Families. 1981, p.36).

    Is this the message that the LDS faithful will find in their study of the Bible? What might they find in the Bible that doesn’t agree with the LDS doctrine? This is what our LDS friends will find in the Bible as regards the New Covenant.

    John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
    Rom. 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
    Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”
    Rom. 9:30, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.”
    Rom. 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

    The LDS doctrine is at odds with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in God’s Word. The LDS gospel teaches:
    “That God’s grace is sufficient for you after you deny yourself of all ungodliness. That is a tremendously tall order–that is impossible. Who do you know, including yourself, who has denied himself of all ungodliness? Not most ungodliness, not some ungodliness, ALL! Remember, you must “deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you.” This is a hopelessly impossible command. No one can deny himself of all ungodliness. But, just in case you believe you can deny yourself of all ungodliness, then that means you aren’t sinning any more. But, according to the Bible, if you say you aren’t sinning anymore, then you are self-deceived. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
    http://carm.org/gospel-according-to-mormonism
    God didn’t intend for salvation to be difficult. Living by God’s standard is impossible. I don’t know of anyone who has conquered all sin. I certainly have it but I live by Paul’s admonition (from memory) “Should we continue in sin so grace might abound? Are we who have died to sin continue in it?”
    We are not given license to sin. But if we do sin, God forgives us on the basis not of our other good works, but on our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  4. RikkiJ says:

    One of the interesting questions I’ve asked LDS is: “If the Bible doesn’t contain plain and precious truths, then please remove the corrupted portions and let’s use that instead” or “Why doesn’t the LDS organization remove the corrupted portions of the Bible so we can use what hasn’t been corrupted in the Bible?”

    Great article by the way, Sharon. I’m going to keep these quotes carefully.

  5. Thanks, RikkiJ. I’m glad you found the quotes to be helpful!

  6. Mike R says:

    I read Mr Gunn’s article , and for a while I thought he worked for the Mormon Church P.R. Dept because of what he said . Now I do wish that all Mormons truly embraced the Bible to the degree that he seems too because that sounds like it is not much different than what most committed Christians ( non LDS ) believe about it ( I love his quote from Abraham Lincoln ) . But I’m afraid this is just another example of how a rank and file Mormon believes something of importance that his/her leaders have spoken on and which is at variance with their view . It’s Mormon leaders who define Mormon doctrine , not rank and file members . Hopefully Mr Gunn will read the Bible and discover that the “unique ” teachings of his leaders are not taught therein . That can be a way for his eyes to be open to the fact that he follows latter days false prophets , men who have attempted to mimic the claims of Jesus’ apostles and thus fool people into embracing a counterfeit gospel disguised by wrapping it up in similar terms non LDS use , or presenting it with well placed half truths to a non LDS audience .

    Mormons in public interviews are not the best sources for information . They seem to have a P.R. gear that kicks in when discussing some important issues .

  7. cattyjane says:

    No falcon you wouldnt be allowed to teach for the same reason you couldnt teach the bible in church of christ if you arent a member, or teach the old test in a synagogue. Not all christian denominations are the same even tho they are classified as being christian. Baptist is not Methodist, COC is not non denominational and Presbyterian is not Catholic. Yet they are all christian. I went to a baptist church four sundays in a row. It wasnt to horrible until last sunday. The message was totally inaccurate and anti semitic. It was sopposed to be on tearing down racial boundaries but all i heard was a message sowing seeds of anti semitism with innaccurate information. I am so disgusted i should probably stop now before i say something i shouldnt.

  8. falcon says:

    One thing I “know”. Mormons, as demonstrated on this site, are among the worst in terms of knowledge and interpretation of the Biblical text. They are absolutely clueless when it comes to using any form of systematic analysis of what a Biblical passage is communicating. This is how cults get started and are sustained.
    This idea of the LDS studying the Bible is a joke. Is there any LDS college (BYU etc.) that offers a major in Biblical Studies? Perhaps there is but I’m not aware of it.
    Here’s the problem with Mormonism. It’s absolutely bonkers on continuous revelation. They don’t see the Bible as the final Word when it comes to God’s message to mankind regarding the fundamentals of the faith. Now being a believer in the active operation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14, I’m all for prophetic messages. However, those prophesies as spoken must line-up with the Word of God. That’s why the Bible is the standard by which all is to be compared.
    Give a Mormon a choice between the Bible and continuous revelation, what do you think they’d pick?

    cattyjane,
    I was being facetious regarding being invited into a Mormon gathering to teach the Bible. I certainly would like to though.
    As far as your recent experience with the Baptist church you attended, I wasn’t there so I don’t know what was said but I would always advise to question everything. When I’m sitting and listening to a message, I’m always evaluating what is being said in light of God’s Word.

  9. MJP says:

    I think Mormons do take the Bible seriously, just not as seriously as they do so many other things in their faith.

    Its interesting, though, that they feel compelled to prove to the rest of the world they take it seriously. That in itself reveals quite a bit about their faith.

  10. Mike R says:

    MJP said , ” I think Mormons do take the Bible seriously , just not as seriously as they do so many other things in their faith .”

    That’s a good point . It seems that there are some rank and file Mormons who believe that the Bible is fine but a latter day prophet came on the scene ( Joseph Smith ) who claimed the Bible was’nt able to provide enough information about God / salvation thus it had to be pushed aside in favor of new scripture . Though the Bible may still used it is anemic by itself . Mormon leaders claim to provide the pure , unpolluted guidance that people need to embrace in order to know who God is and receive eternal life . It’s the dead prophets vrs the living ones , and Mormon leaders claim to be the living ones .

    That there would come men in the latter days making such claims should’nt be surprising given that many prophets would make their appearance in the latter days who , while claiming to be sent by Jesus , were not . People who are wise will test all those today claiming to be God’s mouthpiece ,
    His channel of communication to man .

  11. falcon says:

    Do Mormons take the Bible seriously?
    Oh Boy! What do I do with that one? What are their four standard works? Let me try; the Bible (I don’t know which one the KJ or the JSTKJ? OK then there’s the D&C. How am I doing? Then we have the Pearl of Great Price. Am I leaving anything out? What is the fourth one? Oh…………..it’s the BoM. Now I don’t know where, for instance, continuous revelation and the Journal of Discourses comes in?

    I have to disagree on this idea that Mormons take the Bible seriously. They don’t even take Jesus seriously. Grant Palmer talks about doing a analysis of how often Jesus came up one year in the LDS teaching rotation and it was not very often, seldom really. So I don’t think Jesus and the Bible are preeminent in LDS circles.
    Do a comparison with Christianity. It’s all Jesus and all Bible all of the time. So I’m voting “NO” on whether the LDS church and membership take the Bible seriously.

  12. MJP says:

    falcon– I would only respond to you by asking whether you could ever get an LDS to admit not taking the Bible seriously. Of course they wouldn’t. Further, I do think they think they take it seriously.

  13. cattyjane says:

    Falcon,
    Do Mormons, speaking of your average joe mormon, take the bible serious. Sure they do, as far as its translated correctly. But what i find similar to christians is they dont consider the old test as being relevent to anything today. They agree with christians there that the old test is done away with. Its sad because if they would look at the temple works displayed in the OT they would see the LDS church is a restoration of nothing.

  14. falcon says:

    So we sort of change the equation a little bit.
    *Do Mormons take the Bible seriously?
    *Do Mormons say they take the Bible seriously?

    The latter statement is akin to Mormons saying their Christians. They aren’t because they are polytheists who acknowledge a different god, Jesus, Holy Spirit and plan of salvation. Their is an orthodoxy and if we don’t have a standard, anyone can claim they are a Christian.

    If Mormons took the Bible seriously, they would see that what they believe isn’t in the Bible.

    So my vote is still “No”, Mormons do not take the Bible, NT or OT seriously.

  15. falcon says:

    Oh man! The falcon must use the words “they’re”, “there” and “their” properly in a sentence 100 times each.
    It’s been extremely cold here so my intellectual pipes must be frozen!

  16. falcon says:

    Now on to more serious matters.

    My friend Mike R and I will be in conflict for about three hours on Sunday. No it has nothing to do with religion, well yes it sort of does.
    My Green Bay Packers will be playing his Seattle Sea-hawks in the NFL Championship game. In my part of the country, the Packers are an alternate religious sect not unlike a cult.
    I am somewhat conflicted because Russell Wilson is the QB for the Hawks and he was a Wisconsin Badger.
    So I will have to allow that Mike’s team will be the favorite since it’s a their home and our QB has only one good leg.

    Since I’m about the longest member of the MC posting team, I’m allowed to take license on occasion and post something that has absolutely nothing to do with Mormonism. It sort of clears my head!

  17. Mike R says:

    falcon , I think that there are some Mormons who have respect for the Bible , and would even disagree with some of the derogatory statements about the Bible which some of their leaders have made . These Mormons simply feel that the Bible’s prophets/apostles are dead ones and they now have living ones to submit to which have revealed additional insight about God supposedly from Him that is important to know . I guess what I’m trying to say is that these types of Mormons don’t think that the Bible is so full of holes that it can’t be trusted . I’m excited when I see that Mormons will be studying the New Testament this year because I know that as a result of that there will be some who see how their leaders have departed from the truth about Jesus , how the church He established through His apostles was set up as well the gospel of salvation they preached
    that is something we can pray for as they study the New Testament . God will try to get their attention that’s for sure .

    The key is for LDS to get alone with the New Testament and read it slowly and intently , no Mormon publications with it , just the scripture . Great things can happen if LDS will do this . Think Micah Wilder.

    I like your assessment of this Sunday’s game 🙂 . I’m just glad it is’nt being played on the frozen tundra that is Lambeau field !

    catty , what you said about how Christians view the Old Testament is heavy on assuming and light on reality . I personally believe the Old Testament contains very important truths relevant for today . It’s God’s Word . The Bible ( the Old and New Testaments ) is the written standard for me , —
    my Christian faith . That view is not an isolated one I assure you .

  18. Mike R says:

    Mormons can take heart that God has preserved His word down through the centuries in order for all mankind to read about Him and how sinners can reconciled to Him by the life death and Resurrection of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ . What we have today is indeed what God wants us all to know and we can have confidence in that — Jn 20:30-31 . So we hope that LDS will read the New Testament with a passion to know about things which they have heard of , but which they may have never took the time to read the N.T. for themselves free of any other materials . Give it a chance , see what the very bedrock of the Christian faith reveals about Jesus, His church body , and the gospel of salvation His apostles preached to all who would listen . Nuggets of truths await those LDS who make a study of the New Testament a priority read this year . Don’t be reluctant to use a Bible not published by your church . Give it a try , step out in faith . Just you and God’s Word .

  19. falcon says:

    Mike,
    You mentioned Micah Wilder as a Mormon who had is life flipped up-side-down by reading the NT.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D569x5TqtVk

    Actually the same thing happened to his mother Lynn. Lynn was an interesting case being a BYU professor. She decided that all she would do was read the words of Jesus in the NT.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VCJqN0Ajak

    I’d never discount the working of the Spirit of God to move on the spirit of someone who finds the Living God and His revealed plan of salvation in the NT. Can I borrow the Mormon charge that it should be read with a “humble and sincere heart”? I don’t think it really matters because God can over-come a resistant spirit. If you remember their testimony, both Lynn and Micah had reached that contemplative stage where they were seeking the truth.

    The videos are short and worth the time watching.

  20. MJP says:

    Falcon, fair enough.

    Its clear it is not as important to Mormons as it is to us.

  21. falcon says:

    In her interview, the interviewer asks Lynn what she would say to any Mormon who might be watching the program. She said, “I’d tell them to read the Bible as a child would read it.” Qualifying what exactly she meant by that she said that it meant to put aside all of your preconceived notions.

    I’d say that’s good advice for a Mormon because what happens when the Bible bumps up against what the LDS member has been taught? Well it becomes that portion of the Bible that wasn’t translated correctly. A Mormon has to pull back the LDS overlay and see the Bible for what it is in regards to the revelation.
    There is absolutely no evidence that the Bible we read today has anything pertinent left out of it. It is God’s full and complete revelation regarding who He is and what His plan of salvation entails.

  22. Mike R says:

    The Mormon church claims to be Jesus’ true church with His gospel and with His supervision since 1830 , thus anyone concerned about a right relationship with God must submit to Mormon leaders and join their church , here is no salvation otherwise . But is the type of claim that other prophets around today have made and so it behooves everyone to go back to the New Testament and read about Jesus and what His apostles preached , that will help anyone get their bearings straight and allow them to see if modern day prophets have strayed from the truth by inserting man made doctrines onto what Jesus’ apostles taught thus altering their teachings . That this is not a new danger can be seen by Paul’s counsel in Gal.1 :-9 .

    So may the Mormon people read the New Testament with a desire to find the truth about who Jesus is and what His apostles taught , and then compare that with what Mormon leadership has taught .
    This is a wise thing to do — 2 Cor 13 : 5 .

  23. falcon says:

    Let me ask this question. If, as they claim, the LDS is the “one true church re-established in these latter days”, does it follow the Biblical pattern of the NT church? Is there anything that is established practice in the LDS church that is Biblical or can be supported by the history and tradition of the Christian church?
    Christian churches have their various practices and procedures that are more tradition than Biblical so
    let’s forget for a moment about temples and garments and rituals and ask if there is Biblical support for the doctrines of the LDS sect? Will the LDS folks, studying the NT this year be able to say, “Oh yea, there’s the ‘after all you can do doctrine.” ?
    Nope they won’t find the support for their doctrine in the Bible. That’s why Lynn Wilder advises Mormons to forget Mormonism when you read the Bible, then you will find the truth.

  24. cattyjane says:

    Falcon
    I disagree with your last statement about not finding after all you can do in the NT.
    James 1:12 talks about those who are steadfast receiving the crown of life. Matthew 24:13 states that the one who endures to the end will ne saved.

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  26. falcon says:

    Well cattyjane,
    What exactly does that mean and how do you understand it?
    Look, I have no problem with someone who wants to do “works” and “live a moral life-style”. Really no problem with that. But that’s not how the Bible tells us how we are saved.
    The one who endures to the end is enduring in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, not to a system of works righteousness. It’s through God extending His grace to us and our accepting Jesus in faith that we are saved.
    In Mormonism, you do the works and then are extended grace if you have a quantity and quality of works. This is “all you can do” in Mormonism and this is not the salvation that the Bible presents.
    I don’t think that it would be too farfetched that “enduring to the end” in Mormonism (LDS variety) means remaining faithful to the LDS church. LDS will talk about maintaining faith in Christ but we know that the LDS Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. A Mormon studying the NT this year should consider exactly who Jesus is which gets us into the whole doctrine of the nature of God.
    For an LDS member it’s all about faithfulness to the covenants they have sworn to in the temple. So maintaining faithfulness and enduring to the end takes on this component.

    So cattyjane, what does enduring to the end mean to you?

  27. falcon says:

    cattyjane,
    What is the context of Mathew 24:13. In-other-words, what is Jesus talking about? What’s the topic of discussion? I doubt if the LDS folks studying the NT this year will even learn some basic rules of interpreting Scripture. Yes, there are “rules” we don’t just go by how something makes us feel and then conclude that the Spirit of God has spoken to our hearts.
    Mathew 24 has to do with end times eschatology.
    “The term “eschatology” comes from two Greek terms e[scato” and lovgo” meaning (roughly speaking) “last, end, or final” and “study of,” respectively. Theologically speaking, then, the term eschatology refers to “the study of final things” in the Bible. It concerns both personal eschatological issues such as death and the intermediate state as well as themes with a more general or corporate focus. The latter would include such ideas as the return of Christ, resurrection, judgment, tribulation, the millennial kingdom, and the eternal state.”

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