Mormons - What degree of reliability do you give to the Bible?

I was reading an article by Dallin H. Oaks in which he states: “When first communicated to mankind by prophets, the teachings we now have in the Bible were ‘plain and pure, and most precious and easy to understand’ (1 Ne. 14:23)”. The implication, obviously, is that our Bible does not contain, at least in its original form, what was first communicated to the prophets.

So, what I am asking our Mormon friends is, what degree of reliability do you attribute to the Bible? If it has been changed from the time when the teachings were “plain and pure and most precious and easy to understand”, what changed and who changed it?



Wait. I know the answer to this! Mormons have 13 Articles of Faith.

(See here: )

Article number 8 is: "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. "

Note that the Bible comes with a caveat, while the Book of Mormon does not.

Thanks JHow. Does that cover all translations that we have today? In other words, when were
the teachings “plain and pure, and most precious and easy to understand” and when did that change?

Well, you reached the extent of my knowledge. I posted that because I just learned about the 13 articles a few short threads ago.

It’s a good question, though, which scripture translations are the accepted ones and when and how did that change over time. I’m sure PeanutBono will weigh in shortly with the history.

maybe it was after the thousandth version of the bible that got published. The first thousand versions were still valid though…

Actually, it does…but unlike the Bible, the Book of Mormon’s caveat is printed on the Title Page: "…And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. "

The thing is, we are not sola scripturians, and don’t pretend to believe that the bible is perfect; how can it be, seeing that men, none of whom are perfect, had any hand in it?

Muslims have the logical idea about perfection of scriptures, when they say that the Quran is only perfect/valid in Arabic; any translation ruins it–well, they have a point. Perfection wouldn’t allow for translation…how could words and concepts be translated perfectly? Shoot, all the arguments about biblical interpretation out there…that are ‘resolved’ by referring back to the Hebrew or Greek tell us that we have problems there.

…and even those Christians who claim that the Word of God is perfect, when backed into a corner, say that it is perfect 'in the original." Well…of course it is. However, we don’t have the originals.

…and that goes for the Book of Mormon, too.

So…how much reliance do we put in scripture–in the bible? A great deal. We take it pretty much at face value unless some research has proven that there is a major screwup (like the JOhanine comma, for instance, my favorite biblical quibble). We read in prayer, depending upon the Holy Ghost to confirm meaning.

The church uses the King James version, because,. well, that’s what we 'grew up with." We have all these lovely cross references, you see. :wink: As for me, I love the KJV for the language, and I use other translations/versions to help me out if the KJV leaves me curious. Youngs literal translation helps, and if I’m really stuck, I go to the Bible Gateway and use all of 'em. I get a consensus, and then pray hard.

Ha ha! Noted.:stuck_out_tongue:

This is an interesting question; I looked at and looked at the Introduction to the Book of Mormon. The first sentence reads:
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
I have heard Mormons say they think the Book of Mormon is the more correct book, but they obviously believe they both contain the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We do not have the original transcripts of the Bible. They have been lost in antiquity. What exists today is over 5,000 pieces of copies of copies of ancient text. Out of all this has been created the Bible we know today. Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the text of manuscripts. Their analysis of the Bible has demonstrated a number of significant errors and over 200,000 minor errors (Bart D. Ehrman’s work). The Bible has been added to and taken away a great deal. Regardless, Mormons believe the fulness remains within the Bible we know today.

Interesting topic.

The basic fullness of the gospel is something most Christians agree on: Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice for us. Details…well, are details. Important, certainly, and the problem of error is handled, WE believe, by having prophets around who actually communicate with God when required.

…and I’m going to steal a little thunder here, and let you know (if, that is, you didn’t already know this) that there have been more than 3000 corrections to the Book of Mormon between the first edition and the one we have now. :wink:

Hi, SteveVH,
Besides what has already been discussed on this thread, which I agree with, I’ll simply add the following points:

  1. As far as “reliability”, when I read the Bible (KJV), I feel it has complete reliability unless there is a verse that is inconsistent with other verses in how it may present doctrine or what is described as happening in the situation. In those cases, the notes we have in our current KJV editions that include a footnote of notes made by Joseph Smith (those notes reflecting the changes incorporated into what is called the “Joseph Smith Translation” which he never completely finished but has helpful insights) are helpful to figure out what was the original meaning as spoken or written.

  2. Some words were mis-translated, others were left out or added in a way that changed the basic meaning, and we also know that some entire prophetic writings such as the words of a prophet named Zenos and a prophet named Zenoch–writings that the Nephites could refer to when they studied the prophetic writings of the Old World–did not come forward to our day within the Bible we have.

I’ll give you an example of a changed meaning. To read Genesis 19:8 is to have an incorrect impression that Lot didn’t protect his daughters and instead protected his visitors, but the JST shows that Lot protected both his daughters and his visitors from the men of Sodom who were threatening that “we will do with them as seemeth us good” (which “was after the wickedness of Sodom”).

As far as “who changed it”, I think it would be a pretty impossible task to try and figure that out in each and every case.

The Mormon Church has always maintained that the Bible is hopelessly corrupt and untrustworthy:

From the Book of Mormon:

1 Nephi 13:
24 And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.

25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.

26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.

28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

The above passage claims that the bible we have now is not the same bible written by the prophets and apostles. Many of the “plain and precious parts” were taken away by the “great and abominable Church”. Why? "that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.

Verse 29 states that those who believe the bible with the plain and precious parts deliberately removed by the great and abominable church stumble so that Satan has great power over them.


Bible corruption continued…

What do the modern LDS prophets and apostles say?

President Ezra Taft Benson wrote of

“the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text”
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 53).

Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., popular LDS author and son of the tenth president of the church, said

“The early ‘Apostate Fathers’ did not think it was wrong to tamper with inspired scripture. If any scripture seemed to endanger their viewpoint, it was altered, transplanted or completely removed from the Biblical text” (Religious Truths Defined, p.175).

Apostle Mark E. Peterson casts doubt on the reliability of the Bible and states forcefully that the corruption was intentional:

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

“It is evident then that many of the ‘plain and precious’ things were omitted from the Bible by failure to choose all of the authentic books for inclusion, and by deliberate changes, deletions and forgeries …”
(As Translated Correctly, p.14).

The encyclopedia of Mormonism:

"Thus, the elements of mistranslation, incompleteness, and other errors weaken the Bible”
(Encyclopedia of Mormonism , Vol. 1, Bible).

Again we can see from this small sample of quotes how the conviction that the bible is corrupt and untrustworthy starts with The Book of Mormon (“the most correct book on earth” and “the keystone of our religion”) and continues to pervade Mormon thinking and writing throughout their history.

Grace to you all,
Paul (a former Mormon)

This almost sounds as if the Mormon church puts some stock in it, but does it really?

Let’s find out. Since Smith was allegedly told by God to ‘retranslate’ the Bible (without one single original document, making Mormon claims of different version of the Bible being evidence that it’s missing parts moot) and he claims that did, twice, in fact, yet the church doesn’t use it. We also know that while the Joseph Smith Translation, which your church prints only the notes that Emma Smith turned over, is carried by Deseret Books, it’s one of the slowest moving books it carries. This can only mean that the church is happy to use the version that’s still potentially missing many ‘plain and precious things.’

Not only that, but your ‘caveat’ from the BOM is really just nonsense because the church is trying to establish a backdoor that it can use when these issues come up, even though “…a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.” (HOTC 4:461)

What you actually mean is that you take it at face value as long as it appears to confirm your position, and find it in error when it does not. The BOM makes it very clear that the Bible is in grave error, making it clear that it would be missing many ‘plain and precious things’ not once, not twice, but seven times so as not to be misunderstood.

These ‘opinion’ you posted about the reliability of the Bible is for public consumption and not actually the opinion of the church or its prophets.

Paul and other readers here,

First, verse 29 says “an exceedingly great many do stumble”, and does not say nor imply that “those who believe the Bible with the plain and precious parts deliberately removed…stumble”. It says the stumbling among “an exceedingly great many” occurs “because of these things (the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book) which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb.”

Second, verse 41 assures that “the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.”

Those words don’t convey any animosity toward the Bible that goes forth among the Gentiles and among the remnant of the Lamanites. Verse 40 states that “these last records…shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them;”

So 1 Nephi 13 shows an acceptance of the Bible, despite there being “plain and precious things which have been taken away.”

This contradicts your point. It either is or isn’t reliable, but what the church and its apologists do is cherry pick through it and use what they like as they see fit to ‘prove’ that Mormonism is Old Testament law.

Smith didn’t finish it? I guess you’re gonna be suprised to find out that he acually did: “I completed the translation and review of the New Testament, on the 2nd of February, 1833.” (HOTC 1:324)

“We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father…Having finished the trasnlation of the Bible, a few hours since…” (HOTC 1:368-69)

And now since you’ve learned that Smith finished the JST, you probably ought to ask yourself the reason the LDS doesn’t use the entire volume, but rather only the notes that Emma gave to the church. You should then ask yourself the reason that the JST is one of the slowest moving books that Deseret carries, with demand at almost nothing.

You could simply avoid all of these problems with the JST, couldn’t you? Have you ever wondered why God didn’t bother to let your church have the book that he ordered Smith to correct? What reason would he have for letting the RLDS have it instead of his true church?

No, that’s not the impression that we get from that verse; Lot, observing ancient Middle Eastern custom providing shelter and protection to visitors, was ready to sacrifice his own daughters to the mob in order to do so. They weren’t interested in his daughters anyway; they wanted to know the men, not the daughters.

You clearly need to reread the verse because the mob didn’t say “we will do with them as seemeth us good.” Those were Lot’s words as he offered his daughters up to them instead of giving up the strangers: "Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes…"

Oh, so as long as we have the Book of Mormon to fill in the gaps in the bible left by the “great and abominable church”, the bible is okay. Wow, thanks a lot. :rolleyes:

The arrogance of Mormons is simply incredible.

Your writing does the very thing that conveys what you want conveyed rather than being true to the words you were supposedly quoting. You have used the words “corrupt and untrustworthy”. These words were not found in the Book of Mormon passages you quoted.

Here is a query about the word “untrustworthy” in the LDS scriptures:

There were no occurrences of the word UNTRUSTWORTHY found in the Text of the Scriptures.

The closest tie to a use of the word “corrupt” in relation (not to the Bible itself but to churches that use the Bible) is the following passage:

2 Ne. 28: 11-12
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

So, the “fault” is not in the Bible. The “stumbling” is not caused by the Bible, though it may lack “plain and precious things” that would have made its available understanding clearer.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

2 Cor. 11: 3
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

There is a use of a form of the word “corrupt”. There was no use of the word “corrupt” in the Book of Mormon to describe either the Bible or lay people who were readers of the Bible.

The Book of Mormon points toward that “simplicity that is in Christ.” It verifies that the Bible contains truths taught by the prophets and apostles of the Lamb of God. The prophecy of Nephi that you cited shows this.

Spin, spin, spin.

The readers can decide for themselves…

I feel sorry for you Parker. I remember, when I was LDS, how ashamed I was of the idiotic statements of Mormon prophets and apostles. I feel your pain…

To readers unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon:

Since this thread has talked about “plain and precious things” that are clearer in the Book of Mormon than in the Bible, I thought it would be well to go ahead and provide a few examples of such “plain and precious things”:

  1. The knowledge that baptism is done as a covenant after a believer has faith in Christ, desiring to show their covenant-making through a personal decision to make promises to God.

  2. The understanding that “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.”

  3. The knowledge that “there is an opposition in all things” is part of why this life is allowed to have so much “opposition” and why Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden with a choice about partaking the forbidden fruit.

  4. The knowledge that faith in the living Christ and repentance through His grace are focal points of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with the word “penance” not used. (nor is that word “penance” found in the KJV Bible.)

  5. The knowledge that the plan of redemption through the Savior was laid at the foundation of the world, and was central to the plan of salvation which is the plan of happiness.

  6. The confirming knowledge that many of the prophecies of Isaiah are being fulfilled in this day and time, including that the “deaf shall hear the words of the book.” (Isaiah 29:18)

P. S. I love the gospel, and love the Bible–I honestly do. This year, I am enjoying teaching a class each Sunday using the Old Testament as our focus of study. Next year, it will be the New Testament. These are world treasures, not to be taken lightly nor the people mocked who believe them and treasure their words.

Peace to all.

Rom. 1: 16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.