The Book of Mormons Relationships to the Bible

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In 1830 a man named Joseph Smith set out to create what he considered a superior version of the bible. He believed the bible was imperfect; therefore, he thought there was a need for the Book of Mormon. Smith described the book as being more correct than any other book and the keystone of the Mormon religion (Barlow 47). Joseph Smith believed that golden plates and seer stones had a book written on them that contained the fullness of the gospel. He would then read the narrative to a scribe to create what is called the Book of Mormon. Throughout this essay, the Book of Mormon’s complex and complimentary relationship to the Bible will be explored through discussion, involving ways in which Joseph Smith transformed it, emphasizing the historical context under which this occurred, as well as the differences between the two. Joseph Smith believed that the bible had to be revised. He believed that he was a prophet of restoration, and that the translators of the King James Version of the bible tainted it, making some of it contradictory, and robbed it of its fully intended meaning. Smith made six relevant types of transformations using the Bible. These changes included additions that widened historical understanding of already existing themes, for example, Smith adds in a section set at the Sermon on the Mount where the disciples are displayed asking Jesus questions to clarify his sermon (Barlow 56).

The second type of changes Smith made included “common sense” changes. These changes took the King James Version and reworded it to take out words like “repent of the evil” in regards to God, because God is supposed to be flawless and not in need of repentance. Smith cleared up many translation issues, and “harmonized” contradictory scriptures. He deleted many of the italicized words in the King James Version, used by the translators to elaborate on certain events. Smith fixed many grammatical errors and modernized numerous words. Because of Smith’s need to correct the Bible, he didn’t just want to add additions or notes; he thought the Bible needed restoration. Smith claimed that he was restoring “truths” that were spoken to him; however, some of his changes were not driven by divine inspiration, rather they were driven by his own logic (Barlow 59). For example, because of the passage in the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 20-29,34, Smith thought he was adding the “plain and precious things removed from scripture” (Barlow 58) but he was actually reinterpreting the Bible based on his own opinions and experiences. Barlow uses Hebrews 6:1 as example of how Smith changed scripture because of his own reason. Hebrews 6:1 originally states, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” Smith believed this to be a contradiction, so he changed the scripture as he thought it should be: “Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go onto perfection…” Smith’s addition changes the original meaning of the verse in the Bible.

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In numerous relevant ways, Smith created the Book of Mormon in order to tie up some loose ends that the Bible had. For this reason, many Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon works in tandem with the Bible. Smith could have just identified as a scholar working to interpret and expand the truths of the Bible, however, “Smith claimed prophetic rather than scholarly authority, and he actually interpolated the text rather than placing his additions as marginal notes” (Barlow 58). Smith used the translation issues he discovered within the Bible as a way to break off from traditional religion and create his own. Harmonization was an important method to Smith, and he believed that “his revelations and the correctly recorded Bible were parts of one truth” (Barlow 62). In reference to the historical proof behind Smith’s transformations of scripture, “some LDS scholars feel there is limited but significant ancient textual support for a few of smith’s changes, or literary characteristics that suggest the ancient character of some changes” (Barlow 60). While many scholars who had worked on the Bible in the past had never claimed divine revelation, Smith did, making his case very different from the rest. “In nineteenth century America, Smith’s bible was distinctive in conception, procedure, and content” (Barlow 65). This is significant because over the years, and even today, Smith has gained a large following, a following who for the most part trusts and believes in his divine revelations. Smith truly believed that these revelations included some “lost truths” that were eradicated during the translation process. In one instance, Smith elaborated on whether or not the fall of man was part of God’s plan. Based on 2 Nephi 2:23-25, from the Book of Mormon, the fall of man was part of God’s plan: and they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy Romans 5:12-14 states the opposite, that it was not part of God’s plan; it was a violation of his plan: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. In conclusion, the Book of Mormon written by Joseph Smith has an interesting and complimentary relationship with the Bible. It must be clear the Smith’s ultimate goal was to restore the scriptures to their original truths, truths that were lost in translation over the course of many years. Smith aimed at breaking off from any conventional forms of religion during this time, and basically creating his own. Joseph Smith “drew deeply from the religious tensions and resources of his culture” (Barlow 77). Smith referenced incidences of diving revelation throughout his lifetime in the form of visions, and “he felt his access to Deity was more direct than the written word itself; his authority was therefore at least as great as the text’s” (Barlow 78). The Book of Mormon’s relationship with the Bible is that it is a continuation of many of the stories in the Bible that Smith did not believe were completely finished. For this reason, the Book of Mormon works in tandem with the Bible.

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The Book of Mormons Relationships to the Bible. (2022, Jun 10). Retrieved from

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