Continuing Revelation from God:
-The records of scripture got corrupted (God lets bad things happen, like child abuse etc; he respects the agency of people, there must be opposition in this life if we are to grow) and He used Joseph Smith to get the records back into shape.
-Saying that God is the person who has caused the bible to be as it is now is merely an assumption that can’t be backed by the scriptures themselves.
-My plea to anyone wondering weather Joseph Smith was a prophet, would be to read The Book of Mormon with an open heart and pray to ask God weather it is true. That is how I learned it is true. I study the Bible as much as the Book of Mormon, they are anchors of my faith in Jesus Christ.
-See also this document I’ve put together explaining why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the only true church on the earth, https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/category/the-only-true-church/. You don’t have to believe it, but this is my attempt to explain it. I love everyone and wish everyone the best no matter what they believe, though I can’t help but be excited by what I have found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
-Ezek. 37:16-22: this speaks of a stick, namely a record or scroll, where it’s one stick is written for Judah, the record of the Jews, the Bible. That is what the bible is all about, the history of the Jews. Then another stick, that of Joseph and his posterity. That is what the Book of Mormon is, the story begins with Lehi, whom is a defendant of Manassah, whom is a defendant of Joseph sold into Egypt, a son of Israel. Lehi leaves Jerusalem and goes to the new world, America. The Native American ancestors are his descendants. These nations, America and Palestine/Israel, will become united in the faith of Jesus Christ. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are how God is making that happen.
“16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, andwrite upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 ¶And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 ¶And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:”
–Joseph Smith remarked, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.” (Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 327.) This is the same thing that the drafters of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy would state more than a century later. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Insufficient)
-Joseph Smith taught that the principal that Jesus Christ’s Church has always been governed by is REVELATION. Whatever the current need is, that is what the people must do. For example, God at one passage says “thou shalt not kill”. In another passage he says “thou shalt utterly destroy”. These are bible passages.
-It’s not a new issue that people will accept what the prophets of old said, but not be willing to listen to the current prophets. Amos 3:7 says that God will do nothing but that he will reveal his secret to his servants the prophets. Another example, the pharacies were willing to accept Moses, but not Jesus. Or another example, originally the gospel was only to be taken to the Jews, then by revelation, the Apostles were shown that the gospel could be taken to the gentiles also. God said, in effect, call not unclean what I have made clean.
-I have also compiled this document showing some uses of the Joseph Smith translation of the bible as well as why the KJV is the best version of the bible not considering the Joseph Smith Translation: https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/the-joseph-smith-translation-precious-truths-restored-by-w-jeffrey-marsh/.
–Examples of “lost scripture”
Biblical citation to the lost writing
Book of the Wars of the Lord
Book of Jasher
Book of the Acts of Solomon
Book of Samuel the Seer
Book of Gad the Seer
Book of Nathan the Prophet
Prophecy of Ahijah
Visions of Iddo the Seer
Book of Shemaiah
Book of Jehu
Sayings of the Seers
Lament for Josiah
Paul’s epistle to Corinthians before our “1 Corinthians”
Paul’s possible earlier Ephesians epistle
Paul’s epistle to Church at Laodicea
1 Enoch 1:19 and The Assumption of Moses
“It influenced Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, 1 John, Jude (which quotes it directly) and Revelation (with numerous points of contact)…in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, the final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism.”
-One evidence of the continuation of God’s word is that in the Greek text of the New Testament in the Book of Revelations when it says there is a sword continually proceeding out of the mouth of God, the Greek word used suggests not only a sword coming out of his mouth, but a sword continually proceeding out of his mouth. The sword is used in the scriptures as a symbol of the word of God. This suggests God’s word never ceases, and he will judge us according to all the words he has revealed to mankind. (BYU Professor of Attic Greek Stephen Bay supplied the translation).
–Other scriptures (such as Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, and Proverbs 30:6) likewise forbid additions; were the critics’ arguments to be self-consistent, they would have to then discard everything in the New Testament and much of the Old, since these verses predate “other scripture” added by God through later prophets. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-Further evidence that Rev. 22:19 is not referring to the entire bible when it reads “words of the book of this prophecy” is found if one readsRevelation 1:3,11 (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
–Even if the passage in Revelation meant that no man could add to scripture; it does not forbid that God may, through a prophet, add to the Word of God. If this were not possible, then the Bible could never have come into existence. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-Noted Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman wrote:
The very real danger that [New Testament] texts could be modified at will, by scribes who did not approve of their wording, is evident in other ways as well. We need always to remember that the copyists of the early Christian writings were reproducing their texts in a world in which there were not only no printing presses or publishing houses but also no such thing as copyright law. How could authors guarantee that their texts were not modified once put into circulation? The short answer is that they could not. That explains why authors would sometimes call curses down on any copyists who modified their texts without permission. We find this kind of imprecation already in one early Christian writing that made it into the New Testament, the book of Revelation, whose author, near the end of his text, utters a dire warning [quotes Revelation 22:18–19]. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-“These last records [The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, etc], which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first [The Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and previous things which have been taken away from them…” (1 Nephi 13:40)
-The ancient Book of Mormon prophet Nephi understood how critics would respond to the Book of Mormon. His answer for the critics is this:
“Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 28:26-31)
-Elder Holland answers the question with this address:
“Some Christians, in large measure because of their genuine love for the Bible, have declared that there can be no more authorized scripture beyond the Bible. In thus pronouncing the canon of revelation closed, our friends in some other faiths shut the door on divine expression that we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold dear: the Book of Mormon, theDoctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the ongoing guidance received by God’s anointed prophets and apostles. Imputing no ill will to those who take such a position, nevertheless we respectfully but resolutely reject such an unscriptural characterization of true Christianity.
One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. 1 Perhaps there are even more than these.
But there is a simpler answer as to why that passage in the final book of the current New Testament cannot apply to the whole Bible. That is because the whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written. For centuries after John produced his writing, the individual books of the New Testament were in circulation singly or perhaps in combinations with a few other texts but almost never as a complete collection. Of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts, only 35 contain the whole New Testament as we now know it, and 34 of those were compiled afterA.D. 1000. 2
The fact of the matter is that virtually every prophet of the Old and New Testament has added scripture to that received by his predecessors. If the Old Testament words of Moses were sufficient, as some could have mistakenly thought them to be, 3 then why, for example, the subsequent prophecies of Isaiah or of Jeremiah, who follows him? To say nothing of Ezekiel and Daniel, of Joel, Amos, and all the rest. If one revelation to one prophet in one moment of time is sufficient for all time, what justifies these many others? What justifies them was made clear by Jehovah Himself when He said to Moses, “My works are without end, and … my words … never cease.” 4
One Protestant scholar has inquired tellingly into the erroneous doctrine of a closed canon. He writes: “On what biblical or historical grounds has the inspiration of God been limited to the written documents that the church now calls its Bible? … If the Spirit inspired only the written documents of the first century, does that mean that the same Spirit does not speak today in the church about matters that are of significant concern?” 5 We humbly ask those same questions.
Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In considering the additional scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints, we might ask: Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)—were they offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice.
Please do not misunderstand. We love and revere the Bible, as Elder M. Russell Ballard taught so clearly from this pulpit just one year ago. 6 The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our “standard works.” Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time. But even then, Joseph knew the Bible alone could not be the answer toall the religious questions he and others like him had. As he said in his own words, the ministers of his community were contending—sometimes angrily—over their doctrines. “Priest [was] contending against priest, and convert [was contending] against convert … in a strife of words and a contest about opinions,” he said. About the only thing these contending religions had in common was, ironically, a belief in the Bible, but, as Joseph wrote, “the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question [regarding which church was true] by an appeal to the Bible.” 7 Clearly the Bible, so frequently described at that time as “common ground,” was nothing of the kind—unfortunately it was a battleground.
Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true. “Thisis written,” an ancient prophet said, speaking of the Book of Mormon, “for the intent that ye may believethat,” speaking of the Bible. 8 In one of the earliest revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up.” 9
One other point needs to be made. Since it is clear that there were Christians long before there was a New Testament or even an accumulation of the sayings of Jesus, it cannot therefore be maintained that the Bible is what makes one a Christian. In the words of esteemed New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, “The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ ” 10 In other words, “Scripture itself points … away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.” 11 So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation. 12
…“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” 1
In declaring new scripture and continuing revelation, we pray we will never be arrogant or insensitive. But after a sacred vision in a now sacred grove answered in the affirmative the question “Does God exist?” what Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints force us to face is the next interrogative, which necessarily follows: “Does He speak?” We bring the good news that He does and that He has. With a love and affection born of our Christianity, we invite all to inquire into the wonder of what God has said since biblical times and is saying even now.
In a sense Joseph Smith and his prophetic successors in this Church answer the challenge Ralph Waldo Emerson put to the students of the Harvard Divinity School 170 years ago this coming summer. To that group of the Protestant best and brightest, the great sage of Concord pled that they teach “that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.” 15
I testify that the heavens are open. I testify that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet, a modern apostle with the keys of the kingdom in his hands, a man upon whom I personally have seen the mantle fall. I testify that the presence of such authorized, prophetic voices and ongoing canonized revelations have been at the heart of the Christian message whenever the authorized ministry of Christ has been on the earth. I testify that such a ministry is on the earth again, and it is found in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In our heartfelt devotion to Jesus of Nazareth as the very Son of God, the Savior of the world, we invite all to examine what we have received of Him, to join with us, drinking deeply at the “well of water springing up into everlasting life,” 16 these constantly flowing reminders that God lives, that He loves us, and that He speaks. I express the deepest personal thanks that His works never end and His “words … never cease.” I bear witness of such divine loving attention and the recording of it, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
- 1. For an introductory discussion on this topic, see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (1991), 46. The issue of canon is discussed on pages 45–56.Canon is defined as “an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. , “canon”).
- 2. See Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Paleography (1981), 54–55.
- 3. See Deuteronomy 4:2, for example.
- 4. Moses 1:4.
- 5. Lee M. McDonald, The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, rev. ed. (1995), 255–56.
- 6. See “The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” Liahona andEnsign, May 2007, 80–82.
- 7. Joseph Smith—History 1:6, 12.
- 8. Mormon 7:9; emphasis added.
- 9. D&C 10:52; see also D&C 20:11.
- 10. N. T. Wright, The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture(2005), xi.
- 11. Wright, The Last Word, 24.
- 12. For a full essay on this subject, see Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 6–9.
- 13. 1 Kings 18:27.
- 14. Articles of Faith 1:9.
- 15. “An Address,” The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1929), 45.
- 16. John 4:14.
(Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “My Words Never Cease”, April 2008 General Conference, video and full text at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/my-words-never-cease?lang=eng)
-also, further scripture study:
- 1 Nephi 13
- 2 Nephi 26:20–21
- 2 Nephi 28
- 4 Nephi 1:27
- D&C 86:1–3
- Matthew 24:9–11
- Mark 12:1–9
- Acts 3:19–21
- Acts 20:28–30
- Galatians 1:6–9
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 (JST verses 2, 3, 7–9)
- 1 Timothy 4:1–3
- 2 Timothy 4:3–4
- 2 Peter 2:1–2
- Amos 8:11–12
- Topical Guide, “Apostasy of the Early Christian Church”
- True to the Faith, “Apostasy,” pages 13–14
- Our Search for Happiness, pages 23–32
- Jesus the Christ, chapter 40, “The Long Night of Apostasy”
– • The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets (see Ephesians 2:19–20; 4:11–14). These leaders have divine priesthood authority. Through revelation they direct the affairs of the Church. They maintain doctrinal purity, authorize the administration of ordinances, and call and confer upon others the priesthood authority.
- • People rejected and killed Jesus Christ and the Apostles (seeMatthew 24:9; 1 Nephi 11:32–34; 2 Nephi 27:5). With the death of the Apostles, the presiding priesthood authority was absent from the Church. Consequently, there was no longer authority to confer the Holy Ghost or perform other saving ordinances. Revelation ceased, and doctrine became corrupted.
- • Even before the death of the Apostles, many conflicts concerning doctrine arose. The Roman Empire, which at first had persecuted the Christians, later adopted Christianity. Important religious questions were settled by councils. The simple doctrines and ordinances taught by the Savior were debated and changed to conform to worldly philosophies (see Isaiah 24:5). They physically changed the scriptures, removing plain and precious doctrines from them (1 Nephi 13:26–40). They created creeds, or statements of belief, based on false and changed doctrine (see Joseph Smith—History 1:19). Because of pride, some aspired to positions of influence (see 3 John 1:9–10). People accepted these false ideas and gave honor to false teachers who taught pleasing doctrines rather than divine truth (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4).
- • Throughout history, many people have sincerely believed false creeds and doctrines. They have worshiped according to the light they possessed and have received answers to their prayers. Yet they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).
- • Therefore, a restoration, not a reformation, was required. priesthood authority did not continue in an unbroken line of succession from the Apostle Peter. To reform is to change what already exists; to restore is to bring back something in its original form. Thus, restoration of priesthood authority through divine messengers was the only possible way to overcome the Great Apostasy. (https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-1-the-message-of-the-restoration-of-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng)
The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- 2 Nephi 3
- D&C 112:30
- Ephesians 1:10
- Ephesians 4:5
- James 1:5
- Brochure, The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith
The Book of Mormon:
- Title page of the Book of Mormon
- Introduction to the Book of Mormon, paragraphs 1–7
- D&C 1:17–23
- D&C 20:5–12
- Joseph Smith—History 1:27–64
The power of prayer to know weather all of this is true, and what the implications of such are: