Another of the key tenants of Mormonism that separates it from most other churches is its recognition of books other than the bible as scripture. In addition to the Old and New testaments of the bible, Latter-Day Saints also recognize the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as canonized scripture.
Bible: Although Mormons believe in most of the bible literally, they only believe it “as far as it translated correctly.” (See Articles of Faith) Mormons believe that the original text of the bible has been changed through time and multiple translations. Joseph Smith translated the bible and made many corrections, which church members now regard as scripture. Although the King James Version of the bible is the official version used by the church, members may also refer to the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible.
Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith translated the text of the Book of Mormon in the 1820’s from plates of gold that an angel gave him. The book tells about two separate groups of people who inhabited the American continents many millennia ago. Both groups sailed from the old world and arrived in the new world to establish a religious society.
The first group sailed to the Americas at the time of the Tower of Babel. Initially they prospered, but then they separated into groups and fought each other. Ultimately, the entire society was destroyed by war.
The second group arrived around 600 BCE. They, too, separated into two groups, the Lamanites and Nephites. Most of the Book of Mormon talks about the history of those two groups. The highlight of the book is when Jesus visits the inhabitants of the land between his crucifixion and his resurrection.
Ultimately, the Nephites and Lamanites fight a bloody battle, and religion is effectively dead in the land. The last two religious leaders, Mormon and his son, Moroni, compile all of the records of the people onto plates of gold, and bury them.
Since Latter-day Saints believe the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith directly from the source, it is considered to be “the most correct of any book on earth” (Joseph Smith) and the keystone of the religion.
Doctrine and Covenants: This book is a record of the modern-day revelations received by various latter-day prophets of the church. Joseph Smith wrote a majority of the book. The most recent addition to the Doctrine and Covenants was the 1978 revelation allowing blacks to have the priesthood.
Pearl of Great Price: The writings of several ancient prophets are contained in this book. It originated from some papyri that came from Egypt. Joseph Smith translated the scrolls, saying the text was the writings of Abraham and Moses.
‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership