Can There be Additional Scripture?
The Book of Mormon is sometimes called, by those who don’t understand Mormonism, the Mormon Bible. This is not an accurate description of it. Mormons (a nickname for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) use the Bible and consider it the word of God, as far as it’s translated correctly. However, they do have additional scripture which works with, and testifies of, the Bible.
While this concerns some people, the concern is really based on a misunderstanding of one Bible scripture. In Revelation 22:18, we read: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.
Some have translated that to mean nothing must be added to the Bible after the Book of Revelations ends. What is missed is that when this scripture was written, the Bible had not yet been compiled. There were many different records, all separated out and not yet turned into a book by a council. However, there is another scripture to consider when reading this one:
1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4 in the King James version of the Bible)
You can see that finding another scripture, all the way back in the Old Testament, that says not to add or subtract from the word creates a problem. No one wants to toss out all the Bible after Deuteronomy. As we know, the Bible was not kept as a compiled record, and was only compiled long after the Savior died, and so this scripture can’t refer to the book as a whole, which didn’t exist then. What does it mean?
It means we can’t add or take away from the word of God. Every word after “In the beginning” is added scripture. But scripture must always be the word of God. The Mormons do indeed use more scriptures than other religions, but each one is the word of God and adds to our knowledge and understanding of the gospel.
The Book of Mormon is an ancient record, covering some of the same time period as the Bible, but on a different continent. From this record we learn more of God’s dealings with man, and realize He was not just the God of Israel, but was the God of us all. He cares about all His children, not just a small group living in one area. Although we had, initially, only the record of His work with one people, He was, in fact, caring for and interacting with many people and this should bring all of us joy.
In addition, God didn’t retire when Jesus and the apostles died. He has continued to watch over us, and in these complex last days of the world, He is again communicating with us directly through prophets, just as He did in ancient times. He is personally guiding us through the process of preparing for the Second Coming, and this is the source of other Mormon scripture. If there is even a possibility God is talking to us today, do you want to risk missing out on His words? Why not learn more and find out for yourself if He has indeed come to guide us back home?