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Monday, June 23, 2008

Mormon Mythbuster: Mormons do not believe in nor do they read the Bible!

Not true.

On LDS.org, the Church's principal means of disseminating doctrine on the Web, these are the statistics for Google searches related to the Bible:

"bible" = about 12,100 mentions
"New Testament" = about 9,710 mentions
"Old Testament" = about 12,000 mentions

Together, the total is over 33,800. And that is just for those three sets of keywords. There are many more keywords that appear in the Bible itself that we could analyze, but this is a sufficiently convincing example.

Okay, so we mention the Bible on our web site. But what do we say about it? Do we actually believe it to be true, or are we just mentioning it as a criticism of it?

See for yourself. These search results from lds.org (which appear to be more limited as compared to the Google numbers) list all articles in all publications by the Church that refer to the keywords "bible", "new testament", and "old testament".

Look at the page-by-page results and read some of the articles to discover what we actually say. What you see here is what we use in all of our Gospel instruction lessons for Sunday School, Young Women's and Young Men's organizations (teens from 12-18), Primary (children under 12), Relief Society (women 18 and over), and Priesthood quorums (males 12 and over). They also include all of our General Conference sessions and firesides, support materials, magazine articles, and other special talks and occasions recorded for posterity.

We read and refer to the Bible. A lot.

Not once will you ever read of any of our leaders denouncing the Bible. The LDS Article of Faith #8 states: "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."

That is, when we weigh how the Bible came to be with how the Book of Mormon came to be, there are obvious differences that must be taken into account as we read, study, ponder, and pray. BUT, we believe both to be the word of God.

Our Bible is the King James Version (KJV). We are told by prophets, who are told by God via revelation, to use that version of the many that exist because it is the most correct of all translations. Joseph Smith was commanded to correct the scribal transmission errors and outright changes that were made, which version we call the Joseph Smith Translation (JST), but because Joseph was unable to complete that version and present it before the Church members for their acceptance before he was martyred, we use the King James Version.

As always, when in doubt, check it out. Ask someone who is a faithful member what they believe. There are always lots of people to tell you otherwise, but you'll really only know both sides when you also ask someone who is an adherent.