Of all the Mormon books of scripture, the Book of Mormon is the most quickly identified with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church. However, the Bible is also extremely important, and the Mormon canon, or standard works, contains two other books: the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants.
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, to be used with the Bible, and is a record of Christ’s dealings with the ancient peoples of the Americas. It contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and was given to Joseph Smith to translate by the power of God.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges the divinity of the Bible, as far as it is translated correctly. The Church believes the King James Version of the Bible to be the most correct translation, and Joseph Smith, the first latter-day Mormon prophet, re-translated the Bible through divine inspiration. This is known as the Joseph Smith Translation. For the most part, the King James Version is correct, but where small truths were lost over time, a few important clarifications and additions needed to be made. The footnotes of the King James Version of the Bible with crossreferences and footnotes to the other standard works, as released by the Mormon Church, have the minor changes printed in them as well as an appendix containing longer changes.
Jesus Christ is the center of Mormon faith and the Bible is an important witness of Christ. Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible stand together as joint witnesses of the Lord and His dealings with us.
The Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a book of modern-day revlations, most of which were received by Joseph Smith, who was the first modern-day prophet. He organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. Mormons believe that the falling away spoken of in the New Testament occurred after the Twelve Apostles died. Many truths were lost during this apostasy and had to be restored. The Lord revealed these truths to Joseph Smith, including the priesthood (the authority to act in the name of God), the doctrine of Mormon temples (the sacred sites of important saving ordinances), and how the Church should be organized. These revelations, among many others, are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The Pearl of Great Price
The Pearl of Great Price is a small collection of scripture. The first book, the Book of Moses, is a long section from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (see The Bible, above). This section is a record of a vision Moses received and a confrontation between Satan and him.
In the Book of Abraham is recorded some of the history of Abraham and a vision he received of the creation. The Book of Abraham was translated from a papyrus that came into the hands of the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Egypt, and it was translated by Joseph Smith.
Matthew 23:39 and Matthew 24 are retranslated in Joseph Smith—Matthew, which is another long section of the Joseph Smith Translation. This talks about the Second Coming and other important matters relating to Christ.
Joseph Smith—History is Joseph Smith’s account of the events that led up to the Church’s organization as well as his later experiences.
The last section of the Pearl of Great Price is the Articles of Faith, written by Joseph Smith. These are short descriptions of basic Mormon beliefs.