The “Standard Works” Of The Mormon Church

The basic books, or “standard works,” accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are: The King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

The basic books, or “standard works,” accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are: The King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Mormons also rely heavily on the teachings of the living prophet when he is acting in the authoritative capacity of a prophet. The official Bible translation used by the Mormon’s is the King James Version. However, the reader should be aware that Joseph Smith qualified Mormon biblical belief with the statement: “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” (Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith, number 8). The Book of Mormon is alleged to be a history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Mormons teach that the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired and regard it as a holy scripture. Joseph Smith supposedly translated it from gold plates inscribed in what is called by the Latter-day Saints “reformed Egyptian.” It was first published in 1830. Doctrine and Covenants mainly contains supposedly divinely given revelations made to Joseph Smith. It is in this volume that many of the Latter-day Saint doctrines can be found. Pearl of Great Price is the shortest of the four standard works. It is a compilation of a number of separate works the most significant being the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham. The Book of Moses supposedly records visionary revelations to Joseph Smith that revise portions of the King James Version of the Bible. The Book of Abraham contains Smith’s so-called translation of some Egyptian papyri that he obtained in 1835. The patriarch Abraham supposedly wrote them. The original papyri that Smith used to “translate” the Book of Abraham were returned to the Latter-day Saint church in 1967. The papyri that Smith used were found to be fragments of the Book of Breathings, common funeral papyri used in burying the dead. The type of Egyptian writing showed that it was written long after Abraham’s time and the contents had nothing to do with Abraham.

© Gerald Sigal