In Ezekiel 37:16-17 we read, “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe The Holy Bible to be the stick of Judah and The Book of Mormon to be the stick of Ephraim to which Ezekiel here refers. We do not consider The Book of Mormon to be more important than the Bible. In fact, in every formal reference to the two, the Bible is listed first. We consider them both to be very sacred companions to one another in declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the World. As such companions, these sacred writings fulfill the law of witnesses to which Paul refers in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “…In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
Because the Bible has been translated many times throughout the years, it is inevitable that translation errors have occurred. These errors have mostly been unintentional and simply due to the fallibility of man. For instance, consider the verses found in 1 Chronicles 21:15 which say: And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
This verse seems to imply that the Lord repented of his evil, but the Lord has no evil in him. Thus, we believe that this was a translation error that should have read: And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it. And the angel stretched forth his hand unto Jerusalem to destroy it; and God said to the angel, Stay now thine hand, it is enough; for as he was destroying, the Lord beheld Israel, that he repented him of the evil; therefore the Lord stayed the angel that destroyed, as he stood by the threshing-floor of Ornan, the Jebusite.
This helps to clarify that it was not the Lord who repented of evil, but rather that the Lord stayed the hand of the angel because Israel had repented of his evil. Therefore, ‘We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly…’
I have read The Book of Mormon, many, many times throughout my life, often side by side with The Holy Bible. I can testify of the miraculous spirit I have felt as I have gleaned many important truths from both of these books and have striven to apply their eternal principles in my life. They indeed testify that Jesus Christ is truly the Messiah–a truth for which I am profoundly grateful.
Please take time to watch this very short video with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he explains our love for both The Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon.
Next Week: Article of Faith #9–Mormon beliefs regarding revelation.
In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4 [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]