Under the Church’s doctrine of continuing revelation (see Articles of Faith 9), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, orMormon Church, has an open scriptural canon which thus far includes the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These scriptural writings comprise the standard works of the Church. The belief in additional scriptural canon makes Mormons unique among Christian religions.
Many of the pronouncements of General Authorities, particularly the president of the Church, are also often viewed as uncanonized scripture—particularly official written pronouncements signed by the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, such as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (1995), which defines the Church’s doctrines related to the family. Mormons are also encouraged to view the most recent statements from prophets and General Authorities as modern-day scripture, but not to accept such blindly. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to pray to know the truthfulness of the doctrine contained in such statements and in scripture in general.
English-speaking members typically use the King James Version of the Bible; Joseph Smith also translated a version of the Bible popularly referred to as the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). Although this Bible translation is not generally used by members of the Church, the Bible issued by the Church contains cross references to the Joseph Smith Translation, as well as an appendix containing major excerpts from it. Though it is part of the canon and members believe the Bible to be the word of God, the Church also acknowledges that numerous omissions and mistranslations occurred in even the earliest known manuscripts, though the relative majority of what remains is believed to be correct. These errors have led to incorrect interpretations of the meaning of certain passages.
The Church considers the following part of their scriptural canon:
- Consisting of the Old Testament and New Testament; the Bible chronicles God’s dealings with the Israelites.
- A record of God’s dealings with ancient prophets in the Americas.
- A collection of revelations, policies, letters, and statements largely from Joseph Smith, but also from a few other Church prophets.
- A collection of translations of several ancient works from Abraham and Moses, as well as Joseph Smith’s official history and the Articles of Faith.