Disclaimers | Links | Search | Contact
Faith and Testimony
Recognizing the Spirit
Prayer and Meditation
The Scriptures
Living Prophets
Inspired Blessings
Personal Revelation
Continuing Revelation
Learning from Others
Embracing All Truth

The Scriptures

LDS faith declares the standard works to be the word of God (A of F 8). At the same time, our tradition acknowledges that these texts are imperfect human creations. The Book of Mormon is especially self-conscious about the fact that scriptures are selective accounts crafted by authors and redactors, not timeless pronouncements issuing directly from the mind of God (e.g., 3 Ne. 23:6-13). Scriptures may contain errors (B of M Title Page; Morm. 8:17), or they may have been shaped by agendas that distort God's truth (1 Ne. 13:20-29). Scriptures are limited by the language and understanding of their authors or audiences (2 Ne. 31:3; Ether 12:23-25; D&C 1:24). The fact that Joseph Smith can be shown to have revised his revelations invites us to view the scriptures as ongoing efforts to discern God's will, not as divine dictation.

Despite their limitations, we testify that certain texts are the word of God because we feel that God's voice speaks to us through them. We accept these texts as scripture because reading them, we experience the Spirit's power (D&C 18:34-36). These texts nourish us (Moro. 6:4). As we ponder them in a spirit of prayerful discernment, we receive insight about how to lead a Christ-like life (2 Ne. 32:3). Scripture study is a vehicle through which God gives us wisdom, correction, and strength (D&C 1:24-28). How these texts came to be, or what they were originally meant to convey, is less important than how the Spirit guides us to apply them to our own circumstances (1 Ne. 19:23).

Related Topics:
Does Historicity Matter? The Book of Mormon  

 As I Search the Holy Scriptures  (Hymns 277)

Brigham Young: I do not even believe that there is a single revelation, among the many God has given to the Church, that is perfect in its fulness. The revelations of God contain correct doctrine and principle, so far as they go; but it is impossible for the poor, weak, low, grovelling, sinful inhabitants of the earth to receive a revelation from the Almighty in all its perfections. He has to speak to us in a manner to meet the extent of our capacities . . .
Journal of Discourses 2:314

John A. Widtsoe: The message of the scriptures is divine; the words in which it is clothed are human. Failure to make this distinction has led to much misunderstanding. Intelligent readers will separate the message of the scripture from its form of presentation. . . . Especially is it necessary in reading the scriptures to place oneself in the position of the people, thousands of years ago, for whom the writings were made. The customs, habits, and possessions of the people of that day are of necessity reflected in the expositions of the revelations of the Lord to His children on earth.

"The Preservation of God's Word," Improvement Era, October 1937

Boyd K. Packer: When I began as a seminary teacher . . . I worked out an approach to teaching the Book of Mormon. . . . I determined that we would not touch upon the archaeology of the book, the military aspects . . . . Rather we would work our way through the Book of Mormon, seeking the answer to the questions: Who is speaking to us through these pages? What is it He is trying to tell us?

That All May Be Edified (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 309

Joan B. MacDonald: We all need time to be alone with ourselves, to rest from the business of our days, to separate from others and reconnect with the reality of God. From experiences in quiet, introspective times, times with the scriptures, or times of prayer, we get back in touch with the central truth of who we are . . . We reach out to touch God, he touches us, and we find our selfhood nurtured and affirmed.

The Holiness of Everyday Life (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995), 43

Gene R. Cook: The primary reason we read the scriptures is to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to us, giving us revelation and instruction and causing us to have those deep feelings of peace and love that come through the Spirit.

Searching the Scriptures (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 43

This website is an independent effort to discern the Spirit's voice in LDS teaching. The site is not sponsored by the LDS Church. Quotations from the teachings of any individual should not be taken to imply that the individual does or would endorse this website or other statements made here.