“We believe,” the Latter-day Saints’ ninth Article of Faith states, “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” We believe, in essence, that God has spoken and that He still speaks—and that all His words are scripture. Because of that, Latter-day Saints draw inspiration from the Bible and from other sacred texts, all of which have their origins in divine communication from God to His children through prophets. Each book of scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints conveys a different central message and serves its own unique purpose in teaching God’s children.
Comprised of the Old Testament, which recounts God’s ancient dealings with the nation of Israel, and the New Testament, which recounts the ministries of Jesus Christ and His ancient apostles, the Bible teaches that God is a maker and keeper of promises. The Old Testament is full of promises that God made to prophets like Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah, many of which concerned the coming Messiah. Isaiah, for example, spoke of the Messiah, saying:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne out griefs, and carried out sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Be he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)
That promise was then fulfilled in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Paul’s words: “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come…by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:11-12).
God’s Biblical pattern of making and keeping promises fills my life with the reassurance that His promises are always valid. The faith that I gain from the Bible helps me to press on, knowing that because Christ is “an high priest of good things to come,” the best is yet to be—so long as I remain faithful.
The Book of Mormon
An ancient record detailing God’s interactions with the ancient peoples of the Americas, the Book of Mormon is a sacred text full of messages of God’s love and mercy for all of His children, wherever they might live. From the beginning, we read: “I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20). And, in the last chapter, we read the invitation: “that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts” (Moroni 10:3). From start to finish, the Book of Mormon serves as a reminder to me that God’s love is always accessible, that He cares for each of His children infinitely and tenderly, and that His richest blessings are available to all those who are willing to accept and keep His commandments.
The Doctrine and Covenants
The title page of the Doctrine and Covenants states that it is made up of “revelations given to Joseph Smith, the prophet, with some additions by his successors in the presidency of the church.” Unlike the previous books of scripture, the Doctrine of Covenants is unique in containing revelations given to modern prophets. It is no ancient record; rather, it is a collection of current revelation, reminding us that God’s work continues and that he continues to direct it through living prophets. Within the first few pages, He declares to the Church and to the world: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and thought the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38), reminding us that God is still very much invested in the affairs of the world, that He certainly has not abandoned us in these turbulent times.
The Pearl of Great Price
Finally, the Pearl of Great Price contains a miscellany of revelations, translations, and histories. It is in the Pearl of Great of Price that we find an account of Joseph Smith’s search for truth and prophetic calling, the thirteen Articles of Faith, and inspired translations of Biblical texts. Perhaps more than any other book of scripture, this book reminds me of God’s eternal nature and purposes, directing my gaze beyond the vicissitudes of mortality and towards the more rarefied objectives of the eternities. “For behold this is my work and my glory,” the Lord declares in the Pearl of Great Price, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
When read together, these four sacred texts provide a more complete representation of God’s nature and His eternal plan for His children. Because He loves us, He has provided channels by which to communicate with us, to teach us His commandments and the way to get safely back to His presence after this life. I am thankful for the scriptures—all of them—for the way that they have taught me, directed me, and continue still to lead me to become a better, happier person.