The question has been asked, “Does the Book of Mormon detract from the teachings of the Holy Bible, or in any way attempt to replace the Bible? “ I will answer the question thus.
My heritage is predominantly Methodist and Lutheran. I was born and raised in a Baptist home, and at one point in my life, I was attending a Baptist Bible College studying to become a Baptist minister. However, God had other plans for my life, and on 10 March 1998, I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others).
I have heard the repeated argument that Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are not Christian because they use another book besides the Bible, namely the Book of Mormon, in their teachings. Those who follow this belief attempt to substantiate their argument by quoting a passage of scripture found in the Bible in Revelation 22:19,
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I believe that what many people do not understand or fail to realize is that the Bible as included as a part of the canon of scripture, is not written in chronological order. Also, there are many Bible Scholars who will agree that the passage quoted from Revelation 22:19 refers only to the Book of Revelation. In fact, John did not have the entire Bible at his disposal when he wrote as we do today.
If a person were to use this one scripture alone in trying to substantiate his claim that Mormons are not Christian because they also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, then his supposed “evidence” would not carry much weight in supporting his case. How can I say this? I ask that the passage of scripture, again found in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 4:2, be presented as a plausible witness in this case. That passage of scripture reads,
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
If we were to apply the same litmus test to this verse of scripture as to the one found in the Book of Revelation, then would it not logically follow that after reading this passage in the Book of Deuteronomy that we should close our Bibles and read no further?
The Bible is indeed the Living Word of God. Having read it 9 times in its entirety, I can testify of its Divine truthfulness. Likewise, having also read the Book of Mormon 9 times in its entirety, I can also testify of its Divine truthfulness. Both volumes testify of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the World. In fact, Latter-day Saints refer to the Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Latter-day Saints are not in any way teaching anything new or some type of foreign doctrine. We preach and teach of Jesus Christ. We believe that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the inspired Word of God. Furthermore, we believe that the Book of Mormon does not detract from the teachings of the Bible, but rather, the Book of Mormon enhances our knowledge and understanding of the sacred scriptures. There is a passage of scripture found in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 25:26, 27 which helps to clarify our position:
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.
I have found in some cases that people base most of what they think they know about the Book of Mormon on what they have heard, not necessarily on what they have actually read. Having been raised as a Baptist, I find this very similar to an atheist who refutes the Bible based on things he has heard, not necessarily on anything that he has read himself. I have read and studied from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and bear witness that both are the Word of God and that both testify of a Savior who loves us all, equally and unconditionally.
We cannot judge something based on one statement (i.e. one passage of scripture). We need to read and understand the context in which that scripture is being used. When I was in Bible College my professors taught us that we should read the verses before a particular passage and sometimes the verses after to get the full meaning. Many a misconception and false teaching has been the result of lifting one passage of scripture totally out of context.