The Holy Bible
Many people are surprised to learn the Mormon Bible is really the King James Version of the Bible. The Book of Mormon isn’t the Mormon Bible-it’s another book of sacred scripture used by Mormons.
The Bible is revered by Mormons because it allows us to see how the Savior lived during mortality. From the Bible, we learn the commandments, the nature of our Savior, and the example He set for us. The Old Testament is equally valued, as a record of God’s dealings with man as He formed the earth and began the process of presenting the gospel to his children. From both books, we learn to love our Father in Heaven and our Savior, and understand what is expected of us in this life.
Our belief in the Bible does come with one restriction. The Bible wasn’t written in English, and because there were no prophets on the earth, the book was translated by ordinary men doing the best they could. At best, translation is an inexact science. Frequently, there isn’t an exact match for a word in English, and often several words could apply. The translator, who is not a native speaker of both languages, must select the best possible choice for the translation, and when two meanings are equally possible, the translator’s opinion must be called upon. This allows for men to mingle their own beliefs into what was originally written.
Try reading several versions of a classic originally written in another language. You’ll see a large difference between the translations. Now gather several translations of the Bible. You’ll see they also use different words, and the choice of words can easily affect the reader’s understanding of the passage. Modern translations make this even more risky.
As a result of this problem, the Bible is only as valid as its translation. Since few translators have considered themselves prophets, we can presume mortal error or opinions are included in our reading. Mormons believe the Bible, as originally written, was perfect, but that the work of mortal men has lessened its perfection. Mormons read the Bible with that bit of understanding in mind. This is why you often hear them quote the Book of Mormon instead, which was translated by a prophet into English. The Book of Mormon in other languages, of course, was translated by translators, not prophets, and faces the same complication of possible imperfections.
In a four year course of study, adults, teenagers, and older children study the Bible for two of the years, one each for the Old and New Testaments. This is twice as long as any other book is studied. The Book of Mormon receives only one year, and the Doctrine and Covenants receives another. The high school students study the Bible for two years in Sunday School, and another two years in a religion class which is held each school day. This means most Mormons who grew up in the church have a very strong foundation in Bible studies. Younger children study the Bible every other year.
Mormons consider the Bible to be a critical part of their religious canon, and the Book of Mormon to be a book that testifies of the truthfulness of the Bible.