Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Rest of the Scriptures

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls as scripture four books of sacred writings: The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. These four books are referred to as the Church's Canon. Canon is a word of Greek origin, originally meaning "a rod for testing straightness," now used to denote the authoritative collection of the sacred books used by the true believers in Christ. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the canonical books are called standard works. LDS Bible Dictionary: Canon

Equally important to understand is that the words expressed by modern-day elders, and in particular prophets and apostles, either verbally or written while under the influence of the Holy Ghost are also scripture. This point was made clear in the following revelation given to Joseph Smith in November of 1831 at the request of four elders of the church, Orson Hyde, Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. McLellin, to know the Lord's will concerning them.
My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with and expounding all scriptures unto them.

And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—

And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. Doctrine & Covenants 68:1-4
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church, has other useful study aids such as the Bible Dictionary and the Topical Guide; however these are not recognized as scripture.

Up to this point, I have purposely limited my use of the scriptures and drawn mainly examples and teachings from the Bible. My reason for doing this was to at least try and find some common ground with those who may not be Christian but do know of the Bible's existence and perhaps some of its teachings. Additionally, I have done this to lay common ground with those who may read this who already believe in Jesus Christ and are constantly seeking to follow Him. I have attempted to the best of my ability to explain the basic doctrines that I believe are essential to understand if one is to begin to truly come unto Christ and follow Him.

The Bible is what most of the world knows, so I thought it best to start there. However, as I hope you will come to realize through future posts, the true gospel of Jesus Christ could not be expressed and explained accurately without the rest of the scriptures. Therefore, it is my intent that from this point forward I will use all of the scriptures that I have described above, from the standard works to the words of modern-day prophets and apostles. My prayer is that we may all come to understand the scriptures and, as a consequence, the gospel of Jesus Christ.