Why do Mormons Accept the Canon of the Bible?


#1

I have been visiting with a couple of LDS missionaries every week for several weeks now. This last Sunday I posed the question, “Why do Mormons accept the canon of the Bible?” I asked this after they explained to me the Church went into a total apostasy after the death of the last apostle and remained in a total apostasy until Joseph Smith set things straight in 1823. Therefore, this means that Mormons accept the authority of an apostatized church when it comes to Sacred Scripture since the canonization process didn’t start until about 392 A.D.

One of the missionaries told me that he wasn’t familiar with the history of how the Bible was canonized and I told him he should read up on it, because if I were a Mormon “prophet” I would insist on reviewing all the books and letters the Catholic Church considered and make my own determination as to what is inspired and what is not. Why haven’t any of the LDS “prophets” done something like this in the past?


#2

That’s an excellent question to ask. If I’m not mistaken, Mormons accept the Protestant canon, so you could even go further and ask why they accept a canon of Scripture determined 1,100 years later than the original one.


#3

Yes. They do believe that the only valid translation of the Bible is the KJV which contains the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament. I plan to make that my next question. I have a feeling it is just because Joseph Smith’s protestant influence.


#4

This is all part of the Great Protestant (and pseudo-Protestant) Dilemma. If the Church went apostate early, then as you say, the canon of Scripture is suspect, as are the early clarifications on e.g. the Trinity and the hypostatic union, things that most of them believe (OK, not the Mormons).

But if the Church went apostate late enough for the canon of Scripture to be valid, then she was obviously already quite Catholic, and Protestants therefore are rejecting the teachings of the true Church when they reject core Catholic doctrines.

It is a dilemma with no answer.


#5

One of their “articles of faith” states that:

We believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. We believe the Bible to be the word of God *as far as it is translated correctly. *

Most Mormons believe that people who translated the Bible took many “plain and precious parts” out in the translation process and therefore it was corrupted.
So who translated the bible correctly? Joseph Smith began his own bible translation but it was never finished and the parts that were aren’t even part of the mormon canon.

in Christ
Steph


#6

I’ve been reading a book titled “One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church” by Richard Abanes. Speaking of the Joseph Smith “translation” he says that the main body of Mormons in Salt Lake avoid using it because the RLDS (now Community of Christ) holds the copyright. The CoC makes the JS “translation” available on their website. There don’t appear to be many alterations from the KJV.


#7

Not too many alterations, but enough that it subtly throws in Mormon doctrine.

Richard Abanes is a good friend of mine. I highly recommend his books.

in Christ
Steph


#8

Sidney Rigdon helped Joseph Smith to “retranslate” genesis as the book of Moses that is in the LDS canon today as part of the Pearl of Great Price.


#9

This is a fallacious argument that Catholics are fond of bringing up all the time. It is fallacious because it presupposes that nobody knew what was scripture and what was not until the supposed “canonization” took place. Christians as a whole know what was scripture and what was not before Catholic Church took any formal action to “canonize” anything. There was a general consensus among Christians as to what was inspired scripture and what was not, and that is what forms the “canon” today. The Jews know what was inspired scripture long before the Catholic Church decided to “canonize” it. It is awfully presumptions of Catholics to pretend that they somehow “made scripture;” and that nobody knew what was scripture until the Catholics did us the favour of kindly telling us what it is! They didn’t do any such thing.

One of the missionaries told me that he wasn’t familiar with the history of how the Bible was canonized and I told him he should read up on it, because if I were a Mormon “prophet” I would insist on reviewing all the books and letters the Catholic Church considered and make my own determination as to what is inspired and what is not. Why haven’t any of the LDS “prophets” done something like this in the past?

In a sense I suppose you could say that they have done that. When Joseph Smith was making his inspired translation of the Bible, it is said that he make a note on the Song of Solomon stating that is was not inspired; and I personally inclined to agree with that. I believe that the Song is not true scripture. The LDS church also does not recognize the Apocrypha as part of the canon, which, if I am not mistaken (I could be wrong about this), the Catholic Church does.

zerinus


#10

That is not correct. We do not believe that the KJV is “the only valid translation”. We believe that it is the best translation so far; but that other translations also will have some good points bout them as well, and they are worth the study…

zerinus


#11

That is not true. Comprehensive changes were made in the NT in particular; and all the main changes are added as footnotes in the current LDS edition of the Bible.

zerinus


#12

Originally Posted by IanS forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_cad/viewpost.gif
I have been visiting with a couple of LDS missionaries every week for several weeks now. This last Sunday I posed the question, “Why do Mormons accept the canon of the Bible?” I asked this after they explained to me the Church went into a total apostasy after the death of the last apostle and remained in a total apostasy until Joseph Smith set things straight in 1823. Therefore, this means that Mormons accept the authority of an apostatized church when it comes to Sacred Scripture since the canonization process didn’t start until about 392 A.D.
This is a fallacious argument that Catholics are fond of bringing up all the time. It is fallacious because it presupposes that nobody knew what was scripture and what was not until the supposed “canonization” took place. Christians as a whole know what was scripture and what was not before Catholic Church took any formal action to “canonize” anything. There was a general consensus among Christians as to what was inspired scripture and what was not, and that is what forms the “canon” today. The Jews know what was inspired scripture long before the Catholic Church decided to “canonize” it. It is awfully presumptions of Catholics to pretend that they somehow “made scripture;” and that nobody knew what was scripture until the Catholics did us the favour of kindly telling us what it is! They didn’t do any such thing.

Quote:
One of the missionaries told me that he wasn’t familiar with the history of how the Bible was canonized and I told him he should read up on it, because if I were a Mormon “prophet” I would insist on reviewing all the books and letters the Catholic Church considered and make my own determination as to what is inspired and what is not. Why haven’t any of the LDS “prophets” done something like this in the past?
In a sense I suppose you could say that they have done that. When Joseph Smith was making his inspired translation of the Bible, it is said that he make a note on the Song of Solomon stating that is was not inspired; and I personally inclined to agree with that. I believe that the Song is not true scripture. The LDS church also does not recognize the Apocrypha as part of the canon, which, if I am not mistaken (I could be wrong about this), the Catholic Church does.

zerinus

Yep, the SAME claim the Protestants do, except LDS has to reconcile this with THEIR claim all other churches are “corrupt and an abomination”—which leads to the ludicrous claim that a “Church of abomination” (2 Nephi) could STILL declare the Scripture, Scripture–when it was well within it’s power to destroy it, utterly corrupt it, add other texts (like the epistles of Clement, Ignatius)–and BTW, there is NO evidence, textually, archaelogicaly that LDS can present that Scripture was corrupted. We’ve had near 200 years of critical textual analysis that has come to the conclusion the NT we have was pretty much (98%+) the same one as was put down in the original 1st century texts. Then the Dead Sea Scrolls corraborated a similar transmission accuracy for the OT.

A simple 10 minute search of CA and CAF would produce gobs of links showing how the Canon was NOT settled until the late fourth century AD–that the “council of Jabneh” circa 100 AD did NOT settle the Tanach canon (OT) for the Jews–that Jews disputed their canon until the late 3rd century.


#13

So the Jews already knew which New Testament books were inspired?:confused:

Any evidence to support this particular claim? I notice there were no references to anything that can be proven through history, scripture, or archeology. In order for this claim to have any validity it is necessary to show some evidence of how all Christians already knew the full canon of scripture before the year 200A.D. which is when Mormons claim the Church had completed the fall into the “total apostasy”. I find it also interesting that there is not one shred of evidence to prove this total an immediate apostasy ever occurred even though there are volumes and volumes written about every other schism and heresy that has occurred in history.

The Church has never taught that she “made” scripture. By the end of the fourth century there were over 100 gospel accounts of Jesus being circulated and many more letters. The only thing the Church has ever done is determine which books were inspired and formally define them so there could be uniformity on what scriptures were read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In order for scripture to be canonized it would need to pass several tests, which included:

Could the document be traced to the original author?
Did it conform to sacred tradition?
Was it already commonly read by priests and bishops during the Liturgy of the Word?

One book in particular, “Revelation” was hotly contested for many years before it was canonized. If all Christians already knew the canon of scripture, how come there was debate? Why don’t Mormons use the Septuagint canon of the Old Testament? There is no record of the Hebrew canon being widely used by anyone before the year 1500.


#14

Christians as a whole know what was scripture and what was not before Catholic Church took any formal action to “canonize” anything

Prove it.

Please show documented proof that Christians as whole knew what the canon would be prior to the Church councils which created the canon.

Mormons have absolutely no right to claim the canon since it was created by a group of “apostates”. Even more incredible when they use the KJV - which is a translation done by “a group of apostates” of a canon which was approved by another “group of apostates”.


#15

So three different early councils pronounced on a canon that everybody already knew? Do you understand why councils were called? It certainly wasn’t to tell Christians what they all knew and accepted already.


#16

The book is fascinating. From months of watching the BYU Channel I’ve gotten the impression that modern Mormons see JS as a meek, Christ-like person. Mr. Abanes shows that, to the contrary, he was apparently quite ambitious and even arrogant. Prints of JS in military uniform as general of the Mormon Militia, as well as a rising presidential candidate, are telling.


#17

One thing that has struck me is the particular style of English that JS used to render the ancient Gold Plate Language. It follows the stylistic form of KJV English, but seems to me to be a poor imitation of it, as if he were going out of his way to puff things up, use a lot of unnecessary words. In a recent sidewalk debate with a confirmed Mormon, I brought this up, and told him that it seems to me that this is an argument against the legitimacy of the BoM as presented by JS. If JS wanted to render the BoM in the English common to New York in 1830 or thereabouts, he surely wouldn’t have used a style of English that was common in England in 1611. I’ve read many a document by Americans of that era, such as presidential addresses, private letters, government documents, etc. None of them use the type of English that JS used in rendering the BoM from what he claims were ancient languages, so it can’t possibly be claimed that KJV style English was used in everyday speech in 1830 New York. Joseph Smith, himself, didn’t write in that style, and surely didn’t speak in that style. Was this just a manner of making the BoM seem more “scripture-like” to the many hoped-for buyers of the book?


#18

salamandersociety.com/marktwain/


#19

Allweather, try posing THIS to your "confirmed Mormon:

Chapter XVI

Roughing It - by Mark Twain

[LEFT]All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have
seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a
copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a
pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of
inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this
book, the act was a miracle–keeping awake while he did it was, at any
rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain
ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he
found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of
translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.

The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the
Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New
Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint,
old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the
Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel–half modern glibness, and half
ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained;
the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his
speech growing too modern–which was about every sentence or two–he
ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came
to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to
pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been
only a pamphlet. "

And for the entie hilarious chapter:

readprint.com/chapter-10727/Mark-Twain
[/LEFT]


#20

Z,
Do you believe, as Catholics and their Protestant brethren do, that the bible is the inerrant word of God, faithfully transmitted by the church since the time of the apostles? Or do you agree with the LDS that the bible is corrupted and untrustworthy?

Paul


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.