Teachings of Brigham Young
Probably the most asked question of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is “Do you believe in the Bible?” The answer to that question is an unequivocal yes! Perhaps nothing illustrates it better than a talk given by Brigham Young (1801 – 1877), the second president of the LDS Church. Said he: “I believe the words of the Bible . . . I believe the doctrines concerning salvation in the book are true, and that their observance will elevate any people, nation or family that dwells on the face of the earth.” He went on to say that the doctrine(s) contained within the Bible will “lift to a superior knowledge, wisdom, charity, fill them with compassion and cause them to feel after the wants of others who are in distress, or in painful or degraded circumstances.” I could stop here and feel that I had sufficiently proved that we believe in the Bible, but I will continue.“The Bible is the foundation of our faith”
In continuing his talk, President Young stated “We (the LDS church) take this book [the Bible] for our guide, for our rule of action; we take it as the foundation of our faith.” If – as some people contend – this isn’t true, do you think President Young would have basically perjured himself by making the statement? But, he didn’t stop there. He added “It points the way to salvation like a fingerboard pointing to a city, or a map which designates the locality of mountains, rivers, or the latitude and longitude of any place on the surface of the earth that we desire to find and we have no better sense than to believe it; hence, I say the Latter-day Saints have the most natural faith and belief of any people on the face of the earth.”1
In the words of President Young, “we consider the Bible . . . as a guide . . . pointing to a certain destination.” He added that if we (or any believer in Christ) will follow the doctrines, and be guided by the precepts of the Bible, it will will direct you where you may see as you are seen, where you may converse with Jesus Christ, have the visitation of angels, and have revelations.
The Bible contains the doctrines of salvation
We believe that the Bible – both the Old and New Testament – preaches but one gospel from Genesis to Revelation. We believe that the Bible is truth and that it contains the doctrines necessary for the salvation of the children of men. It may not have been translated aright and many precious things may have been rejected in the compilation and translation of the Bible.2,3
We believe in the New Testament, and, consequently, to be consistent, we must believe in new revelations, visions, angels, all of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and all of the promises contained in these books. In fine, we – Latter-day Saints, have confessed before Heaven, before the heavenly hosts and before the inhabitants of the earth, that we really believe the Scriptures as they are given to us.
The messages of the Scriptures are plain and easy to understand
We are not in the same attitude as the people were a few thousand years ago – they were dependent on the Prophet(s), or on having immediate revelation for themselves to know the will of the Lord, without the record of their predecessors, while we have the records of those who have lived before us. President Young explained “People on every hand are inquiring, ‘What does this Scripture mean, and how shall we understand this or that passage?’ Now, I wish my brethren and sisters, for us to understand things precisely as they are, and not as fitting, changing imagination of (how) the human mind may frame them.”
President Young made these comments with regard to how the Bible is written. “The phraseology is that which was customary centuries ago; but, no matter what the language is, that is merely custom.” He added that the doctrine taught in both the Old and New Testaments are the will of God towards his children here on earth; the history of what He has done for their salvation; the ordinances which He has instituted for their salvation; and the gift of His son and His atonement are true and that we believe in them.
In conclusion, President Young stated “we feel that the Bible is just as plain and easy of comprehension as the revelation (presented by President Young when this talk was originally given) which I have just read4.” He went on to explain: “If you understand the Spirit of God – the Spirit of Revelation, and know how the Gospel of salvation is adapted to the capacity of weak man.”
1Source “DBY (Discover Brigham Young)”, page 125
21 Nephi 13:24 – 27: (24) “And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God. (25) Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. (26) And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is the most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord they have taken away.”
(Source: The Book of Mormon)
3LDS Articles of Faith: Article # 8 – We believe the Bible to be the word of God as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
(Source: LDS Articles of Faith)
4Doctrine and Covenants 58: “(1) Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me concerning of Me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.”
(Source: LDS Doctrine and Covenants)