Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What LDS Doctrines are Found in The Book of Mormon?

Importance of the Book of Mormon in the LDS Church

Joesph Smith is well known for making the following statement regarding the Book of Mormon:

I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.
What Precepts from the Book of Mormon are we to Abide by?

If this is the case, my question is what doctrines that are practiced or taught by the LDS church are based on the Book of Mormon? I will argue that most of the doctrines or practices that are taught by the LDS church are not found in the Book of Mormon.

These are the doctrines I would consider unique to Mormonism that are not found in the Book of Mormon:

  • Baptism for the dead
  • Temple Garments
  • Polygamy-as practiced on earth or in the celestial kingdom
  • 3 heaven kingdoms, or 3 degrees of glory
  • Garden of Eden was in Missouri
  • Jesus and God are separate beings, both with tangible bodies
  • There was a Council in the pre-existence
  • Our ultimate destiny is to become like God
  • Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer who became Satan
  • Tithing as a necessary commandment
  • Families are eternal
  • We lived with God before this life
  • The wording of the baptism prayer
  • Jesus and God may live near a planet or star named Kolob
These doctrines are principally found in the Doctrine and Covenants, other church sources and the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.

These teachings, which are found in the Book of Mormon can also be derived from interpretations of the Bible:

  • Baptism
  • Faith
  • Temples
  • The creation
  • The fall of Adam
  • The relationship between faith and works
  • The ministry of Jesus
  • The divinity of Jesus
  • The death and resurrection of Jesus
  • The holy ghost
  • Sacrament
  • Importance of missionary work
  • The role of prophets
  • Priesthood authority
Distinctive Mormon Doctrines Found in the Book of Mormon

There are very few teachings that are unique to the Book of Mormon that are practiced by the LDS church. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Jesus visited America
  • Native Americans are decedents of Israelites
  • The exact wording of the sacrament prayer
  • It is sinful to baptize little children
Most of the doctrines unique to Mormonism are either absent from the text in the Book of Mormon or are also found in the Bible. These principals and teachings can also be found in the Doctrine and Covenants.

What we have left in the Book of Mormon are stories with morals. It is my view that the Book of Mormon is not the source for most of the LDS teachings, but a tool used to claim divine authority due to the miraculous manner in which it was recorded, preserved and translated.

Disillusioned Mormon
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