Throughout history, Heavenly Father has given His children scriptures to teach them how to live so that they may return to Him.
When Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, the Lord commanded them to return for the brass plates of Laban—the scriptures. Lehi and his family were not to travel to a new land without them. Nephi said, “It is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve … the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God” (1 Ne. 3:19–20).
Over six hundred years later, after He was baptized, the Savior spent forty days fasting in the wilderness. Then He returned “to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.” (Luke 4:16–17.) The scriptures are so important that Jesus himself taught the people about who He was by reading from them.
Centuries later Joseph Smith read in the Bible, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). After reading this verse, Joseph Smith went to the Sacred Grove to pray about which church he should join. He was told to join none of them. Later he was given the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon. In 1830 the Church was formally organized again upon the earth and the Book of Mormon was published.
We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. As Joseph Smith wrote, “Many important points touching the salvation of men … had been taken from the Bible, or [had been] lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 10).
We also believe that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel. Joseph Smith said, “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” (Book of Mormon—Introduction).
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are privileged to be able to study both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as well as our other scriptures. Each of us also has the right to know for ourself that these scriptures are true.
Just before he sealed up and hid the Book of Mormon plates, Moroni wrote: “When ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moro. 10:4).