Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why this blog?

An energetic young Mormon missionary recently wrote home and said "the Bible is sooo 2000 years ago. Let's talk about the Book of Mormon, huh?"

I felt sad when I saw that. That had also been my opinion when I was an active member of the Mormon church (aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or LDS). For me, the Bible was a thick and mysterious tome, difficult to understand. I had only read small parts of it, usually in conjunction with a Sunday School class. A lot more of my attention and study was on the Book of Mormon, and I read that cover to cover multiple times.  Most of my friends in the church seemed to feel the same, preferring it over the Bible.  The LDS church leadership itself constantly urges the members to read and share the Book of Mormon; missionaries give away free copies to anyone and everyone.  On its introduction page, the founder of the church, the Prophet 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.”

Meanwhile, the church, in its Articles of Faith, number 8, says "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly..."  This tends to give the impression that the Bible is not trustworthy.  Joseph Smith himself made corrections to the King James Version and the church put his notes and changes in footnotes and an appendix in the back of their standard church Bible.

Speaking of this standard LDS Bible, it's the Authorized King James Version without Apocrypha.  The church publishes it themselves and includes study helps like maps, a Bible Dictionary, and a topical guide. In all my decades of Sunday meetings and weekly activities, I only ever once saw someone bring a different Bible to church--a person who wasn't a member and was being taught by the missionaries. 

I feel sorry for my former brothers and sisters of the LDS church and I wanted to do something to help them see that the Bible is relevant and useful today.  The idea for "Bibles for Mormons" came with this vision:
I want to see Mormons reading, respecting, and recommending the Bible.

To that end I plan to post about different translations and versions of the Bible, Biblical history and archeology, and study helps.  I plan to give Bibles to LDS friends and write about those experiences.  I want to share my own thoughts as I read the Bible.  And I hope to encourage readers to present Bibles to their Mormon friends and family. 

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