How do Latter-day Saints define the idea of "scripture"?
The corpus of Latter-day Saint scripture is substantially larger than the traditional Protestant or Catholic canon. It includes the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, which are collectively referred to as the "standard works." Although "scripture" usually denotes written documents, in LDS sources it is also defined as "whatsoever [God's representatives] shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" (D&C 68:24), which implies an acceptance of modern-day prophetic revelation as scripture. Latter-day Saints acknowledge that although the messages of scripture are divine in origin, those who receive, write, or translate the words are human. This clarifies why a Latter-day Saint tenet states that the Bible is accepted as the word of God "as far as it is translated correctly" (Articles of Faith 8), or why official clarifications and translations are occasionally made to the standard works. Latter-day Saints bind themselves by covenant to obey scripture, but they are also assured that important records will yet come to light. Importantly, Latter-day Saints understand that scriptures are a result of divine revelation to prophets and that individuals must study the scriptures and seek personal revelation in order to understand their immediate meaning and relevance.
W. D. Davies -
W. D. Davies has been employed by Duke University.
Truman G. Madsen -
Truman G. Madsen has been Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Brigham Young University. He has been Director of the Institute of Mormon Studies, has held the Richard L. Evans Chair of Christian Understanding, and has worked at the Brigham Young University Center for Near Eastern Studies, Jerusalem, Israel.
- "Scripture: Scriptures," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 3:1277–80.