Book of Mormon and other Mormon Scriptures
Many people criticize Mormons for having more scripture than the Bible. In fact, a lot of people think that Mormons don’t believe in the Bible at all. This is not true. Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, but only insofar as it has been translated correctly (Article of Faith 8). Over thousands of years, many truths have been lost from the Bible, either by malicious people who changed meaning, by mistranslation, or by mistakes in copying. However, many of these truths have been restored in other scripture, particularly through the Book of Mormon. Mormon doctrine teaches that God continues to speak to His children today, and Mormons have four total books of scripture which have been canonized: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
The Book of Mormon is a record of the history of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. It tells the history of three different groups which were led to the Americas (or the Promised Land) by the hand of God. The first group, the Jaredites, was led from the European/Asian continent at the time of the Tower of Babel. The second group, the Lehites, was led out of Jerusalem in about 600 B.C. The final group was led out of Jerusalem in the days of Zedekiah, and they joined a remnant of the Lehites. The Book of Mormon is another testament that Jesus is the Christ, that He visits His people, and that He loves all His children. The Book of Mormon was translated in the late 1820s by Joseph Smith, by the power of God, from ancient records kept on plates of brass, and it contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mormons use the same Bible that many other denominations use: the King James Version. While the Mormon Church has not canonized the books of the Apocrypha, it was revealed to Joseph Smith that there were many truths in those books which could be discerned when read by the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of modern revelations given in large part to Joseph Smith, but also to other early Mormon Church leaders. These revelations helped to clarify doctrine and also set forth new doctrine pertinent to the time it was given. There are many valuable teachings contained in this book.
The Pearl of Great Price
The Pearl of Great Price is a collection of books. Some were revealed to Joseph Smith when he re-read the Bible by the power of the Holy Ghost and was given revelation where some truths had been lost over time. The Book of Abraham was translated by Joseph Smith from an ancient papyrus which came into the hands of the Mormon Church in the mid-1800s. It was a copy of an original record written by Abraham himself, or rewritten by scribes through the ages, and came from the catacombs of Egypt.
In addition to these books of scripture, Mormons believe that God continues to speak to His prophet on the earth today, and whatever is spoken by the prophet, in his capacity as prophet, is also considered as scripture. Some churches believe that God stopped speaking to His children at the close of the New Testament. Mormon doctrine teaches that God still loves us just as much today and continues to speak to His children through modern-day prophets. Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation, but there have been fifteen prophets since Joseph Smith. The current prophet is always the current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church), who is now Thomas S. Monson.
Twice a year, in April and again in October, the Mormon Church holds a general conference for all members worldwide. Each conference takes place on a Saturday and a Sunday, during five sessions. During this conference, many Church leaders speak to members on a variety of subjects, giving them more revelation, guidance, and encouragement. The words spoken in each of these conferences become scripture as well, and are published the following month in special issues of the Mormon magazines the Ensign and the Liahona. Mormons know that God loves each of them and that He continues to speak directly to them and also through His leaders.