By Kelly Merrill, Moroni Channel
I don’t know what brought it up, but something got me thinking about the reason why we have both scriptures and prophets. They must serve different purposes for the Lord to have kept both around all these millennia. First let’s look at some of the purposes of the scriptures then in the next article we’ll exam what the prophets offer us.
Purpose of the scriptures
In a 2006 General Conference talk Elder Robert D. Hales invited the congregation to open their scriptures and look at the purpose of the Book of Mormon.
Will you open with me the cover of the Book of Mormon? Look on the title page. We read that it is “written by way of commandment, … by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.” It has “come forth by the gift and power of God,” and its interpretation is “by the gift of God”—by the Holy Ghost. It shows “what great things the Lord [has] done” and has given to us “that [we] may know the covenants of the Lord,” that we might not be “cast off forever.” Most importantly, it has been written to convince us “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”
Elder Hales was talking specifically about the Book of Mormon, but the principles behind why we have scriptures apply to all scriptures. The reason the Lord wants us to have them is as follows:
Note that these are the eternal truths of the gospel plan, otherwise known as the plan of salvation. These are the basic laws and truths that govern God’s people of all ages. Continuing on with his focus on the Book of Mormon Elder Hales turns his attention to Lehi, who sent his sons back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates. The Lord commanded him to obtain them for good reason, which we will look at in a moment. Once the plates were in their possession, Lehi sat down and began a search of the plates.
As Lehi searched the plates, he learned what all of us learn by studying the scriptures:
This quote broadens our view of why we have scriptures. The truths they contain are so essential that the Lord compares them to an iron rod which will safely lead us through all of life’s challenges back to His presence. But the prophets have added a caveat, we can’t let go of that rod. The truths the scriptures contain are absolutely essential to our safety if we want to return to the Lord. We must cling to those truths tenaciously if we are to be successful in getting to come to experience for ourselves the love of God.
So what happens to a people who know the gospel well, but lose their scriptures? This was the case with the Mulekites in the Book of Mormon. They were Jews, raised in the holy city under the law of Moses. When the Lord led them to the promised land he let them go without scriptures as an example to the rest of us so we can see clearly the need for scriptures.
We don’t see the Mulekites until about 400 years into the Book of Mormon narrative. They came with no scriptures, and in those four centuries had lost not only their religion, but their language. They no longer believed in a creator. Elder Hales teaches this valuable lesson in these words:
The fate of these civilizations, as recorded in scripture, is a testimony to all the world: if we don’t have the word of God or don’t cling to and heed the word of God, we will wander off in strange paths and be lost as individuals, as families, and as nations.
The universal nature
Elder Richard G. Scott said in a 2011 General Conference talk that we never need worry about whether what we read in the scriptures is correct. The scriptures were all written under the influence of the Holy Ghost and they all contain the word of God as given us from the Lord himself.
Because scriptures are generated from inspired communication through the Holy Ghost, they are pure truth. We need not be concerned about the validity of concepts contained in the standard works since the Holy Ghost has been the instrument which has motivated and inspired those individuals who have recorded the scriptures. ...
Finally, one last quote from Elder Hales: “when we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures.”
The scriptures are the universal bank of truth containing the core of the gospel of Christ for all generations of time. They apply in any generation and in any culture or language.
In the next article we’ll look at the relationship between prophets and God’s people, as well as prophets and the scriptures.
Learn more about the Holy Scriptures and the Power of God here
CONNECT WITH US
What is Moroni Channel?
MCH is a Selection Of Church News, LDS Trends, Stories, Mormon Lifestyle And Other Useful Ideas For The LDS Community. We provide fresh articles from members of The LDS Church and feature real-life stories of their Trials, Conversion, Missionary Work, and Personal Experiences.