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I've never seen a Mormon establish doctrine on the Book of Mormon, only arguing that the Book of Mormon is "another testament of Jesus Christ." So, since Mormons believe that is the case, surely they base some doctrine on the book of Mormon. So what important doctrines do Mormons believe are taught in the book of Mormon that we couldn't find in the Bible already?

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    I think this question needs to be reworked. Firstly state what you believe are the important doctrines found in the Bible. It varies considerably from group to group. In fact it is such a bad question I think it should be placed on hold. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 8:13
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    This is a valid question. He is asking the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is a very specific group.
    – staples
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 13:05
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    @gideon marx, Why would I need to state what I think are the important doctrines in the Bible? I'm asking about what doctrines Mormons hold important, not what doctrines I hold important. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 1:41
  • Note: I voted up both the question and answer to indicate that this is on-topic and a good one.
    – Mawia
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 8:47
  • "I've never seen a Mormon establish doctrine on the Book of Mormon, only arguing that the Book of Mormon is "another testament of Jesus Christ."" What is meant by this? Do you mean to say you have never seen a member of the church teach a doctrine exclusively from the Book of Mormon? That would be odd, I have seen that hundreds of times. It is unclear what the question is asking. "So, since Mormons believe that is the case" - believe what is the case?
    – pygosceles
    Commented Jan 9 at 15:41

4 Answers 4

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First, I am slightly surprised that you've never seen Mormons use the Book of Mormon to teach/establish doctrine. (Talk to the missionaries; I bet they'll use the Book of Mormon quite extensively.)

This was a bit tricky to think of at first, since the Bible does indeed mention the main, important doctrines. Because of that, the Latter-day Saints use the Bible often in their studies and in church. However, there are many doctrines/principles are explained in the Book of Mormon that the LDS believe are not clear from the Bible alone:

  • The Apostasy and Restoration. The Bible does refer to an apostasy and eventual restoration, however, it is vague at best. The Book of Mormon clarifies that the Priesthood keys and fulness of true scripture will be taken from the Earth for generations, then restored through heavenly messengers in the last days to prepare for the second coming of the Savior. It even describes that a continent (America) will be set apart and preserved for the Restoration. (1 Nephi 13)

  • The Fall. While the Bible rehearses to us primary events of the placement of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their subsequent choices, it isn't entirely clear why their choice to eat the fruit was important, or whether it was good or bad. The Book of Mormon drills the point home that the Fall of mankind was an essential part of God's plan: fully anticipated, with a redemption through the Atonement of Christ prepared for the salvation of mankind. (2 Nephi 2).

  • Life After Death. The Book of Mormon explains that death is not simply the transition from mortality to the eternal heaven/hell. We lose our physical bodies at death and enter the spirit world, where we remain until the resurrection and judgment, at which point, we eventually enter the kingdom prepared for us. (Alma 40; 2 Nephi 9).

  • The Purpose of Christ's Suffering in Gethesemane. The word "Atonement" appears dozens of times in the Book of Mormon, but at least it does show up once in the Bible. It is the central event of all the ages, and without it, we would be lost forever. The Book of Mormon clarifies this over and over, and helps us understand what really took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the far-reaching effects of His having completed the Atonement perfectly. (Mosiah 3; Alma 7)

  • The innocence of children. The Book of Mormon teaches that little children need no repentance, nor baptism, and that baptizing children is an evil abomination. Children are alive through the Atonement of Christ, and children who die before an age of accountability will be saved. (Moroni 8)

  • The Nature of God. The Bible documents the doings of God quite extensively, and the Book of Mormon more clearly explains His character and disposition. For example, in Ether 12, Moroni is comforted by the Lord who teaches him that weakness is a boon for coming closer to Him and remaining humble: that the Lord gave us weaknesses so He could draw us to Him and make us strong.

  • We are saved by grace after all we can do. Different Christian religions believe different things about the requirements for salvation. The Book of Mormon helps us understand that it is grace that saves us, after all we can do, and the Book of Mormon emphasizes that good works are necessary, but not sufficient, to gain salvation. We must truly become a new being through the Atonement of Christ. (See these passages; Mosiah 27; Alma 12)

  • The meaning of baptism. The Book of Mormon explains why the sinless Christ was baptized beyond simply "to be born again" -- and why each of us needs to follow that example. (2 Nephi 31)

  • The importance of religious freedom. The Book of Mormon teaches about good leadership and government, especially as it pertains to the free practice of religion. Latter-day Saints and the Church are thus strong advocates for religious freedom. (Mosiah 29)

Again, many of these are touched on in the Bible, but not wholly or completely enough to be unambiguous or not leave significant room for interpretation (hence the many different Christian denominations). But off the top of my head, these are the primary doctrines that are the least clear or mentioned in the Bible and the most clear and discussed in the Book of Mormon.

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  • It seems that you agree with david brainerd as to the 'main, important doctrines' of the Bible and what you mention here is what is not in the Bible. I do not however know what it is that you agree upon - that is the Biblical doctrine you hold in common. He refuses to explain it. Maybe you could. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 9:34
  • @gideon marx, The question is about what doctrines are important to Mormons, not to me. Yet if you must know something we agree on, one example is we agree that infants should not be baptized and that they are born innocent. Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 3:45
  • I believe in the innocence of babies and that they should be circumcised. Can you now see why it is so important that we know what the starting point is. What can we all agree on? Then, where do you differ from me? The Book of Mormon completely changes how the Bible is read. As does Augustine's 'City of God'. If you were to become a Muslim, you will see the Bible through the lens of the Koran. The doctrine of the Bible is relative to the current position of the beholder. But you asked, so you must go first. Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 9:19
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As you have said, we believe the Book of Mormon to be another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is a second witness to what the Lord has established. In 2 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV) we read:

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

The Book of Mormon establishes and offers that second witness, and often clarification to what is taught in the Bible. There are no doctrinal differences.

For example,

There are plenty more examples, but I digress from the question. We do base our doctrine off of revelation found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, other scriptural canon, and current revelation from a living prophet. All of this, however, does not deviate from what Christ has taught.

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The fundamental doctrine that was not included in Matt's excellent post is that there is a "Plan of Salvation." While many of the elements exist in the Bible, the acuality of a plan by that name (or its variants) cannot be found in the Bible.

Quoting from the Book of Mormon, the three following verses discuss the plan of salvation:

…For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me.

Jarom 1:2

+++

And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations.

Alma 24:14

+++

For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.

Alma 42:5

This list expands greatly when you consider the plan of redemption or the plan of happiness.


Another important doctrine is the Restoration of the Gospel and that God calls prophets today. Neither one of these doctrines are written in the pages, per se, but they are a result of the book's existance. The logic is:

Therefore, the only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation.

—Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles, April 1975 General Conference, "The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God"


Another part of doctrine which is not found in the Bible but is discussed at length in the Book of Mormon is the concept of agency, that is that we were intelligences before the world was created, and we are "agents unto ourselves" and more specifically, we are able to "act for ourselves" This freedom to act is also fundamental to our answer to "the Problem of Evil."

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Although the Book of Mormon teaches and restores many plain and precious truths once contained in the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:34-41), I am actually finding myself hard pressed to find a definite example of a saving doctrinal truth that has been completely expunged from the Bible; however there are doctrines that are vastly clearer in the Book of Mormon than in the Bible as we have it today. This confusion and ambiguity is why there are more Christian denominations today than there are verses in the Bible.

But what was removed? This is an excellent question. I will not attempt to answer it fully, but I will instead show mainly what remains in the Bible by way of numerous examples. Of necessity, this will be only a comparatively small sample.

First, to show how the Book of Mormon and the Bible are related: The Bible originally contained a prophecy of Joseph, that some of his descendants would write a book that would eliminate the confusion arising from the redactions to the Bible:

And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth of my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days; Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. (Genesis 50:30-31, JST)

It is unsurprising that this prophecy was among the plain and precious truths removed; otherwise it would seem unlikely that the confusion could have persisted so long. This prophecy is reiterated in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 3, since Joseph the son of Lehi in America was to play a role in the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Doctrines still in the Bible

This answer reflects on various doctrines advanced in other answers, showing how the Bible does in fact contain them, albeit often in a poorer state of preservation than in the Book of Mormon. Once we see the connections between them, it will become impossible to unsee.

The Apostasy and Restoration. The Bible is fairly clear about the pattern of prophetic callings and apostasy once one takes the holistic view of it. There is for example a 400-year gap between Malachi and the sending forth of John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Son of God. This cannot be explained if one presumes that prophecy is constant and independent of obedience, or that God eventually loses interest in sending new prophets. The Bible speaks directly of times of apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3), says the "times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord ... the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken [of] by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19,21), "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (Ephesians 1:10), and prophesies the then-future return of "the messenger of the covenant" to prepare the way for the Lord, and the Lord shall appear in His temple (see Malachi 3:1). This implies that His temple must be built or rebuilt before His reappearing can occur. Ezekiel 37:17 prophesies that the writings of Ephraim will become one with those of Judah, and Isaiah 29 speaks of a book of the writings of a people brought low in the dust. These remaining Bible verses read like a treasure map with some pages torn, some passages burned or smudged and others missing, but putting the pieces together it becomes evident there is one message they unanimously teach. The redacted Bible does still teach the Restoration of the Gospel, but it is taught much more clearly in the Book of Mormon and in many prophecies that were removed from the Bible.

The doctrine of the Fall is set forth in the Bible with sufficient clarity that we understand that it was a transgression, and also that the sacrifice of the Savior provided the means to reverse that Fall (see 1 Corinthians 15:45). The Book of Mormon further expounds this, but for example the notion that original sin somehow eternally condemns all mankind a priori despite individual choices is nowhere corroborated in the Bible.

Life After Death. Alma 40 does reveal specifics about the world of spirits that are not included in the Bible, but the Bible itself teaches that the world of spirits is the actual condition of the dead before their resurrection, as evidenced in Luke 24:43. The Bible even explicitly states that the Gospel is preached to imprisoned spirits 1 (Peter 3:19-20, 4:6) in preparation for their resurrection and final judgment, and that baptisms were performed anciently for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29). It is fully evident from the Bible that God would be unjust and a respecter of persons (making predestination true) if He did not provide a means for being born again of water and of the Spirit to the dead who die ignorantly in their sins. 2 Nephi 9 proves along with all other Scripture that those who perish ignorantly have a means provided for their redemption on conditions of repentance.

The Purpose of Christ's Suffering in Gethesemane. is clearly set forward in John 3:16-17 and in numerous of the Savior's own pronouncements regarding why He must suffer. Although John describes in detail the Savior's Great Intercessory Prayer and most of the accounts reference His submission to His Father, saying, "Thy will be done, and not mine", John and the other Apostles are reverently silent on the Savior's suffering in Gethsemane. The most significant event in all human history is described in most of the Gospel accounts with the stunned and awestruck mortal silence of an ellipses, three times in some of the accounts (see Matthew 26:39-41,42-43,44-45; Mark 14:36-41). The one who breaks silence regarding the suffering in the Gospel witnesses is, no less reverently, is Luke, who describes: "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44). Isaiah and many others speak of His suffering and intercession for sin (see Isaiah 53). Although the suffering is indescribable, the Book of Mormon reads much like an epistle of Paul in unpacking the doctrinal and salvific implications of the Savior's Atonement, and our duty relative to the Lord's unfathomable sufferings.

The innocence of children. Although the age of accountability is not specified in the Bible (or even the Book of Mormon, although it does speak of the evils of infant baptism), the surviving text of the Bible does clearly and plainly attest to the innocence of little children. In the words of the Savior, "of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). The Book of Mormon does expand significantly on what are the attributes of a child (see Mosiah 3:19), and includes more commandments from the Savior for His people to become as little children (3 Nephi 11:37-38, compare to Matthew 18:3).

The Nature of God. The faithful martyr Stephen in Acts 7 sees Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God, and Nebuchadnezzar saw one like the Son of God standing in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Jesus showed Himself to His disciples in Luke 24, saying, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me to have". He showed His body in the same fashion to the people of Nephi in 3 Nephi 11, enacting additional "infallible proofs" of His resurrection in places near and far; also proving that He visited His "other sheep" as He had promised (John 10:15-16). The text of the Book of Mormon may be necessary to clarify the exact nature of God due to how heavily the Bible has been redacted on this subject (and hence the high level of sectarian confusion on this subject), but the Book of Mormon and the Bible together prove beyond all doubt that both books of Scripture describe the exact same God. The nature of God is shown by comparison of the Scripture of the Restoration to the redacted Bible, both books essentially acting harmoniously and collectively as a Urim and Thummim to the reader to shed light on these subjects.

We are saved by grace after all we can do. Although Paul's written sermon in Romans 6 has been extensively butchered (see here for the restored text in the JST), and is often misinterpreted as a soteriological contrast between faith and works, it is nonetheless inescapable from other writers such as James that God requires repentance of us, and that notwithstanding the Lord's Atonement, we cannot be saved or even have faith without the sincerest efforts on our part (see James 2:18). The only way to misunderstand the Bible on this point is to claim or consider only a subset of it. Taken together, there is no room for doubt in that God requires us to change in order to avail ourselves of His propitiation for our sins.

The meaning of baptism. The Lord taught Nicodemus in John 3 regarding the essential nature of being born again, of water and of the Spirit, without which no one can enter the kingdom of God. Although it is evident from the Great Commission, the Acts of the Apostles and the Savior's condescension to be baptized "to fulfill all righteousness", little description is given of the meaning of these covenants or their doctrinal implications. The Book of Mormon restores and explains these in a manner perfectly consonant with the Bible (see 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 11, Mosiah 10:18, Mormon 8).

The importance of religious freedom. From Enoch to Abraham, from Nehemiah to John 8:32, and all the way to the ending of the Book of Revelation, freedom, including religious freedom, are vital and important themes in the Bible. A testament to the unmistakable nature of this teaching is the fact that the Founding Fathers who wrote religious freedom into the Constitution of the United States all shared the Bible as their primary religious background and resource. The Book of Mormon is unique in that it records the accounts of , which is a promised land from the Lord to the posterity of Joseph forever. See 1 Nephi 2, Helaman 8, Ether 2-3, and many more passages where the Lord spells out the law of the land and the contract governing the inhabiting of the Americas and of the world.

What does it even mean to "restore"?

By way of illustration, imagine you are excavating an archaeological dig site and find the remnants of an intricate machine. Many of the parts are intact and serviceable but some are rusted out, broken, missing or misplaced. It might be impossible to piece together the functionality of the mechanism without an assembly manual, blueprint or more intact example to use as a model. But what if one had uncovered a fully assembled, functioning, near-contemporaneous replica of the mechanism from a more unscathed climate? Then it will be exponentially easier to deduce the intended function of the device and to restore its missing and corroded parts, having an easily identifiable reference for the whole and all of its parts.

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As a more modern illustration, imagine a Model T Ford that has been exposed to wind, rain, Sun, plants and animals, and has lost much of its volume to rot and rust, as compared with one well preserved in a garage. Could future generations tell what the intended function and assembly of the badly rusted version is, without a more intact copy, drawing or reference?

These contrasts do show that the nature of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration are among the most redacted themes from the Biblical text, and are among the subjects of the greatest confusion in the sectarian world. However, it was still too great a work for the devil to do, to remove all evidences pointing to these. There can be no doubt remaining; the blueprint and functioning mechanism of the fullness of the Gospel set forth in the Book of Mormon proves beyond all doubt that the Bible originally was a manifestation of this exact same Gospel, and both witnesses prove beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ is the very God of Israel, and the God of the whole Earth, and that all nations must come unto Him and obey His commandments, or they cannot be saved. Far from being a useless antique or a pile of scrap iron, the Bible is a living witness and undeniable testament, together with the testimonies of the Lord's other sheep, that there is indeed one fold and one Shepherd, and one God over all the Earth, who exhorts us to have one faith and one baptism, and be united in Him, and not every man for himself, so that we may successfully prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.

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  • So verses were added to Genesis 50 and then it was claimed that they they had been previously removed? Removed so entirely that every last shed of manuscript evidence which could validate that they had once been there is gone? Anyone could add anything on those grounds. Commented Jan 9 at 21:47
  • @MikeBorden "Anyone could add anything on those grounds" - Absolutely not. Reliance on textual content and criticism alone ignores the very essence of the Gospel, which is reliance on God. What would you do if a purported lost book or passage of Scripture came forward? We know there are more than a few. Dozens of Scriptural accounts we know existed at some point are not included in the current Biblical text. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14
    – pygosceles
    Commented Jan 9 at 22:17
  • "What would you do if a purported lost book or passage of Scripture came forward?" If they declared that there were 3 distinct beings who were all God, for instance, I would know exactly what to do with them based upon what I already have. Ignoring or being ignorant of what I already have I am apt to believe anything. In fact, I was rescued from that very thing; vain imaginations and a foolish, darkened heart. Romans 1:21. Commented Jan 10 at 2:05
  • @MikeBorden Confirmation bias is of course never a good substitute for receiving the witness of the Holy Ghost.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Jan 10 at 5:56

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