Can someone give me the run down on how the LDS church sees the relationship of the Book of Mormon to the Bible? Does it accept it in full and just continue the story? How does it make the transition?
Wikipedia helps here:
The Book of Mormon is one of four sacred texts or standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The other texts are the Bible (the King James Version), the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Church members officially regard the Book of Mormon as the "most correct" book of scripture, in that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book." This is, in part, because church members believe the Bible was the result of a multiple-step translation process and the Book of Mormon was not. Joseph Smith told of receiving a revelation condemning the "whole church" for treating the Book of Mormon and the former commandments lightly.
Mormons believe that the Bible is sacred, but not infallible. The Book of Mormon transcends the Bible in relevance, correctness, and completeness. Some of the stories/principles in the Bible are based on truth, but the Bible is not to be accepted in full.
Essentially, the Book of Mormon starts at about the time that Isreal was being scattered. It follows a prophet not mentioned in the Bible named Lehi, and his family, as they leave Isreal, and eventually travel to somewhere in the Americas. They have a copy of the teachings of the prophets with them that, as stated in 1 Nephi 5:11-14
11 And he beheld that they did contain the five abooks of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents;
12 And also a arecord of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah;
13 And also the prophecies of the holy prophets, from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of aZedekiah; and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of bJeremiah.
14 And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the aplates of brass a bgenealogy of his cfathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of dJoseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of eJacob, who was fsold into Egypt, and who was gpreserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.
They follow the Jewish traditions at first, with some slight differences. There are many cross referenced scriptures, including much from Isiah. The quoted scriptures do not match word for word. Towards the end of the book, Jesus Chris visits the people in resurrected form, after he died and was resurrected. He teaches many of the same/ similar things that he taught before he was crucified.
Essentially, members of the LDS church believe that the Book of Mormon continues the teachings of the bible, but from a different point of view. They believe that the Book of Mormon was recorded on metal plates, such that it could not be destroyed or changed as easily as the paper of the bible could be changed. As there have been fewer translations and people handling the words, members of the LDS church believe it to be more accurate in it's teachings than the Bible, but that they both have the same purpose, to help a man do what God and Jesus Christ want us to do.
As a member of the LDS faith, I am a bit uncomfortable with parts of Daniel's answer. We do have a statement which says,
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
Further, the Book of Mormon itself states that its purpose is to "establish the truth" of the Bible (see Book of Mormon 1st Nephi 13:38-40) in an era when many disbelieve and/or discredit the Bible.
As a life long member of the church I can say that I have always been taught that the Bible is the foundational book of scripture in our canon, and that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of the divinity of Christ and His gospel.
While we don't believe the bible to be infallible, nor do we believe the Book of Mormon to be infallible. Anything written by mortals, even when under inspiration, will be flawed, imperfect and/or incomplete.
We do believe that God has spoken to us through prophets and that He continues to do so, that the teachings of His prophets and of the Savior can be found in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and that we can learn the truthfulness of these inspired works through the witness of the Holy Spirit.
When I was a missionary, we would ask investigators, "if I have a point, how many lines can I draw through it?".
An infinite number, we would explain, and we would show how you could point the Bible in many different directions and liken that to the many, many different denominations and interpretations of doctrine that have come from different people studying the Bible.
Further, we would ask, "if I have two points, how many lines can I draw between them." Then, we would show how you could draw only one line between two points, holding up the Book of Mormon and the Bible in line with each other. We would explain to people that the Book of Mormon is a clarifying witness that, as HTG said, "establishes the truth" of the Bible by making very clear doctrines about the Fall, the Atonement, and the Resurrection that are also taught in the Bible, but that different Churches interpret differently:
Examples are too numerous to share, but here are a few:
Again, that's a limited list, but it goes to show the clarity and preciseness of the Book of Mormon.