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?
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.
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.
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.
Relationship Between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, according to both books
As prophesied by Joseph, son of Jacob, as recollected in the Book of Mormon:
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 my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
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 the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. (2 Nephi 3)
Ezekiel prophesied thus in the Old Testament:
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (Ezekiel 37:19)
(The people who wrote the Book of Mormon were descendants of Joseph.)
Jesus told us of His other sheep, contemporary with His ministry in the Old World:
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
In America shortly after His death and resurrection, He said:
Ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (3 Nephi 15:21)
What does the Book of Mormon say about the Bible?
Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.
For behold, this [The Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [The Bible]; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them. (Mormon 7:8-9)
hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (2 Nephi 33:10)
Does it continue from Biblical history?
Yes. Biblical history is true history, as is all history recorded by Divine inspiration. To find where the Book of Mormon branches from and continues the Old Testament chronologies, I recommend reading it. There are actually two great civilizations that were brought by the hand of the Lord into America at two different times previously (The Book of Mormon actually prophesies of the third in the latter days, the present one). The corresponding records in the Book of Mormon are the First Book of Nephi and the Book of Ether. The Book of Ether details the people who arrived in America earlier, and were the first to inhabit America after the Great Flood.
Much more could be written on the relationship between these two marvelous books of the works of God and His covenants with His people, including to us in these last days, but there can be no substitute for reading them both cover to cover and continuing to seek and find the innumerable connections each passing day. It is the work of far more than a lifetime.