What are examples of Latter-day Saint doctrines that cannot possibly be inferred from reading the Bible only, but require additional sources in order to be established?

Note (in response to downvotes): if a statement about reality lacks a Biblical basis, it doesn't follow that the statement is necessarily false. Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, Astronomy, Cosmology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Medicine, Biology and a whole lot of other scientifically acquired knowledge lack a Biblical basis, but this mere fact doesn't invalidate them or make them false. I'm not questioning the truthfulness of LDS doctrines. I'm just curious about which ones lack a Biblical basis.

What counts as "the Bible"? I'm open to answers based on any of the Biblical canons listed in this Wikipedia article.

Related: According to proponents of Sola Scriptura, what are examples of logical contradictions between doctrines from the Bible and LDS sacred books?

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    is this question helpful? will it provide useful/respectful discourse when everyone but one denomination can present arguments (this isn't about a specific doctrine, but against any/all theology of a specific denomination)? Also quite broad, lots of things can be inferred from the Bible and is one reason for disagreement in doctrine (trinity-can be interpreted multiple ways depending who/how it is inferred) and LDS have lots of doctrine
    – depperm
    Jun 15, 2022 at 11:47
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    @depperm it's perfectly acceptable to ask questions critical of LDS doctrine. It may be extremely helpful. Answers will be according to a non-LDS interpretation of the Bible, I'd imagine, so you can take them or leave them - they shouldn't be representative of LDS doctrine, the worst they can do is misrepresent LDS doctrine.
    – Peter Turner
    Jun 15, 2022 at 13:18
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    @MikeBorden I don't recall my wording, but I'd say some fall apart based solely on bible. this site isn't about asking good questions, its about asking good questions that fit the scope. There are a bunch of good questions that have no place on this site. I've outlined why I don't think this is a good question for the site: broad (no one doctrine in question and its open to basically anyone to answer) and while asking for examples its also asking for inferences (opinion). While I do view it as negative question towards my denomination, I've answered plenty of those-as you've asked many
    – depperm
    Jun 16, 2022 at 13:09
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    This can actually attract useful answers. There are enough doctrines where there is no pretense whatsoever to a biblical support. I am thinking of things like the Word of Wisdom, which is an explicitely modern command. Belief in a Heavenly Mother, which doesn't even have support from the LDS canonical scriptures. I think that can make an answer informative and objective. Also, it means that "non-LDS christians" can disappear from the question if we limit it to things where there is no dispute as to whether there is support in the Bible (still enough)
    – kutschkem
    Jun 16, 2022 at 16:13
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    The accuracy and historicity of the BoM, the voyage of Lehi, the existence of pre-Columbian Christian civilizations are all doctrines of the LDS and have no Biblical support. Are those the sort of things you are asking about? Jun 28, 2022 at 16:49

3 Answers 3


You can basically take Doctrine & Covenants, and put that on the table. While there are of course doctrines that also appear in the Bible (and many came to be because Joseph was working with the Bible and had questions), Doctrine & Covenants is explicitely modern revelation, so for any practices and doctrines based on that, regardless of whether there is also Biblical support, we should consider that as explicit commandments for our time, clearly meant for us now.

Some examples of Latter-Day Saint doctrines that are either explicitely modern (so no pretense that the basis is an interpretation of the Bible) or the Bible is at the very most implying:

  • Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) (abstain from alcohol, tea, coffee) - explicitely modern commandment
  • Tithing (D&C 119) - while tithing is mentioned in the Bible, here we have explicitely how much tithing should be in the modern church
  • Sacrament prayers (D&C 20:75-79) - it is never mentioned in the Bible with what words sacrament was blessed
  • the Church organization - while offices are named in the Bible, one can't really say with a straight face that the Bible tells us how to organize the church. Modern revelation is necessary here for constant adaptation where necessary.
  • Water to be substituted for wine in the sacrament (D&C 27) - explicitely modern
  • When Christ was among the Dead, he organized the righteous to minister to the unrighteous, he didn't necessarily do it himself (D&C 138) - modern revelation expanding on what is in the Bible

The accuracy of the entire history described in the Book of Mormon are doctrines of the Latter-day Saints church. this includes the voyage of Lehi, the existence of pre-Columbian Judeo-Christian civilizations and their descriptions, the subsequent conflicts and the hiding and of the Book of Mormon are all doctrines. None of these can be shown from the Bible.

The veracity of Joseph Smith's account of the finding and translation of the book and the status of Joseph Smith as a prophet are also doctrines without biblical support. Similarly the "corruption" of all the other churches in the world is a doctrine that cannot be specifically demonstrated from the Bible.

  • Latter-day Saints do believe that there are Biblical prophecies of the restoration, the Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph Smith, etc. Naturally non-Latter-day Saints interpret such verses differently. The follow up question many ask is...why weren't these texts/people prophesied of by name? If they had been, everybody would have named their son Joseph and a gazillion people would have written a book and called it the Book of Mormon, claiming to fulfil the prophecy. I've often thought this is the reason the OT does not directly prophesy of any NT individual by name. Jun 29, 2022 at 3:26
  • Since the OP asked for doctrines that cannot possibly be inferred from the Bible, I'm struggling to see how this answers the question. (PS, FWIW, historical inerrancy of the Book of Mormon is not a doctrine of the church) Jun 29, 2022 at 3:27
  • @HoldToTheRod I'm interested to know how unhistorical one is allowed to be and still be an LDS? Can you believe that the BoM is entirely fictitious and still be a member of the church? Jun 29, 2022 at 14:36
  • you'll find all manner of historical opinions among Latter-day Saints. Rejecting doctrine could be grounds for apostasy, but differing views on the historical setting are common. Of course, believing it to be a fictitious story would be the extreme end of the spectrum; one couldn't consider Joseph Smith a false prophet and be a consistent Latter-day Saint. But if Mormon miscounted a regnal year or Alma inaccurately reported the # of casualties in a battle, it doesn't bother me in the least (I feel the same way about censuses in the Bible, FWIW) Jun 29, 2022 at 17:00
  • For making such a simple, but powerfully important point, thank-you. Because so many LDS doctrines either stand or fall on the basis of their claimed 'history' of events in America, it is disingenuous for any LDS person to imply that your answer does not answer the question. Of course it does!
    – Anne
    Jul 2, 2022 at 12:24

General view -- outside perspective

It is commonplace for Christians to conclude that theological views they do not personally believe are theological views without a Biblical basis. This would be true whether the rejected theological views were held by Latter-day Saints or non-Latter-day Saints.

The formal argument representing this implicit belief is as follows:

P1: If it had a Biblical basis, I would believe it

P2: I don't believe it

C1: It does not have a Biblical basis.

(I readily acknowledge there are some Christians willing to admit Biblical ambiguity on at least some matters; such individuals graciously exhibit charity to those who disagree with them, and would not accept P1 above)


General view -- inside perspective

To a Latter-day Saint, rejecting a theological view because it is found in other sacred texts, but not clearly found in the Bible, would be like asking a Protestant to reject theological views which are found in the epistles of Paul but not in the 4 Gospels.

(one could also imagine a stipulation that all New Testament doctrines must have an Old Testament basis in order to be accepted--there was real, historical debate on that matter; or that the only statements in the Gospels that should be accepted as true are those found in whichever Gospel was written first)

Sometimes those who are less-favorably-disposed towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider it a accomplishment to elicit Latter-day Saint acknowledgement that they believe things that are not found in the Bible. Since all of us believe things that are not found in the Bible, this isn't much of an accomplishment. Furthermore, it fundamentally misunderstands Latter-day Saint beliefs about scripture.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as canonical scripture (going forward I will refer to the latter 3 as "the texts of the Restoration"). There is no requirement that a statement must appear in all 4 in order to be true.

A number of things Latter-day Saints believe are found only in the Bible--these principles are not rejected because they are not found in the texts of the Restoration. Likewise, principals taught only in the texts of the Restoration are not rejected because they are absent from the Bible.

Let us consider the following sets (further subsets could be created but are unnecessary to make the point):

  • Set A: teachings found only in the Bible
  • Set B: teachings found only in the texts of the Restoration
  • Set C: teachings found in both the Bible and the texts of the Restoration

Anything in set B or set C would be examples fitting the OP's criteria: What are examples of Latter-day Saint doctrines that are NOT completely based on the Bible?



For sake of space, I will provide just 2 examples for each set.

Set A:

The Nativity accounts of Jesus (including choirs of angels, shepherds, magi, etc.); Jesus' testimony to Mary in John 20:17.

Set B:

The infinite & eternal nature of Jesus' atoning sacrifice, as taught in Alma 34:8-16; Moroni's promise of the revelation of truth, as taught in Moroni 10:3-7.

Set C:

We'll start with an uncontroversial example: Jesus rose bodily from the dead--this is clearly taught in the Bible and the texts of the Restoration.

Many teachings that Latter-day Saints believe exist in Set C are considered controversial by other Christian faiths. For example, the pre-mortal existence of humanity. This is undoubtedly taught in Alma 13 & Abraham 3 (texts of the Restoration); however, Latter-day Saints also see evidence of this doctrine in the Bible (e.g. Job 38:7, Jeremiah 1:5, Eccl. 12:7, John 9:2, 2 Tim. 1:9, etc.). In this case, a doctrine taught in the Bible is given clarity and additional concrete detail via texts of the Restoration.


The Relevant Latter-day Saint Theology

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. (Articles of Faith 1:9)

We reject the claim that God's silence on a matter in the past (or humanity's loss of something He said in the past) imposes any restriction on God's ability to speak in the future.

Disclaimer: these views are the product of my own study and do not constitute official statements by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Good answer. Just one critique. "Anything in set B or set C would be examples fitting the OP's criteria" This isn't true. Something in set C would not fit the OP's criteria, because it is found in both LDS books and the Bible, so it has Biblical support. The OP is asking for doctrine not based on the Bible, not doctrine that are not only based on the Bible. So set C wouldn't count. Anyway, great answer. +1 :))
    – Rajesh
    Jun 18, 2022 at 15:00
  • @Rajesh thanks! I suppose I read the question a little differently. If, for example, my understanding of a given doctrine were based on both the Bible & the Book of Mormon, then that would be a doctrinal understanding that is not completely based on the Bible--it's partially based on the Bible. Jun 18, 2022 at 18:33
  • Huh. Maybe. Now I'm wondering... SRI should've worded that question less confusingly. :) Well, have a fantastic day HTTR!
    – Rajesh
    Jun 18, 2022 at 20:09
  • @Rajesh - finding a doctrine that has no Biblical basis whatsoever may be too restrictive and difficult to accomplish. For example, practically any doctrine assumes that God exists, and God's existence has a Biblical basis, therefore practically any doctrine is at least partially based on the Bible. However, if a doctrine requires additional sources in order to be 100% supported, such a doctrine would fit the OP's criteria.
    – user50422
    Jun 19, 2022 at 1:47
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    @MikeBorden I'm not sure that's how I would word it, but if you're asking about my belief that the Father & the Son are two separate, distinct, Divine Beings, I would put that in set C. Jun 28, 2022 at 15:50

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