SONYA - How Can Mormons use the Bible and the Book of Mormon as scripture when the Bible said not to add anything to it in Revelation 22:18? P.S. I am not trying to offend anyone; I'm just curious.

JOEL - This is an argument that critics of our church have been making for over 170 years; and we have been answering it for 170 years. Here are the scriptures in question:

"18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Rev. 22:18-19)

First of all the basis of the critics' argument is flawed. The word "Bible" means a collection of books, not one book.
John is not talking about the entire cannon of books of scriptures we call the Bible, he is only talking about the words and prophesies of "this book" (his book) that he wrote. The plagues he is talking about are those found in the same Book of Revelation.(See Rev. 9:20, 11:6, 15:1-6).
A similar scripture appears in Deut. 4:2, where Moses says:

"Ye shall not add unto the word I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."

Does this mean that everything written after this scripture is worthless or wrong? Also, some of the New Testamant books were written after Revelation. In fact, the entire cannon of Bible scriptures was not completely complied, as we have it now, at the time John wrote his scripture. The earliest known listing of New Testament books is the Muratorian Cannon, ca AD 160-170 which omits 2 Peter and 3 John. It was not until 365 AD that all 27 books as we have them now were officially listed in the New Testament by Arthanasius, Bishop of Alexandria.

It is also interesting to note that John himself added to scripture after writing the book of Revelation, which is generally conceded to have been written while he was on the Isle of Patmos. It was long after John left Patmos that he wrote his first epistle. This fact alone would be sufficient to defeat the claim that revelation was closed and that no more scripture was to come forth.
The LDS Church has never added anything to John's Book of Revelation; we use the Kings James version as it is just like most other Christians.
As a side note, the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible does not add or subtract anything either. It merely makes corrections to the King James version to better reflect the original Greek or Hebrew meanings.

Secondly, even if the basis of this argument were correct, it doesn't apply to the Book of Mormon. Moses and John were correct when they imply that no "man" has authority to add or subtract from the word of God. However, they did not mean that God Himself could not give more revelation or scripture. The Book of Mormon does not contain words that have been added by man; it is genuine scripture from God written by prophets of God, the same as the Bible was.

I am not sure why people of other faiths complain about this. There have been many new translations of the Bible that have been published recently, where "man" has removed or added things compared to the King James translation. Consider, for example the following two scriptures from the King James version of the Bible:

"Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left." (Luke 17:36)

"And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37)

In the New International Version(NIV), the New Living Translation(NLT), and the English Standard Version(ESV), these scriptures have been completely removed.

Another example is found in Matt 19:18 of the King James version where Jesus mentions some of the ten commandments including, "thou shalt not bear false witness". This phrase is missing from the New International Version(NIV), the New Amercian Standard Bible(NASB), the New Living Translation(NLT), and the English Standard Version (ESV).
These are Bibles that are used by the same people who claim we violate the Deut. 4:2 and Rev.22:18-19 directives because we have other scriptures (or make corrections through the Joseph Smith Translation).

The bottom line is we believe that God himself and not man has given us more scripture in the form of the Book of Mormon. It stands as a second testament of the gospel and mission of Jesus Christ.

Return to top
Return to Questions