For a Mormon, the scriptures are a treasured connection to God and to Jesus Christ. They contain the foundations of our faith and give us insights into who God and the Lord Jesus Christ are and what they expect from us. The scriptures teach us who we are and who we can become.
Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps best known for believing in the Book of Mormon, it may not be as well-known that Mormons believe in the Bible as well. They use the King James translation, which is the same translation used by millions of people who are not Mormon. They do have a “Mormon edition” of the Bible, but the text is King James. They have merely added their own chapter summaries, footnotes, and study materials. Church congregations who don’t speak English, of course, use other translations of the Bible.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Mormons also add two more books of scripture. One is the Doctrine and Covenants This contains modern revelations, mostly from the early days of the church, although a few newer revelations are included. This book gives fascinating insights into the development of the religion of the Mormons in its beginnings.
The Pearl of Great Price contains a variety of documents, both ancient and modern. It includes ancient records from Abraham and Moses as well as portions of Joseph Smith’s autobiography and a list of ten articles of faith Joseph Smith outlined for a newspaper.
In addition to all of this, every six months there is a conference in which the leaders of the church speak and these talks are also included in the requirement to study.
When Mormons are instructed to read the scriptures, they have more to read than most people. You’d think, then, they wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn any of them very well. However, a recent study done by a non-Mormon organization showed Mormons know their Bible better than people from other religions. This demonstrates just how much time Mormons generally donate to learning the word of God.
Scripture study begins in the home. Each Mormon is encouraged to have personal scripture study every day and also to study the scriptures with their families. This means young children are exposed to the beautiful language of the scriptures and their powerful teachings at a very young age.
At age eighteen months, the church begins to help. Children attend the toddler nursery beginning at that age, and the nursery is considered a class, not a babysitting service. The children have brief age-appropriate lessons each week on the gospel of Jesus Christ, and also have a musical time and art projects based on the lesson. The lessons draw from all books of scripture. Three-year-olds have a forty-minute class which also draws from all books of scripture. From age four to seven, the children learn the scriptures in a two-year rotation. One year they learn the Bible and the second year they learn the Doctrine and Covenants (briefly) and the Book of Mormon. They then start over, using the same manual but having it taught at a higher level.
From ages eight through adulthood, everyone studies on a four-year rotation. Children and teens learn the same book of scripture at the same time, so they can discuss what they learn at home. However, they have age-appropriate lessons. Two years are devoted to the Bible, one to the Book of Mormon, and one to the Doctrine and Covenants. The Pearl of Great Price is inserted anywhere it happens to fit in, since the documents there vary.
In addition to Sunday classes, teens and young adults have additional weekday study on school days. They meet to study the scriptures in-depth in a more academic way. Teens have a four year rotation again, but study the books in different years than they study them in Sunday School. College students select from year-long courses that are taught at a college level.
Scripture study is one of many “do” commandments Mormons obey. For most, it is one of their favorite commandments for the insights it gives them into their Heavenly Father and their Savior.