The Mormons and the Bible in the 1830s

The Mormons and the Bible in the 1830s
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The Mormons and the Bible in the 1830s

Author Gordon Irving

One does not long study Mormon beginnings without realizing that the Bible held a special place in the hearts of the early Saints. Latter-day Saints use of its accounts and teachings greatly influenced the formulation of Mormon theology, and, in addition, helped the Saints find their personal and group identity in God's Kingdom. The deep commitment of early Mormon intellectuals to the ancient scriptures is suggested by the frequency and nature of biblical references in their writings. Three Church periodicals published between 1832 and 1838, The Evening and the Morning Star (Independence, Missouri, 1832–33, and Kirtland, Ohio, 1833–34), the Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland, 1834–47), and the Elders' Journal (Kirtland, 1837, and Far West, Missouri, 1838) are the most important representative samples of the written expression of early Mormon thought, and serve in this investigation as indicators of the attitudes of the Saints towards the Bible, and their uses of its contents. Let us begin by identifying two leading assumptions which governed Mormon biblical interpretation.