2 Nephi 29: 3

“And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.”
This is one of the great missionary scriptures.  It is used to show the Book of Mormon already anticipated an argument against it, and as a result shows there is no reason to reject the Book of Mormon because there is already an existing, recognized volume of scripture.
The gentiles are prone to prefer the Bible to the Book of Mormon. We emphasized the Book of Mormon for a few years, but found that other faiths were critical because we were not using the Bible as we should. So there has been a conscious effort to re-emphasize the Bible and de-emphasize the Book of Mormon. This has been done to broaden our appeal to members of other faiths.
The gravamen of the argument is in the words: “there cannot be any more Bible.” The idea there are other words of God, requiring equal respect to the words in the Bible, is a shocking heresy for many of the gentiles.  Remember that first phrase in the first verse: “Behold there shall be many” who are going to say this. The “many” are the gentiles, and their criticism will be Bible-based.
So, how are we doing with this idea? Do we prefer the Biblical teachings to those of the Book of Mormon? Do we spend more time with the Bible than the Book of Mormon in our own individual study? If we had to choose one as the “standard for our people” which one would we choose? The Book of Mormon (as verse 2 suggests) or the Bible (as verse 3 suggests)?  The Lord’s standard is the Book of Mormon. The gentile standard will be the Bible. Once again we are at odds with Historic Christianity.
This is not to say we disrespect the Bible. We don’t. We accept it as scripture. It is an admittedly valuable standard work, to be used in study and receiving knowledge of the things of God. Indeed, among other things the Book of Mormon testifies of the truth of the Bible.  Therefore the Bible is certainly accepted as a work of importance and value to us in matters of faith. But only one can assume primacy. The primary one for us is the Book of Mormon.
We may be justified in our attachment to and affection for the Bible. But the Book of Mormon must be preeminent. Our respect and affection for the Doctrine and Covenants, Temple and church organization is also well placed and should inform our understanding and behavior. But the Book of Mormon was intended to be the primary means for the Lord to impart understanding to us.
Much has has been written and said about this volume of scripture, but we are only now beginning to understand what we are looking at.

In Eighteen Verses I have shown how little we have done so far with this book of scripture. I have never attempted to be exhaustive in any discussion about the book. In a decade of teaching weekly about the book, where I only went from 1 Nephi 1: 1 to Jarom 1: 4, the discussion was not exhaustive.
This book was a gift to us. We ought not think the Bible has more to offer than what we find in “the most correct book” because a “man can get closer to God by abiding the precepts [of the Book of Mormon] than any other book,” just as Joseph Smith said.
The primary text of scripture I have used in The Second ComforterNephi’s Isaiah and Eighteen Verses has been the Book of Mormon. The primary text used in this blog is the Book of Mormon.
Until we understand that book, I fail to see why we think we should have more. There is more in that book than we’ve noticed. The first step ought be to notice what we have. Then things will be added. However, until we have taken the Book of Mormon seriously, I fail to see why the most important message for us –found within that book– should not be the first thing to be understood.

11 thoughts on “2 Nephi 29: 3

  1. I have taught from all of the standard works and have loved each one as I studied it. I am currently teaching Book of Mormon and can honestly say that it is now my favorite. :)

  2. I find this post interesting. I was at our family union (all members) over the weekend. As I was making a point about what is happening in our times, I went to the Book of Mormon to show us he way out of our problems. An uncle of mine changed it to what the Bible says.

  3. Elder Talmage wrote in either “Jesus the Christ” or “The Articles of Faith” (I cant remember which one) that the Bible was the foremost scripture of the Latter Day Saints (I’m paraphrasing). Even before Elder Talmage, it seemed that the early church brethren concentrated more on teaching from the Bible than the Book of Mormon. The Bible was emphasized in Joseph Smith’s teachings and his first vision was inspired by a Bible passage. So it doesn’t surprise me if some people hold fast to the Bible being our most important canon of scripture.

    However having said that, my personal experience in watching church members attitudes change over the last 40 years, is that the Book of Mormon is being studied more by faithful church members than the Bible is. Groups organize Book of Mormon marathons and local and general church leaders have set goals for reading the Book of Mormon by such and such date (remember Pres Hinkeley did this a few years ago). My ward’s YW pres set a goal for the YW in our ward to read the Book of Mormon before their YW camp. Most of the girls actually read it by camp, including the 12-year-old girls. I was fortunate to attend their Friday night testimony meeting and was taken back and touched by how many of the girls bore strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how it was helping them in their lives.
    I have not seen similar church related readathons or goal settings for the bible. President’ Benson’s charge to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon was taken seriously by many church members (it’s curious that since Pres Benson, this charge has not been emphasized near as much).

    The real problem in my view is not that the Bible takes precedent over the Book of Mormon; it is that a vast many members don’t read the scriptures (in any form) at all. Some (many?, few?, most?) members are totally ignorant of scriptural stories, let alone the doctrines they contain. I speak of what I have seen along the Wasatch Front in Utah, which is where most my church experience has been; I cant speak for other areas nor do I want to create a negative response against church members in general (God bless all of them).

    I love this blog spot, to be taught and shown new things about the Book of Mormon that I never saw before. I have been an avid Book of Mormon reader all my life and I have been blown away at the new things I’m learning and have been asked to rethink. It is amazing at how much really is in the Book of Mormon and how its truths are hidden in plain sight. Thank you Denver and all those who add edifying insights.

  4. In my opinion the problem is not with members having the Bible take precedent over the Book of Mormon, but that a vast many members don’t read the scriptures (any of them) at all. So many don’t even know the basic characters and stories in standard works let alone the doctrines they teach. Some faithfully attending members have told me that they mostly just read the scriptures from what they are taught in church on Sundays. These are good active people. I can only speak of what I see in Utah (where most my church experience has been) and I don’t want to speak negatively by characterizing all church members with a broad brush (I have my own stewardships to work on).

    I love this blog and Denver’s books. I have been an avid reader of the BofM all my life but I have been blown away at the new insights and teachings that Denver has opened my eyes to; as well as learning from the questions we are invited to ponder. There is so much truth and teachings in the Book of Mormon. The truth really is hid in plain sight. Thanks Denver and all those who give edifying remarks.

  5. I wonder how many of those following this blog live in Utah?? I do not, and don’t have the criticisms of either leaders or members that many here seem to see evidence of, or at least not to the same extent. Certainly when it comes to the scriptures I do not see that the Saints hold the Bible in greater esteem than the Book of Mormon. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone bear testimony of the Bible or how their life has changed through Bible study, whereas testimonies of the Book of Mormon are heard often and regularly.

    I do confess that although I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon since age 10, I have never appreciated it’s depth and breadth until reading DS’s books which have been like a breath of fresh air (actually more like a windstorm). I feel as if I’ve been awakened from decades of slumber…like Rip Van Winkle…only to learn the world is much different than I thought and the path back Home is even narrower and straiter than I imagined in the “foolish imaginations of my heart”.

    Thank you, Br. Snuffer. I, for one, deeply appreciate your efforts to teach me and would have you know that you’ve made a significant difference in my life.

  6. A few years back when we were in WA we often had Jehovah Witnesses come to our house and I would let them in. One lady was amazing and she would be very respectful and she would share a scripture with me and then in turn I would share something with her. This encouraged my Book of Mormon study greatly. I came across this very scripture the day before she came back with a “professional” missionary who proceeded to argue with me. I felt very strongly to bear witness of the Book of Mormon, not for the “professional” but for the other lady and I was lead to sharing this scripture. The first lady was moved to tears and looked down the rest of the time they were there to “teach” me. I had to ask them to leave because the “professional” became out of control. They never came back and I often looked for the lady who was kind to me while driving through our neighborhood. I wonder if anything came from it.

    I love the Book of Mormon. I’ve been reading the Bible so I can say that I have read it cover to cover, but it really is not the same. I had 45 min in the temple to read the Book of Mormon (without interruption, amazing since I have 5 kids!!) and it was the best session I have been too in a long time!

  7. This verse does not apply to current Mormons. It is a prophecy of future Mormons. The Lord’s use of “my words” in this verse does signify the Book of Mormon, but is talking of the appearance of the Brass Plates, which are “like unto” the Bible. When the Brass Plates appear the Mormon Gentiles (not apostate Christianity) will largely reject them, saying the Bible is good enough for them. By that time, the Mormon Gentiles will have become completely apostate, like apostate Christianity, and will be “like unto” the apostate Christians, except that they (the Mormon Gentiles) will be the most wicked people on the planet.

    Again, the Gentiles spoken of in this verse ARE NOT the apostate Christians, but are apostate Mormon Gentiles of a soon-to-be-here future day. This is a future prophecy, although missionaries love to use this scripture when preaching to apostate Christians.

    See my blog poat, Why I believe the Brass Plates are next, for this chapter expounded.

  8. Correction: I made a typo in the above. Instead of reading:

    The Lord’s use of “my words” in this verse does signify the Book of Mormon,

    it should read:

    The Lord’s use of “my words” in this verse does NOT signify the Book of Mormon,

    Also, it’s a “blog post,” not a “blog poat.” So many typos!

    Denver (and most LDS) interpret “the words of your seed” and “my words” in verse two as meaning the same record, the Book of Mormon, but my undestanding is that these are separate records. One to go “unto your seed” and one to go “unto the ends of the earth, for a standard.” The records going “unto your seed” are the Nephite records (the Book of Mormon and other Nephite records to be revealed at a future time). The records going “unto the ends of the earth” are the Brass Plates.

    It is understandable that everyone mixes this up and confuses the two sets of records into one record: the Book of Mormon. I did this myself until recently, as this is what I was taught by the missionaries. I suppose that the confusion over this scripture is okay, as long as it makes people gratitate towards the Book of Mormon.

    Although I disagree with Denver’s interpretation of this prophecy, I DO AGREE with his emphasis on putting the Book of Mormon above the Bible. As long as the LDS people lift the Book of Mormon above the Bible, this particular prophecy will remain in the future.

    However, Ezra’s inspired clarion call to make the Book of Mormon central to our faith appears to have been, unfortunately, the last chance we had to hold off this prophecy. The LDS are now beginning to follow in the footsteps of apostate Christianity by lifting up the Bible and de-emphasizing the Book of Mormon. I can only foresee that this situation will get worse and worse, until this prophecy is literally fulfilled among the us. But there is still hope for the individual, if not for the group in general.

  9. I’ve always found it interesting that the specific name/title of “Bible” is used in this and the following verses, considering the time period when this was originally written, not when it was translated. I think it adds fuel to the discussion of Joseph Smith “translating” the record, versus receiving the words by revelation/inspiration as he studied the record with the tools the Lord gave him.

  10. I read somewhere that in Hebrew, the phrase “hiss forth” actually has reference to “going forth in a quiet, unassuming manner”. While certainly the snake imagery is useful and applicable, the hissing taken in this context makes it much easier to see why the Gentiles are taken unaware because of the quiet manner in which the opportunities are presented for additional scripture. Like true messengers, the opportunities for these scriptures may come in unexpected ways and from sources we are not expecting.

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