I was doing some research today on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon church) in preparation for teaching Sunday school this weekend [edit: now delayed to July 18] and the following hypothetical conversation played itself out in my head:
(Starred links lead to the source of the info, from the LDS website when possible)
Christian: Do Mormons believe the Bible?
Mormon: Yes, it is one of the four scriptures of the LDS Church, along with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. As it says in our Articles of Faith #8: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly“
Christian: I have a question about that, but first, which translation of the Bible does the LDS church currently use?
Mormon: We use the Authorized King James Version (KJV).
Christian: You also mentioned the Book of Mormon. That was translated by Joseph Smith Jr, is that correct?
Christian: My understanding is that Joseph Smith Jr was the first president of the LDS church, and each president who has followed him is also a prophet?
Mormon: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always been led by a prophet of God. These prophets also serve as Presidents of the Church.*
Christian: Are presidents of the church also translators, like Joseph Smith was?
Mormon: Yes, all of the presidents which followed our founder are likewise seers, revelators, translators, and prophets.*
Christian: So here’s the conundrum. The LDS church states that the Bible is the word of God only “as far as it is translated correctly.” This implies that some parts of the officially sanctioned Bible are not God’s word because it is translated incorrectly. (There would be no need for this caveat if it were not so.) If each president of the church has the capacity as a prophet and a translator, why have none of them (since Jospeh Smith Jr’s unfinished attempts included in the Pearl of Great Price) over the last 180 years, produced a fully accurate translation of the Bible, since in their capacity as a translator it would be entirely possible to do so? It seems that it’s not considered important to have a fully accurate translation, and therefore the LDS church gives lip-service to believing the Bible but seems quite unconcerned with its true teaching.