Because of the legacy of Joseph Smith Jr., Latter Day Saint heritage churches have experience with scripture that is unique within Christianity. With the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith dictated whole books of scripture. By claiming the prophetic mantle, he dictated new revelations in God’s voice that were compiled into the books of Doctrine and Covenants. And in the “Joseph Smith Translation” or “Inspired Version” of the Bible, he took the existing scripture, crossed some words out, and added others.
By collapsing the historical distance in the composition and editing of scripture from antiquity to the recent past, Joseph Smith gave his heirs in the tradition a unique perspective on scripture. And when his latter-day scriptures have failed to withstand academic challenges, that perspective has led many in the movement to dismiss all scripture and organized religion as having any value. Without dismissing that response, John Hamer will explain how having 19th century scripture in the canon has informed his own general understanding and use of scripture in Community of Christ.