Where are all the missing scriptures?
Posted by robf on November 20, 2011
How much scripture are we still missing or not recognizing? If we take Nephi seriously, perhaps quite a bit!
Latter-day Saints are quick to quote Nephi in defending the logic behind recognizing extra-biblical scripture such as the Book of Mormon. We are even at times uncharitable, labeling as fools (2 Nephi 29:4) those who accept the Bible but reject additional scripture. But if we continue reading that passage, Nephi seems to set us up to fall into our own foolish trap.
Nephi quotes the Lord as saying that he has created all men and that he brings forth his word unto “all the nations of the earth” (2 Nephi 29:8). The Lord says that “I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them” (2 Nephi 29:11). The Lord speaks “unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it” (2 Nephi 29:12).
So…where are all these missing scriptures?
Are they missing, or are we just unwilling to recognize the traditions and sacred writings of other cultures as scripture?
To make matters even worse, the Lord says that when “two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also” (2 Nephi 29:8). He even goes so far as to say that just as Israel shall be gathered together, the word of the Lord given to all nations shall be “gathered in one” as well (2 Nepi 29:14).
What would it mean to gather all these scriptures in one, or for their words to “run together”? Perhaps we see a hint of that in the Pearl of Great Price, which boldly incorporates images from ancient Egyptian religious texts. Joseph Smith seemed to envision all truth, including religious traditions from all people, being rolled together into one great whole. We have access to a lot more religious texts and traditions than Joseph Smith had in his day. How are we doing at recognizing them as scripture or profiting from letting them run together?
What do the Lord’s words in 2 Nephi 29 commit us to, as far as accepting and incorporating the religious traditions of “all nations” into the fullness of the restored gospel? How much are we missing by not recognizing or accepting truths revealed by the Lord to thousands of cultures over the many thousands of years that his children have been on the earth?
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