2 Nephi 29:1-3 — LeGrand Baker — ‘A Bible, a Bible…’
2 Nephi 29:1-3
1 But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
2 And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
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.
There tends to be four sorts of Christian professional church people (both Catholic and Protestant, and increasingly even some Mormons) who accept the scriptures, but only on their own terms and not on God’s. Those terms are different from the one God describes here, which is that he might fulfill the covenants he made with us in our premortal life, and which he has re-confirmed with the prophets as their time came when they should be on the earth. Those categories of church people are:
1) The preacher, who is essentially a Bible thumper, who sees himself as
the interpreter of God’s word and would be either frustrated or angered at the notion that there is an authenticated interpretation which is different from his own. He doesn’t want a second Bible because it might cause him to change his mind about what he teaches from the first one.
2) The sociologist whose training focused on sociology and psychology, and who uses the Bible as a source of “inspiration” for his parishioners, but who doesn’t believe a thing in it that doesn’t conform to his own sociological training. To him the very idea that God spoke to anyone at all is absurd.
He doesn’t want a second Bible because he has already rejected the first.
3) The scholars — archaeologists and historians who see the Bible as an ancient history book, which is showing itself to be surprisingly accurate
in its historical detail, but whose authors made assumptions about God and religion which are fundamentally only the same as the ones their pagan neighbors made. These scholars probably actually understand the Bible better than the people in either of the two previous categories. But they understand it in terms of what they believe the ancients thought and did, rather than in terms of what God taught and did. For them, a second witness for Christ would upset their entire academic apple cart and they would have to re-think many of their favorite ideas. Consequently, there can be no place in their academia for such a second Bible.
4) There are people in each of the above three categories who actually do believe in God. Sigmund Mowinckel, the great Swedish linguist and Biblical scholar who discovered that the Psalms were the text of the ancient Israelite New Year festival, is one striking example. The nearly
anonymous preacher in the little country church who only wants to teach his congregation to love God and each other, is another – I suspect there are many like him. These people do not accept the Book of Mormon because they do not have a chance to do so, either because they have never heard of it, because it was not presented to them in the right way, or because their education, training, or culture get in the way of their seeing clearly. Nonetheless, in the last 170 years, many such people have discovered the Book of Mormon, embraced the gospel, and learned the meaning of the eternal covenants of the Father.