Apocrypha

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D&C 91:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha?¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùThere are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; there are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; and whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; and whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.

Given the blessings promised by the Lord, I wonder why more members do not read the Apochrypha.

44 thoughts on “Apocrypha

  1. For that matter, if the goal of one’s life is to become christ-like, why not read the Torah as well?

    If it was good enough for Jesus (and Smith) it should be a good guide for the average member today, no?

  2. Sally, I’m not sure you understand the wager.

    If the next 5 people Kim asks *don’t* know what the Apochrypha are, *I* get ten bucks.

    Are you up for it?
    Sounds like your crowd may be easy money…

  3. Give me 5 quotes of apostles recommending that the members read the Torah, and I’ll believe that it’s encouraged.

  4. They teach about the Apocrypha in seminary so I think you would have to be choosy about your age category in cashing in on ignorance.

  5. Last night I just started reading the Dead Sea Scrolls. It includes some amazing commentaries and additions to the Apocrypha.

    It also adds more insight to general religious attitudes that existed at the time of Christ.

    One example is the Judeo-Christian peoples still had not developed the formal list of Holy Writ or Sacred Canon until much later in the first century. Instead they highly valued the word of God from whatever source.

  6. Well, Rick, if you examine the Church’s Sunday School program, you’ll find that we study not only the Torah, but the rest of the Old Testament as well, at least every fourth year. I also don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding General Authorities who encourage people to read the Bible–including the five books of Moses.

  7. Julie, although they teach about the Apocrypha in seminary – I’d still include that group in my wager.

    It’s been my experience that very few seminary students retain much outside of the seminary building.

    =)

  8. not true! i never fell asleep (well not with my eyes closed) during seminary. but then, i went to seminary at the unearthly hour of 6 am 5 days a week most weeks of the year for 4 years!!!!!!! not like the youth HERE and in UTAH who get to add it to their regular school schedules.

    i remembered some stuff. really i did. usually.

  9. Oh, and yes I have read about the apocrapha. I started reading from it one time and got bored. I think there is much more light and knowledge in other scriptures, and once I get bored of them I will go back to the apocrapha.

    I also seem to remember discussiong the Apocrapha during a study of the Doctrine and Covenants when coming to section 91.

  10. Perhaps one reason we don’t read the Apocrypha much is that very, very few of us spend as much time as we should on the Standard Works (including the Torah). I’m thinking it’s more important to read the scriptures than to read the extra material.

  11. No ltgugaf, I’m not that dense – I was just meaning to point out how culturally the investigation of other works is generally frowned upon by the lay member.

    By saying,”Hey – read the Torah” most members would respond by saying everything I need I get from the Standard Works or from Deseret Industries…okay they may not say it, but they think it.

  12. D&C 91 is often misread, IMO. It’s about the accuracy of the translation of the apocrypha (mostly), not so much about the inspiration of the Apocrypha (only a little bit).

    What’s curious to me is why JS had a Bible with an Apocrypha in it (which usually go with the Catholic deutero-canonical works) being born and raised in a Protestant environment. Very curious.

    Also, there’s a decent post on the Pseudepigrapha, which is related to the apocrypha, here: http://faithprorumor.weblogs.us/archives/136

  13. Rick, your last post still sets up Torah vs. Standard Works, which doesn’t make sense since the latter includes the former.

    Are you just saying that most of the members of the Church may not be aware of what the Torah is? If that was what you wanted to say you should have said it.

  14. I must admit I have never read the Torah, but I have this feeling that if we compared the Torah and its Old Testament contemporary, we would find differences.

  15. ltbugaf, yes I believe that most members do not know what the torah is, but additionally like Kim states – the torah(informal) also contains other information.

    My point is that the leaders generally do not encourage members to read outside their faith – and that is not necessarily a good thing.

  16. Well I will confess I did not know what the Apocrypha was or that the first books of moses were the TORAH. Thankyou all for teaching me something today. It does not make me any less of a memeber just means i have a lot to learn, and there is nothing wrong with that.
    I am really enjoying Gospel Doctrine class and studying the Book of Moses.

  17. Just like Section 29 says about the apocrypha,”Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.” and “Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; and whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom”, I think that the same thing can be said about other works including other Jewish writings.

    We don’t need those other works for our salvation. We have all that we need for our salvation right in the standard works. I personally don’t read those enough, let alone some other books that may or may not contain information I need.

    There is nothing wrong with reading them, and I’m sure that the Brethren would agree with that, but many people need to fucus on the basics without having more to read and study.

    Rick, tell us about what is contained in the Torah?

  18. If you google ‘what is the torah’ you’ll get a pretty decent idea.

    Not that I’m saying that I am an advocate for all the teachings contained in it … just it makes for some interesting/enlightening reading.

  19. Actually, Rick, I posted a link to an explanation as to what the Torah is above. I was asking you if you would tell us all the reasons you think that we should study the Torah.

  20. Isn’t it interesting that the tangents generally generate more interest than the topics themselves, Kim?

    I guess I think that more information leads to better enlightenment.

    I mean, think of how much better off my life is now that I’ve read the BoM … well better off might be pushing it, but I’d say that I know my fellow man a little bit better, and that should be considered a good thing.

  21. I must admit that I am getting a kick out of the Torah side-thread! Part of the confusion is that there is a general and a specific use of the term Torah. Here’s an explanation from AskMoses.com:

    Most specifically, the word Torah refers to what’s commonly known as The Five Books of Moses. “A Torah” is that handwritten parchment scroll in your synagogue’s ark. More generally, the word Torah includes anything that authentically explains or expands the instructions received at Sinai, the Prophets and Scriptures, the Mishna, Talmud, Shulchan Aruch (that’s the Code of Jewish Law), and the thousands of books and commentaries on them all. They all fit under the vast, ever-expanding Torah umbrella.

  22. In a nutshell, the books of the Apocrypha appear in the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not in the original Hebrew. Because Greek was more widely spoken anciently, these books were widely accepted as scripture. However, the Apocrypha always held a lesser position in the canon, a curious intermediate level. And it is consistent that, for the most part, none of the New Testament writers quote from the Apocrypha, and certainly not as scripture, even though they were Greek speaking and their Bible was the Greek Septuagint.

    But the books are very important because they were written primarily during the intertestamental period, and cover the years leading up to the New Testament. It is in the Apocrypha that we often look for illumination into the life, writings, beliefs and social world at the time of Christ.

  23. From #18: “Everything I need I get from the Standard Works or from Deseret Industries.”

    Yep, my spiritual needs are satisfied by my quad, and my temporal needs are satisfied by the great training programs and cheap clothing at the local D.I. Truly everything I need…

  24. Rick, I think you’re being slightly disingenuous. If we talk about *reading* Torah, most often that refers to the 5 books of Moses, which LDS do in fact read (though most can’t do it in Hebrew.) If you’re talking about (reading )the *oral* Torah (a funny phrase if ever there was one), it’s more common and less confusing to indicate what you’re actually reading, ie. Mishnah, Gemara, etc.

  25. Oh, rest assured I’m being completely disingenuous – and I would assert that the average lay member spends as much time reading the 5 books of Moses as I do reading the Koran.

    Cursory is probably too strong a word here.

  26. Rick, accepting (in somewhat less extreme form) your assertion that Latter-day Saints don’t read the five books of Moses as much as they should, I think this supports the idea of not bothering with the Apocrypha. Give priority to the Standard Works first.

  27. Yeah, I don’t mean to say I think less of those who don’t investigate all the other sources – I just knwo that if it were *me*, I’d probably be doing the extra reading.

    Obviously. I read the BoM and I’m not even a member – I’ve reads the Koran, several books on Buddhism, Taoism etc.

    I guess I’m just a bit more inquisitive than some people about the beliefs that are *not* my own.

  28. I wonder if some people are confusing the Torah and the Koran.

    If I am not mistaken, the Torah is simply the first five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (though the word “Torah” can also be used to refer to the entire Jewish bible, or the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament).

    The Koran, on the other hand, contains revelations given to Muhammed and is the Holy Book of Islam.

    So it would seem to me that every time we are encouraged to read the standard works, we are in essence being encouraged to read the Torah. But I think you are correct that we would be hard pressed to find five quotes from General Authorties asking us to specifically read the Koran.

    Personally, one of my favorite books is the “Illustrated Teachings of the Dalai Lama: A Guide to Contentment, Joy, and Fulfillment” which I bought at Chapters about 4 years ago. The LDS bookstore doesn’t have a monopoly on the uplifting book market (though I also own many books from my local LDS bookstore). The 13th Article of Faith states that “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, we seek after these things.” I think that this could be applied to books, even books from outside our faith.

  29. Oops, I forgot to include “or praiseworthy” in my Article of Faith quote. I guess I don’t have them memorized as well as I thought. Hopfully you still understand what I meant.

  30. Mike, I don’t think there was any actual confusion. As I understand, Rick was just taking a little jab at members of the Church for either not knowing what the Torah is or for not reading as much as they should.

  31. Mike, that’s a great book.
    I flipped through it at a friend’s house.
    Then again, I’m a big fan of His Holiness.

  32. I’m a big fan too. He’s a very smart and a very spiritual man. I haven’t read anything else that he has written, but I highly recommend this book.

    While I am recommending books, I also enjoyed “Our Search for Happiness” by M. Russell Ballard and “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach.

  33. “Personally, one of my favorite books is the “Illustrated Teachings of the Dalai Lama: A Guide to Contentment, Joy, and Fulfillment” which I bought at Chapters about 4 years ago.”

    I’ll have a PPI with you right after our presidency meeting tonight, Mike.

  34. Why? So you can borrow it?

    Back on topic though, where can one find the Apocrypha? I can’t recall ever seeing a copy in any bookstore. Maybe that’s why people don’t read it very much, they just don’t have easy access to it.

  35. Always worth to read, yet never to set sole reliance for spiritual growth within the written word. Truth stands that no text is needed to attain unto the All High.

    For the true seeker will always find the way.

    Zahut Oma, yesh unut to resh ata

  36. The Apocrypha is also posted online with various commentaries.

    I ran across that section of the D&C recently and I decided I’d go and have peep at the Apocrypha and see what it was all about. When I did, I decided that the standard works were a lot more clear, understandable, and valuable.

    I haven’t checked out the Koran yet, though. I suppose that’s next on my reading list.

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