Literal Reading of the Bible

Discredited Claims (Continued)

Latter-day Saint doctrine does not demand a literal reading of the Bible or claims of its inerrancy. This more flexible view of scripture allows most issues in the science-religion arena to fade into relative insignificance.

Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith explained:

Even the most devout and sincere believers in the Bible realize that it is, like most any other book, filled with metaphor, simile, allegory, and parable, which no intelligent person could be compelled to accept in a literal sense. . . .

The Lord has not taken from those who believe in his word the power of reason. He expects every man who takes his “yoke” upon him to have common sense enough to accept a figure of speech in its proper setting, and to understand that the holy scriptures are replete with allegorical stories, faith-building parables, and artistic speech. . . .

Where is there a writing intended to be taken in all its parts literally? Such a writing would be insipid and hence lack natural appeal. To expect a believer in the Bible to strike an attitude of this kind and believe all that is written to be a literal rendition is a stupid thought. No person with the natural use of his faculties looks upon the Bible in such a light. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:188.)

Apostle James E. Talmage noted, “the beginning chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science, or man-science." (“The Earth and Man,” The Instructor 101, no. 1 (January 1966): 9–15.)