My sister and her husband, who are not members of the Mormon Church, are skeptical of the Book of Mormon. They asked me how it can be reconciled with Revelation, 22:18-19, about adding and taking away from the words of the book of this prophecy. I did not know how to answer them at the time but told them I would find out. Can you help me? Thanks.
First let’s start with the scripture in Revelation,
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
The words “this book” can only refer to the Book of Revelation rather than to the whole bible, since the New Testament wasn’t even compiled when Revelation was written. That concept is confirmed in the cited scripture by the words the book of this prophecy, which of course is the Book of Revelation.
John is saying that if the Book of Revelation is altered from the way it was written, the person doing so would be punished by the Lord.
If your sister and her husband insist that the scripture refers to the entire bible, you might refer them to Deuteronomy 4:2, which says essentially the same thing in other words,
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)
So, based on their logic, we should discard everything written in the Bible beyond Deut. 4:2.
You might also direct them to the book of Amos where we learn that the Lord will do nothing without beforehand revealing it to his prophets.
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7).
If these prophets were to write his revelations to them it is hard to imagine that they would fall under the Lord’s condemnation.