I can not count the number of times I have heard the comment “Mormon’s have their own bible” or “Mormons do not believe the bible”or some variation of that. Why then do we not include a KJV when handing out the Book of Mormon? It seems to me it would remove stumbling blocks for anyone, especially those serving missions,trying to share the Gospel without a word being spoken! Since the two were meant to be “One in mine hand” why doesn’t the church distribute them as such?
Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publishes Restoration scriptures (The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and the King James version of the Bible. These volumes may be purchased separately (via “triple” and Bible) or bound together as a “quad”. Then-Elder Nelson saw this single binding as a fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, noting that “Saints living in many nations of the earth gratefully hold the Bible (the stick of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (the stick of Ephraim) bound as one in their hands.” (Scriptural Witnesses).
President Packer takes it a step further. For him the books have been thoroughly interwoven through the study helps printed directly into the books.
“In June 1977, … another step in the coming together of these two sticks occurred….
“This edition of the Bible [printed by the Church] would be cross-referenced with three other books of scripture: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. …
“That also was but a beginning. There would be a combined concordance and topical guide, listing hundreds of subjects; a Bible dictionary; maps; and a new format. New chapter headings would be written. All in harmony with the sacred message of the Old and the New Testaments….
“There was a spirit of inspiration brooding over their work, and those working with the project talked often of how it was blessed. There were humbling spiritual experiences….
“The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephraim—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy now stands fulfilled.” (Scriptures).
The question you have provided is taking a literal interpretation of the Lord’s statement, “One in mine hand.” When the early missionaries went preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we must remember they were distributing copies of the Book of Mormon, probably due to how many households already had a Bible. And when our missionaries go out in service, please remember they are never without the Bible, thus our missionaries are fulfilling the notion “One in mine hand.”
Now let’s consider your proposal and face the reality of what will actually happen. People who are struggling with the comments you have mentioned wouldn’t have a change of mind even if the Bible and Book of Mormon were given at the same time. In fact, the Church already provides a mechanism for people to directly order the Bible through our missionaries, and they proselyte with all four of the standard works in their hands. Back when I served my mission these books of scripture were one in my hand. My experience with people saying “Mormons have their own Bible” was due to their misunderstanding and the incorrect teachings of their ministers and congregations. I discovered, even if I had given them both a Bible and Book of Mormon the question would still be the same. For example, on my mission I would often hear, “Why do Mormons have their own Bible”? I would explain and bear witness of the Bible, and that the Book of Mormon is a companion to the Bible. I would often then be asked, “Does it teach something different than the Bible”? I would specify again, they are companion scriptures witnessing the same truths. Then I would be asked, “Then why do you need a Book of Mormon”?
My experience tells me that people who make these statements, who are the Lord’s elect (those who are humbling themselves to hear and feel the Lord’s Spirit), will recognize with new information the importance of having the Book of Mormon. These questions didn’t bother them once they received the answer. Those who were not, continued in what they have been taught.
For a time on my mission we would present the Bible with the Book of Mormon, and ask if they had a Bible. The questions didn’t change even if we had a Bible in our hand (One in mine hand). The questions remained the same. We share a different experience, and the stumbling block has less to do with a Bible in the hand, along with the Book of Mormon, then it does their personal choice, their personal religious view, and their personal opinion.