100 years ago today - Oct 31, 1921

The position we take in regard to the Bible you I have no doubt feebly understand; that is that the bible is (or contains) the word of God so far as it is translated correctly. That does not positively make the book as a whole an inspired presentation of the Word of God. There are matters in it that are historical and some of se may be of the character set forth by the 'higher criticisms'. That Moses is the accredited author of the Pentateuch is sustained by the Book of Mormon, and is the view held by our Church [which is questioned by some higher criticism scholarship]. It is evident that the five books passed through other hands than Moses, after his day and time. The closing chapter of Deuteronomy proves that, and there are some other things also in other parts of the Pentateuch which indicate that they have been revised at a later date than the days of Moses, but taking them as a whole Moses is considered by the Church as the author of those five books. It is generally understood that Jonah was a real individual. However it is barely possible that the story is one of those parables common in the writing of the time in which Jonah lived. It does not matter whether that is actually the case or not, the purpose and intent of the book are excellent and have several very grand lessons. These constitute the value of the work. It is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book to write what is set forth therein. It is held by the Church that Job was a real character. It is barely possible that the book was one of the kind prevailing in olden times, setting forth certain principles in the form of a parable, as it was with the parables of Jesus Christ when in the flesh. That is not of very great importance so long as the doctrines contained in the work are correct. It is understood by the church that the Book of Isaiah is one book [questioned by higher criticism]; that is, that the writer of the first part and the latter part is one individual prophet, not two. The answer yes or no positively to such questions is unwise and should not be undertaken by one representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ... 'Higher criticism' has lost ground as time goes on. The conclusions it conveys are matters of opinion, and diligent inquiry and the conclusions of the best opinions do not sustain notions entertained by the advocates of that 'criticism.' It is certainly not sustained by the authorities of the Church.

[Charles W. Penrose, for the First Presidency, Letter to Joseph W. McMurrin, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

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