The book of Moses is a small excerpt from Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible. It is a more complete record of Moses’s writings at the beginning of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. It contains many doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives additional information about the plan of salvation, the creation of the earth, and the Lord’s dealings with Adam and Enoch.
The events described in Moses 1 are portrayed as taking place sometime after Jehovah spoke to Moses out of the burning bush but before Moses had returned to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel. Moses is given a description of God’s wonderful works and a confirmation of the work to which he had previously been foreordained as a “son of God.” Moses is then showed the creation of the World, Moses is given the opportunity to behold every particle of the earth and all of its inhabitants. God then speaks with Moses face to face, explaining that His work [God’s Work] is to; “…bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) Chapter one closes, by alluding to the Restoration of lost words of scripture (The Book of Mormon).
These chapters (2-8) generally follow the first chapters of the Book of Genesis, but often provide alternative interpretations of the text or significant additional detail not found in the Bible. Among the notable differences are the following:
Moses 2 (compared to Genesis 1): The idea that all things were created “by mine Only Begotten” [Jesus Christ, in his premortal state] is made clear, as is the Son’s identity as the co-creator at the time when God said “Let us make man.” Otherwise the story of the Creation between Moses 2 and Genesis 1 are the same.
Moses 3 (compared to Genesis 2): God explains that He: “created all things… spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth.” (Moses 3:5) Again, Jesus Christ was a co-creator of the world. An example could be that Jesus Christ was the builder and God was the Architect. We learn in Moses 3:17 that God placed Adam and Eve in a situation where they were required to exercise freedom of agency in order to continue their progression through the experience of earth life. The Qur’an agrees with Moses and sees the transgression of Adam and Eve and positive and needed step to further mankind in this ‘preparatory school, in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father.
Moses 4 (compared to Genesis 3): Comparing Moses 4 to Genesis 3, one will see that four verses are added to the beginning of Moses version, which interrupts the flow of the story to give an account of heavenly councils where the nature and purposes of creation were discussed and decided. These verses coincide with stories from the Jewish Midrash recording that God took counsel with the righteous before the creation of the world. We are also told more about how Satan became the devil and how the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Satan coincide as one story.
Moses 5 (compared to Genesis 4): The Book of Moses adds fifteen verses to the beginning of the Genesis account. We learn more about how Adam took to his new job of tilling the earth and how Eve took to replenishing the earth by bringing forth children. Both Adam and Eve were going to live a harder life outside of the Garden of Eden, because they chose to progress mankind. We learnt that Satan made a murderous pact with Cain, which lead to the first establishment of “secret combinations” which would start the wickedness on the earth.
Moses 6 (compared to Genesis 5): Though the biblical account of Enoch’s life occupies only two verses, his story fills most of chapter 6 and all of chapter 7 of the book of Moses. From Moses 6 we also learn a lot about the Plan of Salvation, and how we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.
Moses 7-8: We learnt that Enoch teaches and leads the people and the city of Zion is established. Enoch sees a vison of the coming of Jesus Christ and His ultimate Atonement and crucifixion, which would give the inhabitants of the earth the ability to return to live with God, because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Enoch sees that Zion would be removed from the earth to dwell in the presence of the Lord. Enoch also sees the Restoration of the Gospel in the Last Days and the return of Zion before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Moses 8 picks off around Genesis 7 with the Flood. We learn that Noah was called to be a prophet and that he tried to warn the people to repent, but they would not. Because the people were so wicked, God decided to flood the world… to cleanse it and give it a fresh start.