Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: How could Joseph know all of this?’

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Published: Thursday, July 26 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Harwich, MA

This is an article that the Church and the Deseret News should stay away from.
Defending the Book of Abraham based on what the Church teaches is touchy ground.
Fasten your seat belts.

Here, UT


Dr. Peterson HAS to know that the LDS Church has the papyrii that Joseph supposedly translated! They've been shown to be nothing more than common funerary rolls and from a time well after the life of Abraham.

Simply unbelievable that the Deseret News would print this nonsense.


Streching thing a little bit Dan? I guess if your going to put yourselve out there then you have to put in in a ggod effort but come on with this one.

Truth or Consequences, NM

Peterson says, "Christian thinkers, influenced by Greek philosophy, began to teach creation from nothing only in the second century"

The Apostle John taught creation from nothing. John 1:3 says "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John died before the second century. John was written prior to John's exile to Patmos and after the destruction of the temple- between 70-90 AD.

I could comment on the Book of Abraham, but I'll let people do their own research.

Orem, UT


While it has been demonstrated that the Book of Abraham could not have been on the extant scrolls, the fact of the matter is that Joseph didn't know how to read the ancient texts anyway. Even his translation of the Book of Mormon took place while his face was buried in a hat. Joseph thought he had books of ancient scripture, and that was enough for him to produce the work.


I know a violin maker who showed me a collection of violins. He told me that "all those things" were made by him. I in no way interpreted that to mean that he had made the instruments from nothing. When we think of "made" things, we think of complex objects, not of their building blocks. I don't think that John 1:3 remotely suggests creation from nothing. Also, I don't think we have a copy of the book of John from the time period you suggest and have no way of knowing if what we do have was even written by the person it alleges to have been written by in that time period.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

I find the Book of Abraham to be a combination of a translation of ancient texts and modern religious revelation. It appears to me that Joseph used the papyri to translate but also added religious revelation. If at times it appears to deviate from an ancient text (if that is the case), is simply God adding revelation that is needed for our day. To dismiss it as a fluke is to miss out on the many items that are indeed fascinating, only a very few Dr. Peterson has touched on (there are dozens). To claim it is the great "slam dunk" against the Church is much worse, and is just an appeal to the emotions of critics. I find such black and white thinking distasteful and a waste of my time.

The fact that it doesn't match what critics say it should is to be expected. God doesn't convince critics but the faithful. God would only give us something that absolutely has evidence and yet also requires faith - such is the Book of Abraham.

Otis Spurlock
Ogden, UT

Articles such as this one defending the Book of Abraham should be required to carry the following advisory:

"The papyri from which Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to have translated the Book of Abraham exist today and have been shown by modern science to comprise a common Egyptian funerary text that was written many centuries after Abraham was purported to have lived, were therefore not written by his own hand and, in fact, have nothing whatsoever to do with Abraham."

Richard Hitchens
Layton, UT

I encourage people to do their homework on the Book of Abraham translation. Dan Peterson is only telling a very narrow part of the whole story.

Orem, UT

The humor is critics are selective. There are references to the scrolls being extremely long, covering multiple floors, but since it doesn't fit the goals of the anti-LDS, they immediately discount it. IMHO, the KEP was a Joseph Smith project to reverse engineer what he already had translated and got the location wrong. And also IMHO, the facimilies were reused.

Cedar Hills, UT

Interesting article. It sounds like a rebuttal to previously made claims against the Book of Abraham and it looks like a good deal of research went into it.

Of course, it would be silly to think an omnipotent God needed ancient papyri to reveal to Joseph Smith the text of Abraham. God can give revelation without any earthly props, if he wants to. I don't know why God wanted there to be an association between the Book of Abraham and the papyri drawings, but he did and so there is.

Wool Free

For a more accurate representation of what Joseph Smith got right and what he got wrong I would suggest reading Robert Ritner's "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri".

J Thompson

Those who mock Joseph Smith have no understanding of the words, "Prophet", "Seer", and "Revelator". They know that THEY could not have written what Joseph Smith wrote, so they tell us that HE could not have written it either.

Dan Peterson did an excellent job of showing that Joseph Smith could not possibly have had the training or exposure to ancient history to have ever written the Book of Abraham without divine help. Either Joseph Smith was the most educated man in America concerning ancient history, or he was who he said he was, a "Prophet", "Seer" and "Revelator".

Just like in ancient times, fools mock prophets. Fools mocked Noah - until the rains came. Fools will mock the prophets - until the fire comes. It's just the nature of fools to mock, i.e. Ether 12:27.


The Book of Abraham is true. I bear my testimony of that fact. If you are struggling to know the truth of the Book of Abraham, set aside your man made logic and reason and follow Moroni 10:4 by asking God if it is true. I promise you that the spirit will confirm the truthfulness of it to you as He has to me. We cannot trust men who fight against the church using scientific theories and agendas. Turn away from man and put your trust in the Lord and his anointed leaders.

Sainte Genevieve, MO

Thank you for your testimony Joel. I add mine to yours. The Book of Abraham is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Phoenix, AZ

It appears Mr. Peterson is again using the Mormon missionary tool of: if the square peg cannot fit in the round hole, use a bigger hammer. This is not typical of reasoning and logic taught at a university level. What merit does it have to intelligent learning.



"If you are struggling to know the truth of the Book of Abraham, set aside your man made logic and reason" - Isn't are logic and reasoning from God? Why would we set it aside? Seems counter intuitive.

"We cannot trust men who fight against the church using scientific theories and agendas."
You wouldn't trust any man who fights against the church regardless of what reasoning they're using. And if you think the BYU studies and DNews studies posted aren't supporting agendas ... then why aren't studies posted on here that aren't supportive of the church? Like coffee benefit studies, wine benefit studies, etc? Other news outlets share them ...

Tooele, UT

If the papyri the LDS Church is in possession of has been proven to discredit the Book of Abraham, why did the church not simply destroy it when they first got their hands on it?

It seems to me if I had gone around making wild claims about something, only to come into possession of evidence which refuted my claims, I would want to destroy that evidence ASAP.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

The problem is that the Church doesn't have all of the papyri. This is a pretty known fact which the critics and anti-Mormons don't want to be known. Secondly, read the article carefully and he disputes many of the critics and the so called funeral texts. In fact, from other research that this could quite possibly be true.

There is little doubt that what Joseph Smith has translated would overwhelmingly change the critics minds and even many evaglecal beliefs based on the Book of Abraham. We will know the truth of it all when the Lord wants us to but currently just as the Book of Mormon is solely on faith. Just because one wants to use logic and science to prove points again the Lord stipulates that he will defeat the wisdom of the world. Faith and the power of the Holy Ghost is much stronger evidence than any scientists can generate.


The papyri only disproves the Book of Abraham to anti-mormons with an agenda. LDS scholars who have actually studied the papyri and compared it to the Book of Abraham have discovered it is a perfect match. We don't need evidence to have faith. But it is nice to know that the evidence the church has in its possession verifies that our faith is correct.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Utes Fan
"If at times it appears to deviate from an ancient text (if that is the case), is simply God adding revelation that is needed for our day."

Or you know... it could just be wrong.

"God can give revelation without any earthly props, if he wants to."

And you're just making excuses...

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