Comments about ‘LDS Church publishes new Web essay on Book of Abraham’

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Published: Tuesday, July 8 2014 12:50 p.m. MDT

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

"The veracity and value of the book of Abraham cannot be settled by scholarly debate concerning the book’s translation and historicity"

The LDS church always has these "get out of trouble free" cards they play by claiming religious matters can't be validated through scientific research whenever scientific research refutes what they claim.

Numerous Egyptian scholars have proven the book of Abraham and its symbols do not say what Joseph Smith claimed they said.

No doubt if scientific research supported something Joseph said about something, it would be used as "evidence" of its truthfulness. But when it refutes something - the Mormons pull out the "its spiritual so no matter what you prove it doesn't' mean anything" card.

How convenient.

Las Vegas, NV

I am very pleased to see the Church shining light on some of the more controversial issues of its founding narrative and doctrine. Regardless of conclusions you personally reach on some of these difficult issues, the Church's recent effort to publicly address these tough questions is laudatory. Better late than never.

Apocalypse please
Bluffdale, UT

"The truth of the book of Abraham is ultimately found through careful study of its teachings, sincere prayer, and the confirmation of the Spirit."

I suppose anything can be true if you are measuring with that kind of epistemological yardstick.

Lehi, UT

The BofA and the BofMormon are miraculous. It is impossible for Joseph to have known all the accurate names, cultures, symbolism, places, geographic turns, etc etc of the ancient MEast and Americas. The people writing them MUST have originated in the ancient MEast. They seamlessly incorporated Lamanite Baalisms; elephants; the Tree=Mary, King, crocodile, goddess; etc. etc. and hundreds of things as peoples from the ancient MEast would have. Abraham is consistently Osiris, the seer (Shulem, the Butler) is "represented" as Hor, Jah-oh-eh is earth, Amon-Re key to open way, was-scepter is authority, wdjet is light & glory, Horus-Soped etc as firmament & ship as ship of 1000, "Olishem" now found in Naram Sin, Abraham anciently associated with sacrifice on lion couch, Kolob is heart of universe, creative center (of4) apes associated with stars etc etc etc. How did Joseph know all this plus much much more???


It is all about continuing revelation.

"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." ...Article of Faith #9

Joseph F. Smith received a vision on the spirit world after reading the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter. This is now in the D&C Section 138

So, for Joseph Smith to be impressed to write the book of Abraham which is a revelation about our pre-mortal existence, after studying ancient scrolls, I can see how the revelation came in much the same way as it did to Joseph F. Smith on the subject of our post-mortal existence.

Lehi, UT

Several things are clear about the BofA. 1 JS knew things about Abraham & the ancient Middle East & Egyptian & the Americas, etc. that he couldn't have known without revelation. 2 Scholars have not read the source of the BofA. 3 The facsimiles are appropriately used to portray the story. 4 The snsn text is related to Abrahamic traditions, etc.

Honeyville, UT

@ Chris B.

Your assessment of the Church's approach is completely wrong. The Church has never tried to prove it was the "true" Church through empirical evidence. Never. It has always taught that any person who wants to know the truth of what Joseph Smith said or taught can do exactly what he did: Ask God.

There is empirical evidence of the Book of Mormon's authenticity--a lot of it. Point me to any Church publication in which the Church has ever touted this evidence as proving the Book of Mormon to be true. There is none. The Church has maintained a steady course of putting the burden on the hearer to ask God.

It has never claimed that the papyrus remnants proved the Book of Abraham was true. So, your challenge Chris B. is to ask God. The onus is on you, not the Church.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

This appears to be a relatively forthcoming account of the Book of Abraham. I think it appropriately places the authenticity of these writings as a matter of faith.

There is one area that is somewhat confusing - perhaps unintentionally so. It refers to a document that contains characters from one of the scrolls followed by an explanation of what they mean. One of the documents that answers that description is the actual manuscript of the "Book of Abraham." Characters from one the scrolls in the Church's possession are listed sequentially from their position on the papyrus with the verses from the first two chapters of the Book of Abraham next to them. It appears to me that Joseph Smith felt there was a direct correspondence between the characters and what he wrote.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

"Written by his own hand"
No matter how they try, they can't spin that away.

Anchorage, AK



In those area's where the secular scholars may currently disagree with the Book of Abraham, given time, they will receive more light and knowledge and come, to agree with it.

Westland, MI

There will be only one God in the new heaven and new earth in eternity [JEHOVAH], with only His eternal sons and His eternal daughters to worship Him and serve Him forever with Jesus' new name written and sealed in their foreheads. Until that day occurs, Jesus Christ is the very Eternal God of heaven and earth.

Honeyville, UT

@ Ernest T. Bass

Wrong again. Joseph Smith wrote little, if any, of the Book of Mormon or Abraham with his own hand. He dictated to scribes. This is such a well established fact that I am surprised you would even make that comment.

Lehi, UT

@Chris B.

I have an opposing view. There are many religious accounts that cannot be scientifically proven -- immaculate conception, walking on water, raising the dead, etc. Scientifically it doesn't make sense, but I choose to believe it and I can testify as an eye witness to what I've seen. I see the gospel of Jesus Christ change people and their lives improve, what more witness do I need?

I appreciate the efforts of the church to provide the information on the controversial topics. Rather than focusing on the scientific side, I like to ponder how Joseph Smith could have known anything about what he wrote in the Book of Abraham, let alone publish the Book of Mormon, restore the Church of Jesus Christ, etc. All with no formal religious schooling...

I choose to doubt my doubts before I doubt my faith -- I have had too many good experiences as a follower of Jesus Christ to explain it away based on scientific proof.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

Exactly Ernest T. Bass, and I noticed the church didn't even try to address rather large elephant in the room in any meaningful way. Their defense of the facsimiles is also laughable. Mentioning that there are one or two things Joseph labeled that are mentioned in other writings around the ancient world completely side steps the real issue. In fact it leaps over the issue hoping that no one will bother doing any further research on the topic; this is incredibly deceptive. The fact that cannot be denied even by the church is that Egyptologists have discovered hundreds of similar facsimiles and Smith labeled every single item incorrectly. Not one or two wrong, not a few or even a majority, but every single item labeled by Smith in the four facsimiles is just plain wrong.

UT Brit
London, England


I think he was referring to the papyri being written by Abraham's hand.

Ft Thomas, KY

Except for one or two well worn passages, I rarely hear anyone at any level in the church, quote from the book of Abraham.
Maybe a better approach would be for the church to just quietly remove it from the standard works. Demote it in status to be on par with The Lectures on Faith and other similar writings from early church history.

Phoenix, AZ

"The truth of the book of Abraham is ultimately found through careful study of its teachings, sincere prayer, and the confirmation of the Spirit."

Nope. There might be truths contained in the book but the truth of the book's origin has to pass muster dealing with the claimed source... ie, the papyri. And the papyri seems to indicate a record of 'breathings' associated with the dead person with which the papyri was found.

"So, for Joseph Smith to be impressed to write the book of Abraham which is a revelation about our pre-mortal existence, after studying ancient scrolls, I can see how the revelation came in much the same way as it did to Joseph F. Smith on the subject of our post-mortal existence."

That's all good and fine. But the claim is not that the BofA came from revelation. The claim is that it is a direct translation of papyri found with an ancient mummy.

Aurora, CO

But why would they do that? There is no reason to "demote" anything. It is what it is, a part of the Standard Works, and as such must be read and studied with pondering and faith to understand. Using your flawed reasoning we could "demote" Isaiah, 2 Nephi and Revelations because we don't understand the symbolism. I think a better approach would be to study it more intently, asking God for understanding and confirmation.

Logan, UT

I think that some of the critics here didn't actually read the essay. Not that they would necessarily be expected to agree with everything therein, but the essay does bring up and discuss at some length many of the points being brought up in countering the claim that the BofA is (some of?) the inspired writings of Abraham. It seems that in these cases the detractors such as ChrisB are either outright and deliberately ignoring some of the salient points brought up in the essay and hoping nobody reads it, or they just didn't read it themselves. This is not a very convincing way to argue.

Westland, MI

"The truth of the book of Abraham is ultimately found through careful study of its teachings, "

Many thousands have done so and found that the doctrine of plurality of Gods (and Goddesses) contained therein contradicts the correct and only true interpretation of both the KJV Bible and the Book of Mormon, which 2 books we regard as the word of God.

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