"According to this view, Joseph Smiths translation was not a literal
rendering of the papyri as a conventional translation would be. Rather, the
physical artifacts provided an occasion for meditation, reflection, and
revelation. They catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a
revelation about the life of Abraham, even if that revelation did not directly
correlate to the characters on the papyri."It still begs the
question Why did Joseph Smith make the effort to replicate characters from the
papyri and claim they were written in Abraham's own hand depicting events
that no one else would ever conclude. If it were a direct revelation why did it
take so long for us to come to such a conclusion.
In the past, the church has gotten away with telling people "pray about the
matter" to get answers to difficult questions. Problem is people are now
better informed, better educated and more skeptical about church history. This
will be a big problem for the church in the future.
I do not understand some of the snarky remarks about the Church or its position
of the Book of Abraham. The Church is kind and offers explanations when none
are required. Faith is faith and if one believes that Joseph Smith was a
prophet and spoke with God, then there is no reason to comment. If someone does
not believe it, then their comments are completely without value. Many try to
discredit the Church, but for what reason? Why does it really matter to them if
the Mormon Church is right or wrong? Faith is faith and the witness of the Holy
Spirit is stronger than any denigrating of the Gospel or the cannon of the LDS
Church. As it says in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen. But the Spirit of the Lord provides the
evidence a believer needs to have and offers the gentle peace which is found in
the knowledge of the truth.
I applaud the church for publishing this and the other essays.I'm looking forward to two more that will be published soon
("Joseph's plural marriages" and "Women's roles in the
Church"). Had most believing members confronted the content of
these essays without knowing the source, they would likely think it came from
anti-Mormon sites.This isn't anti-Mormon stuff---they are facts
from the history of the church that have been kept from the membership, but are
widely available on the Internet. Why were they kept from us? What were the
leaders afraid of? Why don't they incorporate all this directly in our
lessons and in the missionary lessons?Elder Steven E. Snow, the
Church Historian, said in 2013:"I think in the past there was a
tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to
information. But the world has changed in the last generation with the access to
information on the Internet, we can't continue that pattern; I think we
need to continue to be more open."Please support the Open Letter
to the Church leadership that calls for more transparency:
RE: Twin Lights, The father metaphor points to God as the Creator. Father
captures in one word two contrasting characteristics: God's love for his
creatures and his lordship over all creationThe "Right Hand"
(Hebrew idiom)is only figurative/symbolic and not literal for power and
authority.“only begotten (mongenes G),”misleading, in
English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship, But it was also used
of Jesus (only one of its kind, unique) . John 3:16“… true
doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is *one
God, without end..”(2 Nephi 31:21)3Nephi 31:22, note b. (1John
5:6-9 KJV & JST) v.7 *heis, 1520=the#1. But “… we are
one(en).( John 17-22). One in unity (Preposition) different Greek words.“…Contend for the faith that was (hapax*,G530)=Once for all
entrusted to God’s holy people.(Jude 1:3 NIV). Greek, "Once" *one
time. No heretical revelations to follow.D&C 93:33. “For
man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element. Platonists in
general believed in a pre-existent state, and (JS) Freemasons.
@ Brahmabull"So if the small %3 of the Papyri that we have was
translated incorrectly, why would you assume that the rest is somehow translated
correctly?? If the small 3% that we do have access too was translated wrong,
odds are the rest was wrong as well. If it was indeed a revelation, then it
should be %100 correct. And if he couldn't even get that small %3 right, he
probably didn't get the rest right. It is really that simple."Yes, but we don't actually know if those fragments were actually part of
what Joseph Smith Jr. translated do we?From what I understand it is
only assumed that they were from the Papyri that Joseph Smith originally
BigCougarSo if the small %3 of the Papyri that we have was
translated incorrectly, why would you assume that the rest is somehow translated
correctly?? If the small 3% that we do have access too was translated wrong,
odds are the rest was wrong as well. If it was indeed a revelation, then it
should be %100 correct. And if he couldn't even get that small %3 right, he
probably didn't get the rest right. It is really that simple.
Too many coincidences is not a coincidence. If you actually believe all of the
apologetics regarding the book of Abraham, you will also believe that unicorns
existed as well.
Pitchfire stated "How many of you went to a lab to find out if you first
loved your spouse or they you"Interesting how how you bring up
matters of the heart and compare them to religious belief. I had what I believed
was personal revelation that the girl I was dating before my mission would be my
eternal wife. She married someone else 6 months into my mission. this clearly
showed me that the emotional feelings I feel in regard to personal revelation
had nothing to do with truth and are completely unreliable.
How many of you went to a lab to find out if you first loved your spouse or they
you? How many go to a lab to find out what they like to eat? The reason why is
because matters of the heart are resolved by the heart, matters of taste by
taste. Nasa even uses a guy to sniff parts because noses are pretty darn good
instruments. Science has not yet replicated the human mind beyond
the elementary level of complexity, aside from singular purposes and processes.
I don't see how a parent can't look at their newborn child and not see
the depth of character already there. Spiritual things are best confirmed
spiritually. Does that means that human efforts will or will not prove the
veracity of previous human efforts (relatively modern Joseph translating
relatively ancient Abraham or whomever)? Actually isn't that a pretty silly
question since we're not overly concerned with the men nor the earthly
aspects of the papyrus, rather the truth or error they present? I think so.
@Chris B"Numerous Egyptian scholars have proven the book of Abraham
and its symbols do not say what Joseph Smith claimed they said....How
convenient"-------------------------Speaking of how
convenient, Anti-Mormon critics, such as yourself, are guilty of the very same
tactics they accuse the church of. You make convenient, generalized statements
and purposefully leave out all of the facts in order to paint as negative of a
picture as you can with no interest in truth. The fragments
recovered and referred to in the discussion amounted to less than 3% of the
papyri that Joseph had. They were scraps and amounted to just a fragment of the
more than 120 feet of original papyrus that Joseph Smith worked from. The
majority of that is believed to be lost in the 1871 Chicago Fire. I suppose you
blame that fire on the LDS Church saying they were trying to hide things.
IT is always the same critics with the same arguments. The problem is that each
of them is waiting for Heavenly Father to come down and tell them the truth.
Funny thing is that he has already done so through his living prophets, those
who continue to testify to the truth of the restoration and the validity of the
Book of Abraham. The thing is that many of us have taken the challenge in the
Book of Mormon and found it true. If you are getting an answer different that
what is described in the Book of Mormon then you are NOT doing what is
described. The testimony is fool proof. Failure to receive the correct
response through the Holy Ghost is the fault of the person, not the Book or
Mormon or its Challenge. Joseph Smith was a seer, a prophet and an Apostle of
the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a fact. Failure to understand that is the fault
of the person not anyone else. The missionaries teach and speak by the Spirit
as direct emassaries of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are selfless and help
always. Those who fail to see this fall as reps for Satan.
The horrible events of 9/11 were recorded and can be viewed as they occurred
repeatedly, yet people still disagree on what happened and why. One can watch
the Zapruder film a thousand times and still swear or deny there was a 2nd
assassin.Why would anyone expect agreement on the BoM and Pearl of
Great Price? The past is another universe. It all comes down first to
probability re the written testimonies we do have, and ultimately to faith. All other discussion is just spinning our wheels.
The day I read Abraham 1:2, my soul saw the earnest desires of my heart. Leaving
my father's house, seeking righteousness, knowledge, instructions until I
obtained the priesthood( always saying when I see the sign post of the
church,one day I will go and see what these people are doing in that church). So
whatsoever any person or group of persons will say does not affect what I know
to be true as far it come from Christ own church. However wherever a man gets
truth from, let him invite the spirit to testify of it.
greatbam22,Not difficult at all.The point being that
so-called "great accomplishments" (especially those listed and preached
by the abject followers of the "great person") are not evidence, much
less a guarantee, of the "truthfulness" of what the person has
@The ScientistThey lived in completely different time periods. It
would be very difficult to compare the two of them.
@TheProudDuckYou asked "What as the average speed on horseback?
" I must admit this is the first time I've heard this argument to
support the position that Joseph Smith did indeed translate something. I think its fair to say that when the discussion has reached the point
that we're discussing the average speed on horseback, there are no more
arguments to support the case that Joseph was divinely inspired.
AerilusMaximus wrote:"It is interesting that Joseph Smith Jr.
was able to organize a Church, Write the Book of Mormon, and the numerous others
things all while being persecuted and being moved from state to state. The
amount of things that he accomplished or helped to accomplish with his lack of
schooling that he had is remarkable."Have you ever heard of L.
Ron Hubbard? Do a little research, then compare his accomplishments with those
of Joseph Smith and then tell us how "remarkable" you think Smith was.
"There are 80,000 missionaries around the world helping people. If that is
not a fruit of the LDS church then I don't know what is!"I
have probably gotten to know moe Mormon missionaries over thirty years than any
regular Church member, and I have to question your definition of "helping
people". In my experience, missionaries provide precious little
"help" to anyone.
@1aggieSince you missed some of my point.There are
80,000 missionaries around the world helping people. If that is not a fruit of
the LDS church then I don't know what is!Do you know of any
other religion that is sending 18-19 year old to help provide peace to the
people of the world?
RE: The Caravan Moves On, The problem is that people believe they've felt
the Spirit bear witness of something when in fact they did not.The
Holy Spirit/Ghost Bears witness of Jesus and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit
(John 15:26). The Jesus of the Bible will send the Holy Spirit. If you
don't have the right Jesus they can't have the true Holy Spirit, and
your testimony is invalid. E.g..,And we know that the Son of God has
come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is
true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This one(Jesus) is the true God and eternal
life.(1 John 5:20) The problem with sincerity is that it becomes works
righteousness because the person is saying "Because of my sincerity, God
will listen to me." In other words, because of what's in the person God
will look favorably upon him. God does not look into a person and find something
good because there is no good in anyone (Rom. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:3). The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand
it?" (Jer. 17:9)
@AerilusMaximus"So assuming that what you say is true. I
don't understand the big deal?"Since you missed the point,
I will restate it. It is impossible to evaluate the fruits and the history of
the Church because both of those things are actively obstructed (see my earlier
post for examples). If the Church were open and forthcoming about both, then
people would be more able to form educated opinions, but it appears that they do
not think openness is important or useful.
1aggieSo assuming that what you say is true. I don't
understand the big deal?Are you unaware of the increase of
missionaries in the field? How about the increase of student at BYU-Idaho?
There are many things the Church is doing around the world that you may or may
not accept as charitable. I am guessing your specific beef with the
Church would be that if it has a ton of why are they holding on to it and not
giving it away? Another thing I would guess is why don't they
explain in greater detail why the members don't know more about what the
church invests in?I would direct you to the Church Auditing
Department Report for the Year 2013. This report is given each year during
April conference."The Church Auditing Department, which consists
of credentialed professionals and is independent of all other Church
departments, has responsibility to perform audits for the purpose of providing
reasonable assurance regarding contributions received, expenditures made, and
safeguarding of Church assets.""The Church follows the
practices taught to its members of living within a budget, avoiding debt, and
saving against a time of need."
@ 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."You would
'suppose' wrong.Something is either true or it isn't.
Period. There is no in between.If it's true, then the Spirit
will bear testimony of it.If it's not true, then the Spirit
will NOT bear testimony of it, no matter what one says.The problem
is that people believe they've felt the Spirit bear witness of something
when in fact they did not.To discern whether one feels the Holy
Spirit, honesty and critical, careful introspection are what is needed most.Good luck!
In any discussion of the Book of Abraham, for a serious student of the Book of
Abraham, one must not forget Hugh Nibley'sTHE EGYPTIAN ENDOWMENT (a
sub-title suggested by Harold B. Lee), to which many have responded over the
years. Still, who among any of us, or them possess or possessed Dr.
Nibley's knowledge of the languages and culture out of which the ancient
records came? As for Joseph Smith, Jr., the "seer"--who can see so
expansively, touching so many fine points of language, suggesting the Joseph
Smith, Jr. knew beyond any formal education of his time. Dr. Glade
Burgon's discovery of a variety of writing styles in the Book of Mormon is
a case in point. Hugh W. Pinnock's ANCIENT LITERARY FORMS IN THE BOOK OF
MORMON (1999) is another. Protestant scholar James H. Charlesworth's
"Messianism in the Pseudepigrapha and The Book of Mormon" is another.
One must forget John Welch's discovery of Hebrew chiasmus in the Book of
Mormon, and a host of publications by SEHA, FARMS, Zarahemla Record, and FRAA.
I find the essay an embarrassment. The explanation for the Book of Abraham is
simple. Mr. Smith made it up. There's no reason not to simply
acknowledge that and move forward trying to do good in the world.
@Aerilus Maximus"Was Joseph Smith Jr. the prophet of the restoration
or was he not?It really comes down to that argument. He is either a real
prophet or a false prophet. "It is rather a shame that it comes
to that but those pretty much are the only valid options for someone to have
(aside from "I don't know" of course). Not much room for "he
seems like a decent guy who I just disagree with".
"What do you think the Church does with all the food that comes from the
lands it obtains?"It sells it. You clearly do not know of what
you speak (and none of us really do because of the secrecy), but let me help you
out directionally. The Church is the biggest nut farmer in Calif. A smaller
farmer that I am aware of sold billions of pounds of nuts last year and earned
profits (not gross income) of over half a billion dollars. The Church
operations are larger and would drown every Bishops storehouse in the US with
even a small fraction of its harvest.And this is just one of the
Church businesses I am describing.The amount of food aid (in tons)
delivered to foreign disaster recipients over the past 30 years (according to
the Church's published statistics) is less than the amount of food (in
tons) delivered to Southern California Grocery stores in a week.
@1aggieSo because the church isn't forthright in all its
operations then suddenly it is an obstructionist?Maybe it isn't
forthright because there are many people in today's world that like to take
advantage of charitable organizations?So you don't think the
Church purchasing lands is part of their plan in helping those in poor
countries?You don't think the food the church provides through
humanitarian aid comes from these lands?What do you think the Church
does with all the food that comes from the lands it obtains?The
church tells us to have emergency preparedness do you not think that the church
itself has a storage of food for preparedness reasons?The church
also operates bishop storehouses across the country and at those locations I am
confident some of the foods that are handed out to poorer / income challenged
people in the church comes from these lands that you are talking about.
@AerilusMaximus"It really comes down to that argument. He is
either a real prophet or a false prophet. In the bible it tells us how you can
know a false prophet from a true prophet. It is by "by their fruits".It is often easy leave out history during these discussions. Do you know how
much traveling was required of the people back then? Do you know the average
speed of horse, foot, etc according to the routes they travailed?"You have hit the nail on the head. However it is impossible to evaluate the
fruits and the history because both of those things are actively obstructed by
the Church. The church won't even admit that Joseph Smith had many many
wives and who they were (and where located) so how are we to evaluate how much
of his traveling time was spent visiting wives versus building the kingdom? The
church keeps its finances secret, so how are we to evaluate the
"fruits"? For example, how much money is spent by the church each year
acquiring more agricultural land versus helping the undernourished children of
"....There is a source of knowledge of greater import than any penned
document or verbalized opinion of fallible man. Fortunately, this source does
not participate in "scholarly debate."______________________________Any religion can hallow as scripture
whatever texts it chooses. But a text that purports to be an ancient document
written by a figure venerated by all three Western religions is fair game for
scholarly scrutiny and criticism.
@IanW - You said: "The points many people have made to try to discredit it
are controversial at best."I am confused by these statement.
There is no confusion that the three facsimiles found in the Book of Abraham
have been translated incorrectly. Even mormon apologists agree that their
translation is incorrect.Where exactly is the controversy on that
particular argument?I would hope you could find it in your heart
that there are some legitimate questions with sound reasoning, even if you want
to disregard them.All the best.
@TheProudDuckCompare the lives / responsibilities / accomplishments
/ etc of Maria Valtorta and those of Joseph Smith Jr.It is
interesting to compare and contrast and once you do you will see that they lived
very different lives.According to Maria Valtorta life it would be a
lot more feasible to come up with / write "things God told her" than
Joseph Smith Jr. simply for the fact of having time to make up stuff.Did Joseph Smith Jr. really have tons of time on his hands to just make up all
the stuff that he translated?I would extrapolate further but I think
you are getting my gist.Logistical history needs to be considered
when trying to understand the feasibility of things that were accomplished back
then.Thing such as:How much traveling was required of the
people back then? What as the average speed on horseback? foot? etc
according to the routes they travailed?
@ Kolob1It is interesting that Joseph Smith Jr. was able to organize
a Church, Write the Book of Mormon, and the numerous others things all while
being persecuted and being moved from state to state.The amount of
things that he accomplished or helped to accomplish with his lack of schooling
that he had is remarkable.I have read the majority of the comments
and a lot of them are arguing around the main point. Was Joseph Smith Jr. the
prophet of the restoration or was he not?It really comes down to
that argument. He is either a real prophet or a false prophet. In the bible it
tells us how you can know a false prophet from a true prophet. It is by "by
their fruits".Joseph Smith Jr. mission was to restore the Church
of Jesus Christ in our day and time and he did what he was called to do! It is often easy leave out history during these discussions. Do you
know how much traveling was required of the people back then? Do you know the
average speed of horse, foot, etc according to the routes they travailed?
"Oh! ye of little faith." There is a source of knowledge of
greater import than any penned document or verbalized opinion of fallible man.
Fortunately, this source does not participate in "scholarly debate." Of
course, it does have prerequisite standards which must be followed in order to
gain truth from the source of absolute truth. Abraham and Joseph Smith were both
recipients of this "gift." As a matter of fact, I too, know the truth
about this topic of conversation. Therefore, I need not subject myself to the
babble emanating from the mouths of those know not or care not where to find it.
Hopefully, those who find fault with everything The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints submits for public consumption will remember where
to find the light they seek when they are facing the darkness which is rapidly
covering the earth.
Lifelong Ute says:It's only the tip of the iceberg buddy. @LogicalPrime;No worries. Science isn't going to prove
the BoM because it didn't happen.
RE: Sam, “I look forward to many more years of learning from the Book of
Abraham.”(Abraham 3:26)”And they who keep their
“first estate”=(G archē)(Jude 1:6 Greek N.T.)
“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority Fallen
angels, demons. “As translated correctly “i.e…,The
LORD(YHWH)our God(Elohim)is one’LORD(YHWH).(Deut 6:4).Yet,JS
said,“Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God is singular number; and by
adding the word heim, it renders it Gods.” ( H of C, 1844). ,Wrong, In
Hebrew the form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, which normally
indicates a masculine plural, however with Elohim the construction is usually
grammatically SINGULAR, (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective) when
referring to the Hebrew God, but grammatically plural when used of pagan
divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7). See # 430 Strong’s Hebrew concordance
translates Elohim to God in the(KJV) .
A high school mythology class started my 40+ year love of all things Egyptian.
I don’t claim to have mastered Egyptology beyond serious hobbiest. I can
claim that I have studied just about everything pro and con about the Book of
Abraham. After delving into the evidence, I find the “cons” as
questionable as the “pros.” I don’t waste much time with the
scientific process anymore (I am extremely well trained in the scientific
process) with respect to the Book of Abraham. Rather, I find the Book of
Abraham a joy to read. I learn new things every time I read it (several times a
year for the last 40+ years). I am very grateful that we have it as scripture. I
thought the Church’s post was well written, accurate and direct. I support
the post. I look forward to many more years of learning from the Book of
@Ron Hilton "Smith correctly divided the Egyptian characters on full-word
and morpheme boundaries" in re his Egyptian Grammar dictionary. All the
experts that examined Joseph Smith's "dictionary" declared it to be
nonsense, fantasy and gibberish. Ask the Church to release a copy to modern day
Egyptologist. Even the "essay" doesn't give the dictionary much
credence. It can't because all of the words and symbols were made up as if
"children were playing with a schoolyard language of their own
invention". In regard to multiple theories and explanation(s) of the origin
of the Book of Abraham one question comes to mind. If Joseph Smith was a Prophet
and had the word of God on his lips why do we need theories and explanations
today? Doesn't make sense for someone so closely connected to the word of
God to leave such a messy trail.
I'm noticing a lot of comments from people who appear to have never
actually read the essay to which this article refers, "Translation and
Historicity of the Book of Abraham". I encourage those who haven't read
the essay to read it. The essay addresses many of the concerns that have been
expressed. The truth of the matter is that there is much evidence that the Book
of Abraham is legitimate. The points many people have made to try to discredit
it are controversial at best. But since these discrediting points can neither be
confirmed nor denied conclusively at this moment in time, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints has contented itself with presenting the evidence as
it is, addressing both the supporting and opposing points, and leaving the final
decision up to the reader. Ultimately, the decision of veracity is the
reader's, regardless of what evidence anyone presents; as it is with any
Having read the BOA "essay" several times I find : 5 main excuses.1) "It is futile to assess Joseph's ability to translate
because We don't have all of the papyri Joseph Smith used"2)"Ancient records are often transmitted as copies or as copies of
copies." 3) "This view assumes a broader definition of the words
translator and translation. According to this view, Joseph’s translation
was not a literal rendering of the papyri as a conventional translation would
be. Translation doesn't really mean translation, there is a "broader
meaning"4) "Joseph Smith did not claim to know ancient
languages"5) "Neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith explained the
process of translation of the book of Abraham,"These are direct
quotes from the "essay", All of these excuses ignore one fact. If Joseph
Smith was a Prophet ,a Seer and a Revelator why would he need to resort to an
excuse. And why did they say Joseph Smith did not claim to be able to translate
the papyri. He declared on the first day " his history recounts, much to our
joy [we] found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham.”
He declared this on his first viewing of the papyri.
PP stated "It only seems strange when you twist things into the illogical
pretzels the said crown does in order to generate controversy."This is an interesting statement as I thought individual writers were twisting
things into illogical pretzels in order to still keep their faith in the LDS
church as I read fair Mormon apologetic attempts to explain the Book of
Abraham!By the way, you never answered my comment and instead bad
mouthed people that lose their faith in the LDS church by stating they are
believing in "anti mormon deception"! why is that the Modus operandi
instead of simply explaining what the "anti Mormon deception" is?
@ cambodia girl"The Church teaches us that we must have faith, study
and pray on our own. Isn't that wonderful?"It's
wonderful until you do it and come up with a different answer that the men in
charge. Then you are out. So it's easier and safer to just accept the
company line and not waste your time and take the personal risk of studying on
RE: Mountanman " If you demand proof, you will be forced dismiss all
scripture..."True enough. I am a Marxist, but I believe
spiritual experience happens. I make it a practice to never "dis"
another person's spiritual experience. The spiritual is another means of
apprehending reality, not the only one, but a legitimate one.
The essay failed to explain the complete mistranslation of Facsimile 3, where
Joseph Smith indicated the translated text (points 2, 4, & 5).For example, #2 says "King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters
above his head." when really it's "Isis the great, the god's
mother."(See wikipedia.org, Book_of_Abraham)
There is in fact a correspondence between the papyrus fragments and the Book
Abraham, as outlined by Joseph Smith in his "Egyptian Grammar" referred
to in the essay. Smith correctly divided the Egyptian characters on full-word
and morpheme boundaries (nearly impossible for one unfamiliar with Egyptian
hieroglyphics), and those words/concepts are found in the corresponding English
language verses from Abraham 1-2. One theory is that these hieroglyphs were a
mnemonic device for the recitation of an oral tradition of the story of Abraham,
long forgotten but revealed anew to Smith in connection with the original
hieroglyphics. My source is the Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for
Early Historic Archaeology at BYU, Number 109, October 25, 1968.
I think we can find some common ground between critics and mormons alike.1) None of the extant papyri contain anything about Abrham. And we
have at least one fragment (if not more) of the papyri he used as facsimile
1.2) There is great confusion today what it means to
"translate". Many look at is a literal translation. The mormon church
is proposing a different definition of translation to mean something closer to
revelation.3) The three facsimiles contained with the book of
Abraham are not translated correctly according mormon and non-mormon
egyptologists.4) Early church leaders and members believed (or it
is reasonable to think that they believed) that Joseph Smith was doing a literal
translation (if you would like source, I would be more than happy to
provide).5) If you want to believe, then believe.6) If
the evidence looks like a fraud to you, then don't believe.
Ernest T. Bass: who wrote the phrase "written by his own hand on
papyrus" and what those words betoken are not as clear as you seem to think.
Hugh Nibley and BYU Egyptologist Dr. John Gee both have offered a number of
explanations, in historical context, that would allow for the papyri to have
been copies of copies of copies of what Abraham originally wrote. Look up Steven O. Smoot's article "By His Own Hand< Upon Papyrus:
Another Look" in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. I would cite
you to the URL but doing so generates a "too long unwrappable line"
error message. And, of course, the papyri we now have may well not
be the papyri Joseph used as the basis for his translation. Contemporary
witnesses describe those papyri differently.Joseph received many
papyri, and said at the time that many were funerary scripts that had nothing to
do with Abraham.
How can JS translate supposed writings by the man Abraham while in Egypt when he
was named Abram at the time? Abraham did not yet know his name was
Abraham and what JS claims is in contradiction to Holy scripture.Gen
12:9-20 Abram goes to Egypt to escape famine then returns to Canaan.Gen 17:5 God changes Abram's name to Abraham.Gen 20:1 Nearest
point Abraham ever again came to Egypt was Gerar, a few miles east of Gaza.
Shelama,"There's something quite sad happening in Mormonism
here in the 21st century...."______________________________Never sell short the resilience of human faith. People experience their own
private crucibles, generations pass away, new ones reinvent themselves, and
faith endures. During the 16th century Protestant Reformation, it must have
looked like Christianity was coming apart at the seams and might be in its death
throes. What we now see in hindsight is Christianity having a rebirth infused
with deeper understanding.Mormonism is not in crisis. It’s
just experiencing growing pains.
There's something quite sad happening in Mormonism here in the 21st
century.Church-wide, according to Martinich & Stewart, the
Mormon activity level is now down to about 30% and that it costs $6-7000 for
every new convert who is still active at one year.Marlin K. Jensen
has apparently acknowledged publicly that there's a crisis of apostasy in
Mormonism that's not been seen since Kirtland.It' a good
thing that the Lord re-established His Only True Church early in the 19th
century rather than in the 21st since it could never even get off the ground
today. That alone testifies that it is His Work and His Glory.
Quote from the essay: "None of the characters on the papyrus fragments
mentioned Abraham’s name or any of the events recorded in the book of
Abraham. Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the
fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham, though
there is not unanimity, even among non-Mormon scholars, about the proper
interpretation of the vignettes on these fragments.27 Scholars have identified
the papyrus fragments as parts of standard funerary texts that were deposited
with mummified bodies. These fragments date to between the third century B.C.E.
and the first century C.E., long after Abraham lived."YES! This is
what people have been arguing about and posting online for years - unfortunately
these facts have destroyed fragile testimonies. Perhaps the funerary text that
is facsimile 1 should come out of the scriptures and let the Book of Abraham
stand on it's own - that picture that has caused so much of the
controversy. I am so grateful that the Church leadership is publishing these
Regarding the use of parallels that the producer of a work "could not
possibly have known" as evidence that its production must be miraculous,
consider the case of the Catholic mystic Maria Valtorta.Over a
period of eight years, she wrote 122 books, totaling 15,000 pages, which
compares roughly with the pages-per-day rate at which the Book of Mormon was
translated. She claimed that the voice of Jesus had come to her and instructed
her to fill in details about his life. Defenders of Valtorta's
work being authentically inspired argue that she could not possibly have known
details about the geography and geology of ancient Palestine she described. In
one astonishing coincidence, she accurately described an arrangement of stars
and planets in the year AD 33 that allegedly could not have been known without
using modern computer simulations to model the ancient sky.I
don't believe in Maria Valtorta. It would be an incredible coincidence if
there were never any incredible coincidences.
Whether literal or not, and regardless of how, did Joseph Smith
"translate" the BoA with the same skill and inspiration that he
"translated" the Facsimiles?
FROM THE ESSAY ON THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM:"....Abraham 3:22–23
is written in a poetic structure more characteristic of Near Eastern languages
than early American writing style...."______________________________I wouldn't expect it to reflect
anything else being in the idiom of the King James Bible which Bible-reading
Americans of Joseph Smith’s time were familiar with.I
carefully read the entire essay on the Church website. The conclusions it
advances repeatedly strain my credulity. Especially annoying is its persistent
determined effort to force an understanding of translation that is not what most
people take that term to mean.
From the existing papyri and fragments, and descriptions of the now missing
pieces, Egyptologists have determined that this was a first century BCE funeral
scroll. Besides not possibly being written by the hand of Abraham, it is now
argued that Joseph Smith used the papyri for inspiration to write something
completely different. I would ask then why did Joseph even need the papyri in
the first place? And lest we forget it was passages about the curse being passed
down through Ham and his wife Egyptus and the pharaoh not being able to hold the
priesthood as he descended from Ham, that were used as the scriptural
justifications for denying blacks the priesthood for about 140 years.
Mountanman, - Here is a concept - if you translate YHVH (Hebrew spelling of
Jehovah) into English - even in 1830 - do you know what you get? JEHOVAH.
That's why its called a translation, because you are translating it into a
form your contemporaries can't read to one that they can. So it doesnt
matter that the "original" spelling of the Lords name was Jahvey or
Jahweh or JHVH or Wahvey or Yahve or Yahveh or Yahwe or Yahweh or YHVH or YHWH -
to Joseph and his contemporaries the correct translation was Jehovah.So if I were to translate the french phrase "Ancien Livre" into
English that you could read I would not write "Auld bóc" which
would be the authentic translation I would write "Old Book" so that my
contemporaries could actually read and understand what I am writing. Sadly, these are the kind of ridiculous arguments that the anti Mormon crowd
hang their hats on, and they convince many people with less secure testimonies
that it is somehow a significant negative issue when in reality it is evidence
that Joseph Smith did things correctly.
I love that the Church is releasing these essays. There are incorrect teachings
that have gone on for many years - not from the top but within individual
wards/areas. Nothing in these essays is nor should be enough to shake my faith.
To the contrary they solidify my faith as I have longed for some of these
little-known facts to be addressed by the Church. I feel the reason they have
not been addressed directly in the past is because they are less important than
the doctrine of the Church - love of God and others being most important. Sure,
many things we believe may be fantastical to many, but the most important thing
to me is that the teachings of the Church and the study of its scriptures makes
me a better person. That is why I will never criticize any other Church as long
as they teach the love of God and others. Whether the BOA is a literal
translation of lost papyri or a revelation sparked by the items Joseph received
doesn't matter to me - what matters is that my life is better for studying
2close2call - I am pretty sure I do understand. Reading your comments it seems
apparent that you have chosen to believe things that aren't true or are
taken completely out of context. I know these things are bandied about by the
anti Mormon crowd but aside from the intentional deception from said crowd and
the myopic focus on misinterpreting a singular event without the proper context
everything you mentioned has a very normal and common explanation. It only
seems strange when you twist things into the illogical pretzels the said crown
does in order to generate controversy.UT Brit - There was no blame
in my comment, just an observation. Another observation is this: There has not
been a single thing new to me in any of these essays - especially the blacks and
the priesthood one. Every single thing presented is from well known and
established sources and they were available many years ago. That is why it is
surprising to me that people are freaking out. I suppose the problem is sorting
the misinformation from the truth sometimes, but when the truth is presented to
you there is no cause to kill the messenger because of your own
As improbable as the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham accounts are, they
contain human interest and plausibility, slight though the plausibility may be
to critical observation. Those are the key elements for taking a fantastic tale
seriously. It’s what creative writers call suspension of disbelief.
Some, many actually, who have never even known that this Book of Abraham
controversy existed seem to be using it as a big "gotcha" moment to try
to discredit the LDS Church as a whole. Something that seems to be more
important to them than finding their own faith. Why bother? Doesn't
everyone know by now that proof of anything religious or spiritual is like
trying to argue what the best color is.
Let us not be so concerned with the truthfulness of this, as much as the
truthyness that it offers.
Some of the scriptures which have been used in the past to justify excluding
blacks from the priesthood are in the P of GP. What is the modern
interpretation of the following:"25 Now the first government of
Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of
Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was
patriarchal. 26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his
kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly
to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in
the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of
Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the
blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood."
Thank you, Gene Pool and Cambodia Girl.@UT Brit @Neanderthal They
did see them and handle them. You do not have the correct facts. All you have to
do is read "The Testimony of Eight Witnesses:"as many of the
leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we
also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient
work, and of curious workmanship."@Neanderthal Yes, knowledge
*can be* superior to faith in some ways, but knowledge after faith is even more
superior. You sound like Thomas of old did: "Except I shall see...I will not
believe." Then after Thomas got the knowledge of which you speak (by feeling
the prints in hand, feet, and side) and declared "My Lord, My God,"
Jesus said, "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have
And back and forth we go... Proof of anything true is in living the principles
it teaches. If the principle makes a claim, and the principle is lived and the
principle is verified by the results... it is true. If the principles are lived
and the promises of that principle is unfulfilled, it is false. Principles are
the " if...then " of divine truth. IF I do this THEN this will be the
result. Proof of the Book of Abraham is in identifying and living it's
principles. Then one will know the truth, "and the truth will make them
free." Truth is defined as "things as they really are, were, and will
be." It is light. If by living the principles found in the Book of Abraham
improve your life, faith and overall goodness, it is good, and whatsoever is
good cometh of Christ.
@ChurchmemberI suggest you read the Testimony of the Eight Witnesses
to get your facts straight. They held the plates in their hands, turned the
pages (plates) leaf by leaf.
RE: Mountanman,a concept? “… Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is
Jehovah… ”(Abraham 1:16) Translated from the Papyrus, by Joseph
Smith. JS spelled the divine name of God wrong as
“Jehovah”. The letter "J" doesn't even exist in Hebrew,
Greek, Latin. The English language did not have a letter "J" before
about 1500 AD. For example, the very first edition of the KJV printed in 1611
AD, contained no "J". Instead the letter "I" is used for Jesus,
Joshua, John. AND the person pronoun "I". These words were written in
1611 AD as Iesus, Ioshua and Iohn. JS owned a 1769 KJV. RLDS archives. Modern scholars,"Jehovah" is "grammatically impossible"
(Jewish Encyclopedia). The scholarly consensus, the English form Jehovah is an
Anglicized form of Yehovah".RE: Swimmer, God never says to pray
about truth. He says to search the Scriptures to find truth (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim.
3:16). James was written to believers and already had the truth. That is why
James calls them "brothers". This verse is about wisdom, not about
praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true. (1 tim 3:16): Heb 11:3).
I have studied the Book of Abraham all my life from a doctrinal standpoint and
can not find one passage, one sentence, one concept presented that does not
serve to increase my faith and knowledge of God, His character and attributes.
What more can anyone ask of any scripture? If the facsimiles do not match the
text, so be it! We don't have even one of the original texts of the Bible
and critics don't fuss about that! If you demand proof, you will be forced
dismiss all scripture especially the Bible and will never comprehend either God
Faith, hope and charity should be in the minds of people. God has a
plan and he is not going to force us on this testing ground of Earth to go by
it. We can read and pray. His word is in scriptures to help us know what to do
and even to know part of his plan. Abraham was a powerful man and recognized as
an ancestral Father to many people on this earth. God knew Abraham and Abraham
was faithful.4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would
exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if
these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real
intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by
the power of the Holy Ghost.5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye
may know the truth of all things.
What I find fascinating is that the LDS Church felt it necessary to offer this
bit of apologia in the first place.This feeble application of a tiny
bandaid merely calls attention to the larger wound.
JM: 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.
There are any number of texts (think Egyptian pyramids, the
Kabbalah, the patterns seen in tree bark and clouds, the writings of
Nostradamus, St Malachy or Ranggawarsita - to name three of thousands,
conspiracy theories about aliens, Jews, Illuminati, Mormons, Kennedies,
Clintons, 9-11...) in which devotees have seen unassailable proofs and
prophecies that most Mormons consider to be pure imagination. Mormon apologists
from Nibley to FARMS have done the same, reading into coincidental elements of
sacred texts 'proofs' of their antiquity. At the same time, most
Mormons reject the very solid conclusions of Biblical Higher Criticism about
multiple authors and textual accretion in the canonical compilations of
Christianity and Judaism. Humans create the meanings they need and want with any
available material, in every region, religion, and age of the earth.
Re:lifelong ute That's not news about the book of Abraham. LDS
scholars have pointed that out for years.
When I was young I wanted to know the answers right away. And then I there were
plenty of times I thought I knew everything. I even thought I knew exactly what
my parents should be doing as parents, etc. Life has taught me that
what I knew then was minuscule compared to what I have learned now. I had to
reign myself in and realize that I needed more patience and understanding. I am
still learning.The gospel of Jesus Christ is the same. There is no
way each of us will know all the answers right now. We do not have full
understanding but we do have many tools to find the answers. The Church teaches
us that we must have faith, study and pray on our own. Isn't that
wonderful? Heavenly Father loves us so much that He will let each of us know,
personally. As with anything important in life, we must do the work to
appreciate the fruit of our labors. Personal revelation, is just that, Personal!
Absolutely no critic, or no one can take that away.
LogicalPrimeWe are told that "faith is the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". The problem we have now with
the BoA, is that the evidence directly contradicts what we have been told
previously.@PPThis is another problem, how quick we are
to blame the members for things that have not been taught to them in the church.
We are strictly told to avoid reading things on the internet that may set the
church in a bad light.You will find that the church has taught very
different things about the BoA and subjects such as blacks and the priesthood
over the years. These essays are a long time coming, things like this should
have sunday school lessons dedicated to it and the essay about the priesthood
ban should be read from the pulpit in sacrament.@MickNo
they didnt actually see them, they saw it with their "spiritual" eyes.
The plates were covered constantly.
I love how the church discounts that Joseph Smith said it was a
'translation' of the papyri, and now they are saying it was a
'revelation' that had nothing to do with the papyri. So if the
writings didn't come from the papyri, then there would have been no need
for Joseph Smith to obtain them. Sounds an awful lot like the Book of Mormon
story where Joseph went to great lengths to obtain the golden plates, only to
not use them during translation as they lay covered by a cloth while he
'translated' them. So he really didn't need the plates, he really
didn't need the papyri... it just doesn't add up. It really proves
that Joseph Smith was very good at telling stories, and not very good at
@Mick:"People did see the plates."Where's his
wife's statement? I would have thought the first people you'd show
such an important item would be your wife and family. And even mom and dad.
His son was so unimpressed that he even headed up another church.My
point is simply this... if the good news of the gospel is to be believed and
spread why not provide as much physical evidence to as many people as you can.
As I indicated, faith is good but knowledge is far superior.Even
Christ, upon His resurrected didn't keep it a secret. He went instead to
His disciples and said 'handle me and see.'
TO: MickJust so you know. The 11 "witnesses" did not see the
plates with their actual eyes. They have said they only saw the plates with
their "spiritual eyes". Which means they saw the plates in a vision
after having prayed for 3 hours in a dark room.
To: SuperTechnobowlI totally understand what you are saying about
believing in miracles. I respect you for choosing to believe in Mormon and
Christian miracles that you have read about.When you hear about
Muslim miracles (there are hundreds) and Catholic miracles and FLDS miracles and
Scientology miracles why don't you choose to believe they are real as well?
Which miracles (supernatural beliefs) are we supposed to believe in
and which ones are we supposed to laugh off as non-sense?If your
answer is to ask God and he will tell you, it seems like he tells everyone a
different answer. :)
First word of advice to those with negative comments: read the essay all the way
through and be sure you understand what it is saying. Second word of advice:
consider what would happen if science did prove the Book of Mormon and all
related scripture true in the way that the LDS church believes it to be true.
Would this lead to any change whatever in you or the grand majority of people on
the planet? What is the end result for someone who knows that God is real and
still refuses to obey as contrasted with the end result for someone who has only
a slight reason to believe and decides not to? I think God respects our ability
to choose for ourselves and has designed this life to depend on faith to avoid
condemning too many people to too harsh an ending.
Grant S. Heward and Jerald Tanner, "The Source of the Book of Abraham
Identified," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 3:2 (Summer 1968): 92-97.
Along with so many things, the "explanations" about the Book of Abraham
just don't pass the smell test. It smells like Denmark!
PP stated "What I find alarming is the number of people being
"shocked" because the truth does not match their opinions - and they
seem to think their opinions are more valid." PP, You don't
get it, my friend. When a person has a personal testimony of Joseph Smith
translating the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham from actual ancient golden
plates or scrolls, and they find out the Book of Mormon was translated with a
rock in a hat or BOA inspired from God but not a direct translation from
scrolls, they not only do not have a testimony of that, they doubt the validity
of the method they got a testimony as their testimony was in something that was
NeaderthalPeople did see the plates. There were 11 witness who gave
recorded their witness of seeing and handling the plates. You can read their
testimony in the front of the Book of Mormon. I believe Mrs. Whitmer also saw
Lifelong Ute - Maybe you weren't taught that by teachers you have had in
your life, but their misunderstanding does not change the fact that this has
always been the churches stand on the Book of Abraham. I learned the background
of the translation almost 30 years ago, so its not exactly a secret, just not a
common subject.Why are you "shocked" just because you
learned something new? Are you shocked that you didn't know all that there
was to know about the church or are you trying to derive some nonexistent
malicious intent from the Church? What I find funny is the number of
people that didn't know the Church's stand on many of the subjects
presented in these new essays. What I find alarming is the number of people
being "shocked" because the truth does not match their opinions - and
they seem to think their opinions are more valid.
@Lifelong Ute:"Why are out church leaders just now admitting
this?"Most probably didn't even care to have a doubt. They
take/took it on faith to be truly a translation of Abraham's own
writing.Actually, I doubt if JS knew enough Egyptian (or whatever
language it was written in) to make an actual translation.@Swimmer:"The Church has never tried to prove the truth of its
teachings or claims regarding the Book of Mormon or of Abraham by empirical
evidence."There isn't enough empirical evidence to do much
research on.I, for one, have always been concerned that, when Smith
would translate the BofM he would not allow his scribes to see the actual
plates. Nor anyone else. Not his wife or children. Why so secretive? If I
were a scribe I'd insist on seeing the physical item. Can you imagine how
convincing the whole account would be had there been independent, outside
verification? Some would counter that you need faith. Knowledge is said to be
superior to faith.
@Lifelong Ute:Just now admitting what? Much of this information has
been available since the 1960's. Hugh Nibley discussed it widely in the
1970's. Courses on BYU's campus have dealt with the details that we
know of the BofA translation process since the early 1980's. This is such
old news. Practically every faithful student of LDS scripture and doctrine
has read about this material and these concepts. This is a simple essay for
investigators and the uninformed.
Science could not have predicted or validated the parted Red Sea, manna from
heaven, the pregnancy of the virgin Mary, the healing of the sick and afflicted,
the Savior walking on water and multiplying fish and wine, let alone the
unprecedented resurrection.Faith born of the Spirit, my friends.
Fools mock, for they shall mourn.
After review and careful consideration of The Pearl of Great Price, I followed
the same process I did when I read the Bible, I knelt in prayer and asked God if
these things which I read were true. I received a personal witness of these
things. I was 18 at the time. Not a member. Could have ignored it all, but could
not deny what I knew in my heart. Not by someone trying to pound it in my head
but by thoughtful study and prayer. Maybe that's not the way you are
"supposed" to get answers from God. Seemed to work for me. I'm not
here to castigate those who don't believe. We are here because we wanted to
have the freedom to choose. My responsibility is to live what I know to be true
for me. If my life reflects something you want to know about, I'm happy to
share. What ever you believe, I support you. There is a saying floating around:
Haters gonna hate. I see that in some of the comments. I believe even if an
angel of the Lord or Jesus Christ himself came down, you might still deny it.
@ Ernest T. BassYou are right, I misconstrued your statement as
referring to Joseph Smith. However, I have no doubt, none, that Abraham wrote
the account translated by Joseph Smith. You rely simply on what some scholars
have allegedly said about the origin and content of the remnants of papyri
remaining after the fire that destroyed most of them, as I understand the
history.The Church has never tried to prove the truth of its
teachings or claims regarding the Book of Mormon or of Abraham by empirical
evidence. The Church has always said that you can learn the truth of any of its
claims simply by asking God. I did ask. I know with absolute surety that both
books are volumes of sacred scripture revealed by God, equal with the Bible.
No, I am neither a blind follower, nor ignorant. I have a law degree and am a
partner in a large law firm. But I asked and received an answer. The Church
has nothing to prove. The burden is on you and others who, apparently,
haven't asked. Instead of mocking, try reading the books and asking God.
As the "other" newspaper points out, this news from the church is saying
the book of Abraham may not be a literal translation. That's not what
we've been taught. Why are out church leaders just now admitting this?
I'm a lifelong Mormon who is shocked at this news and disappointed we have
not been told the truth for do many decades.
@Ernest T. Bass -- what can be debated is the meaning of the expression
"Written by his own hand". Perhaps, instead of interpreting that phrase
to mean "he [Abraham] wrote on that[specific and particular] papyrus
himself," alternatively, it could simply mean that the narrative is
autobiographical and not merely biographical. The actual document could be a
copy, or a copy of a copy, and yet, as the narrative is autobiographical, the
phrase "Written by his own hand" may rightly apply.
@ swimmer"Written by his own hand" is the precise claim that
Abraham wrote on that specific papyrus. There is no way to spin that. Abraham
did not have a scribe, he wrote on that papyrus himself.Now of course the
evidence suggests otherwise. And it is very strong evidence, not open to debate.
The history of the Egyptian language stretches over many centuries, and through
different dynasties. As one dynasty prevailed over the other, history was
re-written and so also, certain meanings of the language changed. Figures in
their history evolved, pharaohs became Gods. There is no end to the mysteries of
Egypt. It is IMPOSSIBLE for ANY Egyptologist to refute the Book of Abraham,
because they simply do not have all of the Papyri that was used in the
translation. Period. What is left to study, is scanty at best.
But it is rich with meaning for those interested in looking into it. The Book
of Abraham -- and the Facsimiles have a mixture of Hieratic Egyptian characters,
and other Logograms (hieroglyphs if you will)....To gain the most
out of it, one must look for what is possible -- rather than what is impossible.
As before stated, the history of the Egyptian language stretches over a broad
period of time.. and truly there is no unique interpretation...for any
open-minded, and curious student.
"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.
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.
@Mack2828,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.
"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.@iron&clay:"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.
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.
@SwimmerI think he was referring to the papyri being written by
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
@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.
@ Ernest T. BassWrong 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
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.
@JM,Amen!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.
"Written by his own hand"No matter how they try, they can't
spin that away.
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.
@ 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.
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.
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 #9Joseph 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 138So, 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.
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
"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
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.
"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.