The professor makes good points.
I'm a Mormon with a PHD in ecology. As such, I'm very familiar with
many aspects of biology. As an ecologist, I became familiar with the
interactions of plants and animals and their environment. I don't recall
ever believing in the Genesis story. No reference to scripture will confirm
that for me, because the falsifying evidence is overwhelming.As any
scientist knows, we usually can't prove something to be absolutely true,
e.g. evolution, or quantum theory, but we can try to falsify it (prove it
false). Since Smith's original ms is lost, we can neither validate nor
falsify his statements.Yet I'm an active Mormon and a believer
in the Book of Mormon. In context, it is hard to dismiss as a fraud. I've
spent many years reading it and reading about it. The BOM apologia is
impressive. And while I'm an evolutionist and enthusiastically read much
lay literature on the cosmos, quantum and string theory, I'm convinced that
the BOM is what it claims to be.I'll reserve judgement on the
Book of Abraham.
UT Brit, I recommend reading the book 1491: New Revelations of the
Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.He has no relation to
the LDS church at all, but has found a great deal of archeological evidence that
has come to light in the last 30 years which supports the descriptions of
geography, animal husbandry and agriculture as described in the BoM. The question is, is that actual or circumstantial evidence. Your Roman coins
and swords can be just as easily explained as being war booty or trade goods
brought by merchants who visited Rome. No Romans ever set foot on the British
Islands. There was a widespread conspiracy to "say" that Romans once
occupied the lands and they built Hadrian's Wall in order to fool the
people of the future.What evidence do you accept and what do you
reject, or do you weigh it all?
Tyler D1. the heliocentric solar system - went from religious
explanation to a "scientific" (Greek/Roman) earth centric solar system,
back to a helio centric solar system2. the Word of Wisdom. When it
was given, tobacco was a health invigorator, according to medical science. Not
until 100 years later did science determine that it was in fact, not.
It was a painful read. I doubt Professor Muhlenstein would ever assert such
logic in a non-LDS academic setting.
Re: "Name a fact about the natural world for which we once had a scientific
. . . explanation but now have a better religious explanation."There are a great many, but here's one:During my lifetime,
scientists agreed that the heavenly bodies observable in our galactic cluster
[which concept had not even been fully fleshed out] were all that existed, or
ever had. Though an accurate count failed, nearly all scientists agreed the
number was somewhere south of infinity.This was in stark conflict
with the truth revealed to Joseph Smith, that there are "worlds without
number."More recently, larger, clearer, more accurate
observational devices recorded so many newly-observed galaxies, it has become
clear that recent science underestimated the number of stars by a factor
approaching infinity, just in our observable universe.Add to that
the fact that exoplanets are now known to be ubiquitous, as well as fairly clear
evidence indicating that the curious weakness of gravity is best explained by a
multiplicity of invisible nearby universes, and the revealed concept of
"worlds without number" is clearly much more accurate than science of
A couple of thoughts:1) Why it is that some folks insist that
evidence or rational thought is the end all to discussion? While the scientific
method has value for scientific processes, who declared that nothing of value
exists in an area that defies scientific explanation? I am amused at times with
the chest-thumping "critical thinkers" who seem to BELIEVE they are the
only ones capable of deriving logical conclusions. Most often we are starting
with different presumptions and will never reach the same place even with the
best of logical processes.2) I can't think of many people or
things that I dislike enough to spend my time fighting against. Yet on this site
we have people from all over the world who are chiming in with fervent assaults
on LDS beliefs. I feel badly for them if their lives are so consumed by hate or
anger that as a result they flock here to disgorge their bile. Hopefully one day
they will get past the need to fight the Mormons and will find something
positive to do with their lives.
Interesting that nearly 50 percent of the time text surrounding a picture in all
Egyptian writings isn't related. Everyone agrees that the text around the
picture on facsimile 1 doesn't relate. So, given the proven 50/50 nature of
relationship, the question of facsimile 1 origins therefore still remains.As Terryl Givens says, "There must be grounds for doubt as well as
belief, in order to render the choice more truly a choice, and therefore the
more deliberate, and laden with personal vulnerability and investment. An
overwhelming preponderance of evidence on either side would make our choice as
meaningless as would a loaded gun pointed at our heads. The option to believe
must appear on one’s personal horizon like the fruit of paradise, perched
precariously between sets of demands held in dynamic tension."The "firm" assumption of most Egyptologists is that God doesn't
exist. Talk about confirmation bias!—something to be wary of for believers
of all Christian faiths and of the Bible (which surely many of the Egyptologists
see as complete fiction too).I love the Book of Abraham. It has
stirred my soul deeply as I've pondered its pages, and I am so grateful for
I watched Professor Muhlestein's presentation online and it was
outstanding. However, it is really tragic that Deseret News does this topic a
HUGE injustice by not correctly identifying Dr. Muhlestein as a professional
Egyptologist. How many comments have said something like "why should we
believe Muhlestein over the experts?"? I am stumped why the DN would not
point out that Muhlestein is an expert with all the credentials anybody could
ever hope to have in this area. Egyptology is his field. His Ph.D. is from UCLA
in Egyptology and this is his area of professional research and publications.
Why the DN would omit information of such critical importance to this subject is
amazing to me.
Consider the D&C -- scripture and revelation, in far greater volume than
Abraham, with no alluding to text or pictures being translated. Joseph's
corrections to the Bible -- via revelation with no alluding to translating
Greek, Hebrew or any original text. The First Vision as noted in the POGP --
with no other text or translation.There is absolutely nothing
claiming Joseph literally translated every inch of said papyri or that the
entire content of Abraham or Moses came from direct translation of the papyri.
It is revelation.And like the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, and
the words from modern prophets, a testimony of the BOA being the word of God can
come ONLY through revelation. And for those who have obtained such revelation
and testimony -- even if there's a scant 14 million in a sea of 7 billion
humans -- no further proof is necessary.And yes, because God asks us
so and demands our faith rather than our sure knowledge, knowing Joseph Smith
was His prophet is the starting point and the paradigm through which to judge
all other things pertaining to the Restoration.
It would appear that some posters here did nor even read or conclude reading the
article. The hypothesis of the article was this: You have to make some
assumptions before you come to conclusions; after that you have to understand
the assumption(s) of your adversary so that you can conclude your argument more
effectively. No one is ignoring the assumptions "scholars"
make about the Papyrus the Prophet Joseph Smith made, but we must understand
their assumptions before we understand their conclusions.Is this THE
papyrus Joseph really translated? Are you assuming that it is? If 47% of the
time it is not representative of the picture next to it, can you ignore that
fact and just move on because your conclusion is not really fully supported by
that fact? People make conclusions first, take a position, then
support that position with a few facts (it is an an old papyrus, it is written
in Egyptian, it did belong to Joseph, ergo, it was incorrectly translated by
him). Then you throw in some assumptions where facts are not provided, and
voila, it is false, the religion is false the Mormons have been duped. Bad argument.
Well, you know what they say about when you assume…Thankfully,
not having been raised in the Church, I had no assumptions about any aspect of
its doctrine, including this one, going forward after having whatever initial
misconceptions I possessed dispelled. I have embraced the Book of Abraham at
face value, for what it is, and not tried to project my own ideas into it. FAIR
has helped me greatly in that regard.
Telling development in the narrative surrounding the BoA in the Gospel Topics
essay on LDS.org: "Alternatively, Joseph's study of the papyri may
have led to a revelation about key events and teachings in the life of Abraham,
much as he had earlier received a revelation about the life of Moses while
studying the Bible. 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. 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."This approach
removes Egyptologists from the conversation and moves it into the minds of
faithful LDS members to decide whether they believe in Joseph as a prophet and
revelator, rather than as a translator. The fly in this ointment is the
introduction to the BoA which declares, "A Translation of some ancient
Records...The writings of Abraham...written by his own hand, upon papyrus."
New scriptures soon?
RE: FT1/SS ,Mormanity's. Why was a restoration needed if Jude 1:3 says that
the Gospel was given to the saints "once for all"? This makes it clear
that the church was to be established once only?“The Greek
work rendered "once" (or "once for all") is hapax G530,
Strong’s Greek Concordance; once, one time, once for all. “As translated Correctly” Jude 1:3, "once for all” in
the"[NIV,NLT,ESV,NET,ASB, NKJV…] Finality , “But the [poor] KJV
simply speaks of "the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints."Context, E.g… Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men
once( G530) to die, but after this the judgment. Heb 9:28 So Christ was
once( G530) offered to bear the sins of many….”Not twice.” RE: Human Relationships. ANALOGES, The “Fatherhood of
God”. The parental imagery is even applied to God in the meteorological
aspects of creation – both fatherly and motherly language is used in Job
38.28,29, “Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Out of whose womb came the ice. See john 4:24
@GameTheory"But ill just leave with this thought; that out of 7
Billion people in the world, supposedly 14 million get the right revelation, and
the rest don't."That is a pretty weird statement to make
when in a lot of Asian countries Christianity isn't allowed to be preached.
The same goes for the middle east.How is someone supposed to
recognize the spirit if they have never been taught that there is a spirit?This would apply to at least 1/2 of the 7 billion people you mentioned.
@marxist:There's no reason God wouldn't reveal such things
to man. But, as it stands, his revelation is usually given in regards to
spiritual, eternal matters.@wraith:I'm sorry, but I
can't help but recall a scripture in the Book of Mormon that you just
echoed. It is Helaman 16:16. The context is that the non-believers were
rejoicing because they supposed that the time for Christ's coming had
passed. Here is how it reads:"16 Some things they may have
guessed right, among so many; but behold, we know that all these great and
marvelous works cannot come to pass, of which has been spoken."@Shelama:I'm very sad that you denied the unquestionable
experience of receiving a confirmation from the Holy Ghost. I know that I have
received that confirmation and could never deny it. It wasn't an emotion,
it was something else. By this, I know that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of
Why is the image that J.S. put in the BOA not included in the article?
Isn't it obvious even to a BYU "scholar" that he drew in the head
of a human when it is an image of Anubis?
There is a website run by a church member (the website is under his name, and
deseret has already denied my original post because of it) that can be found by
googling Mormanity. There's an article dated 22 May 2014 with links that
will take you to the subject of The Book of Abraham. You will find information
that will debunk all the doubters making coments here.
TheProudDuck,I am now in a hurry again unfortunately. Sorry for
being short of a longer discussion.I agree that it's
interesting and more importantly, I even agree that it can be hard to follow
under certain circumstances I've been in myself before.We
believe in seeking after good things and also believe good can be found in all
parts of the world. We believe that inspiration and promptings to hear the truth
can be heard by anyone. So I'm not saying God only answers LDS prayers. But
I do believe that the powers of the priesthood as restored by the authority of
God are held by those ordained through the system He gave us- a system He is
continually invested in for our benefit. I would prefer to follow the strongest
signal of obtaining truth. But I don't believe everyone else is always
wrong either.How do you know which church truly represents God and
His intentions for our benefit? Which one will lead to it? Which is truly HIS
church? You do not "select" which one. You ask God which one is His.
There is more, so much more, yet no time now.
Know/Live/Love: There are beginnings of an interesting thought there, but I
confess I find the steps in the logic hard to follow. All sects, by
the standard you give, are potentially true. (It borders on impossible to
conclusively prove a negative.) The question then becomes: How do you select
which one to focus your "experiment upon the word" on? Why should you
go through life presuming Mormonism is true, and not Islam? (Besides the whole
"by their fruits" thing.) There is a great gulf between
"God guides me, and is helping me find evidence" and "The Book of
Abraham is a true translation of the writings of the patriarch Abraham, written
by his own hand upon papyrus that fell into the hands of Joseph Smith." It is one thing to have faith in things that reason, by its nature,
cannot find out. It's another thing to reject significant evidences from
reason, because what the evidence points toward is undesirable.
I have a question. The papyri, which Joseph said was written "by the hand of
Abraham," is actually a first century BCE funeral scroll. Apologists now say
he used the papyri as a catalyst for inspiration in the "translation"
into the book. I would ask why Joseph even needed the papyri in the first place.
He wrote the Book of Moses from alleged direct divine inspiration without any
help from ancient artifacts.
RE: Frozen Fractals", First, is Joseph Smith a Prophet, Seer and Revelator?
Once you answer those questions in the affirmative, through prayer and faith,
the rest come easily...."?The heart is deceitful above all
things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9) 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). (Self-Righteousness). RE Craig
Clark,The Trinity being revealed. JS revealed(taught) the triu-nity.
“..In(2 Nephi 31:21)… true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, which is *one God, without end.3Nephi 31:22,
note b.(1John 5:6-9 KJV & JST) v.7 one= (*heis, the #1). But “…
we are one(en).( John 17-22). One in unity (Preposition) different Greek
words.3 persons one God. "one in substance”.(hypostasis,
5287). Heb 1:3
TheProudDuck,"If applying the same methodology leads seven
different people to seven different answers, then by definition, the methodology
is not a reliable means of determing what is absolute truth."You
misunderstood the methodology. We're actually only asking you to give us
the benefit of the doubt- that the church is potentially true until proven
untrue. This method preserves reason by granting the allowance of an assumption
in order to not discount possible outcomes just because they haven't been
observed yet by others.If a man hopes for God to guide him, and he
witnesses evidence that such guidance exists and is helping him find happiness,
it is logical for him to continue the course that lead him to asking for the
guidance in the first place. That is a faith, without complete knowledge, based
on the evidence observed. We've gone through a process which gives us a
testimony. While logical, it is not logical alone. It is spiritual, physical and
reasoned.Because you haven't, we simply ask you to assume the
same premise of observed evidence of truth exists, in order to not discount
evidence you don't understand.
@GameTheory"But ill just leave with this thought; that out of 7
Billion people in the world, supposedly 14 million get the right revelation, and
the rest don't."That's not really a fair comparison.
You should only be counting the people who pray about the Book of Mormon/etc and
get a different answer so it would be more like 10 million or 20 million instead
of 7 billion (I really have no idea what the rate of people considering and then
deciding no is).@coleman51"In spite of the fact that the
historical records indicate that the Book of Abraham was translated from the
long scroll and not the short scroll where facsimile 1 was taken"If that is the case and facsimile 1 comes from something completely different
then why exactly is it included alongside it? @Craig Clark"First, is Joseph Smith a Prophet, Seer and Revelator? Once you answer
those questions in the affirmative, through prayer and faith, the rest come
easily...."Perhaps, but oftentimes the basis of ones'
believe in Joseph Smith being a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator is built upon the
I came acrossed a non-lds archeologists video about dinosaurs during my mission,
the dude throught the video discussed and showed how a bunch of evidence found
by scientific men is thrown into closets and swept under rugs because the
evidence they found doesn't fit into their particular theories in that
particular moment. Nothing against these men but a large amount of evidence
about the Book of Mormon is sitting in museums basements not properly recorded
so that people can easily find it.This same guy discussed how the
ten commandments is carved on a rock in Arizona in Hebrew, how people have dug
up Roman swords, that others found an ancient Hebrew coin with Solomon's
face on it. All of these things were discovered in the Americas, there is
evidence but you really have to dig for it. We will never have enough proof of
the veracity of the BOM in this life but that isn't and never was the
purpose of the BOM in these last days.
UtahMaus,Teaching topics to cub scouts does make a person an expert
on the topic. First of all I'm not sure if you taught the rest of the
scientific method, but you should know that you form a hypothesis, you test
that hypothesis with evidence, observation, and methodology. Based on your
research you reject or accept the hypothesis. Professor Muhlstein forms his
confirmation bias, not a hypothesis and no matter what the evidence suggests
maintains his confirmation bias. Would you or anybody else trust a
proclaimed astrophysicist who says; "i believe the world is the center of
the Solar System, and any evidence i find, I'm going to make it fit into my
view" ?…. anybody? You should respect professors who
say; i believe something to be this way… but based on my research and
evidence i could be wrong. Instead of saying; "i could be wrong, buuuutttt
I'm just going to have to agree to disagree on that one, hahaha"
people,people,PEOPLE. It's called the Rosetta Stone. Read much? ( knowledge
of the Stone hadn't reach America at that time) Smith was brought these
scrolls and "put on the spot". His faithful expected him to be able to
translate them. If he couldn't then they would "see right through
him." He obviously made up The Book of Abraham. This whole
"incident" proves that he was a false prophet. Any other conclusion, by
anyone with a higher education is ridiculous.
As a BIC Mormon for my first 35 years I always just assumed what I had been
taught from the crib -- that the Bible was the "word of God" and
reliable history and, therefore, that Christianity was "true" and that
Jesus was the "Christ." And that the concept of "only true
church" was obvious.At about 20-y.o. I had a "burning
bosom" spiritual experience while reading the BoM that left me saying,
"I know this is true."But with that "knowledge" I
also became more curious and studious.I ended up leaving Mormonism
and all of Christianity at the same time -- when more serious and critical
study of the Bible made it obvious that the Bible and Christianity were purely
human inventions (which, curiously, also made them far more interesting and
challenging and worthy of study).As far as I can tell, pretty much
the only reason to interpret those religious experiences as a revelatory witness
from the Holy Ghost (beyond beginning with the uncritical acceptance that the
"Holy Ghost" was a real thing in the first place) was because the church
and Joseph Smith and the BoM told us to.
The Book of Abraham is a matter of faith, and faith alone. I am shocked that
Prof. Muhlestein is in the academic world with his attitude that his conclusion
is correct before the evidence is examined. He is not a scientist or a scholar.
His is a religious argument and nothing more. He makes his assumptions and
then finds information to support his predetermined assumptions and conclusions.
That is his right, but that approach has no business in a university, just a
sharonna,"The doctrine of the Trinity...is truth for the heart.
The fact that it can not be satisfactorily explained, instead of being against
it, is in its favor. Such a truth had to be revealed; no one could imagine
it.” –A.W. Tozer______________________________That’s the first I’ve heard of the Trinity being revealed to us. I
don’t agree with your friend Tozer. Not only could someone imagine it.
They did and it’s been with us ever since.
Ya'll are funny, holding out the "scientific method" as unbiased! I
recently taught the "scientific method" to a group of cub scouts. Google
it. What is the first step? "Form a hypothesis." In other words, a guess
or prediction based on available evidence.How easy is it to slip
bias into that! When Professor X at Prestigious U decides to study something,
why is he doing so? Either he has an interest in the subject (built in bias), or
he got a grant to study it (financial interest).My reaction to
Muhlstein's remarks was, "Refreshing! A professor willing to admit to
himself and us that it's almost impossible not to start with a bias."
And then he addresses the problems with that.That seemed to be his
point. Even scientists make assumptions and have biases, so they need to be
careful with the research to make sure they aren't trying to make evidence
fit.--Also going to point out that this isn't an
article by Muhlstein. It's a reporter's take on what she heard him say
at a convention. So what we are reading here is not the full context of his
@UT Brit"How am I supposed to believe? We are asked to believe
in the Bible too but God left tons of evidence that the places and people in the
Bible actually existed, why didnt he do the same for the Book Of Mormon?"To be honest there really isn't any evidence of such locations
throughout the bible there is no Egyptian evidence of Moses, nor of the plagues
that occurred. at this time there is no confirmation of Solomon's temple,
nor of a people that was mass and numerous called the people of Israel. So to be honest if you going to believe in the Bible or the Book of
Mormon you have to have a lot of faith.
What's the basis for assuming (or concluding) the Bible is the "word of
God" and not man-made?What's the basis for assuming that
personal "divine revelation" is manifest in common, routine
"religious experience" that transmits "knowledge"?Are all religious experiences equally valid regardless of person, place or
content? On what basis or assumption does one judge? For instance, between the
evangelical and the Mormon experience?What distinguishes a
"true" experience from a false experience? Or from a purely
self-generated experience?If you can't distinguishes a
"true" from a "false" or self-generated experience then how can
you know which one you've had? How would the world and human
& religious history be different if God was not Yahweh, and was neither
perfect nor good, but instead was a manic-depressive with multiple personality
disorder and an imp of perverse who uses sprites to "reveal" different
and contradictory religious "truths" to different people at different
times and places?If you don't know how to distinguish these two
worlds, or distinguish between the religious experiences of each, how can you
"know" which one you're in or which one you've had?
RE: Cinci Man. Read John 15::26. “ The Holy Spirit Bears witness of Jesus
and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit 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..,“… insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ. (Jesus) is the true God and eternal life.(1 John
5:20). RE: Bricha, what this(Christian) professor has done. C.S
Lewis, Mere Christianity. “If Christianity was something we were making
up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in
simplicity, with people who are inventing religions]JS]. How could we? We are
dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother
about." The three personal God. The doctrine of the
Trinity...is truth for the heart. The fact that it can not be satisfactorily
explained, instead of being against it, is in its favor. Such a truth had to be
revealed; no one could imagine it.” –A.W. Tozer
Love your neighbor. Love your God. Love your family. Love yourself.Spend more time on this formula and less on worrying about Egypt and I am
thinking life will work itself out.
Would you want a forensic investigation to follow the same logic as Muhlestein?
In the end everybody has the exact same body of evidence regarding the BoA (and
the Bible). It's interesting that virtually the only people who
find that evidence persuasive are people who already believe and have emotional
commitment and psychological investment.We all know that there are
people who de-convert from Belief to Unbelief based on the conclusions of
honest, serious, informed critical study of that evidence, but is there any
record of anybody, anywhere, ever converting from Unbelief to Belief based on
it? For either the BoA or the Bible? Especially when the intellectual elite of
FAIR and BYU-Neal Maxwell both admit that it would be perfectly reasonable and
rational, based on all of the evidence, to conclude that the BoA and the Bible
are purely human, man-made creations?Also, can anybody reference any
study which validates, or any good reason that supports the interpretation of
common, routine religious experience as either a God or a Holy Ghost bearing
@TylerYou said:2.Name a fact about the natural world for which we
once had a scientific (in the modern sense of the word) explanation but now have
a better religious explanation.You think there are "none".
But I can think of some.Also, you said:1.Name a fact about the
natural world for which a prior religious explanation has now been superseded by
a scientific explanation.I can think of some of those too. And,
some of them after being superseded by a scientific explanation were later found
wrong and superseded by a different scientific explanation; and in some cases
the latter scientific explanation agreeing with the earlier religious
explanation.Have you found examples of such cases? Because they do
exist.You also said, "And I hate to break it to you, but we have
been figuring it out on our own since the dawn of time". What truths have
you discovered on your own?
@Moontan"but I think it collapses when one realizes that, in
order to be true, the writers would have to agree to profound persecution and,
ultimately, their own death, in order to perpetuate the myth, the
fabrication."This is the sinister appeal of cults. Persecution
equals correctness because people are inherently disinclined to persecute and
hence the victims of such would just as easily avoid the persecution were their
beliefs not true? That dog, sir, does not bark.
Coleman51 attacks what he calls "some doubters, writing "...they still
argue regarding the process, not what is actually written. If they are truly
intellectually honest, they would examine the claims made about the books by
first reading them. " His suggested method has a long and
distinguished record in American historiography. It is the method of actually
looking at the relevant evidence, e.g. "George Washington slept in that bed;
and there's the bed, so that proves it." -dlj.
Well I'm more than willing to admit that I was wrong on the word lehi
although it still adds up to little more than a coincidence. In any case I will
stand by my overall point that neither the word lehi or the stela provide even a
shred of evidence for the BofM or it's claims. I find it odd that
apologists will argue away DNA and other major issues by saying that in the end
it's all based on faith and yet at the same time search out and cling to
tiny phantom hopes of evidence.
RE: CDL "The field or study of science is simply man working really hard
to learn what God already knows."So why can't we ask God if
anthropomorphic global warming is real? I don't mean to be flippant. But
God seems to be silent when we really need information. How about the fallout
from the Nevada bomb tests which irradiated the good people of southern Utah.
Couldn't we have had a revelation on that? It would have been really
helpful. I don't deny the existence of revelation, hunches, intuition but
it sure seems unreliable. And the speculations about the BofA are attenuated in
To UT Brit and the other deniers: You have not done your homework and have been
citing references that are up to 100 years old. Egyptology is an evolving area
of study and what we know now is much greater than what we thought even as late
as 20 years ago. Citing references that have been shown to be false does not
support your case, but only shows a rigid adherence toward a belief that Joseph
Smith was not correct in his interpretation of the facsimile's and his
translation of the Book of Abraham. There is in reality an increasing body of
evidence that Joseph Smith knew exactly what he was doing and what he did was
not only correct, but years ahead of his time. Ignorance on your part can be
excused, but willful ignorance shows a bias that indicates a total lack of
@ left fieldYou are really showing how much you actually know about
the papyrus or papyri or whatever you would call it.Joseph Smith
wasn't even alive when it changed hands.
Listen, the way we find out if the Book of Abraham is true is by finding out the
Book of Mormon is true. Once we know that it is, then it proves Joseph Smith was
a prophet and ordained by God to do His work. The Lord was wise in
taking back the Gold Plates so we would have to develop faith to find out the
truthfulness of it. Otherwise if they were sitting in some protected case in the
Church History museum, everyone would just want to retranslate it and argue over
it, completely ignoring the profound message. Even though we don't have the
Plates, we do have the Testimony of the 3 and 8 Witnesses to build our faith
on.The amount of effort exerted over the years to disprove the Book
of Abraham is astonishing because it falls into the "intellectual"
category and there has always been great interest in Egyptian things by
intellectuals. Maybe the Chicago fire was the Lord's way of
having us develop faith in the translation because look at what has happened by
finding one small piece of it!I know for myself the Book of Mormon
is true, independent of anyone else.
As far as I am concerned, and I am by far not knowledgeable in Egyptian mummies
or papyrus and in fact, other than the fact that I find ancient Egypt
fascinating, I know nothing of Egyptology. That being said, I know that the
Prophet Joseph Smith said he translated the papyrus through revelation. Though
the modern day Egyptologists interpret the papyrus as a funerary service for a
man named Horace and his mummification, that's perhaps the face value of
the papyrus. But, we weren't there. We don't know what Joseph really
did. We have some records, true, but I think you would have to be there to know
exactly where Joseph got the book of Abraham. Perhaps it was simple revelation,
not a translation. But if we believe Joseph to be a prophet who receives
revelation directly from God, than we take the book of Abraham as a fascinating
bit of information which the Lord shared with us through the prophet. Like many
other things in any religion, what it boils down to is faith and a witness from
the Holy Spirit who professes the truth in all things.
@Utah Brit re my earlier comment: "Again do I truest (sic) the professor
whos (sic) livelihood/family and church is on the line or the professor where
none of those apply? Do you trust the 9 doctors telling you to seek a certain
type of treatment or the one who says to do the opposite of what the other 9 are
telling you to do?"It depends on the facts and circumstances.
The one who teaches at BYU may have better evidence and less confirmation bias
than the professor who is not at BYU but has an axe to grind and is blinded by
his bias. It depends on the vision of the nine doctors, who may be
spouting conventional diagnoses, compared to the outlier whose approach defies
convention but correctly diagnoses the problem, discovers a new treatment, and
changes the practice of medicine. Nine university-affiliated
doctors studied my symptoms and gave me the standard prescription to suppress
them. One MD, whose independent practice defies the academics, discovered that
what the nine thought was an allergy was cancer. I'm living a
normal life now, after 10 years of hell with the nine, because I trusted the
I don't usually post on articles here, but I feel like something important
is missing from the article. Being critical of this professor for trying to
combine his learning with his belief isn't right. For those of you who do
not believe in God, or in LDS doctrine bear with me while I try to shed some
light.Suppose for the purpose of this argument that God is Einstein
and we are kindergartners. In our realm of understanding we think we know all.
Einstein being the patient teacher tries to show us the beauties and
complexities of the world, even the Universe. We are not yet able to understand
most of the majesty. If we are smart we will realize that he is more
knowledgeable than us, and trust his understanding.This is what this
professor has done. First he learns who God is, then he learns to trust Him.
Then he realized that a lifetime of learning is not nearly enough time to
accumulate more knowledge than God. So he searches out as best as he can hoping
that his knowledge will slowly increase.
Setting aside Muhlestein's epistemological problems and the massive threats
to the external validity of the purported source documents for the BoA, there
are also some serious internal issues. The anachronisms and linguistic problems
kind of signal a death knell to claims that the BoA is an historical account.
Once upon a time, the church's assumption was that Joseph DID translate the
book of Abraham from the adjoining text. So church apologists defended the BoA
by calling into question outside interpretations. Now that this defense is too
difficult to sustain, the apologist story shifts to say that 53% of the time,
adjoining texts on papyri do NOT correspond to the image they sit next to,
therefore the outsider interpretations of the adjoining text are suddenly are
correct as a matter of fact AND Joseph's translation of the BoA must have
surely come from a portion of the scrolls that were lost in the Great Chicago
Fire. Hmmmmm. Book of Mormon plates: taken up by an angel. Book of Abraham
scrolls: burnt in a fire. Move along, folks. There's nothing to see here.
One interesting question remains: Why would Joseph sell something so sacred as
the ancient writings of Abraham? Hmmmmm, indeed.
It's also VERY interesting to note that facsimile 3, published in the Book
of Abraham, contains the name of the priest on the scroll that was found, HORUS,
not once, but TWICE.But yeah, it's the wrong scroll.
@Tyler D ... re. "Let me know when religion starts explaining things before
they happen..." The numerous Old Testament prophecies of the
coming of the Christ, to include the town in which He would be born, the land in
which His parents would seek refuge, the nature of His death, etc. I've seen you speculate before that New Testament writers simply wrote a
narrative to match old prophecies, and at first glance your claim is a seductive
one not beyond the possible, but I think it collapses when one realizes that, in
order to be true, the writers would have to agree to profound persecution and,
ultimately, their own death, in order to perpetuate the myth, the fabrication.
That dog won't bark, sir. One crazed man might, maybe two. But all the
apostles and their followers? Stephen allowed himself to be stoned to death just
to convince history he didn't help fabricate a lie? James was beheaded for
the same ruse? Peter ... Paul ... suffered deprivation, hunger, shipwreck,
beaten 3 times with 39 lashes .... all to protect the lie, when the only benefit
of the lie's existence was persecution? Not possible, sir. Not remotely
tyler d: Not buyiing it! Jesus made no mis-statements. He said he was the
son of God! The contextual evidence you suggest might as well be telling me
Gutenberg wasn't sure about whether his invention actually would allow
someone to read! But, go ahead, keep intellectuallizing what is an easy
question: was he or was he not the son of God? I'll stick with the
former! It will come in handy down the road.
@AerilusMaximus – “Science can be a religion in and of
itself.”I’m always bewildered by this tact – are
you trying to disparage science by claiming it’s a belief system or are
you inadvertently disparaging religion by trying to bring science down to its
level? If the former, name me a belief system that is objectively
testable (this means it works whether you have faith or not), verifiable,
falsifiable and open to constant scrutiny and revision.@AerilusMaximus – “Soooo...what you are saying is that we are
getting a better and better understanding…“Yes, and
religion has been zero help (although it has a gift for explaining things after
the fact). Let me know when religion starts explaining things
before they happen (with greater than “coin flip” accuracy - google
“prophecies” to see it’s statistically much worse than 50-50).
And I hate to break it to you, but we have been figuring it out on
our own since the dawn of time, and now that we’ve traded in alchemy for
chemistry, astrology for astronomy, and religion/revelation for science
we’re starting to do a pretty good job. Reached comment
To: Wraith:I did not say that Monument 21 is about Mormonism. A
complete, not quick, read about the stone reveals what it is about. And I
don't recall any official stand on the pronunciation of "lehi". I
recall that Joseph Smith translated a written record, not a spoken record. I
was asked about evidences. Give Alma 36 written in Chiasmus a try. Explain how
Joseph Smith came up with such a beautiful passage of Chiasmus. Have you ever
looked at a diagram of the Chiasmus therein? As I said, I can speak for days
about evidences, not proof. The proof is spiritual, sufficient to withstand any
refusal to see. It's consistent with how Jesus taught. Read John 16.
Christ Himself taught his apostles that He had to leave so that the Comforter
may come. He taught us about the Spirit, the Holy Ghost. He did not minimize
the importance of the Spirit. I love life. I love faith. When all is made
crystal clear, when the teachings of Jesus are validated, I will stand pleased
that I had the faith in his prophets that he asked us to have.
In regards to the claim that this was literally written by Abraham.Let's pretend for a moment that that is true. This papyrus would be the
most significant find in recorded history. The only other find that would
compare would be the Rosetta Stone.If this papyrus were truly what they
claim it is, that is to say if they really believed their own claim, then this
would be a document that three of the largest faiths would find as scripture.
Christianity, Islam and Judaism. There would be a large, elaborate museum
dedicated to this, the greatest find in history.The fact that it's
hidden away in a vault tells me everything I need to know. Those in charge know
it's not real.
"I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of
Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true,”
he said. “Therefore, any evidence I find, I will try to fit into that
paradigm. …There are those who will assume that it’s not true, and
on these points we’ll just have to agree to disagree."That's nice - just don't claim this approach of assuming the result
before examining the evidence adheres to the scientific method, or holds to any
standard of academic rigor.
The dog ate the homework of Joseph Smith when he allegedly translated the Book
of Mormon from gold plates. He claimed that Moroni took them to heaven.Joseph Smith claimed that he had the gift of translation and claims the
papyrus was the record of Abraham. No one in the mid 1800s was the wiser to
what was on the papyrus until in the late 1800s. When the papyrus was found,
then Joseph Smith's claims were proven false.There are no
assumptions, there is only proof.
@WraithI tried the Google test CinciMan mentioned and he is correct
about the many Bibles interchanging Lehi and Jawbone. Your conclusion is that
all Bibles that use 'lehi' are translated incorrectly. We now know
where you stand. And since you brought up history of Stela 5, you might want to
continue reading. As always, you leave out the rest of the history. Read V.
Garth Norman's reparations of Wells Jakeman's interpretations. And
Monument 21 certainly is about Jawbone. Or are you saying that it's just a
coincidence that Nepi, Zoram, Lehi, the seven families, and other evidences are
present on an ancient Mayan stone that you choose to ignore? What is your
interpretation of each of those things? It is consistent with your selective
observations to ignore everything that you cannot explain and simply say that
evidence doesn't exist. The truth is that you choose to say it is not
evidence to preserve your position. I choose to see it as evidence.
@ The Wraith"As the band marched by Jim's mother she said
"Oh look, everyone's out of step but my son!""It is
alright to be out of step man. Much of the world were out of step
when Joseph Smith revealed the Word of Wisdom even many of the LDS membership.
It was and is a great evidence to me that he was a Prophet.It is
probably worse today. I couldn't tell you the obesity or cancer numbers
but I am sure they are still relatively high.
@ GameTheory"...i wasn't saying to follow the majority of
opinions. because opinions differ from one another, especially on
revelation."Same thing applies to science as well. Some people
believe one theory and some believe another. Science can be a religion in and
of itself.@UT Brit"If you have evidence can I ask
you why you have not shared it with others? Why have the leadership of the
church not been notified and why you have not given anything to FAIR?"The First Principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Faith. The Church
leaders have a large enough task as it is to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in
a year. It is up to members to research and dig deeper and learn by "study
and by faith".It is really interesting how people can say this
or that about the church and the Leadership of it when they really know little
or have little grasp on all the work that happens within the church.3 fold mission of the Church1. Perfect the Saints
@ Tyler D"It is instructive to keep in mind the following two
questions here:1.Name a fact about the natural world for which a
prior religious explanation has now been superseded by a scientific
explanation.2.Name a fact about the natural world for which we once
had a scientific (in the modern sense of the word) explanation but now have a
better religious explanation."Soooo...what you are saying is
that we are getting a better and better understanding of how God created the
world? It makes sense that this would be with the restoration of all things.If what we LDS believe say is true and there was an apostasy then it
makes perfect sense that man and religion would have been wrong in many aspects
in understanding of the world. The world was left to figure things out on their
@ UT BritOh so Eygptologists are omnipotent now according to a
culture that is over 2,000 years old? Wow that is nice to know that I can just
believe whatever that comes out of their mouths.Also with regards to
your Doctor analogy. There is plenty of good medical advice you can find on the
internet. It all depends on the situation you find yourself in. Am I really
going to go to a doctor to find out that I have a cold? Do you require
scientific proof now to verify every illness that occurs to you or you
won't believe you have a certain illness? You can't troubleshoot your
own body?@Gametheory"I won't even go into how
realistically and statistically unreliable revelation is. But ill just leave
with this thought; that out of 7 Billion people in the world, supposedly 14
million get the right revelation, and the rest don't."Well
you know what they say.."If you don't get it...you don't get
“I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of
Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true,”
he said. “Therefore, any evidence I find, I will try to fit into that
paradigm. …"What a ridiculous premise. To know truth one
must start with no assumptions and follow the facts. To say that you will force
a square peg into the round hole of your belief because you started with an
assumption is just silly. Really, why would anybody listen to this guy?
Just to follow up briefly-can we assume Professor Nibley believed the BOA
to be true? I think so!So can we assume when he saw the facsimile1
on the scraps of papyrus given to the church, he would find what the text
of the BOA says about it andwhat he translated from the scroll to be the
same?As a believing Saint he was probably shocked to discover theywere different.
@CinciManYour post is typical of the kind of pseudo-history that is
prevalent in religious studies. In reality the Hebrew word for jawbone is lechi
and is pronounced lekh-ee. Similar but not the same, and there are thousands of
words in any language that will sound like words in another language just by
coincidence. As for the stela you mentioned it actually doesn’t contain
anything related to Mormonism. A quick read on the history of the stela easily
reveals that. The first person who has ever claimed it contained depictions from
the BofM tree of life story was M. Wells Jakeman, founder of the school of
archeology at BYU; and even he called it a “longshot”. His
interpretations have been completely discredited.
@DoloresCruz1982You hit the nail on the head. It really doesn't
matter if the text next to the pictures matches the BofA because Smith got every
single item on the facsimile wrong; and every single item on the other 3
facsimiles wrong. There are hundreds of these facsimiles around the world that
were discovered in Egyptian tombs. Either only Smith is wrong or Egyptologists
have gotten vast amounts of the Egyptian language wrong for the past century.
In a way it reminds me of a story a band teacher friend told me.
There was a marching band and they were in a parade. Every member of the band
was in perfect unison as they marched except one kid, a boy named Jim. He was
completely out of step with the rest of the band. As the band marched by
Jim's mother she said "Oh look, everyone's out of step but my
@UT BritHere's a few evidences you will likely ignore again.
The Hebrew word for Jawbone/Cheekbone is Lehi. Google it if you like.
There's one site that shows the same verse in 17 Bibles. Now check out
Stela 5, Monument 21, and many other places in Mayan history that identify a
great Mayan progenitor, always identified by a jawbone or cheekbone. Also note
that Izapa Mexico honors Jawbone/Lehi with the Mayan date of 597BC. Check out
history regarding the significance of that date, Lehi, and King Zedekiah. Also,
don't let opinions of prophets negate the possibility of two Cumorahs.
Stick to facts if facts are your measure of truth. And how about the seven
families linked to Lehi/Jawbone. And then look at the 7 families mentioned 3
times in the BoM. Two them are Nepi (bat glyph) and Zoram (flynt knife). And
how about the 106 links between Stela 5 and Lehi's Tree of Life dream. You
will be busy reading. Thanks for your willingness. Google Evidence Not Proof
of the Book of Mormon for a few more.
@Red Corvette ... Read my post again, friend. I said belief alone does not prove
the truth of a proposition. Some of the propositions of the
scientists you list have been proved correct, some wrong, most improved upon.
There is no debate. The religious leaders' have been shown to be frauds,
most as they spoke (come on, Bakker??). Yet after 190 years the honesty of
Joseph is still debated. Telling, don't you think? Why can't he be
dispatched as easily as the others?
It might be useful to read what the LdS Church has to say about this topic. Go
to lds.org/topics and search for "Translation and Historicity of the Book of
Will this technique of questioning assumptions work for competing religious
claims as well? Let's see.For years, the Jehovah's
Witnesses prophesied that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in October
1914. Of course, the prophesied date came and went, and no Second Coming.But wait! It wasn't their prophecy that was wrong, but our
assumptions about that prophecy. We all assumed it referred to a physical
return of our savior. Further analysis reveals this to be a misinterpretation,
and the prophecy had indicated a spiritual return all along. And to this day
the JWs maintain that Christ did return--in spirit--in October 1914.I've noticed that whenever assumptions are questioned in this manner, the
claims being made by religions always seem to shift from something provable to
something unfalsifiable. Funny how that works.
None of this changes the fact that the facsimilies published in the LDS Book of
Abraham and the descriptions assigned to them do not match. They just
@Light and Liberty – “Jesus said, "I am the way." He is
either the biggest fraud that ever lived, or he is telling the truth. There is
no in between on that one!”There is another option –
Jesus was misunderstood by his followers and wildly misunderstood by the writers
of the gospels, who were writing based accounts of people who knew people (times
5 or 6 removed in the case of John) who knew the apostles.There is
much textual evidence for this – one example is that this is basically the
portrayal in Mark (that he is mysterious and people don’t know what to
make of him) and being the earliest gospel it is more likely a truer account.
By the time we get to John, Jesus looks more like the celestial
superhero of the Book of Revelation than he does the mystic-sage of Mark (or the
good Jewish rabbi of Matthew).Had Jesus been born in India and
proclaimed himself God (i.e., at one with the Source of the Universe) the
response would have most likely been, “great Jesus, glad you finally
realized that… now go help others realize the same.”
RE: Moontan, Context, always context. The first assertion that faith is rational
means that faith is intelligible. It is not absurd or illogical. If biblical
revelation were absurd and irrational, it would be utterly unintelligible and
meaningless. Augustine “faith without evidence is credulity”.
Faith is rational, it is also reasonable. Biblical faith does not call people to
crucify their intellect or take irrational leaps of faith into the darkness with
the hope that Christ will catch us. Rather we are called to leap out of the
darkness and into the light. God’s Word (the Bible)is
trustworthy and that that conviction is a reasonable conviction, we can trust
God’s Word even for those things that we cannot see. John Calvin also
argued the point that true faith is not believing against evidence. Rather,
true faith involves trusting in the evidence that God has amply provided in and
through His Word. That faith is not without what Calvin called evidences;
rather, it is a faith that surrenders to or acquiesces to the evidences. But,RE: Cinci Man, “Nephites existed”. True, 2 Maccabees
1:36KJV”… Nephi.” Mormon testimony’s are based on
subjective feelings, rather than objective truth.
If you start with the premise that everything Joseph Smith taught is literally
true, you will find evidence to support your belief.If you start
with the premise that the Bible is God's infallible word, you will find
ways to explain away as much evidence from geology, biology, history, and so
forth as it takes.If you start with the premise that there is no God
but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, you will believe that, no matter what.
The same logic that makes Kerry Muhlestein a Mormon could make
another person a Muslim, an evangelical, a Jew, or anything else. If applying the same methodology leads seven different people to seven
different answers, then by definition, the methodology is not a reliable means
of determing what is absolute truth.
"Another assumption commonly made is that Egyptologists have a surefire way
of knowing what the hieroglyphics mean....I want to know, very specifically, how
it can be known that what we are told is a correct translation is, in fact,
accurate. How do people know this?"Napoleon's soldiers in
Egypt discovered a stone inscribed with writing in Greek, hieroglyphic, and a
later Egyptian script. The French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion was able by
comparing them to relate the hieroglyphs to the words of the Coptic language
(the late Egyptian dialect whose meaning had never been lost). Although "surefire" knowledge is never fully possible, it is as close
to certainty as humans are capable of being that the Joseph Smith Papryi do not
contain the words of the modern Book of Abraham.
To "UT Brit" and everybody else who keeps saying that the Egyptologists
are correct, and that what they say is the hard truth. He said that "As a
professor of ancient studies, he said his text books are constantly changing and
many of the things he was teaching as truth 10 years ago have since been
confounded." He doesn't write the text books, so Egyptologists with
nothing to lose cannot conform or deny what the Book of Abraham says.That means that other experts are constantly changing what they think the
truth is. If the truth is always changing, how can you know for certain what
the truth really is?If the experts don't have the truth
settled, how can you know what the truth is?
@79UteAgain do I truest the professor whos livelihood/family and
church is on the line or the professor where none of those apply? Do you trust
the 9 doctors telling you to seek a certain type of treatment or the one who
says to do the opposite of what the other 9 are telling you to do?@Cinci ManI dont want to listen to you for days but please do cite
your evidence here. I have studied the BoM as a spiritual and factual source for
a couple of decades. If you have evidence can I ask you why you have not shared
it with others? Why have the leadership of the church not been notified and why
you have not given anything to FAIR? To start with can you tell me why we
dont see one scrap of evidence of battles involving millions of people in
Western New York? If you try and tell me that there are actually two hill
cumorahs I will shoot it down with numerous quotes from JS to modern
prophets.Please tell me why the introduction page was changed recently?Last reply anyway, quota is up. Please show the evidence.
I took the opposite approach in assessing the reliability of LDS scriptures - I
assumed the BoM and BoA to be fabrications, fiction ... and then tried to
explain the many contradictions to that premise. This took into account, as only
one of many components of the assessment, the actions of Joseph based upon his
claims. Did he live what he taught? (This does not mean that one who lives what
one teaches is proving his propositions true, but it does increase the
probability of truth, especially when ideas and the effect of those ideas are
examined. Context, always context.)Re. lies and fabrications and
cons ... harken back to all the frauds of history who were exposed as such, and
with relative ease. The very fact that 190 years later the question of
Joseph's honesty is still debated should tell us something very clearly.
For me, it screams loudly that his claims were/are true.
Game Theory: Your example was weak, if in fact you are slamming Mormonism for
its membership of 14 million compared to the 7 billion on the earth as to
whether what they claim is true or not. You did do that! However, Jesus said,
"I am the way." So, yes, there is a question that every person on earth
has to answer about Jesus. He is either the biggest fraud that ever lived, or
he is telling the truth. There is no in between on that one! For the
Secularist, now the 5th largest "religion" in the world, there is no in
between with Him, particularly! So, we shall see. No use to peddle arguments,
or draw reasons for support. The assumptions on both sides are black and white.
There is no in between! I think it is the most important question facing
mankind then, but more so today. He either is or isn't. No middle ground.
The rest of the world has its philosophers and prophets, but Jesus made a claim
that no one can ignore!
"I ignore medical advice from my doctor, I see his diplomas on the wall and
ignore them and ask him does he have a surefire way of knowing what is wrong
with me? I check internet boards instead and get people I dont know to prescribe
the cure for my ills."There is nothing wrong with getting s
second opinion from another medical professional. In fact, I would recommend
that on top of doing your own research. But I would not get people you
don't know to prescribe a cure for your ills.
So many blind eyes and deaf ears on both sides of this argument from those
I appreciated Kerry Muhlestein's comment that science is continually
refining its views. It's important to remember that religious views can and
do change as well. I remember the June 1978 revelation changed my world view, as
well as many around me.
@gmlewis – “Your question is very reasonable.”Thank you – and I appreciate your perspective.But
let’s make sure we understand the import of the two questions. I
emphatically did not say that better science does not supersede inferior
science. This happens all the time and is in fact what makes science so powerful
and enlightening (being open to correction).Perhaps the thrust of my
point can best be understood by way of example – western religion has for
millennia postulated a young creationist view of the world. Since Darwin
we’re pretty darn sure that view is wrong, however, if it could be shown
to be true (that God planted fossils and evidence of DNA randomly mutating as a
sort of cosmic joke) then score one for religion.To the best of my
knowledge nothing like this has ever happened since modern science came on the
scene. PS – your point about many suns/planets is interesting
but not beyond what could have been surmised in the 1800’s (telescopes
were pretty good by then). Far more interesting to me is how Buddhists/Taoists
anticipated quantum theory thousands of years before Einstein.
@Ut BritI can speak for days and days non-stop about the evidences
that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Nephites existed. I have even
written of a few of them in DSN comments. And I never receive any feedback from
folks like you who say there's zero evidence. I have hundreds of them.
You may read them, but I predict that you will stick to your guns and continue
to say there is no evidence. No one but you can choose for you to see evidence.
But the invitation stands.
@UT Brit:Confirmation bias afflicts all of us, even
"scholars" and to people on both sides of a question. "Point of
view" is a less negatively charged way of saying the same thing, but we all
have a Weltanschauung that comes into play when trying to make a point.To think that expert Egyptologists have "no skin in the game" is to
ignore their bias. We all come to the "game" with our beliefs and
disbeliefs - we don't live or research in vacuums (except physicists
researching quantum electrodynamics and the like). Some in the "game"
strive to set aside their preconceptions when examining an issue, but with
varying degrees of success. Read a book like "The Double Helix" and
you'll see that scientific inquiry is driven by confirmation bias. An honest person will admit to the affliction; one who doesn't is
simply in denial. And the first task in studying what someone has written about
any issue is to examine the author's point of view or bias.
@Tyler D: 2.Name a fact about the natural world for which we once had a
scientific (in the modern sense of the word) explanation but now have a better
religious explanation.Your question is very reasonable. It was once
thought by scientists that planets were rare. The scriptures teach that there
as many worlds as there are grains of sand. Only in the last few years have we
found that there are many trillions of suns that can have planets, and we are
now detecting evidence of some of those planets. I think this is an example of
where revealed information was far ahead of its time.Of course, it
is easy to assume that today's scientists have a handle on all things, but
there are always new things being discovered that show the previous knowledge
was insufficient.I have no problem with accepting revealed truth,
because I've come to trust the Lord as a perfect source of information and
I know He will give us as much truth as we are capable of receiving.
Obviously this article has stirred a real hornet's nest of controversy
regarding the Book of Abraham and the veracity of Joseph Smith's claims. I
would suggest that those of you who are doubters and strident deniers are simply
not doing your homework. The Book of Abraham was not translated from the text
that appears next to facsimile 1 but from a later portion called the long scroll
which was destroyed in the Chicago fire. Joseph's interpretation of the
three facsimile's had many elements correct. Particularly in the first
facsimile, this was indeed a human sacrifice because the elements in the
facsimile does not match with pictures depicting a funerary text, but of a human
sacrifice. The other two facsimile's do indeed match and can be interpreted
just the way Joseph interpreted them. Abraham was used by Egyptians in their
texts because numerous other texts have done so. My suggestion to those who
doubt the veracity of Joseph Smith's interpretation need to do your
homework rather than hide under a veil of cynicism and claim you are
intellectually honest in your search for truth.
Isn't it interesting how many commenters didn't understand the points
of the article? No one is saying not to believe the Egyptologists and other
scholars. We are just being reminded that we all agree that the Book of Abraham
is not a translation of the documents found in the museum. Everyone, including
the Church, agrees with that. The point is that some will choose to use that as
absolute proof that the Book of Abraham is a made up farce, and others will
choose to explain there are many pieces that were destroyed in the fire, one of
which is the fragment from which Joseph translated. I don't ignore the
scholars and science. I look at all the facts, as scientists and scholars
should, but not all choose to.
Our frame of reference makes all the difference how we approach things. Those
who disbelieve Joseph Smith will say: "the text next to the facsimile and
the Book of Abraham don't match. The book is untrue. End of story."
Those who believe Joseph Smith's account don't stop there,
but say: "Interesting. The text next to the facsimile and the content of
the Book of Abraham don't match. I wonder why. Let's study
further." Based on Dr. Muhlestein's research, he found that most of
the time, the text next to the facsimile does NOT relate to the facsimile.
Further, he found from a review of testimony of eye witnesses that Joseph
translated from the long roll (which was burned in the fire), not the short roll
one containing the facsimile and adjacent text.Now, this
doesn't prove anything either way. There is room for the believers to
believe and the disbelievers to disbelieve. Interestingly, however, the belief
structure allowed the introduction of further knowledge, which has enriched the
discussion. If we said that one can't operate from belief,
what a poorer world this would be.
A college professor starts out with an assumption something is true, then tries
to fit evidence into that paradigm? Does that mean that evidence that does not
fit is dismissed or discarded? Intellectual integrity is being exclusively
guided by evidence, even if it takes us in a direction and to a conclusion we do
not personally like. Honest intellectual inquiry tries to avoid prior
assumptions and comes to an understanding from verifiable empirical facts.
I assume that those commenting on a Deseret News piece about a widely accepted
piece of scripture called the Book of Abraham have a vested interest in the
article, or can at least offer up some beneficial point of view. I guess that
assumption is destroyed.
“We would be mistaken to assume that what (we) know is safe. (This
knowledge) works best when we realize its limitations,”Yes but
by all means trust without limitation those "feelings" from the Holy
Spirit, because of course people are NEVER fooled by human emotions. Repeat
after me people, feelings are not valid evidence of truth.That
feeling that God is speaking to you has been felt by BILLIONS over the course of
human history, often with disastrous consequences.
Lack of physical evidence that something is true, is not evidence that it is not
true, especially concerning the things of God. We are taught that the things of
God can only be learned through the Holy Ghost. If someone is looking purely
for scientific evidence of anything related to God and His teachings, they will
forever be disappointed until they have the witness of the Holy Ghost. No
amount of scientific evidence will prove the truthfulness of God or His
teachings to those who don't have that witness. Great article and
John Locke,"First, is Joseph Smith a Prophet, Seer and
Revelator? Once you answer those questions in the affirmative, through prayer
and faith, the rest come easily...."______________________________Claiming to be a prophet comes easy too. I could do it myself. As to
receiving affirmative confirmation through prayer and faith, the human mind can
talk itself into believing virtually anything one fervently wishes to be true.
Light and Liberty,First of all my "analogy" is not an
analogy, let me clarify since the use of facts was apparently misunderstood.
There are billions of people who claim to know what is true based on revelation.
1.6 billion muslims claim Jesus was a prophet, but not christ. 1 billion hindus
claim that he is not the christ. 2.1 billion christians belief that their
individual convictions and religions of christ are true…. They all base
it off of their own revelation, which in just about every case contradict each
others. So again revelation is extremely inconsistent and arbitrary.
inconsistency = no decisive conclusions in any field of study. Secondly, following the crowd would be joining a religion. following evidence
is following evidence, not the crowd. And if that doesn't suffice then
re-read my paragraph above to understand why i wasn't saying to follow the
majority of opinions. because opinions differ from one another, especially on
@shadow01"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen." Its not:"Faith is
the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things directly contradicting
what you're supposed to have faith in".The church also like
physical evidence, it spent millions on digs trying to find evidence of the
Nephite and Lamanites. Let me put it this way, the Roman Empire and the Nephites
were around the same period of time in different parts of the world. I can throw
a stone out of my front window and watch it land on evidence that the Romans
existed. We have not one shred of proof that the Nephites were around, not one
weapon, building or artifact.How am I supposed to believe? We are
asked to believe in the Bible too but God left tons of evidence that the places
and people in the Bible actually existed, why didnt he do the same for the Book
Hugh Nibley didn't seem to have a problem with the Book of Abraham. Based
on Hugh not losing his testimony and going off of the reservation, I don't
Some might say that we have a problem with our scriptures because we have no
physical evidence of authenticity. Those who express that need for physical
evidence to bolster their testimony are treading on spiritually thin ice. They
cannot look past it to exercise faith in what is in front of them. For them I
feel sorry.I know that the Book of Mormon was translated, not word for
word, character by character but as complete thought. the Book of Moses was
given by revelation. I have no Idea how the Book of Abraham was translated.
Perhaps it was translated from the scrolls that were destroyed. Perhaps while
Joseph was examining the scrolls his mind was opened to a revelation. How many
times have we looked at something that reminds us of something else?Personally, I have no problem with it. I know in my heart that what is
contained in the Book of Abraham is true. It is not blind fanaticism, it is
just exercised faith.
First, is Joseph Smith a Prophet, Seer and Revelator? Once you answer those
questions in the affirmative, through prayer and faith, the rest come easily.
Faith if capable of providing knowledge, but incapable of scientific evaluation.
We will all see in a short time from now...Brit, I know you live to
point your finger at those who believe and give us all a big belly laugh at
ignoring your great insight...
The right question to ask is how often a text is associated with an adjacent
picture, when the text *refers* to the picture.
That the origin of the Book of Abraham cannot be so easily dismissed by alluding
to the "expert" non-LDS Egyptologists is demonstrated by the following
facts: "In the 1960s a few fragments of the original papyri were found in
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and given back to the Mormon
Church. They have since been published and studied, but they are not,
unfortunately, the papyri from which Joseph Smith took the Book of Abraham. In
his writings, Joseph Smith describes the papyrus scroll that the Book of Abraham
was “beautifully written on papyrus, with black, and a small part red, ink
or paint, in perfect preservation” (History of the Church, 2:348). The
surviving fragments contain only black ink and are in terrible disrepair. So,
for all the fuss that critics have made about the Book of Abraham, there is no
evidence to refute it."
Game Theory: Assuming that at the time time of Christ the population of the
Roman empire was approximately 1 million, Christ shouldn't be given any
credence for his message (I guess, based on your assumptions that numbers equate
with certainty-or non certainty as stated by you). God certainly knew that
Christ's message was true, but it was undeniably rejected by most of the
then population, as well as for another hundred years and more! I think a better
way to live a life is to make your own decisions, rather than following the
crowd. The crowd, particularly today, is not something I'd want to base my
decisions. Your analogy is weak!
It is good to make it clear that the facsimile was likely not what Joseph Smith
used. There are corrections in religious things and in scientific ones. In a
science class I was taught the universe's expansion was slowing so likely
it would reverse and go back to a single tiny spot again, not science says it is
not slowing but continuing at the same speed, ever expanding. So the LDS church
has made corrections where it found an error was made, take for instance the
first edition of the "Mormon Doctrine" it had many errors, and the
church had it corrected. While we can pray and hopefully get inspiration for
ourselves (that isn't always recognized nor are we always prepared to get
an answer), I believe that science and religion will come closer and closer over
time, until the absolute truth is known.
"I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of
Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true," he
[Muhlestein] said.______________________________If Professor
Muhlestein finds that a solid frame of reference from which to have an exchange
of ideas, I can’t argue with him. At least I certainly know better than to
When trying to defend something that many people believe (have faith) that it
was made up, a very shrewd move is to play the "we'll just have to
agree to disagree card". A very weak argument IMVHO.
Science and all it's fields are ever changing, evolving and self
correcting. Anyone that puts all their faith in science as 100% or takes no
stock in it at all are both ignorant. The field or study of science is simply
man working really hard to learn what God already knows. In the end both science
and mans understanding of God will be congruent.
Recent research on facsimile 1 have shown that the so-called funerary text
explanation is simply not sufficient to explain the discrepancies between it and
other standard funerary texts found by egyptologists. The separation of the legs
show movement, the priest standing behind the lion couch, the fact that the
victim is clothed, the two hands lifted rather than one. When a more closer
examination is made, facsimile 1 appears more to be an act of human sacrifice
and compares favorably with other text showing the same. Egyptians did use
Abraham also in many of their texts further reinforcing the idea that Joseph
Smith did get the interpretation of facsimile 1 correctly. The fact that all
three other facsimile's were correctly interpreted by Joseph Smith
underscore the fact that the Book of Abraham is a valid interpretation. Those
who claim otherwise simply have not done their homework and are taking a lazy
approach to any real investigation on this matter.
I pay attention to expert egytpologists who have no skin in the game. On the one
hand I have a professor (like Ritner) who's analysis of the Book of Abraham
makes no change to him or his life, on the other hand I have a BYU professor
whos very livelihood depends on proclaiming the BoA to be a true book of
scripture. Hmmmm who should I believe............Not one
Egyptologist outside the church has confirmed that the translation from the KEP
or those of the facsimiles are translated correctly. Use the catalyst theory all
you like but lets not for one second assume that anything we have on the papyri
has anything to do with the writings of the Book Of Abraham.
I always start with the premise that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Once I have an
immovable testimony of that; one that I cannot deny, then I can move forward and
understand through faith and works how things such as the Book of Mormon and
Book of Abraham are true. I find overwhelming evidence (not proof) that they
are true. And I can then pray about them for spiritual confirmation and can
receive a witness that they are true that I cannot deny. I don't ignore
facts. I seek to understand facts and how the facts that we have pertain or do
not pertain to the thing about which I seek testimony and truth. The Book of
Abraham is not a translation of the papyrus that has been studied. It's
that very real possibility that some ignore, because ignoring it helps build
their case against it. The fire is a fact. The survival of a fragment is a
fact. Much was destroyed is a fact. The failure to match the translation to
the surviving piece is a fact. More than one conclusion is reasonable.
The amount of mental gymnastics that he utilizes is impressive.His
presuppositional logic can be easily turned on its head. For example, any Muslim
apologist uses the same basic idea."I start out with an
assumption that the Taurat and the Qu'ran, and anything else that we get
from the Prophet Mohammad, is true”It doesn't matter how
much evidence anyone provides to the contrary, the apologist will never change
his mind. Believing something on bad evidence, in spite of evidence, or in the
face of evidence, is what causes people to be flat-Earthers and Elvis
conspirators.It is intellectual dishonesty at its greatest.
Completely objective, no doubt.The truth is, Eqyptologists know the
language. There is no debate on that.Hugh Nibley admitted the papyrus
didn't match. Anyone who attempts to cast doubt on what the papyrus says
and who claims Egyptian experts aren't certain are simply being dishonest.
This is a deeply troubling article because in its effort to leave room for
faith, it may completely undermine the foundations of knowledge.If
someone wants to pray and be “guided by the holy spirit” when it
comes to leading their lives, I don’t see a problem and it may even be
beneficial (although I can imagine it going the other way too – I bet the
9-11 hijackers prayed too).But when we start equating this with
other ways of knowing about facts in the world (and religions make all sorts of
claims in this area) we’re out on a limb that can hold no weight.It is instructive to keep in mind the following two questions here:1.Name a fact about the natural world for which a prior religious explanation
has now been superseded by a scientific explanation.2.Name a fact
about the natural world for which we once had a scientific (in the modern sense
of the word) explanation but now have a better religious explanation.It should be immediately clear that the answers to these questions are
“countless” and “none” respectively.
It's too easy for some doubters to jump on a band-wagon of criticism
regarding the Book of Abraham (or for that matter, the Book of Mormon) without
ever examining the contents of the book. In spite of the fact that the
historical records indicate that the Book of Abraham was translated from the
long scroll and not the short scroll where facsimile 1 was taken, and that the
Book of Mormon had several witnesses as to how Joseph translated the work, they
still argue regarding the process, not what is actually written. If they are
truly intellectually honest, they would examine the claims made about the books
by first reading them. There is also sufficient research regarding literary
style, time frames, archaeology, etc. for them to examine as well by plenty of
researchers who are well respected in their chosen fields of study and by their
peers. Any objective examination would require such an open-minded approach.
When pieces of the papyrus scroll were re-discoveredin a NY art museum,
the church put scholarHugh Nibley on the case to decipher the
Egyptian into English. Nibley assumed he would,for example, translate facsimile 1 and it would be as written in the BOA .Didn't
happen and the church scholars have been on the defensive ever since
because there is nocorrelation on anything on the scroll and in the
BOA.Skeptics claim Joseph made it all up; believersjust believe its
true and shelf any doubts.
What Kerry Muhlestein, and Erica Palmer are talking about is confirmation bias.
I can understand that in many cases and especially in theological ones,
everybody will have their assumptions and presumptions. However, confirmation
bias is the opposite of scholarly work. Why should i trust a professor who just
said that he starts out with the assumption that the BOM and BOA, and any other
thing from the restoration is true.? And that he looks for the evidence that
makes it true. Now i would pay attention to a professor who said
I'm going to follow the evidence where it lies and find out the truth from
there. I think this article just proves that you really can't trust
somebody who only gives credit to the evidence that supports his presumptions.
I won't even go into how realistically and statistically
unreliable revelation is. But ill just leave with this thought; that out of 7
Billion people in the world, supposedly 14 million get the right revelation, and
the rest don't.
Great article! Part of my job is aligning managers and we always start with
assumptions. It usually takes a while before people recognize all of their
assumptions and recognize that what they thought was "common sense" was
@GildasHaha yes lets ignore those egyptologists with there years
upon years of study! I ignore medical advice from my doctor, I see his diplomas
on the wall and ignore them and ask him does he have a surefire way of knowing
what is wrong with me? I check internet boards instead and get people I dont
know to prescribe the cure for my ills.Sorry this is ridiculous, the
papyri used in the Book of Abraham are standard funerary texts. The
eygptologists know what the hieroglyphics mean because they have seen dozens of
other examples of the same text.
@Gildas asks, "...how it can be known that what we are told is a correct
translation is, in fact, accurate..."Which is exactly why we are
exhorted to rely on the Holy Spirit to know what is and is not true. Many people think that it's just as simple as praying and getting an
answer when it is really a long, intensive process that requires real work from
the seeker. We are told to study, learn, seek out as much information about the
topic as we can, and ponder that information to a point whereby we make a
decision whether or not it is true.At that point we've done all
we can, we take our choice to the Spirit in humility and contriteness, and seek
to know if the decision we've made is true. If we have followed the
instructions carefully and done our best to learn the truth, the Spirit will
reveal to us whether or not our decision is correct.It's a lot
of work on our part, but the rewards are well worth it.
Another assumption commonly made is that Egyptologists have a surefire way of
knowing what the hieroglyphics mean. I don't make that assumption so I
want to know, very specifically, how it can be known that what we are told is a
correct translation is, in fact, accurate. How do people know this? We accept
the learned, sometimes, on their own high evaluation.