BYU professor speaks on unnoticed assumptions about the Book of Abraham

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  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    July 22, 2015 2:06 p.m.

    The professor makes good points.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Nov. 2, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    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.

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Oct. 22, 2014 10:38 p.m.

    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?

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Oct. 22, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    Tyler D

    1. the heliocentric solar system - went from religious explanation to a "scientific" (Greek/Roman) earth centric solar system, back to a helio centric solar system

    2. 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.

  • Montague SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2014 7:42 p.m.

    It was a painful read. I doubt Professor Muhlenstein would ever assert such logic in a non-LDS academic setting.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 16, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    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 recent memory.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:58 p.m.

    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.

  • Lermentov PROVO, UT
    Sept. 28, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    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 its existence.

  • Max Upstate, NY
    Sept. 26, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    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.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Sept. 24, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    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.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    Sept. 24, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    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.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Sept. 12, 2014 2:51 p.m.

    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.

  • skich01 Highland, UT
    Aug. 17, 2014 10:42 p.m.

    Telling development in the narrative surrounding the BoA in the Gospel Topics essay on "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?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 17, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    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. H
    eb 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

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 17, 2014 4:59 a.m.

    "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.

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 12:20 a.m.


    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.


    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."


    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 God.

  • IPlayedJoe Tampa, FL
    Aug. 15, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    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?

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    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.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 5:21 p.m.


    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.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    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.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    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.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    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

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:51 a.m.


    "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.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    "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).

    "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 BoM/BoA etc.

  • Creeper51 Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    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.

  • GameTheory Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 12:08 p.m.


    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"

  • Utes11 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    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 church.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 13, 2014 10:40 a.m.


    "The doctrine of the 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.

  • UtahMaus Orem, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    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 remarks.

  • Raiders11 OGDEN, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    @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.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    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?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    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 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

    Aug. 13, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    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.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    Would you want a forensic investigation to follow the same logic as Muhlestein?

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    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 witness?

  • Joshua20 Apex, NC
    Aug. 13, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    You 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?

  • slcdenizen Murray, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 7:06 a.m.


    "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.

  • David Lloyd-Jones Toronto, 00
    Aug. 13, 2014 2:11 a.m.

    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."


  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:30 p.m.

    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.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:17 p.m.

    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 the extreme.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    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 intellectual honesty.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:39 p.m.

    @ left field

    You 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.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:34 p.m.

    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.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:24 p.m.

    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.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    @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 one.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:17 p.m.

    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.

  • Jeremiah S Hamilton, OH
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    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.

  • Left Field Cocoa Beach, FL
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    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.

  • Cache Kid LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:36 p.m.

    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.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    @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 possible.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    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.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 12, 2014 5:02 p.m.

    @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 limit…

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 12, 2014 4:08 p.m.

    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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    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.

  • MarkBear Layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    "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.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 3:07 p.m.


    I 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.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 3:03 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @ 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 Church
    1. Perfect the Saints

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    @ 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 own.

  • Aurelius maximus Berryville, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    @ UT Brit

    Oh 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?


    "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 don't get it."

  • Azagthoth Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    “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?

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    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 facsimile
    1 on the scraps of papyrus given to the church,
    he would find what the text of the BOA says about it and
    what he translated from the scroll to be the same?
    As a believing Saint he was probably shocked to discover they
    were different.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Your 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.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:52 p.m.


    You 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 son!"

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    @UT Brit

    Here'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.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    @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?

  • LifeInChapters VIENNA, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    It might be useful to read what the LdS Church has to say about this topic. Go to and search for "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham"

  • Ishmael Mansfield, TX
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    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.

  • DoloresCruz1982 BOULDER, CO
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    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 don't.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    @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.”

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    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.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    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.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    "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.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    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?

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:58 a.m.


    Again 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 Man

    I 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.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    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.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    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!

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    "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.

  • Tajemnica Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    So many blind eyes and deaf ears on both sides of this argument from those commenting.

  • boyd Ricks sandy/salt lake, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    @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.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    @Ut Brit

    I 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.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    @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.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    @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.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    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.

  • smitxxx Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    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.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    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.

  • HeresAThought Queen Creek, AZ
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    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.

  • Thucydides Herriman, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    “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.

    Aug. 12, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    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 comments!

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    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.

  • GameTheory Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    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 revelation.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:57 a.m.


    "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 Of Mormon?

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    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 either.

  • shadow01 Edwardsville, IL
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    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.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    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...

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    The right question to ask is how often a text is associated with an adjacent picture, when the text *refers* to the picture.

  • Commonman HENDERSON, NV
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    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."

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    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!

  • alanjones520 Tustin, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    "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 try.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • CDL Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    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.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    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.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    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.

  • gregleo RIVERTON, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    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.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    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.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    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.

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    When pieces of the papyrus scroll were re-discovered
    in a NY art museum, the church put scholar
    Hugh 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 no
    correlation on anything on the scroll and in the BOA.
    Skeptics claim Joseph made it all up; believers
    just believe its true and shelf any doubts.

  • GameTheory Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    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.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    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 not common.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:18 a.m.


    Haha 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.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    @Gildas asks, " 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.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    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.