Mormon Church Showcases Statement, “The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham”

On Tuesday, August 11th (2009) the “Authorized news web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Church News) showcased a lecture given by John Gee, “an associate research professor of Egyptology at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU” (the organization formerly known as FARMS).

“While critics of the Church often challenge the authenticity of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, they attach more importance to it than Church members do themselves, a Latter-day Saint Egyptologist said Aug. 6 at the annual conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR).” (“The Book of Abraham: The larger issue”)

Dr. Gee’s bedrock argument is that the Book of Abraham is “not central” and that its validity is not crucial:

John Gee“‘The Book of Abraham is true,’ said Brother Gee,…’I think it can be defended. I think it should be defended. But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of either apologetics or research or the scriptures…’

“‘…if what is most important needs to be defended, what are some of the things that need to be defended?’ he asked.

“He suggested six: God exists; Jesus Christ is His Son; God talked and still talks with men through the power of the Holy Ghost; Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world; the Atonement is available to those who trust Jesus, turn from sin, make and keep sacred covenants, and follow the course throughout their lives; and the Book of Mormon is true, an authentic record of God’s interactions with actual ancient people…

“‘Now where is the Book of Abraham in this?’ he asked. ‘It isn’t. The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Christ…

“…how the Book of Abraham was translated is unimportant. The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham.‘”

Joseph Smith began the “translation” of the text of the Book of Abraham in 1835. The translation was printed in LDS publications in 1842, 1851 and 1878. It was officially canonized as LDS scripture in 1880.

While giving lip-service to the claim that the Book of Abraham is true, Dr. Gee’s comments actually serve to place something Mormons recognize as sacred scripture on the ‘irrelevant shelf’ to gather the dust of neglect.

If Mormons believe the Book of Abraham is true, if they believe it is “the word of God as revealed to His inspired prophets,” and if continuing revelation is central to the restored gospel, how does Dr. Gee, and by extension the LDS Church, come to say it’s not all that important?

The implication here is that LDS leaders recognize that if the Book of Abraham really isn’t true—if Joseph Smith’s prophetic work known as the Book of Abraham is fraudulent—they will still encourage Mormons to sustain Joseph Smith as a true prophet.

Nevermind that Joseph Smith was acting as a charlatan, claiming to translate by the gift and power of God.

Nevermind that church membership, by “common consent,” was in error when it sustained the canonization of the Book of Abraham in 1880.

Nevermind that the LDS Church has been wrong to include it in the LDS canon of scripture for the last 129 years (What other things might be erroneously included in the LDS canon?).

Nevermind that doctrines that have arisen historically or have been solidified by the Book of Abraham are called into question, such as pre-mortal existence, the multiplicity of gods, and the co-participation in the work of “creation” between God the Father and “the gods” (including Adam).

Nevermind that Joseph Smith unnecessarily required great sacrifice on the part of the Latter-day Saints in 1835 when he solicited $2400 to purchase the Egyptian papyri.

Nevermind that prophets are supposed to represent God Almighty and that they should be held to higher standards than mere teachers or politicians or world leaders, particularly when doing something in the name of God.

Nevermind that people have left the “one true Church” over their loss of faith in the Book of Abraham. Nevermind that no one told them this LDS scripture was unimportant. The Church bid them fond farewell and as a result families have been split. Lives have been rocked. Tears shed. Hard words exchanged. Marriages broken. For what? For something that now, in 2009, doesn’t really matter anymore.

No apologies, no repentance, no major doctrinal reversals.

Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “Don’t worry about those little flicks of history.”

But how can we not be concerned? Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in D&C and Pearl of Great Price and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

212 Responses to Mormon Church Showcases Statement, “The Church does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham”

  1. HankSaint says:


    But whatever the reservation mentale behind the statement that Abraham and Sarah were brother and sister, the point of the story is that it was meant to convey to the kings that the two were not married—the sophistry of the thing would only render it more unsavory did we not have the real explanation in the Pearl of Great Price.

    Your turn, Richard.

  2. Olsen,

    I will own up to the “hypo” mistake. I was typing really fast and not paying close attention to what I was writting. It should be hypocephalus: hypo – under, cephalus – head. At least I got the hypo part right and I believe I referred to at as a seal at one point. Also, the thalamus is in the head so . . .

    Do you see how lame the reasoning can get when one tries to defend an obvious mistake? I once read that the definition of an apologist is somone who apologizes for someone else’s mistakes. I made a mistake, you made a mistake, and Joseph Smith made a huge one. Actually, J. Smith made several linguitics mistakes throughout his life.

    The difference between myself and J. Smith is I am not claiming to be a prophet. I am not claiming to be a seer who can decipher dead and unknown languages. He claimed that the funerary cache contained the writings of Abraham written “by his own hand upon papyrus”. He either errored or lied when he said he could “translate” the papyri.

  3. Cluff,

    “His point is- it doesn’t matter if JS has the real source docment at all, as long as he makes a valid doctrinal translation. HN has found 3 different ancient documents that “could have” been a valid source for the JS version of the BoA. Works for me”

    Are you kidding me? The source doc does matter, that is why it is called a “translation”. The way you and every other Mormon know that it is a “valid doctrinal translation” is because J. Smith gave it to you; Smith gets a free pass. Are you going to tell me that it does not matter if the golden plates did not exist?

    With the D&C J. Smith was not claiming to have an ancient doc in his possession that he was trying to translate. With the BoA and The BoM he was. It means we have something to go own, in addition to the alleged seer’s words. The evidence for or against the BoA is “necessary”.

  4. falcon says:

    WOW, everyone was very busy while I was sleeping. I guess I’ll have to stay-up later. It is kind of fun to read a whole bunch of posts at once. I think LIV4JC did a terrific job of dealing with the “divination” claim. Ralph tends to pick a verse here and there and not get the whole picture. The folks from the SLC Mormon denomination are working overtime to spin their way out of the obvious, that the BoA is fraudulent beyond measure. I don’t know why they just don’t give it up and join with the Community of Christ and Temple Lot denominations and see the BoA for what it is. But I’m guessing that the FLDS polygamists recognize the BoA so that’s just one more case of the SLC Mormon denomination aligning itself with the FLDS.
    It’s pretty easy to see that the BoA is merely the utterances of a man and not devinely revealed scripture. The only people who don’t get it are the TBMs who gave-up independent thinking the minute they emotionally bought into Joseph Smith’s con. This is indeed, some strong dope.

  5. HankSaint,

    Gen 26:9 is where we are getting the idea that the patriarchs used deception to save themselves.

    Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, `She is my sister’?” And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, `I might die on account of her.’ ”

    So here we have an ANE potentate and the patriarch Isaac coming to the same misunderstanding we are supposed to be under. And in this instance the husband and wife are cousins not siblings.

  6. HankSaint says:

    David, another good reason to have the Pearl of Great Price which really clarifies what God, Abraham and Sarah did to get out of a harsh situation. God did not tell Abraham to lie. Abraham was a righteous man, Abraham did not commit adultery as was stated by you.

    Thank heavens, we have the restored Gospel now in it’s fulness and realize the the Bible isn’t inerrant.


  7. pookachamp says:

    Falcon- I felt like the church was being persecuted far before I became a member of it. You can blame all of the christians I associated with that… not the Mormons.

    Sorry to tell you, but you’re wrong. I’m heading to the next thread.

  8. I never stated that Abraham committed adultery! Seriously, read what I wrote. Why would you say that about me? Nobody committed adultery in these stories and that was by the grace of God. Where’s the problem that the PoG supposedly bails the Bible out of?

    This is just blasphemous – “Thank heavens, we have the restored Gospel now in it’s fulness and realize the the Bible isn’t inerrant.”

    So you are saying that some of your scriptures are in error? It is statements like the one above that makes Christians doubt that you believe in the Bible.

  9. gundeck says:


    All of those names came from FAIR documents, I generally start with your best arguments. The question is not if I will do the research, the question is will you? I think if you read the work done by the 4 men I listed and not just the your apoligists versions you would be a little more humble with your “game over” comments. Start with Robert Ritner you local library should be able to get a copy of his article “The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: Photographs, Transliterations, Translations and Comparisons,” a complete textual edition of the Smith Papyri. Otherwise you will have to pay $10 for it.

    If you don’t know the importance of Klaus Baer to the history of the Smith papyri then you should start your own research soon.

  10. liv4jc says:

    I am the one who made the adultery comment, and I stand by it. This is my reasoning.

    After God creates Eve from Adam, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken our of Man” (Genesis 3:23). Verse 24 then says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    God’s word is not contradictory. The pattern for marriage is one man and one woman. Period.

    This is confirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:3-9. When asked if divorce is permitted Jesus quotes Genesis 3:24. He explains that when a marriage occurs the man and woman are no longer two, but one flesh. They are not three into one flesh or four into one flesh, but two into one.
    This is God’s plan for marriage. Again, God’s word does not contradict itself.

    On to Abraham. In Genesis 15 Abraham is lamenting the fact that he has no heir because Sarai is barren. He states that Eleizer of Damascus (one of his household servants, not his offspring) is to be his heir. God promises an heir from Abraham’s own body. Abraham does not think of taking another wife to accomplish this. He understands that this heir is to come through Sarai who is old and who’s womb is barren. Abram believed God would accomplish this and his faith was reckoned as righteousness.

    God then makes a covenant with Abram and swears to it by Himself when he puts Abram to sleep and passes through the split animals as depicted by the smoking oven and burning torch.

    After 10 years it is Sarai who convinces Abraham to take Hagar to produce an heir. Genesis 16:15 tells us that Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael, his son from Hagar, was born. If taking another wife is condoned by God, why did Abram wait so long to take another wife to give him an heir when he knew Sarai was barren?

    Although not explicitly called adultery it goes against God’s pattern for marriage, and Abram knew it.

  11. setfree says:

    I’ve been scouring the History of the Church to see what Joseph Smith himself wrote about the papyri in question.

    A quick summary:

    According to Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, vol 2:

    1- Eleven mummies were taken from one of the catacombs in Egypt by “Antonio Lebolo, in the year 1831”. There were several hundred other coffins in the catacomb.

    2- Michael Chandler, Mr. Lebolo’s nephew, took possession of the mummies in April 1833. “Up to this time, the coffins [had not been] opened. On opening the coffins, he discovered that in connection with two of the bodies… [were] two rolls of papyrus… Two or three other small pieces of papyrus, with astronomical calculations, epitaphs, &c, were found with others of the mummies” (pp 348-9)

    3- Michael Chandler “came to Kirtland to exhibit… four human figures, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices.” On July 3, 1835, he was directed to Joseph Smith by persons believing Joseph could translate the hieroglyphics. Joseph ‘interpreted’ some characters for Mr. Chandler, who in turn produces a certificate saying that Joseph could decipher them on July 6, 1835. (Mr. Chandler reports that his knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics comes only from “learned” observers in other cities”).

    4- Some Kirtland “saints” purchased the mummies and papyrus.

    5- By July 5, 1835, (two days after Mr. Chandler arrives in Kirtland) Joseph had “commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics” and pronounced that one “roll” contained “the writings of Abraham”, the other “the writings of Joseph” (p 235).

    6- Joseph “was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients” for the rest of July 1835. (p 236)

    to be continued

  12. setfree says:

    7- In October, 1835, Joseph wrote that in his work on the Egyptian alphabet, he’d discovered “the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients”. (p 286)

    8- Joseph had put the mummies on display, and several times mentions people coming by to look at them. He continued in the following months to display the mummies and papyri, and work on the translation.

    9- In December, 1835, Joseph “exhibited and explained the Egyptian records to [some visitors], and explained many things concerning the dealing of God with the ancients, and the formation of the planetary system”. (p 334)

    10- On December 31, 1835, Joseph writes that he has heard reports being circulated that Chandler was a con man, trying to trick the gullible by pretending “to have the bodies of Abraham … [and] Joseph, who was sold into Egypt”. Joseph writes a denial to the claim, stating that he does not know to whom belonged the bodies in the coffins, but they WERE NOT Abraham and Joseph. (pp 348-350)

  13. setfree says:

    Quick sum up to key points:

    According to Joseph Smith himself,

    1- There were two “rolls”, one associated with each of two bodies/coffins. One roll was “the writings of Abraham”, the other “the writings of Joseph” of Egypt.

    2- The other papyri fragments came from the other (4? or 11?) coffins, and contained things to do with astronomy, etc.

    3- The two mummies were not Abraham or Joseph. The came from a catacomb which contained several hundred bodies/coffins.

    Okay, LDS, any good rebuttals to this?

    Doesn’t it seem just a little bit corny?

  14. bfwjr says:

    Hank, Good work defending the faith. We are kindred spirits who KNOW what is what about this issue. Matthew 13:11 certainly applies here:He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. You and I KNOW where we stand. We need to remember that we have been privileged in a way that the Lord doesn’t bestow on everyone.

    To Setfree:Okay, LDS, any good rebuttals to this? Yeah, sooooooooo whaaaaaaaaaattt?
    Doesn’t it seem just a little bit corny? Yes it does, sometimes the Lord does some corny stuff.
    Does the one True Church stand or fall on the BofA? Nope, See Matt 13:11 It was only given to Joseph Smith to fully understand the spiritual meaning of the scrolls. Hank and I KNOW that. A heartfelt Thank You to all the great posters on this site for Love and concern and generous use of your time.

  15. liv4jc says:

    Dude. Are you serious? The bible is correct when we want to quote it, but when it says what we don’t want it to say we can’t trust it.

    Jesus was speaking of why he spoke in parables. It’s called hermaneutics. Look at the verse in context. You will notice if you read further that Jesus even has to explain the parables to his disciples. God is not a God of magic and divination. The Bible was written in known languages that can be read even today. God does not threaten to kill people for looking at his secret books or spirit them away to heaven.

    JS and Mohammed had a lot in common. Mohammed was also shown a book that nobody else was allowed to see or translate. Was Mohammed a prophet too?

    Before you even start. Even if the witnesses did “see” the book, nobody was allowed to examine it or put it out for translation by others. It’s a fraud.

  16. Enki says:

    Andy watson,
    “This is the same exact phrase the Jehovah’s Witnesses say to those who walk away from them. After attending one of their meetings today to see how it compares to Mormon services among other reasons, I heard this phrase quite a bit in addition to other similarities that the LDS have with the JW’s. They have 6 million active just like the LDS. Any chance on a merger? Strength through numbers?”

    Andy have you ever considered how all christian sects have something in common? There is something culturally similiar in all of them, something ‘churchy’. From LDS, JW, WWCOG(now ev.christian)7thday adventists, catholics, MCC, Christian science. From a certain vantage point they appear conflicting, from another point of view they all have much in common. Referencing the bible and worshiping or admiring an archetypal jew. The cultural values are very similiar, although they might appear split on some very specific points.

  17. HankSaint states “David, another good reason to have the Pearl of Great Price which really clarifies what God, Abraham and Sarah did to get out of a harsh situation. God did not tell Abraham to lie. Abraham was a righteous man, Abraham did not commit adultery as was stated by you.”

    The BoA states “Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see her, they will say – She is his wife; and they will kill you, but they will save her alive; therefore see that ye do on this wise: LET HER SAY UNTO THE EGYPTIANS SHE IS THY SISTER, and thy soul shall live. And it came to pass that I, Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, ALL THAT THE LORD HAD SAID UNTO ME – Therefore say unto them, I PRAY THEE, THOU ART MY SISTER, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee.”


    I appreciate your expansion of the cultural background, but you’re obfuscating the point of the Genesis stories. However you look at them, the Biblical stories present the following;

    * Pharoah and Abimelech should not have attempted to get near Sarah because she was Abraham’s wife

    * Abraham, fearing for his own life, omits to tell them that she is his wife and evades the issue by saying she is his sister (which is technically OK)

    * By the grace of God, neither Abimelech or Pharoah get to act out their intentions, but they still berate Abraham for witholding vital information from them

    Its a lie by omission, which the BoA maintains. The difference between BoA and Genesis is that, in BoA, God commands Abraham to undertake his subterfuge. Genesis has no such command.

    Why do you have a problem with the fact that Abraham lied?

    I don’t because, like Paul, I’ll argue that Abraham was justified by faith (Romans 4:1-3). You seem to argue that Abraham was justified because he was a righteous person who didn’t lie, yet Genesis and BoA paint a very different picture. Why do you ignore what the scriptures say?

    Over to you.

  18. bfwjr says:

    liv4jc said Dude. “Are you serious?” Yes I am. liv4jc said “The bible is correct when we want to quote it, but when it says what we don’t want it to say we can’t trust it.”
    Yes, That is the crux of our belief system. I have seen HankSaint try in vain to convey this.
    Was Mohamed a prophet too? Yes I have prayed about this as well and received conformation that he was a fallen prophet. Thank You for your time

  19. Andy Watson says:


    At first I wasn’t sure what you were waiting on from me. I assume it’s more names of Egyptologists who agree that Joseph Smith’s rendition and explanations of Michael Chandler’s Egyptian goods is laughable. Sorry for the delay in getting this to you. I work very long hours. Here is another list. When you do your checking keep in mind that some of these professors said this some time ago so this wasn’t just yesterday. Some are still around today while others have may have passed on.

    Dr. Robert K. Ritner
    Associate Professor of Egyptology
    University of Chicago

    Dr. Lanny D. Bell
    Adjunct Professor of Egyptology
    Brown University

    Dr. A. H. Sayce
    Oxford University

    Dr. James H. Breasted
    Haskell Oriental Museum
    University of Chicago

    Dr. Edward Meyer
    University of Berlin

    Dr. Stan Larson
    Marriott Library
    University of Utah

    Dr. David Wright
    Brandeis University

    Lastly, thanks for the links to the BYU articles. I don’t read those or anything from FAIR. It’s not authoritative from Mormon GA’s, not official declarations from the First Presidency or the LDS Church, not stated at Conference, not in LDS Instite manuals, not in the Standard Works and it’s merely the opinions of BYU or FAIR personnel and means nothing.

    You know the saying, “Opinions are like —–, everyone has one”. Your Church made the rules on what is official and authoritative. If you don’t like it, take it up with your bishop who has more Church authority than Daniel Peterson and John Gee put together.

    Have a nice day!

  20. Andy Watson says:


    Yes, I know that there are many beliefs that are common among Christian sects – correct, Bible-based Christian sects – not wanna-be “christians” who claim to have that title but yet don’t hold to any of the beliefs of historical, orthodox Christianity. What do you know about Watchtower “theology” (the Jehovah’s Witnesses)? I doubt very little. Mormons and JW’s don’t think very highly of each other. When I’ve asked Mormons what they think of JW’s do you know what they say (you’re going to love this)?

    “They are a cult!”

    Hilarious – but sad. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be Christians. ARE THEY CHRISTIANS? Matter of fact, they come close to the LDS mantra as of late, “We’re Christians just like you!”. JW’s just say that they are Christians and everyone else is a “goat” (non-JW). Mormons and JW’s share theology that is not held by traditional, historical Christianity. Much of their culture, rules, law, meeting/worship styles are the same. To make a complete list of how much the two cults are similar would take many posts to list. Here are some that the two cults share that Christianity does not:

    1. Jesus is a god
    2. Jesus is the first and greatest creation of God and has not always been God.
    3. JW’s have a name for the residence of their god (Alcyone). Mormons have Kolob.
    4. Contempt for the Bible – JW’s wrote their own. Mormons just playcated and added on extra scriptures.
    5. Disgust and repulsion at the symbol of the cross.
    6. Good works and living church law mandatory for salvation/eternal life.
    7. Strict adherence to a governing body located in a named city: JW’s – Brooklyn; LDS – Salt Lake City.
    8. Modern day prophet – LDS: Monson; JW’s: Governing body represents God’s prophet on the earth.
    9. Denial of eternal punishment (hell/lake of fire)
    10. Animals have souls

    The list could go on. I don’t understand why the LDS and the JW’s have such contempt for each other. They really have a lot in common – and none of it is Christian.

  21. HankSaint says:

    Andy, I’m sure you worked hard on getting that list of 7 Egyptologist, and I also notice that even though they all found Joseph lacking in correct interpretations lets see what they did agree on amongst themselves.

    Dr. A. H. Sayce Sayce’s Egyptological researches are typical of his methods. For a number of years his own Nile boat, the Ishtar, might be seen searching out unfrequented spots along the banks of the great river, where he would discover new ruins and inscriptions, only to leave them behind for others to study.15 It is significant that of the many inscriptions he discovered and copied down, he is always careful to translate the Greek and Latin ones in full (though most of his readers could read Greek and Latin well enough for themselves), while he never attempts to translate any of the Egyptian inscriptions.16 Why not? “His métier was that of a decipherer of any thing new,” wrote Langdon, explaining that he lost interest as soon as the code was cracked.17 But surely the deciphering of Egyptian was far newer and more challenging in the 1890s than the reading of Greek and Latin. In the same way, Sayce, though criticizing Joseph Smith more severely than any other member of the big five, is the only one of them to preserve complete silence regarding the facsimiles. Sayce’s specialty was Assyriology, not Egyptology, and while in the former field, according to H. R. Hall, “the Professor must be judged by his peers,” his speculations in Egyptology “do not carry much conviction.”

  22. Russ says:


    The fact remains that after close examination of Smith’s Book of Abraham, it is a fraud.

    “I have examined the illustrations given in the ‘Pearl of Great Price.’ In the first place, they are copies (very badly done) of well known Egyptian subjects of which I have dozens of examples. Secondly, they are all many centuries later than Abraham.” -Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, London University.

    The LDS church places Smith’s Book of Araham on par with the Bible insofar that it is allegedly God-breathed. It obviously is not inspired of God. Smith got the gender wrong, he got the story wrong, he got the time-line wrong. How much of the BoA has to be wrong before you admit to yourself that a problem worth consideration exists?


  23. gundeck says:


    As I suspected it does not matter if someone produced 7 or 8 or 20 or 30 Egyptologists you will ignore the reality that has been known since Klaus Baer.

  24. Andy Watson says:

    Hank said: “Do the research and show where they agree or disagree.”

    Hank, this sounds like good advice and instruction you should follow for yourself instead of running to BYU for your talking points and indoctrination. I refer you again to what I said above in my earlier post regarding BYU and FAIR. As soon as I see anything in a link that is referencing them I don’t read it. You’re going to have to do a better job of research.

    The claims of your church on the explanations and definitions of the Facsimiles from Joseph Smith are viewed as ludicrous and not worthy of even discussing by any Egyptologist outside of BYU. BYU Egyptologists and the hacks at FAIR with their position on this are the laughing stock of the schools of higher learning around the world in this field. I watched an interview with Dr. Robert Ritner and he kept laughing when pressed with questions on the validity and seriousness of what Joseph Smith did with these Facsimiles. Nobody outside of BYU takes you, FAIR, BYU or the LDS Church seriously when it comes to the Book of Abraham.

    This could be fun. I think I’ll give you 50 more names of Egyptologists so you can run “dog races” on the BYU and FAIR website looking for personal slams against the professors instead of their work. Quit being lazy and do some research on your own outside of LDS comfort zones.

    Full Speed Ahead,
    [email protected]

  25. setfree says:

    Besides which… if anyone has read the book put out by Hugh Nibley’s daughter, she says that “the church” pressured him to say what he did about the Book of Abraham, and that he knew it was a farce. She may be lying, but then again, maybe she’s not.

  26. HankSaint says:

    FULL SPEED AHEAD Andy, not one piece of evidence have you produced yet, and I was very specific in my request, SHOW WHERE ANY OF THE EGYPTOLOGIST AGREE WITH EACH OTHER ON THE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE FRAGMENTS. 🙂

    “A hundred years ago Naville and Maspero agreed that “a philologically easily understood sentence, the words and grammar of which give us not the slightest difficulty,” often conveys ideas that completely escape all the experts, these being also the ideas behind the pictures. And today Professor Wilson and Anthes would concur in the same view. The latter calls attention to our “helplessness in the face of these mythological records,” both “texts and pictures,” while Dr. John A. Wilson suggests the amusing analogy of an Eskimo who had never heard of the Bible trying to make sense of the old hymn “Jerusalem the Golden.” Nibley.

    You do yourself, the visitors and the guest a huge disservice to state that these Egyptologist, even though they disagree with Joseph, yet they also disagree with each other, so I have done the research, looked into the facts and evidence and am satisfied that you were to lazy to see about the what, how and why of each of these men, and then have to admit I was right. So for those who would rather go beyond the hype and boiler-plating of a Andy or Setfree I suggest looking at the facts and evidence they both refuse to acknowledge. 🙂

    I, the Church and many or our scholars have nothing to hide, the work has been done, and the evidence weights heavily on the side of the Book of Abraham as being just what it claims to be. Truth.


  27. HankSaint says:

    Russ you like the rest of the herd ignore the facts and evidence we have been consistent in producing.

    I quote Russ,
    “I have examined the illustrations given in the ‘Pearl of Great Price.’ In the first place, they are copies (very badly done) of well known Egyptian subjects of which I have dozens of examples. Secondly, they are all many centuries later than Abraham.” -Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, London University.

    Correct Russ, they are copies. Correct Russ they are many centuries later. Interesting is that we have consistently stated these are not the original writings of Abraham. Please let me know when you can produce the original writings of the Bible. So as much as you fault the fragments, you have yet to produce any evidence that shows that Joseph used these fragments to produce the whole book of Abraham.
    And even better that what is written in the Book of Mormon is not correct doctrine and principles.

    What Joseph Smith tells us about Abraham in the book attributed to him can now be checked against a large corpus of ancient writings, unavailable to Joseph Smith at the time, and now show that Joseph had it right.

    Nice try Russ.


  28. Olsen Jim says:


    A very dear friend of my wife and I was college roommate of Martha Beck at Harvard. Our friend tells us Martha was very bright, but extremely self-centered and desperately sought attention in every setting she found herself. She was known for telling crazy stories and made most people around her extremely uncomfortable with her dramatics.

    Since leaving her husband and children for her lesbian lover, she has done quite well in marketing her philosophies and approach to life (no small help from Oprah).

    All of Martha’s siblings have come out and emphatically defended their father and say Martha is way off and is lying through her teeth.

    If you consider her a trustworthy source, be my guest. But I am a little surprised you would use anything she says as a source.

    Have you read Nibleys books? Hard to imagine after reading his writings on the BOA that he didn’t believe it. And there is absolutely no proof whatsoever he was pressured by anybody to say anything but what he thought and felt and believed.

    Hank and I have both mentioned this, but what is the explanation for the fact that many of the elements in the story in the BOA are corroborated by extrabiblical Jewish traditions and writings about Abraham unavailable in Joseph’s day. These include his deep understanding of astronomy, the commandment from God to tell Pharoah that Sarah was his sister, the claim that Jehovah had personally saved his life (not in the normal salvation sense) etc.?

  29. setfree says:

    Jim, I fear you haven’t been keeping up with recent posts. God most certainly DID NOT tell Abraham to lie. That little bit of tweaking may have made sense in Joseph Smith’s satan-lovin mind, but it does not “jive” with the rest of the Bible.

    As far as “his deep understanding of astronomy”, pray tell me what exactly this would be?

    One more thing. Given the lying-for-the-cause nature of prophet and followers, why would I believe Nibley and a family who wants to hold onto his LDS-respected name, over one who has provided in detail what her experience was?

    That she is a lesbian may more prove her honesty (about her strange upbringing) than disprove it.

  30. Michael P says:

    Broken records abound…

    I don’t think I’ve seen a response to Smith’s comment that the scrolls were written by Abraham. Am I missing something, or is that a direction that has been ignored by our Mormon friends?

  31. kholland says:

    Well Michael P. Even if Smith did say it was written by Abraham’s own hand and we can prove him wrong, it does not mean he is a false profit. right? or am I wrong? lol. This gets so confusing some times. God might have told Smith to lie who knows…..

  32. Michael P says:

    Kholland, lol.

    Must be something like that…

    The silence on that question is telling.

  33. HankSaint says:

    LOL, guys, lets see, I author a Book of my own spiritual experience and include my visitations with God. Now it’s several thousand years later, and another man comes across my writings which are in English or some other language, the person is gifted in my language but wants to translate all my words into another more familiar language, yet he is a honest scribe, and does not want to be called out on plagiarism so he makes sure it is still consider the writing of Richard and by my own hand. Hmmm, what seems to be the problem guys, now has the Church ever denied that the fragments are several thousand years later in time, no. So you loose again, sorry.


  34. Michael P says:

    Hank, no, that doesn’t address the quotes from KHolland. Why don’t you try again? If I were translating something from another that I knew the fragment being translated was a copy, I would call it a copy, not something of his own hand. Wouldn’t you? Saying it is in the writer’s own hand indicates it is an original and not a copy. Even if he said it was a copy of something written in Abe’s own hand would be better than saying it was Abe’s hand.

    Of course you’ll disagree, but see this argument: which is the easier explanation? Which tries to whitewash a potentially dangerous situation? Which is more honest and easier to make with a straight face? That’s right, Hank, it is easier to say that in his own hand means in one’s own handwriting, and not a copy.

    Admitting this though brings all sorts of next questions, like for instance why did Smith say it was in his own hand when it wasn’t? Or did he lie about it? Or was he just wrong about it? If either of those, what does that say about his status as a prophet?

    Again, I am 150% sure you will disagree, but if nothing else, understand the argument for what it is.

  35. Andy Watson says:


    You’ve proven nothing and shown nothing other than the spin from BYU with their articles in the forms of links you have given. BYU and FAIR don’t speak for the Church and have no credibility outside of inner LDS circles that you are dug into. I read nothing they put out – not interested. It’s your right to stay buried there if you want. As you told me before, you are a TBM and nothing I say or anyone else is going to change your mind even if the evidence showed otherwise.

    I should let you know that when I post a comment that may have your name written at the top, I’m not actually talking directly to you if you can understand that. I am talking to those people out there who make up the majority of the LDS Church – the inactives – sitting at home & camped out because they have problems with the deliberate spin and dishonesty that your Church puts out. I only know that because they click on my email address and write to me and tell me so. Nothing personal, but I am not really addressing you any longer after your admission a few days ago in refusing to discuss the nature of God in my three offers/options of hopeful dialogue.

    You’re a TBM as you have acknowledged. Mormons like you can only be handed over to God in prayer to remove the LDS “filter” from your eyes. There does come a point when a person sears their conscience spiritually. Only the TBM’s post here. Most Christians know that, if not, they should. I asked you why you were here at MC. You never answered. I assume it’s for the same reasons the other TBM’s are here. The silent (inactive or otherwise) Mormons are just reading, thinking it over and doing further research.

    Not Playing a Harp,

    [email protected]

  36. bfwjr wrote “liv4jc said Dude. “Are you serious?” Yes I am. liv4jc said “The bible is correct when we want to quote it, but when it says what we don’t want it to say we can’t trust it.” Yes, That is the crux of our belief system.”


    Please, please, please remove the 8th Article of Faith from your promotional literature (“We believe the Bible to be the Word of God…”).

    It is utterly misleading because, according to the “crux of your belief system”, it conveys the erroneous message that the Bible is what you judge Mormonism by. Obviously, and explicitly, you judge the Bible by what Mormonism is.

    Do you want people to go around under this misapprehension?

    Do you want to be misrepresented by this falsehood?

  37. HankSaint says:

    Michael think about what you just said and then apply it to the Cannon of Scriptures we call the Bible.

    Michael states, ” If I were translating something from another that I knew the fragment being translated was a copy, I would call it a copy, not something of his own hand. Wouldn’t you? Saying it is in the writer’s own hand indicates it is an original and not a copy.

    So using your logic we should apply the following to these Book in the NT,

    A copy of Matthew, a copy of Ephesians, a copy of Hebrews, a copy of Mark, a copy of James, a copy of Luke, etc, etc.
    So lets say that Matthew wrote at the heading, a Book Of Matthew, written by my own hands. Hmmm, are you starting to see some light.
    Your argument hold little water good buddy, and by the way the Fragments were a attachment to the original scrolls as found in the actual history as told by Joseph and many other witnesses. Me thinks your struggling here a little, still more concerned with the origin, the transmission, but have little to say about what is in the contents of the Book of Abraham, I always get this same debate, but no one wants to touch the what, how and why of Abraham’s story and as found in more recent writing, Book of Jasher.

  38. HankSaint says:

    Thanks for the debate Andy, I agree we don’t really have much in common to share. Your stuck on Creedal Christianity, and for the guest and visitors we would recommend talking to the LDS Missionaries who teach the restoration of all things.

    Ordinances, Priesthood, Temples, and most importantly, the New Testament principles of FAITH, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM, AND RECEIVING THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.

    Visitors, guest or inactive LDS, [email protected]

  39. Michael P says:

    Hank. You just don’t get it, do you?

    I am not even sure if we are discussing the same thing.

    Check out KHolland’s posts on what Smith wrote. Please, then, after you have done that write what it is we are discussing. I am not patient enough now to continue unless we are on the same topic.

  40. I find the whole agenda surrounding the statement “written by his own hand” interesting, partly because the issue of authorship and translations simply doesn’t register as being important within (authentic) Biblical writings.

    It seems that the Biblical texts assume their authority by virtue of the message they present. Though some authors are identifiable (Paul, James, Isaiah etc), they are mostly anonymous. Of course, an authentic text from a creditable author ups the case for inclusion in the canon.

    Its not as if the Biblical authors were ignorant of the issues of translation either – the NT authors were at least bilingual (Aramaic and Greek), maybe trilingual (Latin). But, in contrast, the BoA is all about translation and authorship, with little consideration of its message.

    If its not characteristic of Biblical writing (particularly OT narrative), why include the statement “by his own hand”?

    My view is that Joseph Smith wanted to impart authenticity to the text. This is important to a 19th Century agenda, in which the authenticity of the Biblical texts was starting to be questioned, but its not important within the time frame of the OT and NT writings. The statement addresses the concerns of the 19th Century AD, not 19th Century BC.

    My conclusion is that Joseph Smith wanted us to believe that these were authentic texts, written autobiographically by Abraham himself, and it is shameful for LDS to try to spin away from his original intentions.

    Ultimately, though, its not about BoA as authentic scripture; its about Joseph Smith’s ability to translate it, which, according to his own rhetoric, seals his credentials as a prophet of God.

    The BoA is a fraud, Joseph Smith’s “translation” is fraudulent, therefore Joseph Smith’s claims to be a prophet are proven false within his own frame of reference. The “church” he founded does indeed fall on this falsehood.

  41. HankSaint says:

    Why don’t you comment on my common sense answer? Then why not just read the Book of Abraham and discuss what he had to say?
    Since we don’t have the ORIGINAL SCROLLS IN OUR POSSESSION, we do at least have the translation by Joseph Smith of the Book of Abraham.

    What really counts is that the topic is false of this thread is false, and many of us have already pointed out the errors in the edited version given by Aaron and Sharon, so prove me wrong. No body has shown that the misstated and manipulated words, let me quote you,

    “The implication here is that LDS leaders recognize that if the Book of Abraham really isn’t true—if Joseph Smith’s prophetic work known as the Book of Abraham is fraudulent—they will still encourage Mormons to sustain Joseph Smith as a true prophet.”

    are true. 🙁

    This is a hack job, a hit piece, and you know it as well as all the supposed inactive LDS that supposedly frequent this site as lurkers.


  42. setfree says:

    While looking through the History of the Church volumes to see what Joseph Smith himself had to say about the papyrus, I ran across something interesting.

    This is Joseph Smith talking, and I’m including his entire entry on the incident:

    “Saturday, 12 [1835].–Spent the forenoon in reading. About twelve o’clock a number of young persons called to see the Egyptian records. My scribe exhibited them. One of the young ladies who had been examining them, was asked if they had the appearance of antiquity. She observed, with an air (page 330)of contempt, that they had not. On hearing this, I was surprised at the ignorance she displayed, and I observed to her, that she was an anomaly in creation, for all the wise and learned that had examined them, without hesitation pronounced them ancient. I further remarked, that it was downright wickedness, ignorance, bigotry and superstition had caused her to make the remark; and that I would put it on record. And I have done so, because it is a fair sample of the prevailing spirit of the times, showing that the victims of priestcraft and superstition would not believe though one should rise from the dead.”


  43. HankSaint says:


    well there is always Falcon, wow —” If they believe it, it is indeed reality, never mind the evidence. I keep wondering, are these folks adults, with adult ability to reason? It’s Peter Pan and Tinker Bell with the kids shutting their eyes and saying over and again “I do believe in ferries”.

    Wow, a real anomaly in creation, filled with contempt and a lot of ignorance. Falcon would not believe even if an angle appeared and showed him the Brass Plates. Nothing but superstition and priestcraft I’m sure.


  44. HankSaint says:

    Spelling —- angel—- my bad.

  45. setfree says:

    I’m sorry. What?

  46. Michael P says:

    Hank, it is a simple response, but it also is off base We don’t have anything like that that that I know of where Matthew wrote by my hand in his preface to the Gospel, or letters where Paul said they were by his own hand, or anything anywhere in the Bible. What does this mean? It means that your argument essentially comes down to wishful thinking. We don’t have that part so it is your word against ours, but that takes me back to my post about which is the easier argument to make with a straight face, and that is based on the words used (In his own hand) and what we do have from history.

  47. setfree says:

    I’m not sure that HankSaint understood the quoted I posted earlier, so I’m going to paraphrase it in modern day vernacular.

    Here’s the episode again:

    There’s a girl in a group of young people who’ve come to see the papyrus Joseph Smith has.

    Someone asks her, do you think they look old?

    She says, “no”.

    And Joseph Smith FLIPS OUT!

    He says to her:

    -You are “an anomaly in creation”!
    -Smart people know they’re ancient!
    -It’s ‘downright wickedness, ignorance, bigotry and superstition’ that made you say that!
    -I’m going to put this on record about you!

    Then he writes all this about her (holding a grudge, is he?), and adds that she

    -typifies the “prevailing spirit of the times”, and
    – must be a victim of “priestcraft and superstition” who probably wouldn’t believe even if “one should rise from the dead.”

    Hence my “wow”.

    Let me put this in perspective for you.

    Joseph Smith compared himself with Jesus in many ways. (Lamb to the Slaughter, Him being the “Abraham’s seed” that’s going to save, to name just a couple of examples)

    But is Joseph Smith like Jesus?

    I can’t think of one place where Jesus verbally ripped into someone because they didn’t like what He had to offer.

  48. Michael P says:

    That comment (Smith’s) is really pretty amazing. It really shows an arrogance and an expectation that all should agree with him. Even a young girl, who he was willing to publically embarrass. This is neither patient nor God-like.

    If that is how he was, pressuring people with public humiliation, then it is understandable how people would feel trapped. One should never under estimate the power of peer pressure, even in adults.

    And the comments also are in line with several other actions of Smith.

  49. setfree wrote “I can’t think of one place where Jesus verbally ripped into someone because they didn’t like what He had to offer.”


    Jesus did get pretty worked up when he drove the extortionists/merchants out of the temple, and in Matthew 23. However, Jesus rips into these guys because they were doing the kinds of things Joseph Smith did.

    So you’re wrong, and you’re right; the kind of mean-spirited vindictiveness towards lowly people (women in particular) that Joseph Smith records “in his own hand”, is not characteristic of Jesus’ style. Neither should it be characteristic of the style of his followers.

  50. HankSaint says:

    Hank, it is a simple response, but it also is off base We don’t have anything like that that that I know of where Matthew wrote by my hand in his preface to the Gospel, or letters where Paul said they were by his own hand, or anything anywhere in the Bible. What does this mean? It means that your argument essentially comes down to wishful thinking. We don’t have that part so it is your word against ours, but that takes me back to my post about which is the easier argument to make with a straight face, and that is based on the words used (In his own hand) and what we do have from history.


    Not off base at all good buddy, show me the actual writing of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and I will show you a translation of their words by someone else, most likely a scribe, who is translating it into another language, spot on friend, so you tell me from the following facts.

    We know the scrolls are dated after the time of Abraham
    We know that they are not a autograph of Abraham
    We know that it is titled, “The Book of Abraham, written in by his own hand”.
    We know the fragments were a attachment, and not a part of the Scrolls.

    What you can not produce, is anything to discredit the true history of the what, how and why of it’s origin, the best you can come up with is pure speculation, and your most entitled to that, must be frustrating though.


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