Given that the parchments of the Book of Abraham facsimiles have been recovered, they should be a “signature piece” of Joseph Smith’s credentials, silencing the critics once and for all. The evidence is clear to anyone who wants to look at it. Joseph Smith didn’t know what he was doing when he supposedly translated these parchments. The Mormon Church has put itself in a corner in trying to defend the non-defendable. I look and read with sadness and amazement at the lengths some Mormons will go to defend Joseph Smith in this blatant blunder of proclaimed prophetic ability on his part. BYU professors like John Gee are still trying to spin it. He wants the world to believe that what is in The Book of Abraham and how it came to be translated are not very important and that there are “larger issues” to focus on. But I can’t look the other way.
- That’s just John Gee’s and other BYU professors; opinion.
- What John Gee and other BYU professors and other speakers for F.A.I.R. say is not necessarily authoritative from the LDS Church.
- John Gee’s statements are not the official position of the LDS Church.
- Gee and BYU professors like him are not General Authorities of the LDS Church.
- Gee’s and other BYU professors words are not binding.
- Gee, BYU and F.A.I.R. spokespeople don’t speak for the First Presidency.
- At the 2009 April General Conference Gee’s findings and opinions on The Book of Abraham were not spoken by Thomas Monson, prophet/president of the LDS Church, nor was there a vote taken by the membership on downgrading the importance/significance of Joseph Smith’s renditions on the supposed writings of Abraham.
LDS defenders don’t agree with each other and sometimes they don’t agree with the LDS Church in their statements:
“Moreover, the Prophet’s explanations of each of the facsimile’s accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 1:136-137)
“In the entry on the facsimiles from the Book of Abraham in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, we are told that the prophet’s explanation of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practice. This is a truly remarkable statement in view of the fact that those Egyptologists have commented on Joseph’s interpretations of the facsimiles have stated emphatically that his interpretations are not correct from the perspective of the Egyptologist who attempts to interpret Egyptian religious literature and iconography as he or she believes the ancient Egyptians themselves would have” (LDS Egyptologist Dr. Stephen Thompson, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 28, No.1, p. 143) [Emphasis mine]
What is official is that The Book of Abraham is in the Pearl of Great Price, which the LDS Church calls its “Standard Works” — scripture.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith subsequently translated the Egyptian characters on one of these scrolls and found them to be a fascinating first person, historical account of Father Abraham’s activities. Including his visit to Egypt” (Conference Reports, October 1966, p. 30)
“With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second highest body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four ‘standard works’ of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.” (“Approaching Mormon Doctrine”, LDS Church Newsroom, May 4, 2007) [Emphasis mine]
The LDS Church made the decision to make the Pearl of Great Price part of its Standard Works in 1880. This was Joseph’s big chance to prove himself as a prophet and he blew it – big time. I would like to have seen a BYU professor try to tell a Mormon in 1880 when the book was canonized that there were “larger issues” that somehow rendered the The Book of Abraham insignificant. Mormons back then believed what Joseph Smith claimed of himself and went to their graves believing in the basic accuracy of his translation of the parchments and facsimiles. I would challenge anyone to document any BYU professor prior to 1967 downplaying the Book of Abraham as much as John Gee did at the F.A.I.R. conference in August of 2009.
Mormon Church historian and general authority, B.H. Roberts, said of the Book of Abraham:
“This work is rich in doctrine and in historical incidents.” (A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latte-day Saints 2:128)
He was also quick to add this:
“…if Joseph Smith’s translation of the Egyptian parchment could be proven discredited, and proven false, then doubt would be thrown also upon the genuineness of his translation of the Book of Mormon, and thus all his pretensions as a translator would be exposed and come to naught.” (Comprehensive History of the Church 2:138)
I’d like to give B.H. Roberts a standing ovation for being honest and forthright enough to say this. He knew full well what was at stake and Mormons today would be well advised to heed his counsel. But, I imagine today that Mormons would throw Roberts “under the bus” for his statement.
In light of the evidence I would highly recommend that the LDS Church join with their long-lost brothers and sisters of the Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS, and drop the Pearl of Great Price as divine scripture. They wised up long ago and realized that when Joseph Smith got to that point of being a proclaimed translator of Egyptian parchments and facsimiles that he had gone astray or “overboard” in being a prophet.
When Mormons enter their temple to do temple ordinances, are they worshiping the Egyptian gods found in their own scriptures? Joseph Smith’s pagan god is an exalted man. If Mormons follow the god that Joseph Smith revealed to the world in the King Follet Discourse, then they are offering up their prayers to a god that is an idol… a false god. I strongly encourage our Mormon friends to heed the warnings of God in the Bible noted in this series earlier. Your eternal destiny is on the line. There is nothing more serious than that. I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ to renounce this paganism.
“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord…choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
I will side with Joshua and serve the true God as revealed to us in the Bible. I will not bow my head, fold my arms and give up prayers or pay homage to any Egyptian pagan god that Joseph Smith told us was God in the Book of Abraham… not now – not ever!
Let me be the first to compliment you on 4 terrific posts.
“…if Joseph Smith’s translation of the Egyptian parchment could be proven discredited, and proven false, then doubt would be thrown also upon the genuineness of his translation of the Book of Mormon, and thus all his pretensions as a translator would be exposed and come to naught.”
That about sums it up.
Good work Andy and an excellent conclusion. I’m back to my premise that if someone wants to believe something bad enough, all the evidence in the world isn’t going to convince them otherwise. People are very good at being able to deny or ignore reality when it runs contrary to what they want to believe. Mormons have those build in psychological mechanisms that protects their emotional equilibrium.
In this case it will be, “There’s so much we don’t know. It will all be revealed to us later.” That’s a very convenient out for the intellectually lazy and/or the emotionally fragile person. Then on the other hand, some folks, like the Rich Young Ruler in the Bible, have too much to lose. The thought of being separated from all that gives their lives meaning must be a very frightening prospect-even if what they cling to is false.
We’ll continue to pray for our Mormon friends and hope that they will be open to rejecting the pagan god Min whom they worship and turn to the true living and everlasting God.
Great contrast between John Gee and B.H. Roberts.
Where’s the beef? (Sorry for the 80s reference).
But none of your articles even starts to address the arguments of BOA defenders. Your argument is essentially that the BOA was translated from the fragments of Papyri we have today. And the two do not match. Therefore the argument is over. “The experts” (and apologists) agree. Are you no more interested than that? Critics here are some of the least curious people I know. Satisfied is how I would describe you all.
Can you describe the arguments for the BOA? The answer to that question shows the depth of your interest and the breadth of your understanding.
You approach is to discredit those who defend the book rather than understand any of the substance of their argument.
Despite what you think, those here understand little more about the debate now than before your articles.
Olsen, the series primarily addressed the sexual Min/Horus figure on one of the facsimiles, which Joseph Smith “translated” as being the God of Israel. Are you implying that the LDS Canon erroneously includes the facsimiles with their accompanying explanations?
It is interesting how Jim said,
“Despite what you think, those here understand little more about the debate now than before your articles.”
I have learned a lot, really, I thought I knew the argument; but now I have a better understanding.
So Jim, on what information do you support your claim?
“You[r] approach is to discredit those who defend the book rather than understand any of the substance of their argument.”
How can a person understand the substance if there is none? I would like to understand the substance but all I ever see from defenders is wild explanations based on personal opinion.
The LDS org. does enough to discredit its own works, we really don’t have to do anything but point out the problems.
Olsen Jim said Andy,Where’s the beef?
I for one, was just thinking where are Jim Olsen and Hanksaint why arent’ they delivering the Beef? Let me give you a head-start. Put on your religious upside-down goggles and explain it to us in true Mormon fashion, as Falcon stated “There’s so much we don’t know. It will all be revealed to us later.” I don’t know how many times in my young life I heard that one. My personal favorite was when Bro./Bishop so and so would take you aside,take you into his confidence and assure you that all those questions were answered in “the lost pages of the BOM”.Yet more evidence that Mormonism rots your brain.
We might want to keep the following words in
mind when our LDS friends start using some of
their “research” to defend the Book of Abraham:
” In my opinion, none of Joseph Smith’s inter-
pretations of the figures in these scenes accord
with the way in which the ancient Eqyptians
probably understood them…So if this is the way
the ancient Egyptians would have interpreted
these figures, how can the statement be made that
the prophet’s explanations of each of the facsi-
miles accords ‘ with present understanding of
Egyptian religious practice’? First,it is import-
ant to note that the originals of these facsimiles
of the Book of Abraham were created for a specific
purpose, to provide for the sucessful transition
of an individual to the afterlife upon his death.
Every figure in the facimiles had as its purpose
the accomplishing of that goal.While it is poss-
ible that some of these figures might appear in
other contexts, and take on other meanings in
those contexts, in the context of the funerary
papyri their interpretation is related to funerary
purposes. THE APPROACH TAKEN IN ATTEMPTING TO
SUPPORT JOSEPH’S INTERPRETATIONS OF THESE FIGURES
IS TO COMPARE THEM WITH FIGURES FOUND IN OTHER
HISTORICAL AND TEXTUAL CONTEXTS.IT IS SIMPLY NOT
VALID,HOWEVER,TO SEARCH THROUGH 3,000 YEARS OF
EGYPTIAN RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY TO FIND PARALLELS
WHICH CAN BE PUSHED,PRODDED,SQUEEZED, OR LINKED
IN AN ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY JOSEPH’S INTERPRETATIONS.
By: Stephen E.Thompson (Doctor of Philosophy in
Egyptology, Brown University 1991 )
Article from Dialgue Journal of Mormon Thought,
Thank you, again, for all the hard work you put into this series. Guys like Olsen might not ever get it, but it doesn’t mean we stop trying and praying.
Andy – thanks for all of this. You have done a yeoman’s job with this. ANd Mike R. – what a quite above.
Olden, maybe you are right– I am not sure what the defense is. What I understand it to be is that the documents don’t really matter; rather, it is the message that matters. You might have mentioned that some scholars do say that Smith’s translations show certain knowledge of Egyptian culture at the time that is impossible without divine assistance. If I have missed, remind me.
But regarding the arguments that it is the substance that matters, no, you’re wrong. Sorry fella. But the documents have everything to do with it. Smith and LDS leaders have claimed that he translated them accurately, not that he used them as inspiration for spiritual truths. If they’d used that story from the beginning, that would be one thing, but you’ve had to back into it so it is something else now. It is a fraud, and the current argument is not intellectually honest.
Now, if I am addressing the wrong thing, please, let me know.
I guess the one thing I take solace in when I get too frustrated with our Mormon posters, is the testimony of our exMormon friends like jackg who tell us that their thought processes and desire to believe the Mormon mythology were exactly the same at one time. My mind has never been there so it’s very difficult to relate to it. But then we look at the people who burned with David Koresh or who drank Jim Jones’ poison or those that committed suicide in an attempt to catch the tail of the comet Kohotek, that the desire to believe and do what ever is necessary to maintain that belief is so strong that reality and fantasy get confused and the thinking process get flipped.
jackg has told us that it took him ten years to get the Mormon indoctrination out of his mind and he had two very intense years of spiritual struggle with this. So we pray and present the Gospel. That’s our mission and may God bless us and give us strength and patience.
Mr. Olsen, I’m going to assume that you have moved to this thread. I want to respond to your question about the manuscripts Moses used, but I’m a little confused. Let me give you my understanding: Moses was the author of the first five books of our Bible. So Moses didn’t use any manuscripts. Genesis is a book of history, so much of what Moses knew could have been handed down over the generations while the Israelites were in Egypt, but this opens the door for false theology like what the BoA tries to portray. The argument would go something like this: The true knowledge of Abraham’s faith was lost while Israel was in Egypt for 400 years. It was corrupted and the Genesis account that Moses records is a written record of that corruption. Joseph Smith restored that original religion.
I believe that just like the other revelations that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sanai, He also gave him the information to record the Genesis account of creation, the calling of Abram, and the history of Isaac and Jacob. Because I believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, the true revelation of God’s creation and calling had to have come directly from God, who cannot lie. The Pentateuch is the basis for the Jewish and Christian faith. Jesus quoted from it and the Prophets. He did not quote from the BoA and His portrayal of Himself and the Father as One is consistent with that record. Deuteronomy 6:4 is the beginning of the daily Jewish prayer, the Shema Israel, a has been for millenia.
If you believe that Moses’ record was corrupted and JS restored truth in the BoA that’s fine. But the theology of the Bible, and therefore Judaism and Christianity, is directly at odds with that revelation. You cannot use both for the same religion. BoA Mormonism is much less Christian than even BoM Mormonism. Let me remind you that JS was attempting to portray the God of the Bible when he wrote his BoM. The original BoM bears witness to this and is itself contradicted by the false gods of theBOA
Like yourself, I never experienced what Jack
and other ex-LDS have went through. For those
who are misled in following false prophets the
indoctrination is real. My wife was one of
those people. She was a Jehovah’s witness.
For years after her accepted Jesus as her
Savior, she would not read any Bible study
aides because in their methods to convert
people the JW’s offer free home “Bible Study”
courses which involve using the Bible plus a
Watchtower Society book ( which interprets
the Bible). She only read her Bible.
Why do people follow so-called “prophets”?
It’s their desire to please God.To please God
they are taught to comply with God’s arrange-
ment, which is to submit to His prophet. The
prophet teaches them God’s truth.There is
always an Old Testament scripture used to
prove this arrangement etc. It’s interesting
to observe how JW’s use the word,”organization”
like LDS use the word “Church”. The Church is
true,there is no salvation outside the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, etc
In 1981 the Watchtower prophet said, “…come
to Jehovah’s Organization for salvation…”
For my wife, the constant striving to gain
God’s favor by obeying the instructions of
His prophet, became a burden.It slowly doned
on her that Jesus was’nt being given enough
credit, and she started asking questions.
When we met, she was out of the false prophet
organization, but not into Jesus yet. She
found out who Jesus really is by reading her
Bible alone, without any Watchtower books.
I praise God for those like Jack G.;Set Free
and the other ex-LDS here for their being
” saved to the uttermost”, by Jesus [Heb 7:25]
Just a quick side note for those that may not be as informed about LDS history as I am…
I am no longer a part of the LDS Church, and so I have little respect for any of its leaders, past or present. I must say, however, that to this day I have an enormous amount of respect for B. H. Roberts. As a student of Mormonism, I appreciate him more than any other past or present Church member. He was just about as open-minded as a believing Mormon can be. The quote on this blog is just the tip of the iceberg. I can only imagine the changes that could have been made were he actually admitted to the Quorum of the Twelve or the Presidency of the Church.
Anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there. Even for those of you that can’t stand Mormonism, you may find the writings and works of B. H. Roberts fascinating.
Charles, I also have a lot of respect for B.H. Roberts. He was often criticized among the LDS hierarchy for his honest approach to church history. It is because of his honesty that those of us who have a love for the souls of the Mormon people have access to the many sordid details and inconsistencies in Mormon history and the life of Joseph Smith. Without his compilations a lot more digging would have to have been done. Have you read “Studies of the Book of Mormon”? If not, the book is a compilation of letters and essays Roberts wrote to the President and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding archaelogical problems within the BoM. He conducted the studies to help the LDS church defend itself against external attack, but what he found was that there was no defense. The obstacles were too difficult to overcome. The second part of the book is a study of the many similarities the BoM and “A View of the Hebrews” by Ethan Smith. AVotH is another book claiming that the Indians are descendant of the lost tribes of Israel. Roberts also covers the themes of the BoM in relation to the religious and political climate of the U.S. during JS lifetime. Roberts conclusion was that JS authored the BoM, which is exactly what the BoM title page proclaimed.
I don’t think that Roberts ever officially denounced the Latter Day Saints and JS. It’s too bad that most of his later writings were not published until after his death, allowing the LDS faithful to claim that they weren’t authentic or that he was just playing devil’s advocate. I don’t see any other conclusion than Roberts must have lost faith in JS and the LDS org. However, I think he had too much invested to leave as most Mormons do. I wish he would have had access to the information about the BoA papyri that was shown on this blog alone. I don’t think he would have defended the translation like the LDS church has. I believe Roberts was an honest man who truly wanted to serve God. I pray he denounced JS before he died.
Interesting, I posted a lengthy copy and paste and broke the rules, resulting in a carding. Question are the rules in play for all interested parties?
What say you?
B.H. Roberts Affirms Book of Mormon Antiquity in Newly Released Manuscript
“Long unseen by LDS scholars, an 847-page typescript entitled The Truth, The Way, The Life by B. H. Roberts will soon be published by BYU Studies. Roberts worked on this treatise mainly in 1927-1928, but he was still revising it in 1932, so it contains some of his last words written for publication; he died in 1933.”
What a unexpected bonus for us LDS, to learn that Roberts repeatedly testified of the truth of the BOM. I hope when this gets published that all doubters and skeptics will be more aware of his intellectual sophisticated views.
I don’t think the apologist argument is that the “documents don’t really matter.” They actually do matter, but we do not believe the fragments we have today are the actual source of the text of the BOA.
Our contention is that the text of the BOA came from portion(s) of the papyri that we no longer possess. The easy thing from your position is to say “that is a copout.” But there is actually very good reason to believe we possess only a small fraction of the papyri. The uninterested will certainly close the door there.
Based on physical analysis of other papyri, we can estimate the length of the original papyri that was purchased in 1835. And we have the 26 descriptions of the papyri by those who saw them with their own eyes before 1856. Oliver Cowdery gave very specific descriptions of the illustrations and diagrams on the papyri which in no way match the facsimiles we have. So we are quite confident that there was more in 1835.
There are many copies of the Book of Breathings/Dead that also have other records, histories, or writings attached; there is a precedent for such funerary documents (although that term is a huge simplification) being attached to seemingly unrelated writings. And there are examples of Egyptian hypocephali that tell a wide variety of unrelated stories. There are also facsimiles that show Osiris with a human head as well as some of the other features that differentiate Joseph Smith’s facsimiles from the most common examples.
So what about what we do have? Are the fragments meaningless? Absolutely not. Apologists agree with critics in saying the fragments are not the BOA. No question.
Understanding any connection between the Book of the Dead/Breathings and Book of Abraham requires one to consider ancient Egyptian culture, religion and the Egyptian manner of communication in addition to the roll of the Book of Breathings in that culture.
In the BOA “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations.” In this verse, “Pharaoh” refers to the first Pharaoh, or at least one of the earliest. So according to the BOA, early Egyptian peoples possessed some understanding of the true religion of “the fathers” which they tried to imitate.
Abraham lived in Egypt and was very connected to their royalty. To some degree, he used their language and their cultural constructs in his writings. And the central elements in Egyptian religion were the initiation rights that are outlined in the Book of Breathings.
Now there is a huge intersection between Egyptian religion/culture and Abraham and his history- and that intersection can be seen in the facsimiles. That is the key- the facsimiles were employed either by Abraham to illustrate his story or by those who came later who retold that story. So why is it not obvious from the fragments?
LDS are not the only ones who recognize this intersection- there are two non-LDS, independent scholars that I know of who have concluded that such a relationship actually exists between Abraham and these Egyptian writings. One even suggests that Abraham served as a “Jewish substitute” for Osiris in a facsimile equivalent to our facsimile 1 exactly how Joseph Smith described. What are the chances?
Then you have all the Abrahamic literature that agrees with the historical details found in the BOA- things impossible for Joseph to have known in 1835. The list of parallels is long and impressive.
This is an extremely truncated, top-of-my head, explanation of the apologist view of the whole issue of the BOA. And if people here really want to understand the controversy, they should move beyond the superficial, slam-dunk conclusion that the text of the BOA didn’t come from the fragments of the Joseph Smith papyri.
The slam dunk is the Abraham of the Book of Abraham is not the monotheistic Abram that was called by YHWH Elohim of the Bible. The Bible doesn’t record Abraham’s consortation with the Pharoahs of Egypt or their idols. If you want to believe that JS restored that true religion, have at it, but stop lying to the world by saying that you are Christians. Your god Elohim is but one of an infinite number of gods in the universe. This has been well documented as the theology of your organization. The Bible leaves no room for that interpretation and therefore cannot be part of your standard works. The PoGP and the Bible are contradictory. A contradiction is the basis for a lie. One book is true. One is not. Choose your theology and stick with it.
If you want to believe JS is a prophet of a restored religion that is fine, but again, the theology of the LDS church cannot be supported by the Bible. In your estimation the Bible must be false because it contradicts JS teaching, along with the rest of your prophets and Apostles. This is in direct contradiction to the 8th article of faith. What I think JS meant when he wrote that article is, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is “interpreted” correctly.” There is a huge difference between interpretation and translation. Translation is an a ademic process. Interpretation is a subjective process, which is what the LDS church does with the English translation of the Bible.
If you want to remain free from scrutiny in your doctrine by Christians, then remove the Bible from your canon of scripture and be honest in the distance between your faith and the faith taught by the Bible. Christians will still challenge the truth of your beliefs because we witness to people of all faiths, but this will at least remove one area of contention and make keeping your members from leaving easier. It will be easier to hide the internal contradictions of your faith when there is no longer an Elephant in the room.
I have been away from the computer for a couple of days (good for the brain ;)), so I had some catch-up reading to do.
The one thing that stuck out the most to me today as I read was something that has occurred to me before, not just at Mormon Coffee but at other social engagements… well, church being another example, family reunions another…
anyway, the thing I’ve noticed (and I’m sure others have as well) is that there are two big differences between what the LDS write/say, and what the “saved” Christians do.
1) Every so often, the Saved Christian can’t help but blurt out his love for Jesus, and take time off-topic to praise Him a while
2) the Saved Christian will admit to mistakes, especially the big yucky ones that God has pulled out of his life
I never notice the LDS do either of these things. I’ll make an exception… it may be that one or more tries to do it, now that I’ve written this.
The same thing is true if Mormon church gatherings vs Christian church gatherings. One thing that I was so blessed by when beginning to attend Christian services was their thankfulness to God and their individual lack of perfection and reliance on Him for everything.
It’s just not like that at/with the ward folk, where they stand and self-promote, and follow it up with the quick “I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen”.
I’m terrifically grateful for this community of Christians, and the fellowship of faith and love for Jesus that I find out here on MC. Thanks you guys.
Thank You, my Jesus.
As I remember, the rule is that for an LDS to
use LDS apologetic material it has to be
summerized in your own words rather than
posted verbatim etc.
While the quote I used was in an LDS
publication,it was calling into question
an LDS position on the Book of Abraham etc.
That being said, I think you’ll need to ask
Aaron or Sharon to answer your question.
setfree, most of the ev meetings I’ve been to are more like an AA gathering.
liv4jc wrote “What I think JS meant when he wrote that article is, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is “interpreted” correctly.” ”
I’m going to disagree with you here. I think that when Joseph Smith used the word “translated”, that’s exactly what he meant.
If we take him at his word, he’s implying that the Bible is entire of itself and all we need to to is to operate the right mechanics of translation to get its true meaning (which had been hidden by previous erroneous translations). Furthermore, he was sealing his own claims to be a divinely appointed and equipped translator of ancient scripture. In other words, if you want a “true” translation, then Joseph will give it to you (and don’t trust any other “translations, either).
Of course, this falls apart at several places, for example;
* If the “true” meaning of the Bible has been obscured by previous improperly translated versions, why insist on using the English King James’ Bible? (Why not the JSIT, for example?)
* Why call the Bible the “Word of God”, if the words of the “Word of God” had been destroyed by a great apostasy?…
* …and, doesn’t Jesus say something about his words enduring for ever (Matt 24:35)?
* Not least, Joseph’s credentials as a divinely equipped translator are fundamentally undermined by the BoA, as discussed above.
If Joseph had written “interpreted”, then we’d have an entirely different discussion, but at least there would the recognition that interpretations are shaped by the person doing the interpreting. As it stands, the “translation” strategy offers no such latitude. Either Joseph “translated” correctly, or he didn’t; there’s no room for the “interpretations” that the BoA defenders try to shoe-horn into the equation.
Again, I fully agree with your conclusion. If Mormons don’t want the Bible to direct their religion, let them do so, but let them remove this misleading and deceptive statement from their articles of faith
“I’m terrifically grateful for this community of Christians, and the fellowship of faith and love for Jesus that I find out here on MC. Thanks you guys.
Thank You, my Jesus.”
What is so wonderful is the fact God will allow all of us to associate in heaven with those who we most feel comfortable with. As for you and many of your Evangelical Christian friends, you will find peace and happiness, and as for me I will also find the comfort and peace of associating with those who have like beliefs. So you see I’m also grateful for this community of believers, who have found the restored Church of Christ.
I might use up all of my 6 posts on this one guys. I’m sorry. I promise it will be worth it.
OlsonJim wrote, “Abraham lived in Egypt and was very connected to their royalty. To some degree, he used their language and their cultural constructs in his writings. And the central elements in Egyptian religion were the initiation rights that are outlined in the Book of Breathings.”
For a minute he almost Jedi-mind-tricked me. I was relying on the belief that OJ wouldn’t just say something that wasn’t true because we could both go to the scriptures and check. But then I thought I remembered that very little was said in the Bible about Abraham in Egypt. We know that in Genesis 11:31 Abram’s father Terah leaves Ur in Chaldea, and along with Abram, Sarai, and Lot his nephew travels the 600 miles north to Haran. As I have pointed out before Joshua 24:2 tells us that God called Abram from Ur (in Chaldea, remember?) away from the gods of his fathers.
In Genesis 12 God calls Abram to leave Haran (also BoA ch. 2)and the land of his father (Ur of the Chaldeans, remember?) and go to a place where He will show him. So Abram does what God commands and heads to Shechem (hmmm I wonder where Shechem is?), and there are Canaanites there.
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South (Genesis 12:7-9).
Is everyone clear on the fact that YHWY is giving Abram the land of Canaan (and through his promise, Isaac and Jacob, who later becomes Israel)?
In Genesis 12:10-13 Abram travels to Egypt because of a great famine in the land of Canaan. This is the first time Abram will play fast and loose with his genealogy by asking Sarai his wife to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister, not his wife, so they won’t kill him.
“So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels” (Genesis 12:14-16).
It doesn’t sound like the Egyptian priest of Elkenah or Pharaoh wants to kill Abram. It sounds like Abram is treated rather well for Sarai’s sake, but trouble is abrewin’.
“But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had” (Genesis 12:17-20).
Well, that doesn’t give us much to go on. It doesn’t sound like Abram was in Egypt for a long time. Pharaoh gets mad and kicks Abram out of Egypt. I certainly wouldn’t build a theology about the history of Abram in Egypt with so much information missing. I wonder if we can find out what’s really going on here?
Everybody please turn to the back of your Bible to the maps, or if you have a Bible Atlas that would work great also. If we look on our maps way to the east of Egypt and just north of the Persian Gulf in modern day southern Iraq we will find Ur of the Chaldeans. This was what was known as Mesopotamia. Well, maybe there was two Ur of the Chaldeans (I’ll explain this in a second) so we’ll find a few other landmarks just to be sure.
Now follow the Euphrates river north and you will come to Haran. That’s where Abram’s father Terah died (Genesis 11:30). Now move your finger southwest along the Mediterranean Sea and you will come to Shechem at the north of the Jordan River. Just southwest of Shechem are Bethel and Ai. These are located in the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:7-9). This is also in BoA ch. 2, but a little distorted.
Now let’s all turn to the Book of Abraham chapter 1. In verse 1 JS writes “IN the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, I Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;” So we know from the Bible and geography that Abram’s father was Terah from Ur of the Chaldeans, and Ur of the Chaldeans is about 900 miles east of Egypt. After seeking the Priesthood (because he was just so dog gone righteous) Abram tells us this about his fathers in chapter 1 verses 5 and 6,
“My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen utterly refused to hearken to my voice; For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;”
I wonder why Terah is worshiping the gods of Egypt if he lives in Chaldea? The god of Ur was Nanna the moon goddess (google some photos of the Ziggurat of Ur).
Next, verses 7 and 8 say, “Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh. Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.”
So let me get this straight: Pharaoh, king of Egypt had an altar built in Chaldea to offer human sacrifices of men, women, and children? Do you think he and his priest took a private jet to travel the 900 miles? I wonder if he was granted diplomatic immunity by the Chaldeans when he killed their citizens?
Verse 10 tells us that the altar was located on Potiphar’s Hill, and verse 20 tells us that Potiphar’s Hill was located in the land of Ur of Chaldea. Verse 11 tells us that the priest also offered virgins on the altar. Verse 13 tells us that the altar was made after the form of a bedstead such as was had among the Chaldeans. And in case you were thinking that maybe this is a different altar from a different scroll, JS makes sure he tells us in verses 12 and 14 that Abram has provided us with drawings at the beginning of the record of what the gods and the bed looked like.
Facsimile 1 at the beginning of the chapter does indeed show a guy lying on a bed with a guy with a knife standing over him and there are some jars below him.
If you will bear with me a little longer look down at verse 20 where is says, “Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea. And the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died; and there was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh; which Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood.”
So we learn that the Chaldeans are sad when the Egyptian priest who has been sacrificing their kids and virgins dies. Even Pharaoh was sad.
Do you think Pharaoh was in Egypt when the altar of Elkenah was destroyed in Ur of Chaldea, or do you think he was with his priest for some special human sacrifice pilgrimage to a foreign land 900 MILES AWAY?!
But wait, there’s more: Verse 23 tells us “The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden.”…so in the Chaldean language (just a 900 mile stone’s throw away) Egyptus means Egypt? Which signifies that which is forbidden (what does that mean)?
This was obviously written very sarcastically, because I can’t believe I didn’t catch this the first time I read the Book of Abraham. Maybe it’s because I was looking at the Genesis account today and my Bible maps while trying to decipher the reason Mormons believed Abraham lived in Egypt. Now I know why.
Either JS was writing about another Abraham on another planet, or he had no clue about the geography of the Bible. Joseph Smith thought Ur of the Chaldeans was either very close to Egypt or was in Egypt. Why read any further? The geography paradox alone makes the BoA ridiculous and proves it is a forgery. Chapter 2 is nothing more than a cheap copy of Genesis 12 and even gets Abram’s age wrong from Genesis 12:4, which was 75, when he left Haran. The BoA Ch. 2 verse 14 says He was 62. Why does Abram go back to Egypt in Chapter 2 after escaping from the priest of Elkenah? I don’t even want to read the rest of the BoA again. It just makes me feel embarrassed for LDS people.
I’ve been trying to get something put together today, to compare texts and show what I keep saying about the Book of Abraham contradicting the Book of Moses (the other book in the Pearl of Great Price). But my schedule has been too crazy today, and I haven’t gotten it finished.
However, I did find this article, which EVERYONE should go read, since it examines all three Facsimiles, and more.
There is a link at the bottom of the page, which isn’t working for me. I am going to use another post to give it specifically.
By the way, LIV4JC, TERRIFIC! The above is great material, and I think you should put it together with little maps, and make a handout out of it. 🙂
Here is the other link:
Okay, now for a little foretaste of what I’ve been doing:
Here is the same verse from 3 different places:
KJV Genesis 1:4
“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
PGP Mos 2:4 (also JST Genesis 1:7)
“And I, God, saw the light, and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.”
PGP Abr 4:4
“And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.”
Here are my questions, just based on this sampling.
1) Joseph Smith started studying Hebrew right around November 30, 1835. It was only July 5, 1835 when Joseph Smith obtained the papyrii. JS recorded in The History of the Church that he was trying to study both Hebrew and the papyrii at the same time. He even got himself a Hebrew teacher.
Now, the Hebrew word “elohim” is a masculine plural word, sometimes interpreted “gods”. In fact, the word “elohim” is standing alone many places in the first part of Genesis, where the Bible translators have put “God”.
Isn’t it possible that Joseph Smith was intrigued with the idea that “elohim” means “gods” (plural), and just started to monkey around with the Genesis text again?
2) The Genesis account is the same in the Book of Moses as it is in the JST of the book of Genesis. Why, then, is the same set of verses, only this time with “the Gods” instead of “God” in the Book of Abraham, true??? Wouldn’t God have somehow explained all about how all the gods had a counsel but only a couple of them did the work, to Joseph Smith in his retranslation, instead of making him buy some papyrii to get that information?
3) Notice the verse by verse similarity? Isn’t that a huge coincidence, that Abraham penned it so closely to the way it was penned by Moses in the KJV???
Here are just a few more side-by-sides:
KJV Gen 1:3
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
PGP Mos 2:3 (JST Gen 1:6)
And I, God, said, Let there be light, and there was light.
PGP Abr 4:3
And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
KVJ Gen 1:6
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
PGP Mos 2:6 (JST Gen 1:9)
And again, I, God, said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters; and it was so, even as I spake. And I said, Let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was done.
PGP Abr 4:6
And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.
KJV Gen 1:8
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
PGP Mos 2:8 (JST Gen 1:11)
And I, God, called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
PGP Abr 4:8
And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.
KJV Gen 1:9
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
PGP Mos 2:9 (JST Gen 1:12)
And I, God, said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place; and it was so. And I, God, said, Let there be dry land; and it was so.
PGP Abr 4:9
And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
Anybody understanding the problems here yet?
p.s. do you see the familiar “it came to pass” (being overused again?)
I commend your attempt at actually reading the text and thinking about it. I think your analysis is extremely superficial, but you have gone further than many critics who claim to know something of this topic.
One of your fundamental arguments is that a document that provides information about Biblical history or related topics that is not found in the Bible cannot be true. I think this is very short-sighted and uninformed. I invite you to read a little of the Abrahamic literature or any extra-biblical accounts.
Was it you or liv4jc that said there was no historical evidence to validate the BOA? Whoever it was apparently knows nothing about anything outside the Bible regarding Abraham. There are non-biblical, ancient writings that claim:
1. Egypt was discovered by a female whose sons established the Kingdom of Egypt.
2. At the time of discovery, Egypt was in large part submerged in water.
3. Abraham lived in Egypt for a significant period.
4. Abraham taught Egyptian royalty principles of astronomy.
5 God told Abraham to tell the Egyptians that Sarah was his sister.
6. Abraham was saved from fire and death by “the angel of the lord.”
7. Abraham had grand visions from God outlining the creation of the world and the order of the stars.
How do you explain the agreement between the BOA and these ancient accounts that were unknown in 1835?
And what of the two non-LDS scholars who have noted a connection between Abraham and ancient Egyptian writings as well as hypocephali?
The inability to see anything but black and white, infallable vs. fraudulent limits a person from seeing things in perspective and in context.
I find it ironic that a major defense of the infallibility of the New Testament by EVs is the corroborative writings of the patristic fathers- writings that are “extra-biblical” and not canon. Yet, EVs insist on dismissing anything not in our modern Bible that would corroborate any BOA claims.
Add these to the list of claims of ancient writings:
– Abraham’s father was into idolatry.
– Human sacrifice was practiced by some at that time in that area, including Egyptian royalty.
OJ, what are those texts?
OJ wrote “How do you explain the agreement between the BOA and these ancient accounts”
Easy, JS was using his knowledge of ancient history to retroject the legend in the BoA.
Incidentally, there’s archaeological evidence that the Chaldeans didn’t arrive in Ur until about 1000 BC (if my memory is correct). This would imply that the Biblical statement “Ur of the Chaldees” (Gen 11:28 etc) had been redacted some time between David and the Exile (I subscribe to a limited redaction point of view).
So, if the BoA was an authentic contemporary of Abraham (circa 1900 BC), don’t you think its references to “Ur of the Chaldeans” are anachronistic? At the very least, this demonstrates that the BoA was authored after the arrival of the Chaldeans in Ur circa 1000 BC, but a date in the mid 19th Century AD looks far more plausible.
OJ, you think my analysis of BoA ch.1 is superficial? Then refute it with a well thought out statement. Don’t just sidestep the issue by moving to supporting claims of anecdotal evidence of ancient legends about Abraham and Egypt. I readily admit that it is sarcastic, but, a superficial analysis it is not. It doesn’t take an in-depth analysis to show that the Kingdom of Egypt did not co-exist geographically with Chaldea, which is 900 miles to the east. It is indefensible to believe that Pharaoh and his priest would have strapped Abram to a bed to sacrifice him while he was living in Chaldea. When we combine the factual errors of Ch. 2 with the impossibility of Ch. 1 it shows the BoA to be a complete lie.
Here is the real issue OJ. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” And 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “all scripture is inspired by God.” In John 14:15-17 Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 while praying to the Father for his disciples Jesus says, “Sanctify them by your Truth. Your word is truth.” Also in Psalm 119:160 it says, “The entirety of your word is truth.” All throughout the Bible God’s word is spoken of as reliable, true, enduring, eternal, and pure.
In Matthew 13:22-32 Jesus casts out a demon. The Pharisees contribute this work to the power of Beelzebub. Because they attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub, even though they knew it was the power of God working, Jesus condemns them for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is the unpardonable sin because it shows a complete hardness of heart toward the truth of God. You are claiming the BoA is scripture, inspired by God as man was moved by the Holy Spirit. God cannot lie. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. You defend the BoA, even though it has been shown to be indefensible, and you castigate the Bible, which calls itself God’s Word, as corrupt. Be very careful.
I noticed that you didn’t attempt to answer any of my questions. Would you care to try?
Here is another quick result of my studying the PoGP:
PGP Mos 3:4-6 (JST Gen 2:4-7)
“And now, behold, I say unto you,…I, the Lord God, created all things of which I have spoken spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth; for I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth…
PGP Abr 5:4-6
And the Gods came down and formedthese the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were formed in the day that the Gods formed the earth and the heavens, According to all that which they had said…
First of all, did God do it, or did the GODS do it? And don’t say “the gods counseled to do it, and then God did it” because that is not how it reads.
Secondly, I know the LDS believe that all things were created “spiritually” before they were created “naturally”.
But did anybody know that these terms were never even used in the Old Testament? In fact, the closest we get to “naturally” is “natural force” in Deut 34:7, and the Hebrew word there means “vigor, freshness”. The closest we get to “spiritually” happens with “spiritual” the first time in Hosea, and the Hebrew word from which it is derived is used for “smell”.
Here’s another treat. The all-too-overused phrase from the BoM, “it came to pass”, is used 43 times in the 8 chapters of the Book of Moses.
That’s almost 5 1/2 times per chapter.
OJ says my analysis is superficial. However, I believe it has some real value. More on this in a minute…
Some cool verses from the Book of Moses (= part of the JST):
Moses 1:11 “But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.”
Was it also Joseph Smith’s “spiritual eyes” with which he saw “Elohim”???
Also, here’s a great verse:
Moses 1:6 “…but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.”
So, everything is present with God, and He knows them all, and there is no God beside Him. What on earth does this mean??
I have a friend who says that there are two levels to Mormonism. The “milk” level, for which there is Aaronic Priesthood and only one God. And the “meat” level, for which there are many gods and Melc. Priesthood.
I guess that the Pearl of Great Price has both a “milk” book (book of Moses) and a “meat” book (book of Abraham. Right?
This is just like Freemasonry. Most members think/believe one thing about it and what it teaches, the “elite” think/know/believe something entirely different.
You guys are spooky.
First question – Didn’t Heavenly Father create all things through His Son, Jesus? Isn’t this a Biblical teaching? So what do we have here then? In Moses, God saying that He created the earth. In Abraham, God saying that He and at least one other person/being created the earth. At the end of chapter 3 (verse 24) in Abraham we have the council in heaven where Jesus was described as “there stood one among them that was like unto God”. We also teach that Jesus was a God. So if both Heavenly Father and Jesus were involved in the creation of this world, then the plural can be accepted in Abraham as it is more a narative, while the singular can also be accepted in Moses as the story is being told more as first person by the person who did it. There is no conflict as you are trying to make out.
As for your question about ‘spiritual eyes’, what does 2 Cor 12:2-3 say about some experiences Paul and a friend of his had? He did not know if the experience was ‘in the body’ or ‘out of the body’. Is this not in reference to natural/physical and spiritual? There are many places in the Bible where people had visions from God and called them dreams. In fact God said in Numbers 12:6 “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.”. Could this not also be refereing to spiritual eyes and not natural/physical? My dreams are not by my natural eyes, are yours?
We do not understand visions from God unless we have had one, but one thing for certain is that they will be on a spiritual basis more than a physical.
So you’re saying that “the Gods” of the book of Abraham are Elohim and Jehovah?
And Jesus was a God before He came to earth?
Because if Jesus was a God before He came to earth, why did He have to go through the “plan of salvation”?
Also, how do you account for God saying there was no other God with Him?
Moses 1:6 “…but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.”
It’s been a heated week. I’m closing down these threads so I can not worry about them over the weekend. Have a great weekend guys. Let’s take a break!
Sharon’s posts are coming up today and this week, and she’s much sweeter than I am 🙂