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!