Skip to comments.Death Blow to Mormonism – The Book of Abraham is a Fake?
Posted on 03/19/2011 9:47:13 PM PDT by delacoert
First off, some information, what is the Book of Abraham? Well the book was derived from a set of Egyptian papyri purchased by the Joseph Smith in 1835 from a traveling mummy show. Although no formal training in Egyptology, Joseph Smith created a translation of part of the papyri, and the work was published called the The Book of Abraham. Today it remains a component of the Mormon quad--their canon of scripture. [The text is published as part of the Pearl of Great Price, one of the four canonical scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.]
Why is this important? Well firstly, Joseph Smith, the prophet, translated the papyri. Secondly, the book is part of the Mormon canon. Thirdly, the Book of Abraham provides justification for important Mormon doctrines, including the exaltation of man, plurality of gods, priesthood, and pre-mortal existence not found in any of the other canonized scriptures of the LDS.
So you're probably asking big deal, he translated some scrolls. Well not exactly. What if we had the exact same papyri that Joseph Smith used for his translation? Would the results be the same? Well get this, in 1966 some of the papyrus scrolls were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Based on this rediscovered source material of the Book of Abraham, qualified Egyptologists can once again complete a translation. What they found is startling.
Using illustrations and the original text of the Book of Abraham it was found thedocuments are in fact funerary texts that describe events in the afterlife of deceased Egyptians that is consistent with other historical and archaeological evidence. Today we can prove that Joseph Smith incorrectly translated the papyrus.
Independent scholars, Egyptologists, are in agreement about the nature of the documents. Only church sanctioned Mormon Universities still try to claim the translation is still correct. Mormon scholars currently do not discuss the translation since it's not open to debate, the documents are clearly funerary in origin.
Why is this a death blow to Mormonism? As stated above, Joseph Smith is a prophet to the LDS church, but he states that the Book of Abraham is:
A Translation of some Ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt.
After closer examination, Smith also declared,
... with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. -- a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them.
Joseph claimed that he received divine inspiration in having discovered and translated an existing ancient work. Joseph claimed to be the prophet, seer, and revelator who could decipher it. Joseph Smith the prophet was wrong.
How can a prophet be wrong yet people still trust his other works? Well it doesn't stop there. For each of the facsimiles, Joseph Smith offered a detailed explanation or interpretation of various elements on the papyrus and fragments. Here is one of those facsimiles (number 3).
Smith 'translated' this image as such: a representation of Abraham sitting on the Pharaoh's throne teaching the principles of astronomy to the Egyptian court. The figure behind "Abraham in Egypt" is "King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head." The figure before "Abraham" is "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt". The dark character is "Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince" and in between is "Shulem, one of the kings principal waiters".
What do independent Egyptologists say? This is merely the judgment of the dead before the occupied throne of the Egyptian god, Osiris. The picture of Osiris shows his typical headdress or crown and his arms are placed in a typical position in which he holds a sceptre and a flail. In front of Osiris, but with her face turned away, is Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, truth and order wearing her traditional feather on her head.
Unfortunately for Joseph Smith both the recovered papyri and the facsimiles published with the Book of Abraham bear no direct connection, either historical or textual, to Abraham. Abraham's name does not appear anywhere in the papyri or the facsimiles.
I've read some of the Mormon positions/rebuttals on the subject and let me say they are aren't well articulated and contain very poor scholarship. The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), is trying in vain to respond to the material but again the scholarship is less than stellar.
How should we approach these conclusions? The theological implications are great, if you can't trust the Book of Abraham then plurality of gods, pre-mortal existence, and more, have zero validity in the LDS faith. Fact of the matter is you can't reason your way to convince anybody out of their particular faith even if there is damning evidence to discredit their most sacred prophet.
Many Mormons value their faith, value their experiences, and as such will not 'convert' as a result of a scientific debunking of one of their scriptures. In the very least I hope it makes everyone dig a little deeper when learning about their own faith.
1. See History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 235, 236, 348-3512. History of the Church, Vol. 2, Ch. 17, p. 236. July 1835
17. See for example The Judgment of the Dead. Retrieved on 2006-08-07.
25. Richard A. Parker, "The Joseph Smith Papyri: A Preliminary Report", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1968, p. 98.
32. Stephen E. Thompson, "Egyptology and the Book of Abraham", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 28/1 (Spring 1995): 148-152. See also the translations in the Analysis of the Joseph Smith papyri section of this article.
33. The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus ... Twenty Years Later. Retrieved on 2006-08-07. In this article, Michael D. Rhodes examines facsimile 2, the hypocephalus, and notes that the four sons of Horus (figure 6) plausibly fits with Joseph Smith's explanation that the figure "represents this earth in its four quarters".
Many sources from Wikipedia
Just for grins and giggles you can refer to:
and of course PD will provide his ever-so-useful <rolleyes> blast of nebulous links together with his poignant reminder that we would understand if we would just read with his same holy insight.
This is kinda old news. Read weeks ago that the leader has lost family members from Mormonomics over this.
Someone once said, “A cult is a religion without political power.”
How anyone can call themselves “truly educated” and call themselves Mormons is one of the most baffling enigmas. This is worse than a cult, it’s a fraud from the get-go.
Death blow? Truth will ultimately prevail. Interesting how the Internet already has tons of documentation of previous Death Blows and people still drinking kool-aid here, though.
Prove to me that Jesus rose from the dead. Until you do, Christianity is nothing more than a very, very large cult.
There is an much bigger religious fraud extant for the last 1300+ years. And it is much more dangerous than Jo’s boys.
Fostered by someone 3 X’s convicted of being a fraud . . . telling farmers he had a secret map that showed where there was buried treasure on their farm—he just needed some money to get equipment to dig it up . . . never to be seen again.
My best man’s great grandfather had the farm across the fence from Joseph Smith in Palmyra NY.
Islam is evil.
The fact is that the papyruses found are not the Book of Abraham. No one ever said that they were the Book of Abraham. There were many papyruses and some were lost.
The truth is that God’s plan ended (except in individual lives)-and future events (as lined out already in various books), with the Death, Ressurection of Christ, and the early spread of the Church by the Apostles. There is nothing to add-His plan is complete.
It came from Joseph Smith... did anyone have a doubt?
It came from Joseph Smith... did anyone have a doubt?
If you were willing to know of Christ's ressurection no proof would be necessary. The simple truth of his continued life among us would suffice.
“Prove to me that Jesus rose from the dead.”
Numerous eyewitness accounts of both His death on the cross and His subsequent life afterward. The gospels, book of Acts and the writings of Paul - to name a few - all attest to the risen Christ.
Of course, I realize you don’t accept such evidence; nevertheless it is there.
Can’t prove anything to anyone not willing to consider all the evidence. Until you do, you’ll keep demanding proof which is already there.
Have you read “By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus” by Charles M. Larson?
Oh! For a second I thought you were talking about the Sefer Yitzirah.
Call for LINKS!
Since MORMONism is 'restored' Christianity; you'll have to ask them to PROVE the very same thing!
(Making them a very SMALL cult; right?)
But; IT does not claim to be CHRISTIAN; like the LIARS in SLC do.
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Evidently, because stories were spun to 'explain' that He had NOT really 'died'!!
On the other hand, you've got Mormon Christianity, whose doctrines about "who is Christ" and "what is his relationship to God" were established by human councils, during the nineteenth century.
Now frankly I think that Joe Smith was making it all up, but I don't see any reason why the other is any more valid, or even any more Biblical.
Prior to the councils convened by the early Catholic Church, there were many competing flavors of Christianity, and there is nothing wrong with that.
If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern. There's an anti-Mormon group of people here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They post regurgitated propaganda on an almost daily basis.
They have a misguided obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The straw man argument is a big favorite and is frequently preceded by cherry-picking quotes or other material. After the "quotation" the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation.Later they will have the audacity to claim they were "only" quoting our own material.
They will of course insist ad nauseum that they are merely using our sources and are therefore innocent of any deceptive practice. LDS persons have no issue whatsoever having our scriptures or leaders quoted as long as it is presented fairly and accurately. This is rarely (if ever) done.
Another favorite is posting scripture or statements which on their own really present no dilemma. They make something out of nothing while never bringing up a single objection that hasn't been addressed a hundred times before.
You might note a couple of other tactics used to try to antagonize is the use of disrespectful or insulting terms or language and/or pictures. That's a Christlike thing to do right? Yeah I don't think so either. It does speak volumes about them though.
Some of them claim being some sort of special witness to you as being supposedly former Mormons. So someone who is an ex-member of any organization would never have an axe to grind or have reason to try to justify their actions by any means? Perhaps not but perhaps so. The LDS Church gains members from other denominations as well as others faiths all the time. This doesn't make them an expert on anything and you certainly won't hear them attacking their former Church.
Frequently they cruise the headlines of the day seeking any story that might be twisted into making the Church look bad. Anything will do, just watch the progression of posts following it and see what I mean.
After reading their posts, I invite you to seek the truth about whatever "issue" they seem to be "revealing" or "exposing". I promise that if you do so with honest intent, the "ahah" moments you will have will be many and frequent. You will start to recognize the tactics employed to cleverly twist and attack and will likely chuckle the more you see. In actuality, there's nothing new here. It's all been addressed many times before.
The latest twist in the anti-Mormon propaganda machine is to actually go to the links provided, but then they cherry pick what they want, quote and straw man attack that. Almost without fail you will see examples of this following this post.
Clever. It almost appears that they are helping you out by doing some footwork for you. Not so much. Don't be insulted, look for yourself. It's not the haystack they want you to think. So again, seek the truth. They aren't providing it. Use your God-given brain and discernment.
Here's a few links to get your started from a different viewpoint. I have found that the vast majority of the "issues" brought up can be found and addressed at http://www.fairlds.org/ but here's more:
Now you will likely notice the "you never address or answer our points" posts pop up as usual. All after providing the answers just as you have here.
Sometimes it is claimed that these sites present a needle in a haystack. Far from it. But if you give up before you try you won't know will you? They often state that these sites provide no answer. They just don't want you looking. It is as simple as that.
Will you wear blinders too? Seek truth. Find out for yourself. Want to chat with someone on any topic? A few of these sites provide just that. So do your homework sincere seeker of truth. Listen and read from both "sides". Make up your own mind.
I witness to you of these truths and wish you the best, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
One would think that the evidence provided by the actual fragments of the Book of the Dead used by Joseph Smith would have ended the debate long ago.
And it would have. If it were actual proof to the contrary.
By the anti-Mormons of the world.
Addressed at the links provided, just as always.
Nothing new from the anti-Gang. Just more “loving” attacks on the LDS Church from the obsessed and blind.
You realize nothing.
This debate continues because mormons want their church to be true more than they want the truth.
From the REAL papyrus of Abraham ...Verses 1-5
(I/1) [Osiris, the gods father], prophet of Amon-Re, King of the Gods, prophet of Min who slaughters his enemies, prophet of Khonsu, the [one who exercises] authority in Thebes,
(I/2) [. . .] . . . Hor, the justified, son of the similarly titled overseer of secrets and purifier of the god, Osorwer, the justified, born by the [housewife and sistrum-player of ]
(I/3) [Amon]-Re, Taikhibit, the justified! May your ba-spirit live among them, and may you be buried on the west [of Thebes].
(I/4) [O Anubis(?),51 . . .] justification(?).
(I/5) [May you give to him] a good and splendid burial on the west of Thebes as on the mountains of Ma[nu](?).
[Osiris shall be towed in]to the great lake of Khonsu,
and likewise [the Osiris Hor, the justified,] born of Taikhibit, the justified,
after his two arms have been [placed] at his heart, while
the Breathing Document, being what
is written on its interior and exterior, shall be wrapped in royal linen and placed (under) his left arm in the midst of his heart. The remainder of his
wrapping shall be made over it. As for the one for whom this book is made,
he thus breathes like the ba-spirit[s] of the gods, forever and ever.
The leader will come out one morning and say that he had a revelation and explain this away.
Here is what I don’t understand that I honestly hope someone could answer for me.
There are probably lots of false doctrine & scandalous contradictions or pseudo-fraud in every Christian denomination. Church doctrine cannot be perfect as long as man is involved. Men are not perfect in nature, not even the apostles. Through prayer and inspiration maybe their deeds, words, and leadership rises to somewhat better than normal but we all know it can’t be perfect.
So what is so special about Mormonism that it deserves to be singled out for derision? Why do Baptists in particular seem to have a war against the Mormons?
We could probably all post some salacious fact about a former Pope. We could point a finger at the strange ways of the Amish or Mennonites. We might be able to dig up some disgruntled ex-born again evangelicals if desired. SO WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT MORMONS? Why single them out for threads like these?
What answers? Read your links and found them to be lacking in every way.
Read your links and found them to be lacking in every way.
You need to read with pure intent and be willing to truly act upon the answers you will receive. Simply reading the words with a negative predisposition won’t be very helpful.
Have a great night!
Riiiight, read lies and blasphemies ‘with pure intent’ and you will like the taste and swallow the poison. How very demonic a suggestion was made to you. Not surprising based upon the source!
Thanks for the YouTube link BlueMoose. I only had to go less than a minute into it before the Mormon apologist states another falsehood taught by the LDS church. He states that “anti Mormon” (always the victim mentality)don’t understand the pre existance of souls. It’s not that we don’t understand it. We don’t BELIEVE it. This is yet one more example of non traditional beliefs held by Mormons. Not anti Mormon at all. Simply stating the differences, and why the traditional Christian Church does not consider LDS to be Christian.
Then you should study the BIBLE just a wee bit more.
PD, just which link has the instructions on the rituals to be performed in the LDS Templs?
I'm sure that LURKERS would like to be able to read them for themselves; instead of being told the truth from us Flying Inmen.