This is an article that the Church and the Deseret News should stay away
from.Defending the Book of Abraham based on what the Church teaches is
touchy ground.Fasten your seat belts.
Unbelievable!Dr. Peterson HAS to know that the LDS Church has the
papyrii that Joseph supposedly translated! They've been shown to be
nothing more than common funerary rolls and from a time well after the life of
Abraham.Simply unbelievable that the Deseret News would print this
Streching thing a little bit Dan? I guess if your going to put yourselve out
there then you have to put in in a ggod effort but come on with this one.
Peterson says, "Christian thinkers, influenced by Greek philosophy, began
to teach creation from nothing only in the second century"The
Apostle John taught creation from nothing. John 1:3 says "All things were
made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John
died before the second century. John was written prior to John's exile to
Patmos and after the destruction of the temple- between 70-90 AD.I
could comment on the Book of Abraham, but I'll let people do their own
@Ranch,While it has been demonstrated that the Book of Abraham could
not have been on the extant scrolls, the fact of the matter is that Joseph
didn't know how to read the ancient texts anyway. Even his translation of
the Book of Mormon took place while his face was buried in a hat. Joseph thought
he had books of ancient scripture, and that was enough for him to produce the
work.@megen,I know a violin maker who showed me a
collection of violins. He told me that "all those things" were made by
him. I in no way interpreted that to mean that he had made the instruments from
nothing. When we think of "made" things, we think of complex objects,
not of their building blocks. I don't think that John 1:3 remotely suggests
creation from nothing. Also, I don't think we have a copy of the book of
John from the time period you suggest and have no way of knowing if what we do
have was even written by the person it alleges to have been written by in that
I find the Book of Abraham to be a combination of a translation of ancient texts
and modern religious revelation. It appears to me that Joseph used the papyri to
translate but also added religious revelation. If at times it appears to deviate
from an ancient text (if that is the case), is simply God adding revelation that
is needed for our day. To dismiss it as a fluke is to miss out on the many items
that are indeed fascinating, only a very few Dr. Peterson has touched on (there
are dozens). To claim it is the great "slam dunk" against the Church is
much worse, and is just an appeal to the emotions of critics. I find such black
and white thinking distasteful and a waste of my time.The fact that
it doesn't match what critics say it should is to be expected. God
doesn't convince critics but the faithful. God would only give us something
that absolutely has evidence and yet also requires faith - such is the Book of
Articles such as this one defending the Book of Abraham should be required to
carry the following advisory:"The papyri from which Joseph Smith
Jr. claimed to have translated the Book of Abraham exist today and have been
shown by modern science to comprise a common Egyptian funerary text that was
written many centuries after Abraham was purported to have lived, were therefore
not written by his own hand and, in fact, have nothing whatsoever to do with
I encourage people to do their homework on the Book of Abraham translation. Dan
Peterson is only telling a very narrow part of the whole story.
The humor is critics are selective. There are references to the scrolls being
extremely long, covering multiple floors, but since it doesn't fit the
goals of the anti-LDS, they immediately discount it. IMHO, the KEP was a Joseph
Smith project to reverse engineer what he already had translated and got the
location wrong. And also IMHO, the facimilies were reused.
Interesting article. It sounds like a rebuttal to previously made claims
against the Book of Abraham and it looks like a good deal of research went into
it.Of course, it would be silly to think an omnipotent God needed
ancient papyri to reveal to Joseph Smith the text of Abraham. God can give
revelation without any earthly props, if he wants to. I don't know why God
wanted there to be an association between the Book of Abraham and the papyri
drawings, but he did and so there is.
For a more accurate representation of what Joseph Smith got right and what he
got wrong I would suggest reading Robert Ritner's "The Joseph Smith
Those who mock Joseph Smith have no understanding of the words,
"Prophet", "Seer", and "Revelator". They know that THEY
could not have written what Joseph Smith wrote, so they tell us that HE could
not have written it either. Dan Peterson did an excellent job of
showing that Joseph Smith could not possibly have had the training or exposure
to ancient history to have ever written the Book of Abraham without divine help.
Either Joseph Smith was the most educated man in America concerning ancient
history, or he was who he said he was, a "Prophet", "Seer" and
"Revelator". Just like in ancient times, fools mock
prophets. Fools mocked Noah - until the rains came. Fools will mock the
prophets - until the fire comes. It's just the nature of fools to mock,
i.e. Ether 12:27.
The Book of Abraham is true. I bear my testimony of that fact. If you are
struggling to know the truth of the Book of Abraham, set aside your man made
logic and reason and follow Moroni 10:4 by asking God if it is true. I promise
you that the spirit will confirm the truthfulness of it to you as He has to me.
We cannot trust men who fight against the church using scientific theories and
agendas. Turn away from man and put your trust in the Lord and his anointed
Thank you for your testimony Joel. I add mine to yours. The Book of Abraham is
true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
It appears Mr. Peterson is again using the Mormon missionary tool of: if the
square peg cannot fit in the round hole, use a bigger hammer. This is not
typical of reasoning and logic taught at a university level. What merit does it
have to intelligent learning.
Joe1"If you are struggling to know the truth of the Book of
Abraham, set aside your man made logic and reason" - Isn't are logic
and reasoning from God? Why would we set it aside? Seems counter intuitive."We cannot trust men who fight against the church using scientific
theories and agendas."You wouldn't trust any man who fights
against the church regardless of what reasoning they're using. And if you
think the BYU studies and DNews studies posted aren't supporting agendas
... then why aren't studies posted on here that aren't supportive of
the church? Like coffee benefit studies, wine benefit studies, etc? Other news
outlets share them ...
If the papyri the LDS Church is in possession of has been proven to discredit
the Book of Abraham, why did the church not simply destroy it when they first
got their hands on it? It seems to me if I had gone around making
wild claims about something, only to come into possession of evidence which
refuted my claims, I would want to destroy that evidence ASAP.
The problem is that the Church doesn't have all of the papyri. This is a
pretty known fact which the critics and anti-Mormons don't want to be
known. Secondly, read the article carefully and he disputes many of the critics
and the so called funeral texts. In fact, from other research that this could
quite possibly be true.There is little doubt that what Joseph Smith
has translated would overwhelmingly change the critics minds and even many
evaglecal beliefs based on the Book of Abraham. We will know the truth of it
all when the Lord wants us to but currently just as the Book of Mormon is solely
on faith. Just because one wants to use logic and science to prove points again
the Lord stipulates that he will defeat the wisdom of the world. Faith and the
power of the Holy Ghost is much stronger evidence than any scientists can
The papyri only disproves the Book of Abraham to anti-mormons with an agenda.
LDS scholars who have actually studied the papyri and compared it to the Book of
Abraham have discovered it is a perfect match. We don't need evidence to
have faith. But it is nice to know that the evidence the church has in its
possession verifies that our faith is correct.
@Utes Fan"If at times it appears to deviate from an ancient text (if
that is the case), is simply God adding revelation that is needed for our
day."Or you know... it could just be wrong. @John20000"God can give revelation without any earthly props, if he
wants to."And you're just making excuses...
Joe1"LDS scholars who have actually studied the papyri and
compared it to the Book of Abraham have discovered it is a perfect
match."Note how it's always BYU scholars and LDS scholars
who find evidence mildly supporting things. But all other scholars and
scientists are not worthy of trust, right? Even when they're not biased
and don't have an agenda?
Joe1"If you are struggling to know the truth of the Book of Abraham,
set aside your man made logic and reason" So i should be
illogical and unreasonable? "We cannot trust men who fight
against the church using scientific theories and agendas."You
don't trust anyone who disagrees because you believe you have to be right
on the matter no matter what. At least I still keep open the idea that the
church could be true, though I find the odds of it to be pretty low."LDS scholars who have actually studied the papyri and compared it to the
Book of Abraham have discovered it is a perfect match."Perfect
match? Every other institution disagrees.
John2000,So if we follow your logic about God not needing an earthly
prop (which is what Maxwell asserted in the early 1990s) then why did Joseph
Smith need the Golden Plates to bring forth the Book of Mormon?
Well, while I have faith in the Book of Abraham, I'll admit that its
origins trouble me. I think that the common understanding of them as a direct
translation is incorrect, but I'm not totally ruling out its truthfulness
(though it seems I might be the only middle-of-the-road person commenting
here).First of all, to those arguing that we need to just take it on
faith and not doubt prophets, I would say that my faith is strengthened as I
address difficult subjects. The D&C tells us to search to understand by
learning AND also by faith.On the other side, @Thinkman, I'd
like to point out that your question is poorly constructed. You've got to
understand that God is not Joseph Smith, nor vice versa. God didn't need a
prop but chose to use one. Joseph Smith couldn't translate the BoM without
a prop (if that's what it was), because that's how God chose to give
the scripture. God can do what he wants; Joseph can't always.Overall, though, I was disappointed with the article, because I am looking for
a truly balanced analysis.
I'm impressed by the over confidence of the skeptics and Wikipedia experts
here on Egyptology. From the comments (and locations), my guess is most have
never traveled to Egypt or the Middle East, they do not understand how stories
and information were recorded or preserved, nor do they speak any languages
other than English (key to understanding how meaning is communicated).For me, I see many things in the Book of Abraham and other Joseph Smith
originated texts that he could not have known, but which correlate with later
discoveries. Add to that the fact that we have only scratched the surface of
knowledge about ancient civilization and texts. To conclusively say "it
didn't happen" is quite a stretch. Peterson seems to be saying there
are interesting correlations and for the rest that doesn't correlate, a
smart scientist can safely say "we don't know."The
value that I see in the Pearl of Great Price (perhaps why it is so named) is
that the Gospel was preached in all dispensations. We see the mercy of God
toward his children. We also see how men in each age listen to the voice thatsays: "believe it not."
There is a lot that could be said about this, the common arguments against the
Book of Abraham come to mind. Still, there is even another point that Peterson
is implying which is very disingenuous of him. His closing comments are to
wonder how Joseph Smith could have picked any of this up on the "western
frontier". First, doesn't indicate that nobody knew these things in the
1830's, just that it is remarkable that Joseph Smith could have. Let's
entertain that for a moment. Assuming that Joseph Smith really did get all of
these things correct, it is still far from remarkable. Most people familiar with
Church history know that Joseph Smith was employing Rabbi's to educate he
and the brethren at the school of the Prophets. Joseph Smith wasn't your
typical frontier farmer who had deep thoughts while cutting hay. He may have had
little formal education during his childhood, but he was directly tutored by a
number scriptural experts during his adult years. Peterson knows this.
Simple really...Did not JS hang out w/ professors of Religion who
more than likely went to Ivy League divinity schools?Aforementioned
professors probably learned something about the history, culture, &
surroundings of the fertile crescent, Israel, Egypt, etc...
It's amazing what Joseph Smith was able to pick up on the western frontier.
~ article========== And at the ripe old age and decodes
of experience at only 29 years.BTW -- All this
discussion about the papyra being "Book of Breathings" funerary scolls
ect. makes no bit of difference to me.[And I'm Liberal, and seek for
hard facts and evidnece to sway my opinions.]I really don't
care if Joesph Smith used funerary scolls, read tea leaves, used a hat and peep
stones, gave diving rods to early missionaries, was a treasure hunter, praticed
polygamy, created defunct banks, or threw blades of grass in the air to recieve
revelation.I read the words, and decide for myself.If it
improve me as a person, or helps me raise my children better, it's just
fine by me.I know - Pretty unorthoxed for a Liberal.
Scientific knowledge is constantly changing. Just because a person chooses to
have faith in scientific theories does not disprove the gospel. The restored
gospel is the place we can find unchanging truths.The only problem
with the Book of Abraham is that our scientific knowledge is incomplete and
changing. Scientists claiming that they know what the facsimiles in the Book of
Abraham really said does not mean that someday they will not change their
understanding of Egyptian. We can be confident that if man-made theories appear
to contradict the teachings of the Church, it is the world, not the Church, that
needs to change.
A professor at the BYU has argued that people with a degree in Egypt, and only
such people, have the knowledge to discuss the translation of the Book of
Abraham. I think he is right. People without the proper background should stop
acting like they know something about the translation process when they really
are just pontificating. Pride and too much learning are great
stumbling blocks preventing us from having the Spirit with us at all times.I pray that we all will keep to the manuals and follow the Prophet, or
now his counselors. Crocodiles are for the birds.
In the analogy of chess, attacking the Book of Abraham is like observing a
grandmaster open with 1 a3, calling him an idiot that does not know how to play
(doesn't he know you are supposed to capture the center?), and going after
his position with full force hoping for a quick win. Instead he punishes you for
attacking prematurely a position that looked weak but was not, and you get
checkmated in 12 moves. Daniel Peterson shows you in this article how you
possibly might. Be thankful for his advice.
@Wool FreeWell said, that is the answer!
@Nephi Goodmansen"The restored gospel is the place we can find
unchanging truths." - Since when? I've seen many things change."if man-made theories appear to contradict the teachings of the
Church, it is the world, not the Church, that needs to change." - Funny,
I've seen the church change to fit man's view of racism and
polygamy.@grumpygramps"Pride and too much learning
are great stumbling blocks preventing us from having the Spirit with us at all
times." - At least you admit it. The more you learn, the more stumbling
blocks you'll have with your faith. Since when is education a bad thing?
With regards to the papyrus manuscript, Joseph Smith and the modern
Egyptologists who examined the surviving fragment are in agreement that it is
indeed a genuine document from ancient Egypt. Let's leave it at that.
LValfre:, in terms of the restored gospel, determining the truth is
secondary to, and a means to, accomplishing the ultimate objective of becoming
like Christ. As such, the right exploratory questions are those
designed to determine if the various scriptures, and the gospel of which they
are a part, work as intended in best accomplishing the intended objective. This involves not only correctly figuring out the right questions to
ask, but also correctly figuring out to whom to rightly ask the questions.For some excellent pointers on asking the right questions, please see
Moroni 10 and Alma 32.Also, your appear to have a fundamental
misunderstanding of the restored gospel. For example, the priesthood ban was
not based on "race." It was based on lineage. Thus no "racism"
qua racism was involved.
A good analogy is that we are like little children compared to Heavenly Father.
Joseph Smith was like unto a smart child who understand and obeyed his father.
To poke fun at the Book of Abraham or Book of Mormon is like making fun of your
smart brother's science project that he and your father worked on because
you don't understand it. We need to trust that Joseph Smith understood the
papyri and what the symbols represented better than we do and not use our
limited knowledge to second guess the Lord's prophet. In the scriptures we
learn what happens when people challenge the prophet. Don't be one of those
wicked people. I bear testimony to all, that I know the church is true. I know
Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. I know
with every fiber of my being that the Book of Abraham is true, like unto the
Book of Mormon, and we can get closer to God by reading it. I challenge those
who question the Book of Abraham to speak to your Bishop and work through your
issues before it is too late.
@Bill in Nebraska, Abraham 2:8, My is name is Jehovah. “From LDS
revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by
which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 Jehovah appears at the
Kirtland Temple ).Mormon Doctrine. s/b YHWH. JS was unaware of the poor KJV and
didn’t know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH.Jude 1:6 And the
angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own
home… Fallen angels(devils) Nothing to with pre mortal being.RE; pmccombs, Ex Nihlio: For in him all things[including angels] were
created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones
or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and
for him. Col 1:16,For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts
17:28)Creation is dependent on God for it’s very existence.In (2Tim
1:9 & Titus 1:2)God existed before time, implying he created time..(Ecc 12:7)… the spirit shall return unto God who gave it)
First, I sought for a spiritual confirmation of the truth of the Book of
Abraham, and I recieved it. As I have said before, the Spirit trumps all other
evidence of the truth of something. For this reason, I have a pre-established
bias in favor of the book.Second, I am not an Egyptologist, but I
have a PhD in text analysis, and enjoy reading and understanding texts on a
purely intellectual level with or without a conscious invoking of spiritual
truths. (I also acknowledge that my understanding of a particular
text--especially scriptural text--may or may not be Heavenly Father's
intention.) Third, I have read a good deal, pro and con, about the
Book of Abraham. (By a "good deal," I mean thousands of pages.)Given those three admissions, I believe I can say that Daniel
Petersen's very brief summary of some things that are incorporated into the
Book of Abraham which are highly unlikely for Joseph Smith to know is very good
and has not been answered by any of the critics on this thread. The
Spirit says it's true, and there is strong corroborative evidence. There
is no reason to disbelieve.
*The Apostle John taught creation from nothing.*He taught nothing of
the sort. His point was that no creation took place without Christ, not that
everything was created out of nothing. This is a clear example of projection
onto the text of the New Testament.Creation ex nihilo is a false
doctrine.*The papyri from which Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to have
translated the Book of Abraham exist today and have been shown by modern science
to comprise a common Egyptian funerary text...*This is a false
statement in the sense that the papyri that contained the funerary text are not
the ones from which Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Abraham.
He possessed several different papyri during his lifetime. The one that
contained the Book of Abraham is lost.
Joel,We need to trust Joseph Smith?How about we verify
with evidence before giving our lives, our fortune and our minds over to a
religion that we just have to trust?
@Eichendorff"The one that contained the Book of Abraham is
lost."Is that actually known with surety or is that just an
assumption made on the basis of what is left not matching up with the Book of
Abraham? I sincerely don't know the answer to that and am curious.
@ atl134There are various problems with the lost scroll argument.
Since it is lost no one knows what is on it. The assumption that it contains the
Book of Abraham also means conceding that the extant portions don't. In
order for the lost portion to contain the Book of Abraham it has to be unusually
long and quite out of the ordinary from what one would expect in the middle of a
normal Book of Breathings papyri. And the KEP points toward the extant papyri
fragment PJS XI as the text that Joseph Smith translated for Abr 1-2:13.
If you do not believe Joseph's version of events, then you have to conclude
that he was super smart, educated WAY beyond the norm (no matter how he got that
education), and an extremely lucky guesser.
There is no adequate explanation for Stonehenge. That fact cannot be used as
evidence that Stonehenge is of divine origin.There are no adequate
explanations for how L. Ron Hubbard was able to produce as much literature as he
did in such a short time. That fact cannot be taken as evidence that Scientology
is "true".There are no adequate explanations for how 190
clotted blood samples of various saints become liquefied, especially during
ceremonies. This does not prove the vials contain authentic blood, nor that
these "miracles" are true.Peterson's arguments are
arguments based on ignorance. The form of these arguments is that lack of
knowledge about "how Joseph could have known" is given as evidence that
the BoA, BoM, etc. are of divine origin.This is fundamentally
fallacious argument.There is no reason to believe, and every reason
@ThinkmanI think Isaiah explained it pretty well: "For my
thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9Most of
us don't know more than God, so we have to rely on his spiritual guidance
fools mocked Noah until the rains came...oh come on.
There is no lost scroll, that is just another amateur cover up. The church has
the scroll JS worked from and it is clearly marked with his notes and
interpretations. The simple problem is that JS's reading of the scroll has
been proven incorrect as to his literal interpretation.
To all the skeptics concerning the Book of Abraham, I quote from Paul: "But
the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is
judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct
him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. Again from
Paul: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. . . ." 1
Corinthians 3:19. You don't throw the baby out with the bath water unless
you are looking for a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. Those
who are skeptical about the Book of Abraham are those who are looking for a
reason to criticize, discredit, or otherwise attempt to disprove the validity of
the the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book
of Abraham is true and Joseph Smith was a true prophet.
@ skeptic.Actually there is evidence of missing middle portion of
the extant Breathing Permit of Hor also known as the Book of Abraham scroll.
There is a missing section between extant fragments PJS XI and PJS X. As I noted
above there are several problems in suggesting that this section contained the
Book of Abraham, the biggest of which is that there is no evidence that it is
about Abraham other than the rest of the scroll is not. For all anyone knows the
missing portion could be about anything, though most likely it is just a
continuation of what is written on either side of it in the extant portions.
If one is to follow the logic and thinking of those who are posting their
mis-understandings of quotes from Corinthians, etc. then there is no reason for
higher education or learning just go along with beleiving every superstition and
deluded preacher. Heaven is as close as your TV.
@ Joel in Yuma:You may want to redefine what a 'perfect match'
really is. The papyrus and the BoA have nothing in common. Not one part is
even similar. The papyrus is a funerary text from Egypt. Nothing more.
RE: Twin Sister, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God;The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that
the spiritual.(1 Cor 15:46 NIV) Yet, Brigham Young spiritual
first[pre-existence]afterward temporal).Paul) was caught up into
paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to
utter(2 Cor 12:4) Paul is told not to talk about paradise(heaven)In
Testament of Abraham 9–10 (first or second century), the patriarch is
caught up into heaven and shown the earth and all its inhabitants?RE: Twin lights: an extremely lucky guesser?Joseph
Smith,“Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God is singular number; and by
adding the word heim ,it renders it Gods.” ( H of C, 1844),Wrong.In
Hebrew the form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, which normally
indicates a masculine plural, however with Elohim the construction is usually
grammatically SINGULAR, (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective) when
referring to the Hebrew God, grammatically plural when used of pagan divinities.
“In the beginning God”. (Genesis 1:1 Greek Septuagint)
As a youth (1940s) I loved to visit my great uncle, Horace Cutler, who was an
assistant to Joseph Fielding Smith in the small Church Historian's office
in the old Church Headquarters. Uncle Horace showed me many artifacts among
them pressed under glass was part of the Abrahamic scrolls the writings of
Joseph of Egypt. Uncle Horace told me there were many more pieces of the
scrolls. Attending the University of Wisconsin in the 60s I attended a
symposium called the Book and the Spade and became friends with a Coptic
scholar. He told me that I should make friends with the smartest biblical
scholar he knew, Hugh Nibley. I did and for years had many fine chats with him.
Several times he told me that both the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses
had so much evidence connecting them to the ancient world that they alone made
Joseph Smith the most knowledgeable man of his day or our day on the teachings
of those two ancient prophets. They are a joy to read and contemplate the
eternal truths they open to my mind.
Its called Revelation folks. If you have faith that Joseph was an inspired man,
God could reveal anything to him. I accept the Funerary scrolls as simply a
Catalyst for the inspired work that comprises the Pearl of Great Price. Joseph
rarely used the Golden Plates to translate the BOM. Its the same concept. Its called Revelation folks.
"The problem is that the Church doesn't have all of the papyri"Perhaps not, but the facsimiles are available for the whole world to
see.I'm not sure the church wants to draw attention to
facsimile 2, which by the way is nothing more than an image of an Egyptian magic
amulet that is placed under the head of a deceased mummy to keep the body
warm.Joseph claims figure 7 represents "God sitting upon his
throne, revealing through the heavens the grand key-words of the
Priesthood." Egyptian scholars are unanimous in their conclusion that
figure 7 is the ithyphallic Egyptian god Min, the primary fertility deity of
ancient Egypt. Mormons should study this image very closely and learn what it
really means. What concerns me about an ostensible academic like
Peterson is his defense of something that's been clearly debunked by
mainstream Egyptian scholars. Allowing Petersen to continue with such an
untenable diatribe in a public forum like the Deseret News does a huge
disservice for the church.
@ Weber State Graduate.Even more so are the problems with Joseph
Smith's translations of Facsimile #3. In #3 Joseph Smith provided incorrect
translations of the text above the head of the characters. So in this case we
know exactly what text Joseph Smith is trying to translate. As someone else has
put it."The Facsimile 3 explanation is the only canonized LDS
scripture that purports to be a translation of specific ancient characters which
are published alongside the translated text. This is thus the only completely
unambiguous test-case of Joseph's translation abilities."Dr
Peterson may point out a few tenuous instances of where Joseph Smith may have
got it right but those are few and far between compared to rest of the
As to the creation of the universe from nothing, the original Greek starts John
out saying "In the beginning was the Word". Interesting enough, the
greek word for beginning is Xaos the X being the Ch symbol, or our modern word
Chaos. If you assume that the term beginning is equivalent to the term Chaos,
there is no way to leap to the conclusion that creation happened from nothing.
The Greek version agrees far more with the JS version of the universe being
To say that the term Elohim is an exception to the standard rule of Hebrew
grammar is falling into the orthodoxy trap. If it disagrees with our orthodoxy,
it must be wrong for our orthodoxy can never be wrong. This is how errors have
crept into our scriptures. Some transcriber looks at the old text, compares it
with his own orthodoxy, and then fixes the problem by changing the new copy to
agree with his orthodoxy. I remember reading Martin Luther's
translation of baptism for the dead. He states simply that this practice was for
the 'benefit' of the dead, but then honestly reports he has no other
information about this practice. Luther did not try to change this scripture to
agree with the then current practice.In other cases it was more
difficult. The Hebrew of David's time was very dense without vowels and
without word breaks. Multiple interpretations could easily be made. Add in the
different outlooks and the innuendos of past times, it is very difficult to
render a perfect translation of the thoughts expressed in the scriptures.
Don't assume that the modern translations are all that good.
LValfre said, "And if you think the BYU studies and DNews studies posted
aren't supporting agendas ... then why aren't studies posted on here
that aren't supportive of the church? Like coffee benefit studies, wine
benefit studies, etc? Other news outlets share them ..."For your
reference, so does DNews, please see the following in the D-News archives:"Redwine helps fat mice stay healthy" DNews - 11/02/2006"Coffee buzz: Study finds java drinkers live longer" DNews -
05/16/2012All it took was a simple online search. Guess you
can't say DNews only prints things supportive of the church.Anything else?
Sigh. After reading a really wonderful article, I thought I'd find
additional insight on these boards. Unfortunately, it feels more like I've
just descended into a sewage holding tank. With few exceptions, the comments
stink. The critics have no clue how revelation works. Zero, zip,
nada. Daniel Peterson - thank you for writing. I would like to see a link to
the same article with embedded links to the underlying source of the analysis.
It would be interesting reading.
The critics who claim that the Book of Abraham was intended to be a translation
of the Book of Breathings, but is different from the text of the Book of
Breathings which was recovered from the New York Metropolican Museum collection,
are the ones who have an evidentiary problem. Since the BofA does not match the
Book of Breathings, on what basis do they claim the Book of Breathings was the
source of the BofA? There is a single reference in the text of the BofA to an
illustration which sounds like Facsimile 1, but Egyptologists (and critics) love
to tell us that Facsimile 1 is very much a standardized scene, so a similar
depiction could have been associated with another papyrus document that did not
survive the Chicago Fire (where most of the papyrus was lost, including the
original of the hypocephalus, Facsimile 2, and Facsimile 3). Contemporary
descriptions of the papyrus describe a much longer scroll which does NOT match
the surviving Book of Breathings.
In any case, those who argue about the Book of Breathings scroll miss the entire
point of this article: No matter what was on the Egyptian artifacts Joseph
Smith once owned, the TEXT he published as the Book of Abraham contains
information that is an accurate description of ancient records about Abraham,
but are NOT in the Bible, and which Joseph Smith was unlikely to have been aware
of, since he was not a scholar who studied at Oxford and read old Hebrew
manuscripts in the British Museum, but a farmer who lived in frontier America in
the 1830s. Indeed, there is no evidence that Joseph ever saw any of these
sources, and many of them were not available anywhere in English during his
lifetime. So HOW did Joseph Smith know enough about Abraham to write down
ACCURATE information about him, including the names of places or other things
not appearing in the Bible? And how did Joseph come up with the concept of our
pre-mortal lives, which was not taught in the Bible or any contemporary
Christian doctrine? Joseph prophesied 20th Century scholarship!
Sharrona,I've read your posts on this before several times. I
simply think you are wrong. But either way that is not what I was referring to
here. We were talking about Peterson's article and the Book of Abraham.A Scientist,I don't think your examples are great
corollaries. I agree that the fact that there is no explanation for the
presence or properties of physical items is generally not evidence of divine
origin. We are not talking about physical items but about knowledge of them.
That is, did Joseph know something and, if so, how did he know it?Of
course, Joseph knowing these things is not perfect evidence of his being a
prophet. It just suggests that he had knowledge well beyond what was generally
available at the time. How you explain that is still a matter for the
individual to wrestle with. However, it does open the door to at least consider
I don't see any of the critics take on Dr. Peterson's question-- how
did Joseph Smith know the details (i.e., the plains of Olishem, Abraham as
astronomer, etc.) that appear in the Book of Abraham and that modern findings of
ancient texts have corroborated? So, how did he know? Did he
simply "guess right?" (Hel. 16:16).
Wool Free:Agreed...all of the facsimiles are problematic for the
church.My point about figure #7 in facsimile #2 is that many LDS
members are simply not aware of what the image really represents...they have
never examined it carefully and they don't really understand the
conspicuous "phallic" representation of the Egyptian fertility god
Min.My sense is that many LDS members would be aghast if they
examined it closely and understood its correct translation. I'm quite
certain that most would even consider the image "indecent" by
today's LDS standards with many more finding it very uncomfortable that
such a coarse image is displayed in their personal set of LDS scriptures,
especially after having been erroneously told that it represents God revealing
the grand key-words of the priesthood.
@ LValfre 10:51 a.m. July 26"Isn't are logic and reasoning
from God? Why would we set it aside? Seems counter intuitive."Agreed. If God did not want us to think, reason, etc... then why did he gives
us brains & the capacity to ponder?
Thank you, Dr. Peterson and Deserwt News for this very interesting article.
At one point in my life I was faced with what seemed to be evidence that Joseph
Smith was a fraud. I made a conscious choice at that time to have faith in
Joseph Smith. The so called evidence was proven false. It is our choice and I
choose to believe.
RE Sparky, the greek word for beginning is Xaos? The Greek version agrees far
more with the JS version of the universe being "organized". Wrong,In the beginning=(*Arche,Grk. 746) was the Word, and the Word was with
God(Theos,2316) and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the
beginning=(*Arche). 3 Through him all things were made*= (Grk.1096 ginomai,
receive being); without him nothing was made*that has been made*. (John 1:1-3).
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us(John 1:14) God (Jesus)
becomes man not man becomes God.RE; Coltakashi, how did Joseph come
up with the concept of our pre-mortal lives. Several church councils condemned
pre-existence, Joseph had access as a Freemason. RE; Mister J, If
God did not want us to think, reason, etc... then why did he gives us brains
& the capacity to ponder. True ,Luke 10:27 “‘Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your MIND’…(dianoia, 1271). I don’t, do you?
I encourage everyone to read John 6. After reading the chapter ponder and think
about Verses 65-68. The Lord teaches by using Spiritual methods. He tried to
explain to those that were a part of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000
that he was the Son of God. They witnessed a miracle but they still were
"offended" by what the Savior taught them. The left and never came back
because they were seeking physical witnesses (touch, feel, see, etc...). They
unfortunately didn't recognize the importance of spiritual matters and
missed out on recognizing their personal Savior. I can only imagine
the sadness that the Savior felt when they "walked no more with him."
Please remember how the Savior teaches us, which in turn will help
remember how he doesn't teach us.
Peterson:"the Genesis Apocryphon, found seven decades ago among the
famous Dead Sea Scrolls, also testifies that the patriarch's behavior was
divinely ordained."response:In the Genesis Apocryphon,
"Abram" has a dream of an interesting parable about trees. There is
absolutely no "testimony" of "the Lord" or any divine
inspiration behind the dream. The GA account is nowhere similar to JS's
translation."14. Now I, Abram, dreamt a dream in the night
of my entry into Egypt. I saw in my dream that there was a single cedar and a
single date palm15. on a mountain, having sprouted together from [one]
roo[t]. And m[e]n came seeking to cut down and uproot the [ce]dar, thereby
leaving the date palm by itself.16. But the date palm cried out and said,
"Do not cut down the cedar, for the two of us are sp[rung] from o[ne]
root!" So the cedar was left on account of the date palm,17. and they
did not cut me down. Then I awoke in the night from my sleep, and I said to my
wife Sarai, "I dreamt18. a dream..."
The fatal flaws in the BoA remain the pre-existance of spirits (only Jesus
Christ pre-existed) and the plurality of Gods (only the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost are the One true God).
Sharrona continually tries to bring up what the Bible says and then passes their
own translation. Just as Michigander has a testimony of the truthfulness of the
Book of Mormon but denies Joseph Smith as a prophet. The two do not and can not
coexist.For instance the Bible states "in our image" for
creating man. Sharrona passes this off as singular as it should read "in
their image". I'm not sure what English class they attended but I was
always taught that our is a plural for more than two. Since, this is true the
rest of their comments can also not be true.Michigander says their
is only ONE GOD, The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Yet, if you ask many
Christians they will tell you no, they are separate beings until they talk to
their ministers. Why, because the creeds that Joseph Smith preached against
changed mans image of who God is. Jesus Christ taught over and over again that
if you have seen him, you have seen the father. This is especially true in the
Gospel of John and Matthew.Everything in the Book of Abraham
testifies completely of us as well.
@Bill in Nebraska,"in our image": that is the Father
speaking to the Son thru the Holy Ghost which is the mind of the Father and the
Son (per 1 Cor.2:10-16 and Philippians 2:5). Nothing mysterious about that.
Nothing about many different Gods (plurality of Gods)."Separate
beings": Correct. Two eternal Personages and/or Beings but eternally
connected together by one Spirit - the Holy Ghost.Joseph Smith was
only a prophet when his prophecies and/or teachings agreed with the the word of
God (the KJV and the BoM). The BoA does not meet this criteria and never will.
When it comes to LDS doctrine, there are apologists, anti-Mormons, and
scientists.Apologists begin with the assumption that a doctrine is
true, and then work backwards to show how that might be possible.Anti-Mormons begin with the assumption that a doctrine is false, and then work
backwards to show how that might be possible.Scientists begin with
no assumptions other than what evidence shows them, and try to build a model
that explains what is happening. When new evidence is presented that changes the
model, they accept it.I choose to look at the Book of Abraham the
way scientists look at it.
I talked a few days ago to a good friend of mine who has recently removed his
name from the records of the LDS church.He told me in no uncertain
terms that "logic" is the only way to understand truth. When I spoke of
God teaching or affirming truth via the Spirt of the Holy Ghost, he just
scoffed.Sad.Here's a guy who claims "logic"
is his only guide but still believes that a man (Jesus) rose from the dead, a
prophet (Elijah) made an axe float on the water, another prophet (Moses) parted
a sea and walked across the sea floor on dry ground, a man (Jesus) walked on
water, and on and on the "absurdities" go. However, he belives those
"illogical" things but discounts the whisperings of the Spirit.I say all this because it doesn't matter 2 cents what appears to make
sense or what does not appear to make sense; all that REALLY matters is whether
God says it is true or not. In reference to the Book of Abraham, I know what
God says on the matter.The caravan moves on....
@zabivka"I choose to look at the Book of Abraham the way scientists
look at it."-------------That is like looking at
Shakespeare's writings from a mathematician's point of view. I choose
to look at the Book of Abraham from a religious point of view - that is what the
book's intentions are, and that is how it is best understood. Then, the
evidences fall in place after that.
RE: Bill in Nebraska, For instance the Bible states "in our image" for
creating man. Sharrona passes this off as singular as it should read "in
their image". You misunderstood, Check,(Gen 1:26 KJV) …Let
us make man in Our own image and likeness…”verse 27 ..”So God
created man in His own image…”. If there more than one God this
would read, in “Their image”. The trinity in the O.T. JS,” In the very beginning the bible shows there is a plurality of Gods.
Beyond the power of refutation”.(Hof C v. 6 p.476)Wrong: Genesis 1:1
Greek Septuagint In the beginning=(Arche, Grk. 746) God(*o Theos, Grk. 2316).
Clearly God,singular. *Nominative singular article.John
1:1,”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word
was God’.1 John1:1,”That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at
and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
I am an old lady with a passion for history and have seen much, read much,
thought much, and watched others much. My take on the matter is this: the
Church may or may not have the exact papyri used in the Book of Mormon. That is
not the question raised here. The question was: How could Joseph have been so
spot on accurate? To say that Hebrew scholars teaching Joseph told him is
injecting unsubstantiated knowledge on early Hebrew scholars that didn't
have the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, available to them. Hebrew scholars
didn't like the idea of a physically made God and universe anymore then
than modern day ones do today.
Different people arrive at different conclusions. As long as someone
doesn't bury their head in their hat and is willing to look at the
evidence, we should respect the different conclusions people reach.