Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?

by ajhart Sep 2011

I think the church is messed up and crazy but mostly because of bad experiences with the people, and all of it's creepy cult like aspects, but I've never really done the research as to why the actual history is false or inaccurate and I keep seeing people mention the book of Abraham but I don't really care enough about Mormonism to waste any more time reading about or researching it's history so can someone really quickly break down what the deal is with the book of Abraham? I feel like it'll further solidify my wanting to formally resign...thanks guys:)

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
The very short version:

Joseph Smith saw a traveling mummy exhibit and claimed that the papyrus rolls that were entombed with the mummies were the writings of Abraham and Joseph. He talked some members into coming up with a lot of money to buy the papyrus rolls. He spent a lot of time "translating" part of the rolls and published his "translation" as the BOOK OF ABRAHAM.

The papyrus he "translated" was thought lost in the Chicago fire but in 1967 some of it turned up at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Modern-day Egyptologists have looked it over from head to toe and report that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Abraham or his religion and that Joseph Smith's "translation" bears no resemblance to the text that JS thought he was "translating."

The papyrus that JS "translated" into the BOA is actually an Egyptian funerary document from around 100 AD--about 1500 years after Abraham would have lived.

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
Perfect. Thank you! Wow that's messed up haha how can people learn that and still be TBM?

Here are summaries of the different issues surrounding the BofA:
The Book of Abraham

This does not surprise me:

"It's worth mentioning that Joseph allowed his mother to make a little money by charging tourists a quarter to view the Egyptian antiquities. Also the fact that Smith published the BOA in the "Times and Seasons" newspaper (which he owned) in serial form, and notified readers that they needed to renew their subscriptions so they wouldn't miss any of the cliff-hanging Abrahamic adventures in Egypt."

Lost Mystic
Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
The BoA was the nail in the coffin for me...

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
Egyptologists can also read the writings which appear on the facsimiles in the BoM itself, and they say nothing similar at all to what Joseph Smith said they meant.

Also, on one of the facsimiles in the Book of Mormon, when they found the actual scrolls in the museum, the scroll had parts torn away.

Where these parts are torn away, Joseph Smith (or a colleague) tried to draw in the missing pieces, but got it very wrong. They put a man's head on the head of the Egyptian God, Anubis. He called the Goddess Isis in the picture, the Pharaoh. The "Abraham" in the facsimile is actually the deceased mummy, whose name was Hor.

What is Wanted
Watch this

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
Well, I grew up with my mother teaching that what he translated wasn't the actual book, but the "pure" form it had originally been, before the hyksos kings were overthrown and a pharaoh came along that "knew not god"(and was black). Pretty sure she picked that sort of idea up from Nibley.

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
Also, JS kept a diary of the translation, in which he writes the symbol, and then the translation next to it. And it isn't the right translation at all

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
the BoA fraud was the clincher for me. I read Larson's book and knew if he'd made that up, he'd probably made it ALL up.

Gorspel Dacktrin
A lot of those alternative explanations are going around. And, as you mentioned, they can mostly be attributed to ...
Hinckley and a few other Mopologists who were proficient at pulling things out of their rectal orifices and passing them off as irrefutable words of wisdom.

Some say that the papyrus was simply an object needed to stimulate the revelatory process. In other words, it was only a catalyst for revelation and its actual contents were irrelevant.

The funny thing is that the only person who was qualified to tell us exactly what happened was Joseph Smith and he never said a single word that supported any of those Mopologist explanations. He told us that the writings on the papyrus were made "by the hand of Abraham."

But the Mopologists have become so arrogant that they expect people to take their word over the word of the Prophet. Then again, it may not be that they are arrogant so much as they actually know that Joseph Smith was full of nonsense, so they have nothing really to fear by encouraging people to buy their brand of nonsense instead of Joe's brand of nonsense. At the end of the day, they just want you to buy into the Mormon nonsense as a whole, so whether you buy a Chevy or a Buick or a Nibley or a Smith, you're essentially supporting the same team.

Gorspel Dacktrin
Sorry, meant to write "Nibley," not "Hinckley." Don't know why I made that switch...
But I do remember how Hinckley was the first person who made me realize at a very deep level that there was something seriously wrong with the Book of Abraham.

We were at a conference with Hinckley as the main speaker. An opportunity was given to the audience to ask questions. One guy asked Hinckley about the discovery of the papyrus manuscript. I was surprise to see how flustered the Hinckster was. He kind of stammered and muttered something about funerary texts and then went into his patented "we don't know exactly blah, blah, blah" and "some things still aren't known about blah, blah, blah."

Up until that time, I was aware of Baptists and other eeeevil "anti-Mormons" having made claims that the Book of Abraham was a fraud. But I thought there were some good answers and the leaders certainly knew them. Then I saw one of the top leaders given a direct chance to put all those anti-Mormon "lies" to rest--and he fumbled the ball. He didn't just fumble it, he did it embarrassingly so and when he finally tried to retrieve it, he effective scored a touchdown for the opposing team. ;o)

Which is why the mormon missionary program emphasizes asking you to pray about and then plumbs your feelings.

This has 2 distinct advantages:

1. Feelings can be swayed by the missionaries, who tell/teach invesigators of the church how to pray, which is some version of: I know its true, I bear witness to it being true. This works because the investigator doesn't have a lot of knowledge about mormonism and praying aso they usually defer to the missionary as the expert. This allows them to overcome objections and while steering the investigator towards baptism.

2. It throws any facts that might true right out the window.
Joseph Smith was a pedophile? Pray about the Book of Mormon and God will testify of its truthfulness. Concern about x or y, same procedure.

The last thing the mormon church wants is the truth, because all truth is less than useful and isn't faith promoting.

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
Summarized? Everything.


Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
The BoA is, quite simply, pure fantasy. Smith made it up. He had absolutely no notion of Egyptian culture, religion, or language, and his 'translation' bears no resemblance to what the papyrus actually says. Symbols are translated incorrectly, characters are misidentified, drawings are misinterpreted and the history given in Smith's 'translation' is pretty ridiculous. It claims that the name 'Egypt' was derived from a woman named 'Egyptus', when it was actually derived from a Greek pronunciation of 'Memphis', and that 'Pharoah' was the name of an individual king of Egypt, rather than the title used to refer to the position itself. Overall, it would be easier to list what's right about it. It would be a very short list.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2011 09:32AM by coyote.

Re: Can someone summarize what's wrong with the Book of Abraham?
The Book of Abraham was used extensively to prove why Black were denied the Priesthood. Those who argued for the ban were later disqualified as speaking with limited understanding.

The Book of Abraham was used extensively to prove the PreExistence and plurality of gods. Now the church has removed most of those teachings of gods from the 2009 Gospel Principles and Conference topics.

The Book of Abraham was used to justify Polygamy which is now cause for excommunication.

So while some of LDS brand mormonisms most distinctive doctrines come from the Book of Abraham, those doctrines have by and large been disavowed. Thus, the book is either false, or the church has gone astray.

Oh yeah, and the Pharoah standing behind Abe is a woman named Isis, just like every single funerary papyrus with that scene.

And even if the scrolls (including the missing portions) contained the Gospel as the mormons proclaim they do, they have absolutely no place in a funeral rite where the parchments are designed to get the deceased through the judgement and into the Field of Reeds where the Breathing Permit of Hor allows them to live.

Having the text of the Book of Abraham included in that context would be as out of place as reading from a car parts catalog during the Sealing Ceremony.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"