Monday, January 28, 2008

Accusation: Joseph Smith Fabricated the Book of Abraham

It's now been proven that the Book of Abraham was basically made up by Joseph Smith. It's my understanding (and the church seems to be agreeing it's a false hood), that he "translated" ancient text off of old scrolls, now, more then a century later those translations have been proven to be completely false.
How do you believe the BoM?

Thanks for asking me this question.

I haven’t seen this criticism in a while.
It’s an old and false argument that was prevalent in the late 60's. It all started when an old Egyptian manuscript was re-discovered in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1966. The document was identified as belonging to the Church. It was also of authentic Egyptian antiquity, but when translated, it was not the Book of Abraham.

Nay-sayers of the Church jumped on this immediately and stated emphatically that this proves Joseph Smith was a fraud. They make two (actually more, but two to keep it simple) huge mistakes in this assertion (as opponents of the Church are usually hasty and don’t take the time to really research their claims):

1. Joseph Smith and the Church had SEVERAL Egyptian manuscripts all bought from the same source (Michael H. Chandler in Kirtland Ohio, in 1835). Nay-Sayers neglect to mention this, or didn’t bother researching it, and automatically assume that the one manuscript discovered had to be the one from which the Book of Abraham was translated.

2. Some (in the time of Joseph Smith) had given a description of the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was translated. The manuscript which the nay-sayers would love to claim is the manuscript that the Book of Abraham was translated from, is NOT the manuscript that the Book of Abraham was translated from.

So this whole argument against the Church is built on a faulty premise. It is an incorrect assertion thrown against the Church in efforts to discredit it. Where the Book of Abraham manuscript is, is not certain. Many things were lost or left behind when the early saints were forced to leave Nauvoo, IL, and made their way to Salt Lake City.

The follow-up question is, “well, if the manuscript isn’t the Book of Abraham, what is it?” Great question. One of the most brilliant men to walk the earth (in my opinion) actually wrote a book on this subject. Hugh Nibley, wrote “The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri.” In it, Nibley translates the entire manuscript and shows that it’s not the Book of Abraham, it is what is called, by Egyptians, a “Book of the Dead,” which contains instruction for the deceased on how to progress on their eternal journey. Many of the things taught therein are similar to what we believe as true doctrine, and which we believe Abraham knew and might have shared with the Egyptians.

As to how I can still believe in the Book of Mormon.

I believe in the Book of Mormon because of the peace it brings to me as I read it. I believe it because I have sought to practice the principles it teaches, and have experience the tangible blessings it promises. You mentioned to me before that both of us had similar experiences and grew up confused. This is true. I was not indoctrinated by the Church or it’s members. I read the Book of Mormon on my own time, and in it, I found not only God, but answers to many of my unspoken questions. I have felt the warmth, peace, and inspiration from the Spirit that are promised to those who read it and pray about it. These evidences are stronger to me than any accusation against the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, even if I did not know the incorrectness of the accusation/s.

You would think that many of our accusers, so called “Christians,” would be able to do a lot of good in their own church and helping people that could use it. Instead, they poor tremendous effort into trying to bash another faith and discredit it. When the issues they present are researched further, what they originally thought discredited the Church, turns into a support and evidence of the Church’s truthfulness.

Best Wishes,


Anonymous said...

Good post, but I think that the manuscript was rediscovered at a University library or a government library somewhere, for some reason University of Chicago is sticking in my head.

Rusty Curtis said...

Nice catch anon...I blanked on that one. I just looked it up again to verify. It was the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. I already updated the post.

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