The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints
God’s charge to test prophets
• “When a prophet speaks in the name of the
Lord, if the thing does not come about or come
true, that is the thing which the Lord has not
spoken. The prophet has spoken it
presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:22)
• Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the
spirits to see whether they are from God;
because many false prophets have gone out into
the world. (1 John 4:1)
Joseph Smith &
“The Book of Abraham”
An investigation of the
claims of Mormonism
Introductory Claim
“The Book of Abraham, Translated from
the Papyrus, by Joseph Smith”
“A translation of some ancient records, that
have fallen into our hands from the
catacombs of Egypt.—The writings of
Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the
book of Abraham, written by his own hand,
upon papyrus.”
• "Soon after this, some of the Saints at
Kirtland purchased the mummies and
papyrus... 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.."
(History of the Church, vol.2, page 236)
• "The remainder of this month, I was
continually engaged in translating an
alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and
arranging a grammar of the Egyptian
language as practiced by the Ancients."
(History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 238)
Facsimile 1
Smith explains
this drawing as
the attempt of a
priest of the
Egyptian god
Elkenah to slay
Abraham on an
Egyptian altar in
Chaldea!
Fig. 1. The Angel of the Lord.
Fig. 2. Abraham fastened upon an
altar.
Fig. 3. The idolatrous priest of
Elkenah.
Fig. 4. The altar for sacrifice.
Fig. 5. The idolatrous god of Elkenah.
Fig. 6. The idolatrous god of Libnah.
Fig. 7. The idolatrous god of
Mahmackrah.
Fig. 8. The idolatrous god of Korash.
Fig. 9. The idolatrous god of Pharaoh.
Fig. 10. Abraham in Egypt.
Fig. 11. Represents the pillars of
heaven
Fig. 12. Firmament over our heads
The translation reflects Smith’s
understanding of the drawing!
• "And it came to pass that the priests laid
violence upon me, that they might slay me
also, as they did those virgins upon this
altar; and that you may have a knowledge
of this altar, I will refer you to the
representation at the commencement of
this record." (Abraham 1:12)
Facsimile 2
Smith
attempted to
give various
interpretations
of the various
symbols in this
disk.
Facsimil
e #2
Smith affirmed that this scene pictures
Abraham reasoning on the principles of
astronomy in the kings court.
Facsimile 3
Fig. 1. Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne,
Fig. 2. King Pharaoh
Fig. 3. Signifies Abraham in Egypt
Fig. 4. Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt
Fig. 5. Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters
Fig. 6. Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince.
Discovery of the
Rosetta Stone
was a significant
event in
understanding
Egyptian writing.
Egyptologists challenged Smith’s claims
• Egyptologist M. Theodule Deveria not only accused
Joseph Smith of making a false translation, but also
of altering the scenes shown in the facsimiles.
• F.S. Spalding in a work entitled Joseph Smith, Jr., As
A Translator, reproduced a letter from Dr. A. H. Sayce
of Oxford, England, which said: "It is difficult to deal
seriously with Joseph Smith's impudent fraud. . . .
Smith has turned the Goddess into a king and Osiris
into Abraham.“
• James H. Breasted, Ph.D., Haskell Oriental Museum,
University of Chicago, stated: ". . . these three
facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the 'Pearl of
Great Price' depict the most common objects in the
mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith's
interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation
through Abraham, therefore, very clearly
demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with
the significance of these documents and absolutely
ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and
civilization" (pp.26-27).
Discovery of the Smith papyri in the
Metropolitan Museum!
"NEW YORK--A collection of pa[p]yrus
manuscripts, long believed to have been destroyed in
the Chicago fire of 1871, was presented to The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here
Monday by the Metropolitan Museum of Art....
Included in the papyri is a manuscript identified as
the original document from which Joseph Smith had
copied the drawing which he called 'Facsimile No. 1'
and published with the Book of Abraham."
Photo of the Egyptian Scroll Smith
Claimed to Translate
Facsimile #1 indicates that this is the
manuscript Smith possessed
Text from which Smith translated the
book of Abraham
Little
“Sensen”
Text
Smith’s hand-written translation text
matches the characters perfectly!
What is this Egyptian text about?
This manuscript is an extended prayer on
behalf of a deceased Egyptian priest named
Hor. It begins with an invocation to the god of
mummification (Anubis) to ensure the
continued existence of the priest in the next
world. It is followed by a series of statements
praying that the deified Hor will function as he
did in life among the gods. (Egyptologist
Robert Ritner, associate professor of
Egyptology at the University of Chicago)
Egyptologist translation of the text
1. [. . . . .] this great pool of Khonsu
2. [Osiris Hor, justified], born of Taykhebyt, a man
likewise.
3. After (his) two arms are [fast]ened to his breast, one
wraps the Book of Breathings, which is
4. with writing both inside and outside of it, with royal
linen, it being placed (at) his left arm
5. near his heart, this having been done at his
6. wrapping and outside it. If this book be recited for him,
then
7. he will breath like the soul[s of the gods] for ever and
8. ever
(Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1968,
p.98).
Errors Smith made in translation
• It is about a dead Egyptian man named Hor; nothing is
said about Abraham!
• Smith took a single Egyptian symbol meaning “pool” or
“lake” and translated it into 135 English words!
• The text of Abraham 1:16-19 containing 177 words was
translated from a single Egyptian word “khons”, the name
of the Egyptian moon-god.
• Smith invented four characters that did not exist in the
manuscript because of a tear to translate from them
Abraham 1:20-28 which serve as the basis for the
Mormon view that black skin was the curse of God and
excluded black people from the priesthood.
Smith’s Drawing vs. Original
Egyptian god of mummification, Anubis,
attending the dead on a lion couch
Smith’s Drawing vs. Original
Canopic jars for soft tissues
Smith’s Drawing vs. Original
“Ka” (soul of deceased) hovering over
mummy awaiting resurrection
Facsimile 2
This disk is a
hypocephalus
placed under
the head of the
deceased at
burial. Nothing
to do with
astronomy!
In this scene Hor, now resurrected is
presented before Osiris, god of the
underworld.
The judgment and presentation before
Osiris--A section from the “Book of the
Dead” from the 19th Dynasty (1310 BC)
Smith’s misidentification of characters
Smith mistook Osiris (#1) for Abraham!
Smith’s misidentification of characters
Smith mistook Isis (#2) for “King Pharoah”!
Smith’s misidentification of characters
Smith mistook Ma’at (#4) for Prince of Pharoah!
Smith’s misidentification of characters
Smith mistook Anubis (#6) for a slave!
Smith’s misidentification of characters
Smith mistook Hor (#5) for “Shulem” (a waiter)!
The book of Abraham is a hoax!
• The text from which Smith translated the
book of Abraham does not mention his
name once!
• It mentions numerous gods of Egypt, but
not the God of the Bible a single time!
• Egyptologists for over almost 150 years
have been pointing out the obvious truth,
viz. that Joseph Smith could not read or
translate the ancient Egyptian language!
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