01. Where did the Book of Abraham come from?

02. Do Non-LDS Egyptologists confirm Joseph’s translation?

03. What do the LDS Egyptologists say?

04. Does the church still have the papyri?

05. What’s the Egyptian Book of Alphabet & Grammar?


Where did the Book of Abraham come from?

In July of 1835, a traveling exhibition of 4 mummies and the Papyri came to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith was allowed to look at the Papyri and discovered that it was an account of Abraham, written in his own hand. The members pooled their money to purchase the artifacts, allowing Smith to translate them into the Book of Abraham. At the time, Joseph Smith was the only person alive who even claimed he could translate Egyptian. More info

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Do Egyptologists confirm Joseph’s translation?

Unfortunately, most of the papyri is missing, but much of what you see in the facsimiles is in tact. Every Egyptologist who has inspected the facsimiles or the actual papyrus claim that it is simply funeral papyri, not scriptural text. They even claim that Smith mislabeled some of the characters as men despite being women. They also claim that it would need to have been 1500 years older to have been written in the hand of Abraham. In response to the controversy, apologists explain that perhaps it was never meant to be a direct translation, but simply the catalyst for Joseph’s revelation.

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What do the LDS Egyptologists say?

John Gee - LDS EgyptologistJohn Gee is the only LDS Egyptologist who confirms Joseph Smith’s translation. Hugh Nibley is often cited due to his articles regarding the Book of Abraham, though he is not an Egyptologist. Other LDS Egyptologists and archeologist, like Stuart Ferguson and Edward H. Ashment disagree with Gee’s findings. Read more

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Does the church still have the papyri?

Though thought to have been lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and in the LDS Church archives. It was glued to the back of a map of Kirtland and some architectural drawings of the temple. To further prove its authenticity, it was discovered with a bill of sale from Emma Smith.

Joseph Smith Papyri

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What’s the Egyptian Book of Alphabet & Grammar?

In addition to translating the papyri, Joseph Smith began translating each individual Egyptian character. Not only did he give the meaning of each symbol, he even gave us the pronunciation. Read more
Egyptian book of alphabet and grammar

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14 Responses to "The Book of Abraham"

  1. Terry Holland Posted on June 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I was asked about the Book of Abraham and Egyptology exactly twice in two years. At neither time was it important that I knew where scholarship stood (even though I did). This is another example of the dishonesty of the creators of this site.

    • Chris
      Chris Posted on June 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      My son told me around 30 people specifically asked about the Book of Abraham and the papyri. Where you served probably played a difference.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous Posted on June 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      We live in a very informed world now. People research will the church whether either before or after they are baptized. Wouldn’t you prefer members to be making informed decisions? Perhaps then so many would not feel deceived and be leaving the church? There is nothing untruthful or deceptive in this website, Terry. Why do you protest so much?

  2. admin Posted on June 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    @TerryHolland – I’d love to hear what the questions were and what responses you gave.

  3. Becky Posted on June 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    It’s important to know this question because IF it does come up, the temptation is to brush the question aside as though it means nothing. But you don’t know what an investigator knows, or what they will eventually know. Coming up with a false answer on the spot because you don’t want to look ignorant at the time is a huge misstep. It is important to inform yourself so that you can answer basic historic questions.

    You shouldn’t dismiss a legitimate question banking on the notion that no one will ask. Last I checked serving a mission is about being prepared and studying. Knowing the history of this text is important, as is knowing the history of the biblical text. Be prepared to give a basic answer.

  4. Terry Holland Posted on July 1, 2013 at 1:14 am

    admin; I was asked why the Book of Abraham didn’t match the original papyri both times. Both times I asked them why they wanted to know, and both times it turned out they were ex-Mormons, who–shocker–wanted to deconvert missionaries. I decided not to give them the opportunity for intellectual masturbation and left.

    • Steve Smith
      Steve Smith Posted on July 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      What evidence do you have that the creators of this site are being dishonest with their motives? If anything their helping missionaries and members by helping them redefine their testimonies by letting them know what sort of stuff they may be exposed to that may shock them. To many people leave the church because of shock. Why? Because they’re reasons to go to church are established on whitewashed history and poor reasoning. Let’s get people acquainted with the controversies surrounding the LDS church, help them accept many historical inconveniences, and come up with new and creative ways to have a testimony.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous Posted on November 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

      There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to ex-mormon, ex-mormons have just as real experiences leaving the church as those entering.. Also anti Mormon in many cases is just accurate information that one finds disturbing and with no agenda other than enlightening. I am an ex-mormon and when one takes out all the bias and hurt, one can accept the facts for facts and not as attacks with an agenda.

  5. admin Posted on July 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    @TerryHolland – I’m glad you were able to recognize that they were just anti-Mormons wanting to fight. That can be such a waste of a missionaries time.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous Posted on November 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

      admin, anti-Mormons/ex-Mormons are usually very hurt when they find out everything they’ve been taught is inaccurate . Besides, anti-Mormon is usually a derogative name to scare other Mormons into not opening and listening to the information being shared. Anti-Mormon information is usually accurate and accompanied by sentiments of hurt. These are usually good people who want others to have access to the same open information. It is healthy to critique one’s ideology, i.e. investigate.Questioning Mormon (or any) ideology for legitimate reasons is healthy and honest.

  6. Suzy Smith Posted on July 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    @TerryHolland – I’m glad you discovered they were ex-Mormons but what if they weren’t? What if they really wanted to know the answer? Asking why they wanted to know isn’t an answer. Help me understand here.

  7. David Posted on August 12, 2013 at 7:01 am

    The very fact that few investigators would ever bring up these questions is indicative of how well the LDS church has swept their problems under the rug. They have huge budgets to advertise themselves as simple christians with a slight twist in having modern-day prophecy and revelation. They don’t want investigators to know that this dogma of relvelation includes controversy on blacks, polygamy, occult magic, masonry, lying for the lord and more.

    When I read others saying that this site is not honest because it seems to hide its agenda, I’ll look up dishonesty in the dictionary and find LDS church topping the list of examples. The LDS church has been obfuscating its true history and doctrine from investigators for years.

  8. A. Clarke Posted on August 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I have been looking on the FAIR site and other apologist sites for answers and it can be quite depressing. The explanation for the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language, which says Joseph had nothing to do with it and it was his scribes who wrote it, is totally contradicted by the explanation for the Kinderhook plates which shows that Joseph DID use the GAEL in an attempt to translate them. So Joseph DID use the GAEL as a translation aide. Either he did try to actually translate symbols, or he was inspired. You can’t have it both ways depending on which translation you are trying to defend.

  9. Jane in WVa Posted on May 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I knew very well how to hash stuff out, pointing out inconsistencies in every religious text I have come across. (At age 50, I became a christian.) After getting to the point of nitpicking everything to the bone, it comes to a simple point that one simply trusts G-d. (to teach us abundance and joy, for salvation, for life, to lead life, to lead us in “a” right direction.) (it is up to G-d to judge;not human, no matter how scholarly).

    In the final analysis, I think we can pretty much make do with the Big Ten, and the Golden One. Humans are “equal” regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin for as That Which Is, we are spirit; not flesh. These bodies are our husks or temples, as you see fit to call it as you will.

    I do put a lot of stock in Genesis. I guess that book is a weakness of mine. It tells so much, but again, from the beginning came the Big Ten and the Golden Rule.

    A very intelligent man said to me, “Treat others as they would have you treat them.” That makes even more sense than “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” I dunno. Maybe one of G-d’s angels was whispering in his ear.

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