Leaving the Church, Part 2 — Book of Abraham

1. Back­ground Per­haps the most prob­lem­at­ic issue under­min­ing the Church is the Book of Abra­ham. In July of 1835, a trav­el­ing show­man named Michael Chan­dler brought an exhib­it con­sist­ing of four Egypt­ian mum­mies and papyri to Kirt­land, Ohio, then the home of the Lat­ter-day Saints. The papyri con­tained Egypt­ian hiero­glyph­ics, which intrigued Joseph Smith. Joseph…

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Unexpected Results

Three weeks ago, I was a true believ­er. I wasn’t the best at church atten­dance, but I would look for­ward to the days I could go and I would sit, rapt and eager, lis­ten­ing to the lessons and talks. I read the scrip­tures. I have a large library of Nib­ley, Tal­mage, etc… things con­sid­ered “deep”…

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Factual Claims

The Church makes many spe­cif­ic claims about mat­ters of his­to­ry (both its own, and that of oth­er peo­ples), the migra­tion of peo­ple from one con­ti­nent to anoth­er, the trans­la­tion of ancient doc­u­ments, etc. These are per­fect­ly legit­i­mate sub­jects to be exam­ined using the tools and log­ic of Sci­ence. I do rec­og­nize that some claims the…

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Other translations by Joseph Smith, Jr

I had pre­vi­ous­ly been able to con­vince myself that the rea­son we don’t have the gold plates is because Joseph Smith, Jr would have been hunt­ed to an even ear­li­er death if he had kept them. Still, I, and I think every mem­ber, has a secret wish that the Lord would decide it was time…

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Book of Abraham: Facsimile 3

Fac­sim­i­le 3 is described by Joseph Smith as “Abra­ham sit­ting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the polite­ness of the king, with a crown upon his head, rep­re­sent­ing the Priest­hood, as emblem­at­i­cal of the grand Pres­i­den­cy in Heav­en; with the scepter of jus­tice and judg­ment in his hand.” Once again, this is not about Abra­ham at all,…

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Book of Abraham: Facsimile 2

Fac­sim­i­le 2 is actu­al­ly a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a “hypocephalus”. Egyp­tians would put these under the head of mum­mies, like a pil­low. Here are lots of real hypocephali as they are in abun­dance: You’ll notice that I’ve cir­cled cer­tain sec­tions. Go back and study what’s inside the red cir­cle first. Four ram heads, right? Now go…

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Book of Abraham: Facsimile 1

This is Fac­sim­i­le 1, locat­ed at the front of the Book of Abra­ham in the Pearl of Great Price. Joseph Smith described this scene as “The idol­a­trous priest of Elke­nah attempt­ing to offer up Abra­ham as a sac­ri­fice,” mean­ing, the man with the knife is a priest of Elke­nah and the man on the altar…

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Book of Abraham

The major­i­ty of mem­bers don’t know where the Book of Abra­ham (found in the Pearl of Great Price) comes from. Here is a brief his­to­ry from Wikipedia: Sev­er­al papyri and eleven mum­mies were dis­cov­ered in Thebes by Anto­nio Lebo­lo between 1818 and 1822. Some­time between 1822 and his death on Feb­ru­ary 19, 1830, Lebo­lo arranged…

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Book of Mormon Issue 6+: Everything else

Quot­ed Isa­iah Scrip­tures Schol­ars divide the book of Isa­iah into three parts. There is very lit­tle dis­agree­ment about this fact. Here are the three parts and when they were writ­ten: Chap­ters 1 to 39 (First Isa­iah, Pro­­to-Isa­i­ah or Orig­i­nal Isa­iah): the work of the orig­i­nal prophet Isa­iah, who worked in Jerusalem between 740 and 687…

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Book of Mormon Issue 5: Hebrew DNA

I will go into this in more depth at some time, but until just recent­ly (2006), the intro­duc­tion page in the Book of Mor­mon said all of the peo­ple chron­i­cled in the book “were destroyed, except the Laman­ites, and they are the prin­ci­pal ances­tors of the Amer­i­can Indi­ans.” The new intro­duc­tion reads much the same,…

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