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 back and study what’s in the green cir­cle. Two boats with a bee­tle in the bot­tom one. Now the blue cir­cle. A lizard hold­ing some­thing.

Let’s look at Fac­sim­i­le 2 again, with the same areas cir­cled.

  1. Red cir­cle: No ram heads, now there’s a strange fig­ure stand­ing there instead.
  2. Green cir­cle: Just one boat, and in the boat is noth­ing we’ve seen before in any hypocephali. There’s no bee­tle.
  3. Blue cir­cle: The lizard now has what looks like a bird body. There’s also a strange stick fig­ure below him with his hands in the air.

While Joseph Smith was trans­lat­ing the Book of Abra­ham, he kept a col­lec­tion of doc­u­ments in what is now known as the Kirt­land Egypt­ian Papers. In it, he includ­ed a rough copy of what would lat­er become Fac­sim­i­le 2:

Obvi­ous to the read­er are the miss­ing sec­tions. Although we don’t have the orig­i­nal hypocephalus Joseph Smith used to cre­ate Fac­sim­i­le 2, this draw­ing leads us to believe that it was copied into the Kirt­land Egypt­ian Papers and that the orig­i­nal hypocephalus had sec­tions that were miss­ing or hard to read.

Remem­ber the parts in Fac­sim­i­le 2 that were dif­fer­ent than real hypocephali? Let’s com­pare those sec­tions with the ear­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Kirt­land Egypt­ian Papers:

As in Fac­sim­i­le 1, the strange sec­tions match the miss­ing sec­tions from the orig­i­nal. Let’s focus on just one hypocephalus along side Fac­sim­i­le 2:

The only sec­tion that seems that he got slight­ly right is the one with­in the green cir­cle. He has the boat cor­rect, but noth­ing inside the boat (or that there should be two). Remem­ber, the draw­ing of Fac­sim­i­le 2 in the Kirt­land Egypt­ian Papers in dig­i­tal for­mat only shows black and white, not faint lines that may have exist­ed on the actu­al hypocephalus Joseph Smith had. We can spec­u­late that there was a faint out­line of a boat.

As far as where he got the actu­al draw­ing inside the boat, it is found else­where in the papyri dis­cov­ered in 1966. It appears that Joseph filled in that part from this oth­er sec­tion:

And he got the head in the red cir­cle from the sec­tion just above it:


  1. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, why wasn’t he able to prop­er­ly repro­duce the miss­ing sec­tions?
  2. If he was being inspired by God to repro­duce the miss­ing sec­tions, why did he copy from oth­er sec­tions to fill in the miss­ing parts?
Series Nav­i­ga­tion: My Search for Truth — Wes Trexler« Book of Abra­ham: Fac­sim­i­le 1Book of Abra­ham: Fac­sim­i­le 3 »

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