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.
- Red circle: No ram heads, now there’s a strange figure standing there instead.
- Green circle: Just one boat, and in the boat is nothing we’ve seen before in any hypocephali. There’s no beetle.
- 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:
- If Joseph Smith was a prophet, why wasn’t he able to properly reproduce the missing sections?
- 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?