The "Book of Abraham" in the Pearl of Great Price is not a lost book of
the Bible, but just a Pagan document called The Book of Breathing, thus
proving Smith a false prophet.
The Book of Abraham
By Bill McKeever
According to the Documentary
History of the Church (DHC) 2:235, it was on July 3, 1835 when Michael
Chandler "came to Kirtland (OH) to exhibit some Egyptian mummies."
According to the record, "There were four human figures, together with
some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with Book of Breathing-Smith
forgeryhieroglyphic figures and devices." Chandler's display so
intrigued the Mormons living in Kirtland that they told the traveling
showman how their prophet, Joseph Smith, had the ability to translate
When Smith was shown the ancient writing, he claimed that he could
translate them and proceeded to give Chandler a brief interpretation.
Page 235 states that, for this service, Chandler gave Smith a
"certificate" which said in part:
"This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the
knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., in deciphering the ancient
Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in
many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the
information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr.
Joseph Smith, Jun., to correspond in the most minute matters. "
How Chandler could make such a
statement is a mystery since he was not an expert in this field. The
fact is, there was nobody in the United States who at this time could
claim to have expertise in the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in allowing scholars to
decipher the hieroglyphics, had only been recently found (1799) and
whatever few "experts" there were in the Egyptian language resided in
Book of BreathingEurope. In a way, Smith's bravado demonstrates his
gift as a confidence man. Without any Egyptian linguists, he knew how
difficult it would be to prove any of his so-called translations
untrue. Since he had gotten away with this ploy for five years by
claiming that the Book of Mormon was written in "Reformed Egyptian,"
why shouldn't this ruse work again? Smith seemed to use the limited
expertise of his time to full advantage. After obtaining the papyri,
Smith "commenced the translation of some of the characters or
hieroglyphics." In doing so, Smith proclaimed "that one of the roles
contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of
Egypt" (Documentary History of the Church (DHC) 2:236).
According to the preface to the Book of Abraham, Smith believed his
document was actually written by Abraham's "own hand written upon
papyrus." Imagine for a moment what a find this would be if, in fact,
Smith had really discovered the writings of Abraham and Joseph. They
would be priceless for they would be the oldest manuscripts available
written by someone mentioned in the Bible. In fact, they would be the
only autograph manuscripts available.
To say the papyri obtained by Smith were written
by both Abraham and Joseph would predate the Christian era by about
Book of Breathing-Smith forgery2,000 years! For a sum of $2400, Smith's
followers were able to convince Chandler to part with his exhibit, thus
enabling their beloved prophet to continue "translating" the text.
Smith would continue with this project, but he would not be able to
finish it. Eventually he would be killed in a gun battle at Carthage,
Illinois, and the papyri would be lost. Many believed it was destroyed
in the great Chicago fire, never to be recovered. In 1880 the Mormon
Church canonized the Book of Abraham and it became part of the Pearl of
Great Price. Standing side by side with the Bible, Book of Mormon and
Doctrine and Covenants, this was included as part of Mormonism's
"Standard Works." In time more and more men would become familiar with
the Egyptian language.
In 1912 Smith's translation
would be called into serious question by an Episcopalian Bishop named
F.S. Spaulding. Spaulding published a 31-page booklet entitled "Joseph
Smith, Jun., As a Translator." In it he included the findings of eight
scholars who had examined the "facsimiles" or drawings Book of
Breathingwhich are found in the Book of Abraham. All concluded that
Smith's translation was erroneous. The Mormons responded by soliciting
the services of a man named J.C. Homans who wrote under the assumed
name of "Dr. Robert C. Webb, Ph.D." Homans was neither an Egyptologist
nor did he hold a doctorate degree. Although his arguments failed to
convince the learned, they were enough to appease the faithful
Latter-day Saint, so "testimony" once again reigned over fact.
In 1967 interest in the Book of Abraham again surfaced when the papyri
Smith used in 1835 were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York. They were eventually given back to the LDS Church. One would
think that, if Joseph Smith were indeed a prophet who was inspired by
God to translate the Book of Abraham, this would have been the perfect
opportunity to have proved it. However, this was not to be the case.
Experts once again proved Smith's translation was incorrect. Not only
was Smith's translation bogus, but he completely missed the time period
in which the papyri were written.
Smith claimed his papyri were written by Abraham around 4,000 years
ago; however, experts agree that the papyri go back only as far as the
time of Christ. Whereas Smith claimed his papyri told the story of
Abraham's adventures in Egypt, the experts concur that what Smith had
in his possession was nothing more than a portion of a funerary text
known as the Book of Breathings, a condensed version of the Book of
Accompanying the written portion of the Book of Abraham were three
illustrations or "facsimiles." Facsimile No. 1 shows one figure
standing and the other lying on a lion-headed table. An examination of
the Smith papyri shows that portions were torn and missing. Because of
the torn condition of Smith's original, there is neither head nor hand
on the standing figure, and the torso of the figure in the lying down
position is missing as well (from just below the waist and up to the
neck). This, however, did not prevent Smith from improvising. It is
easy to notice that a human head has been pencilled in on the standing
figure while a hand holding what appears to be a knife has also been
Smith claimed this standing figure represents the "idolatrous priest of
Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham [the figure lying down on what
Smith claimed was an "altar"] as a sacrifice." Above the head of
"Abraham" is the figure of a bird Smith calls "the angel of the Lord."
Below the "altar" are figures which Smith said represented the
idolatrous gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash. Below these
figures is the drawing of a crocodile; Smith labels this "The
idolatrous god of Pharaoh." As previously mentioned, this facsimile
depicts nothing more than a portion of Egyptian mythology.
Click here to see Smith's
facsimile as well as an explanation from Dr. Richard Parker, Professor
of Egyptology at Brown University. Despite the fact that Smith's
"translation" has been found to be incorrect in every detail, the LDS
Church stubbornly continues to include Smith's pretended "Book of
Abraham" as part of its scripture. Because many Latter-day Saints are
encouraged not to question the authority of their founder, few delve
into the facts which expose him for the fraud he is.
THIS VIDEO SHOWS EGYPTOLOGISTS READING WHAT THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
REALLY SAYS! IT DOESN'T EVEN MENTION ABRAHAM ONCE!
THIS IS FROM WIKIPEDIA. IT SHOWS LINE BY LINE HOW SMITH GOT IT
WRONG. I'M SORRY, BUT I'M FORCED TO CONCLUDE THAT HE WAS A FALSE
PROPHET THAT COULDN'T READ EGYPTIAN.
If you're unable to view the video, try this link:
Joseph Smith gave explanations for 12 elements of this image, several
of which are at variance with current Egyptologists interpretations. At
least three Egyptologists that have analyzed the facsimile and the
original vignette (see images above) believe that the missing portions
(lacunae) in the original papyrus fragment were erroneously restored,
either by Smith or someone else.
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Joseph Smith Explanation
Explanation by Egyptologists (quotes are from
1 The Angel of the Lord.
"The soul of Osiris (which should have a human
2 Abraham fastened upon an
"Osiris coming to life on his couch, which is
in the shape of a lion"
3 The idolatrous priest of
Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice.
"The God Anubis (who should have a
jackal's head) effecting the resurrection of Osiris"
4 The altar for sacrifice by
idolatrous priests, standing before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah,
Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.
"The funeral bed of Osiris"
5 The idolatrous god of
Canopic jar portraying Qebehsenuf with a
falcon's head - one of the four sons of Horus
6 The idolatrous god of
Canopic jar portraying Duamutef with a jackal's
head - one of the four sons of Horus
7 The idolatrous god of
Canopic jar portraying Hapy with an ape's head -
one of the four sons of Horus
8 The idolatrous god of Korash.
Canopic jar portraying Imsety with a human head
- one of the four sons of Horus
9 The idolatrous god of
"The sacred crocodile, symbolic of the god Sedet"
10 Abraham in Egypt.
"Altar laden with offerings"
11 Designed to represent the
pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians.
"An ornament peculiar to Egyptian art"
12 Raukeeyang, signifying
or the firmament over our heads; but in this case, in relation to this
subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shaumau, to be high, or the
heavens, answering to the Hebrew word, Shaumahyeem.
"Customary representation of ground
in Egyptian paintings (The word Shauman is not Egyptian, and the Hebrew
word is badly copied)"
(c) Uncommon Sense
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