Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 049: The Book Of Abraham – Missing Scrolls, Catalyst Theories, and Bad Apologetics Part 1

Today we explore the Book of Abraham in Radio Free Mormon Style.  Bill Reel once again joins us and we proceed to lay out the following.
– Brief overview of the History of the Book of Abraham
– Why the critics say it is problematic
– What workarounds apologists have created to deal with those criticisms
– Why those workarounds are dead ends
– Evidences Apologists share
– Why those evidences have little credibility
– How the Church is adapting to the Problems

REASONS THE MISSING SCROLL THEORY DOES NOT WORK:

– We know because of Abraham 1:12 and 1:14 itself points to Facsimile 1 and the very text in the papyri following it as the source text of the book of Abraham

– We know from the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar document that if we choose to be rational and logical the most reasonable interpretation of that document is that it represents Joseph Smith’s translation of The Book of Abraham.

– An early Egyptologist named Gustavus Seyffarth viewed the missing papyrus in 1856 and described only the Hor text and Facsimile 3. He gave no indication of another text on the scroll, and in fact explicitly denied that the scroll contained a record of Abraham.

– Klaus Baer predicted that the missing portion of the Hor text would be around sixty centimeters. Others who have attempted the estimate of the missing length agreed almost exactly with Baer’s estimate.

In the end a Missing Scroll theory is simply a Red Herring.  Why we know that a missing scroll does not matter?  We know where Joseph was translating and it was on the existing papyri. There is a set of documents that the church has always had in its possession commonly referred to as the “Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar” by Joseph Smith. Most of us remember hearing a little bit about it growing up in the church but not really knowing what it was. It was only briefly and rarely mentioned in church. With the discovery of the missing papyri in 1966, critics claim that these documents show a definite link between the papyri and the actual text of the Book of Abraham. The manuscript is in the handwriting of William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish, scribes to Joseph Smith, Jr. It is a bound book with handwriting on 34 pages with about 184 blank pages remaining throughout the book. There are characters in a left hand column with English explanations to the right. Original in LDS archives. There are 4 pages in Joseph Smith’s handwriting.

REASONS THE CATALYST THEORY DOES NOT WORK: 

– The Times and Seasons with Joseph Smith as Editor along with Mormonism’s heading to the Pearl of Great Price in the past claimed the papyri was the writings of Abraham.

– The Times and Seasons with Joseph Smith as Editor along with Mormonism’s heading to the Pearl of Great Price in the past claimed it was written by Abraham’s  own hand.  If the Catalyst Theory is correct, then God must be responsible for misleading Smith about the identity of the author of the papyri characters.

– Joseph and his scribes wrote down the very symbols from the papyri we have along with a proposed meaning of those hieroglyphics and symbols in a document named Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar indicating strongly a literal translation.

–  Joseph Smith‘s translation and restoration of the facsimiles was incorrect. If the Catalyst Theory is correct, then God must be responsible for instructing Smith to incorrectly translate and restore the facsimiles.

–  The text of the Book of Abraham itself (1:12 and 1:14) declares that the source of the Book of Abraham has the Facsimile 1 fragment at its commencement, which is the Breathing Permit of Hor. If the Catalyst Theory is correct, then God must be responsible for instructing Smith to record verses in the Book of Abraham that incorrectly refer to the Facsimile 1 fragment.

–  The Small Sensen (Breathing Permit of Hor) characters are copied in order into the manuscripts where they are translated into the Book of Abraham. Therefore, Smith‘s own manuscripts indicate that the source of the Book of Abraham is the Small Sensen. If the Catalyst Theory is correct, then God must be responsible for misleading Smith to believe that the source of the Book of Abraham was the Small Sensen.

–  The Egyptian Alphabets end with two characters which appear in the manuscripts as the beginning of the Small Sensen and which translate into Abraham 1:1. Therefore, the Egyptian Alphabets indicate that the source of the Book of Abraham is the Small Sensen.  If the Catalyst Theory is correct, then God must be responsible for misleading Smith to believe that the source of the Book of Abraham was the Small Sensen.

RESOURCES:
Book Of Abraham conundrum simplified – http://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/04/My-Concerns-Book-of-Abraham-1.pdf

Brian Hauglid on Mormon Discussion – https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2015/01/brian-hauglid-the-book-of-abraham/

MormonThink Translation and Historicity Issues – http://www.mormonthink.com/essays-book-of-abraham.htm

MormonThink Book of Abraham – http://www.mormonthink.com/book-of-abraham-issues.htm

Episode Links:

Muhlestein lying about Abraham on the Lion Couch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLbFpWlVLx8

John Gee acknowledging he will hold back facts if they could hurt faith – https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2018/11/06/fairmormon-conference-podcast-17-john-gee-selling-our-birthright-for-a-mess-of-pottage-the-historical-authenticity-of-the-book-of-abraham

Brian Hauglid commenting about his shifted view – https://www.facebook.com/dan.vogel.35/posts/1398006876998582?hc_location=ufi

Robin Scott Jensen on the Book of Abraham – http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/11/07/book-of-abraham/

The Best Evidence for the Book of Abraham: Abraham in the Prayer Position – https://archive.org/details/egyptianhierogly01budguoft/page/n103

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtJT_xjIgdM

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcuCf5R7rF4

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEVSEL3K5OE

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 4 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64_kNhrwZfA

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 5 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySUdq2fNdQ

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47ibkJ4QrE

Dan Vogel’s Videos on the Book of Abraham Pt 7 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_7haq-PdjU

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8 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 049: The Book Of Abraham – Missing Scrolls, Catalyst Theories, and Bad Apologetics Part 1

  1. On the e-copy on LDS.org, here is the into to Book of Abraham— still today:
    The Book of Abraham
    Translated from the Papyrus, by Joseph Smith
    A Translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.

    • Do you sense that no one seems to see your position having much credibility? It requires to many allowances and belief in things that are not present. I am not saying it is untrue, only that is is deeply irrational and implausible

      • Seems like Ed Goble has invested a vast amount of time and work into his research. Probably worth more than just a one line dismissal, after all we don’t like the double standard when others get dismissed.

        Although, I’m aware of time constraints, but you are in the arena of this topic after all, doesn’t seem fair to just dismiss it as highly unlikely even if it is.

    • Thanks for this information. I am reviewing with much curiosity. At this point I do see there is some fascinating scholarly effort and work out there the gives credible backing to what Joseph Smith had done with the scrolls. Sure many will debate to the contrary and keep regurgitating the same old criticism at the BofA. Therefore, I would have to disagree with Bill on his response to you. We need an open mind on both side of the fences.

    • Ed, in his deep analysis of the translation process, the artifacts put forth by Dan Vogel in his 7 part series on the BoA on YouTube don’t allow space for your notions. In the latest BoA JSP publication there is no room left for those who deny that JS claimed that Abraham himself wrote the hieroglyphics. Sorry, but your BoA musings are dead and will never be resurrected.

  2. The missing manuscript Brian is refering to is a manuscript of the BoA translation that both scribes were supposedly copying not the missing Egyptian paypryus. Listen to Dan’s presentation closely. It is obvious that is what Brian’s quote refers to in the quote you cite. This fact doesn’t discount much of your arguments.

    Other people than this good podcasts.
    The real smoking gun is JS got all the translations from Egyptian wrong that we have the characters and JS translation and the Egyptian grammar makes no sense at all.

  3. I’ve only listened to this first section so Bill/RFM may address these points later on. No apologetic egyptologist (Gee, Muhlestein, Rhodes)disputes that the papyrus is Hor’s breathing permit. That’s why they come up with their various theories. And they is why Peterson’s point about Hauglid not being an egyptologist is completely irrelevant. Brian’s points are from the analysis of the KEP relative to what everyone agrees is on the papyrus.

    The is another point that deserves a lot more scrutiny than what you gave. When I spoke with Brian he mentioned that he was brought into MI as a visiting fellow specifically for this BOA JSP project. How come MI didn’t use their senior research fellow from within, John Gee?
    – Had Gee already lost credibility within MI to conduct this project with high scholastic standards?
    – Was Gee afraid of adversely affecting revenue feeding into his BoA apologetic fellowship where wealthy members donate money for him to write apologetic books and deliver apologetic speeches?
    Not sure what the actual answer is but it is stunning that MI felt they needed to bring in an outsider

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