Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 055: The Book Of Abraham – Missing Scrolls, Catalyst Theories, and Bad Apologetics Part 3

 

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.

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.

– Brian Hauglid’s Constructive criticism of parts 1 & 2

– Kerry Muhlestein’s Ensign ArticleRobert Ritner’s criticism of the Book of Abraham Gospel Topic Essay

John Gee being asked about responding to Robert Ritner

– Correspondence with non-mormon Egyptologists including Kara Cooney

– And lastly Robin Scott Jensen’s comments which indicate the LDS Position is understood to be deeply problematic

 

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 – https://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: 055: The Book Of Abraham – Missing Scrolls, Catalyst Theories, and Bad Apologetics Part 3

  1. Love the passion with which this was covered and delivered. It does become very hard to follow, specially if you are not passionate yourself about the topic. The beginning is hard to process, specially for one who is doing something else while listening in. So it requires a lot of attention to follow, but does get much better as time progresses. Although I’m not a fan of some of the cute sound effects, hopefully for some they found it amusing, personally I was a bit annoyed by them.

    Overall as usual great work. Now we are more familiar with the games that apologist play. The level of deception is uncanny, the sincere TBM doesn’t stand a chance of seeing through this level of deception. Not to mention that the sincere TBM won’t be able to handle listening to this episode either.

  2. Thank you for this, Bill and RFM. I know, of course, that the Ensign is not a scholarly journal, and I myself am not in anyway a scholar of this subject. However, the Ensign is directed at adults who are, in my understanding, supposed to be learning as much about the gospel as possible. This article was insulting to the adult membership of the church.
    I know that the Ensign is going to publish faith promoting things, and I don’t fault them for that. But, I felt like this went beyond putting a “positive” spin on things. It was simplistic and condescending. The church is not serving itself well by putting things like this out there. It just makes people who know about the BOA upset at how in adequate the apologetic reasoning is, and raises questions in the mind of people who are not aware of the issues.
    Say what you will about Hugh Nibley, the man published thousands of pages outlining complex subjects and treated the reader like an intelligent adult. I respect that even though I don’t agree with his conclusions. At least he presented a wide array of secular and non secular information.
    I’ve heard talk of the church quietly decanonizing the BOA. There is so much unique and fundamental Mormon doctrine in it that I don’t see how that would be possible.
    Thanks!

  3. Thank you for doing this podcast. Sometimes it is just nice to be validated even if it takes 45+ years.

    In 1973, I learned about the BOA problems my freshman year in a Sociology course. I didn’t want to believe it so I spent a day at the library looking up all the footnotes in the textbook. I did the research looking for the faith promoting back story–there was none. Back then I didn’t have anyone that I could talk to about this huge issue. A couple of years later I confided in my boyfriend about BOA problems and he listened with interest. We ended up marrying and raising an LDS family, very devout in fact. Finally, we all left the church over 10 years ago over a multitude of issues, but certainly I was motivated by the church’s behavior during propH8 in CA.

    Thank god for google.
    Thank you Bill Reel and RFM.

  4. Thanks for the three part series on the BoA. I had to up my monthly donation some to reflect the quality of content coming from this site.
    I’m also impressed that Hauglid was nice enough to go through you first two parts and provide his feedback. I find Brian to be quite authentic.

  5. First off, thank you to both Bill Reel and RFM for your thoroughness and covering this important topic, and also correcting previous mistakes on the topic that Brian Hauglid brought to your attention. Correcting your mistakes demonstrate a commitment to the truth.

    But now shifting my focus to LDS Egyptologists/apologists, their tactics to mislead members and leadership at the highest levels of the church encouraging deception. I cannot excuse Jeffrey R. Holland encouraging different messages to members of the church compared to scholarly undertakings by BYU professor is hired to defend the church. Intentionally trying to deceive members not educated on the topic.

    Literally, there are multiple professors in Egyptology calling LDS scholars, Gee and Muhlestein, not creditable and/or not meeting the academic standards from where they graduated from. It’s ugly, it’s deceitful and it’s intentional.

  6. A year ago I listened to RFM and Bill with the intent to settle my wife’s faith crisis. I was going to hear what these “anti-Mormons” had to say, debunk them, and get my old life back.

    It was very difficult to listen at first but didn’t take long to slowly realize how intelligent, sincere, frank, and funny you are. RFM in particular disarmed me in the early days. I connected and identified with you and my mind (and heart) slowly started to open.

    It’s amazing how far you’ve both come in the last year alone. This particular episode blew me away, well done! I too am going to up my monthly contribution. I owe you both a great deal, thank you for what you do.

  7. Thanks for the podcast you two! In need of a bit of assistance though, not sure if this happened while anyone else was listening, but right at minute 30:08 there’s a practice emergency broadcast that plays and so I miss what Brian Hauglid had to say about the commotion his comment on Dan Vogel’s video has caused. I’ve tried to play it again many times and it just isn’t letting me hear it, and it starts back up again right after Bill is done reading what Brian had to say. It really left me on the edge of my seat now because I was curious what he had to say about it. Can someone let me know what was said in that short snippet? Thank you!

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