Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Book of Abraham Controversy Finally Laid To Rest


In recent years there have been a handful of (what purported to be) scholarly dissertations on the Book of Abraham that strongly suggested that document was a fraud. 

According to that received narrative, given what is now known regarding Egyptology, Joseph's translation from the papyrus could not possibly have been accurate.  The conclusion is that the Book of Abraham was a fake; Joseph Smith most certainly made it all up in his head.

I believe I've read most of these arguments and even watched the documentary that has been floating around, and I must say those arguments have been compelling.  Yet when I would actually go back and read the Book of Abraham, the contents of that book rang true to me. Although the naysayers seemed -at least on the surface- to have an almost airtight case against Joseph's work, I remained skeptical of their conclusions. There must be something missing, I decided, some element of the story I wasn't aware of.  Turns out I was right. 

Two weeks ago some 600 people pitched their tents at Aravada Springs, Nevada for a gathering put on by some of the local members of the loosely defined "Remnant" movement.  Denver Snuffer was invited to speak at this informal conference, and his topic centered around the provenance of the Book of Abraham. That talk lasted almost four hours, with a break halfway through for dinner.   Trust me when I say the evidence presented was eye-opening.  

I'm not going to try to summarize Denver's presentation here; instead I'll simply post the video below.  If  you have ever had questions about the validity of the Book of Abraham, the answer to those questions is simple. But the explanation takes some time to lay out, so it's best if you sit back and allow Denver to the time to walk you through it.  Denver has also provided a complete transcript which contains copious footnotes and citations.  I'm posting a link to document below as well.  

In point of fact, if there is anything fraudulent about the Book of Abraham, it's that the translation in the "authorized" set of scriptures Mormons have been given starts off with an introduction that was not written by Joseph Smith, but later added by Willard Richards under the direction of his cousin, Brigham Young, neither of whom knew what the hell they were talking about.  (I've included a scan of that introduction in the upper left-hand corner of this page.) Willard implies something about the translation not found anywhere in the text of the Book of Abraham itself, as you'll see when you read or listen to Denver's explication. That misleading introduction, which Mormons tend to accept as an integral part of the scripture, has been responsible for sending both anti-Mormon scholars and Mormon apologists off in the wrong direction every time. Watch the video and you'll see.




 You can download the transcript (in Word format) by clicking HERE

Extra Bonus Material
If four hours on the Book of Abraham is not enough for you, also presented at that conference was a fascinating exposition by Vaughn Hughes titled The Electric Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon. That one lasts over two hours.  Although I have not yet watched Vaughn's presentation in full (I'm still going over Denver's footnotes), I am quite familiar with the subject matter, and I count Vaughn Hughes one of my closest friends and a brilliant teacher.  Find the time to watch this one. It will give you a whole new way of looking at the universe -a universe Abraham understood far better than most do today.

 

The Electric Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon



In closing, don't forget to buy my T-shirts!

Just kidding. I don't sell T-shirts. But I do have another blog that's entirely different from this one. Check  it out sometime. 

32 comments:

Rhone said...

Glad to see you back, Rock. Hope you and yours are well.

Harry said...

In conjunction with Vaughn Hughes presentation you might find this article by John Pratt of interest.
https://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/2018/abraham_&_electric.html

Harry said...

Also, because I am turning 70 this month, I am enjoying your new blog. lol

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Wait a minute, Harry...Are you telling me someone has actually READ my other blog?!

Mirabile Dictu!

Thanks for that link to John Pratt's piece, Harry. I didn't know about it. I've spoken on the phone to John over the years and finally had the opportunity to meet him in person last year at the Challis retreat.

Thanks also for your kind words, Rhone. Connie and I are plodding along like a couple of creaky oldsters, but we're both still here.

matt lohrke said...

Here's how you can know that the Book of Abraham is not an inspired work:

In chapter 1 and 2 "The Lord God" is identified as "Jehovah." However, we know from the Book of Mormon that Jesus Christ is "Jehovah."

"Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end." (3 Nephi 15)

In Abraham 3 we have a scene with three individuals:

The Lord God - Jehovah
One Like unto God - Michael
One Like unto the Son of Man - Jesus (referencing JS favorite book, The Revelation. "The Son of Man" is a bad translation in the KJV. It should be "a son of man," or in other words, a human figure.)

The problem should be self-evident: Jesus and Jehovah are the same person, making this scene impossible.

Secondly, "Michael" doesn't appear in the Hebrew scriptures until the apocalyptic age/worldview, roughly 250 BC-100 AD, which is when apocalyptic books like Daniel, Enoch and Revelation appear. Michael isn't real. And he most certainly isn't "Adam." That was an idea first proposed by Sidney Rigdon, who, according to David Whitmer, was responsible for most of the errors that came into the church. (We underestimate Rigdon's influence on Joseph). Michael is the mythological protector of Israel who does battle against the angels of the other gods. Have you ever noticed that the angels in the Book of Mormon are never named, much less Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, etc? It's because they are much, much later developments.

The problem with the Book of Abraham isn't a question of translation or papyri, but rather it's Christology. In the Book of Mormon Jesus Christ is the Eternal God, Everlasting Father, King of Heaven, the Great Creator, etc. In the Book of Abraham, he's subservient to "Jehovah" and co-equal with "Michael."

And perhaps the most pertinent question is how does "the Lord's prophet," a man who ostensibly came into God's presence multiple times, make this big of a blunder? The Book of Mormon prophets all knew. Why doesn't Joseph Smith know? The answer, again, should be obvious, but few, if any, are willing to entertain it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Matt,
Denver gave a talk a few years back that clarified all the Father-Mother-Son stuff in scripture. I can't recall what it's called but when I find it I'll send you the link. Or I'll ask Denver when I talk to him, but he's pretty busy these days with work so I hate to bug him. Perhaps some other reader can chime in with it.

Mc Kay said...

Not sure if this is what you had in mind but in this 2012 post DS discusses Christ as Father via Abinidi in the B of M.
Mckay

https://denversnuffer.com/2012/02/ethers-reference-to-christ-as-father/

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks McKay. I had in mind a rather lengthy video presentation, but that's helpful.

Matthew said...

Please give your conclusion, whether people want to hear it or not.

Dave P. said...

matt,

For the "keystone of the religion," people really don't take the Book of Mormon seriously, which is of course why the church has been under condemnation for taking it lightly.

The rule of thumb is simple, "If it contradicts the (original 1830) Book of Mormon that clearly states that Jesus Christ is God the Father in the flesh, then it should be rejected." The Lectures on Faith support that statement as well, but they were stricken from doctrine after contradicting sections added to the D&C were added after Joseph's death.

The church is so caught up on the "modern revelation" that they forgot that God is also the same yesterday, today, and forever, leading them to easily believe "new" doctrine that Christ warned against in the BoM and reiterated in the D&C.

When it comes to the Book of Abraham, this kind of discussion doesn't even need to happen for those very same reasons.

Rebecca said...

I don’t see a link to the 4 hour video?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Here's a direct link, Rebecca:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0GEpPeHwdc

Bryant said...

Brother Snuffer makes a great deal out of the distinction that the original text of the Book of Abraham would have been written having a Chaldean influence, rather than Egyptian. To be honest, that seems similar to saying we found a book written in French, that makes sense in French, but as we know it was written by Germans the actual meaning is quite different.

Mc Kay said...

Bryant

You may not be seeing just what Snuffer is saying. He's not saying the book is written by Germans in French (using your analogy). He's saying the document was written by Abraham using German letters borrowed from the Phoenicians not in French using the same letters borrowed from the Phoenicians.

English, French, Portugeuse, and German, as well as many other languages use Phoenician characters: A., B., C... Egyptians and Nephites used Heiroglyhics (and if Snuffer is right Chaldeans of the Abraham time period).

So let's say I hire an English professional translator to translate a document and he encounters the word "elf". How should he translate it? That entirely depends on whether the document was written in 21st C English (in which case it means a supernatural creature of folk tales, typically represented as a small, elusive figure in human form with pointed ears, magical powers, and a capricious nature) or in 21st C German (in which case it means "eleven"). And what if it's 2nd Century Old English? Who knows what the hell "elf" means in 2nd Century Old English?

How a bout "dent"? Do we translate it "Tooth" or "indentation in an otherwise flat surface"? Well, that depends on whether the document is English or French.

How about pad? Depends on context, American English vs. British English. Maybe it's Dutch in which case it means "toad".

Now pictographic language is even more problematic. What does `means? Or * Or \ Or $%&^*

Snuffer is really onto something here.

McKay

OpenMind said...

That scene you describe is not “3 individuals”. It’s evident you don’t understand “the image of God”.

Unknown said...

Pls post a good link to Vaughn Hughes' material. Thx!

OpenMind said...

And you are correct MichaEL certainly isn’t “Adam”. Adam was the first man, and a singular individual. The “ELohim” are never singular. Each consist of 2 individuals, a male and a female, so one in purpose and harmony of heart that it is appropriate to refer to action undertaken by them with singular verbs. We do seem to have a knack for filtering out the females in our profound ignorance. But that’s our problem, not Gods.

Bryant said...

Mc Kay, thank you for your response.

What I was trying to convey is that the document from which the Book of Abraham is purported to come from already makes sense when read as an Egyptian document using Egyptian characters. Given that it already works as read in Egyptian, to read it as a Chaldean document with significantly different meaning doesn't make much sense to me.

To one of your examples, if we find ourselves reading a document of undetermined origin using Phoenician characters that makes a coherent story when read as English and we encounter the word "elf", it wouldn't make sense to read it as eleven, even though we believe the document to have been written by Germans.

Eric Kuntz said...

It's my understanding that Jesus and Jehovah are not the same person. The mormon church teaches this of course but they had to come up with a doctrine called Divine Investiture to do so, which appears nowhere in scripture.
 
TWO SONS (Jehovah & Jesus)

 19 These TWO SONS are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for thee—thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword—and by whom shall I comfort thee? 20 Thy SONS have fainted, save THESE TWO; they lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net, they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God. (2Nep 8)

OpenMind said...

Jehovah is not A person. It is a Divine couple. “Our Divine Parents” greatly clarifies this. Our misunderstanding of the image of God is so much deeper than we comprehend. This is why that talk is scripture, whether we accept it or not. We offend God by rejecting that material and treating it lightly, as we have done.

Steven Retz said...

Rock,

BoM clearly teaches that Yeshua/Jesus is the Eternal Father all over it in so many ways. Some falsely claim that JS changed doctrine when he modified some verses dealing with the Godhead. I think it was a mistake that JS modified those verses, but initially he was trying to fix errors that the printer introduced, and then probably tried to make some things more clear. But with the correct understanding that YHWH/Yeshua/Jesus is the Father there is no contradiction or changing of doctrine.

3 Nephi 19:18 And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord [YHWH] and their God [Elohim].

2 Nephi 9:41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord [YHWH] God [Elohim] is his name.

Steven Retz said...

Matt,

I see no problem of using different names for Yeshua, YHWH, God, Son of Man, I'll throw another in the mix the Angel of YHWH.

I tend to believe the BoA is true, partly because of studies I have done with the Polar Configuration, but it's not something I have gone and studied. If you can provide verses in the BoA and scriptures you believe it contradicts that would be helpful. As your general description is not helpful, and honestly is easily explained.

Steven Retz said...

Rock,
I listened to all 4 hours of Denver Snuffer's talk. I see various errors and false doctrine in it, and very little of it actually would help a critical thinker with any BoA issues. Would love to talk to you on the phone about Denver Snuffer one day if you ever get the time. https://seekingyhwh.org/resources/denver-snuffer/

dx said...

It's as if the truth has been buried in the earth all over again. So many barriers and lies to untangle. Almost impossible. Almost. It's a mystery how God plans to make sense of it all and connect the dots some day.

David A. Doane said...

I am amused at all of the (perhaps Freudian) use in many comments referring to the Book of Mormon as BoA.

All of the discussion about who is and is not God and the names for God is somewhat said here in these comments. I will just make a couple comments about it then move on. There are many names, titles, words that all originally were YHVH. Take for example Adonai, to understand it as YHVH you must study the vowel points and placements, Adonai was substituted for YHVH originally though as out of respect not to keep using YHVH to frequently. Also YAH, "my God" is most of the time synonymous with YHVH as for an entity, but nuanced for its relationship to the writer.

I find Denver's new religion incredibly anti-Semetic. His first couple of books were incredibly insightful, and then he changed. Just re-watch the last ten minutes of him in the linked video, he now sees himself as the prophetic restorer of the "fulness of the Gospel" to gather the remnant, and has redefined the gathering of the remnant as a new covenant between a small group of Gentiles (many who were in attendance), who he says have Israelite blood in their ancestry (some may, and some do not), and that there is no literal Israelite gathering. I would suggest that there is a literal gathering of remnants of Israel that will yet take place as it clearly says in scripture and which propelled Joseph Smith to send the first missionaries of the LDS Church to the indians just beyond the "line that separates Jew and Gentile," the western border of the state of Missouri, the Osage treaty line. Joseph was in fact attempting to bring the Book of Mormon to some of the tribes (re)located just west of Missouri, and the BoM would rekindle the knowledge of the "Fathers" in them and they would seek after YHVH once again. This is the gathering and Joseph Smith called in the "fullness of the gospel" (see Joseph Smith's conversation with James Colville in the D&C).

Denver does not understand a lot of the Hebrew language nuances that totally give meaning to so many terms, words, symbols, etc. in all of the scriptures. The "Gospel" and "Fullness of the Gospel" concepts are repeated over and over, and over, and over, in hundreds of different ways in scripture when you look and read from a Hebrew language perspective. It baffles me when my mother's people, Ashkenazi Jews do not understand the Torah, and how it all points to two things, the Gospel and the Fulness of the Gospel. Oh, and yes my adopted LDS extended family also baffle me for the same reasons, they have turned their backs on much what Joseph Smith (re)delivered and likened it unto themselves, stripping away its beauty and inclusiveness to all who come unto YHVH.

I do not need another self-proclaimed Prophet to bring me another new covenant, the "2017 covenant"to replace the old one between YHVH and my Father's, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the Abrahamic Covenant and each of its tenants). I watched (in person) the proceedings of the 2017 gathering were his followers "adopted" this new covenant and it "was accepted by the Father" and there was no "covenant" language at all. I am so sad for so many people who want to be released from the D&C 88 condemnation (a worthy aspiration for sure) that they are now (re)creating a new restoration orthodoxy, that does not understand the roots of this yearned for orthodoxy in the worship/religion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Lehi, Nephi, Jacob (ben Lehi) and Joseph (ben Lehi) YHVH!

David A. Doane said...

My apology of ra could grammar/spelling errors, the spelling checker and I seem to have been speaking a different dialect of the english language.

Heather Moore said...

David, the commenters mentioning the BoA are referring to the Book of Abraham, so no Freudian slip there. You just misapplied the acronym, thinking it was a typo.

Heather Moore said...

David, the commenters mentioning the BoA are referring to the Book of Abraham, so no Freudian slip there. You just misapplied the acronym, thinking it was a typo.

Eric Kuntz said...

more on the names of God(s)...

The Bible doesn't tell us where the word Israel comes from.  So let's break i t down. Literally.

IS RA EL

We can see in the word Israel, when we break it down (3) Egyptian gods.

ISIS (Mother God)
RA (Father God)
EL (the Sun/Son God)

As a side note, every time you say Amen to a prayer you're referencing the same God RA, also known as Amen Ra.
 
Back to the word Israel. The word Israel appears for the first time in the Book of Genesis.  Some biblical scholars allege that the first 5 books of the OT were authored by Moses. If that's the case the word Israel was first spoken or written by Moses.  What do we know about Moses? Acts 7:22 tells us "Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds."  The verse does not say "Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Jews".

R. Metz said...

Good to see you are back, brother Waterman!
Where the Book of Abraham is concerned, I never hear the name of Dr. Hyrum L. Andrus mentioned. I miss that. Dr. Andrus gave a series of lectures, some 30 years ago now, on the Book Of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The lectures are most valuable and very dear to me, giving clear insights on topics that seem so controversial these days.
I advise people to look them up, on youtube, or get a transcript from www.hyrumandrus.com

Ryan Nickel said...

Have you ever read the Urantia Book?

Ryan Nickel said...

Have you ever read the Urantia Book?