It’s not the intention of this blog to comment on everything with this case (however I will come back to it here and there), fascinating as it is, this blogs purpose has the purpose of seeking to bring Mormons and anyone else for that matter to Christ, by faith. I hope people will tour around this site and come back here and there to see what we are saying.
So I want to start this blog by pointing you towards what I think are the best places to go for regular updates on all of this.
Steven Bloors Blog
Christopher Ralph’s Blog
There are other great sites but these ones are the most closely connected to those actually pursuing this case.
However one thing has just caught my eye, this article on the exmormon.org site. On the subject of the Book of Abraham it says this:
–1) The Book of Abraham was translated from ancient Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith (as relating to Mormon Church “truth” claims that the Book of Abraham is claimed to be the handwritten autobiographical account of Abraham, penned by Abraham himself.
Proving that this is a false representation by Monson and the Mormon Church is not an attack on the religious doctrine, per se, as found in its canonized Book of Abraham (even though one can assert there are falsehoods contained therein, as well as heinous doctrines); rather, what is being legally challenged is the claim made in the Book of Abraham’s introductory statement that it (the Book of Abraham) was produced as result of direct translation by Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
In an effort to get around its false representation, the Mormon Church is now claiming that Smith did not literally translate the Book of Abraham parchments from actual ancient Egyptian characters. Instead, the Mormon Church is claiming that Smith used those parchments only as a “catalyst” to facilitate an “inspired” translation that was not dependent on what was actually written on the papyri.
In actuality, the Book of Abraham (contrary to what it claims in its introduction), is not an account personally written by the ancient Israelite prophet Abraham by Abraham’s own hand up on papyri but, rather, is a common funerary text from the Egyptian Book of the Dead–of which there are many in existence and which have been accurately translated by professional Egyptologists. Phillips has personally seen such original Egyptian funerary texts in museums in Birmingham and London, England.
Even pro-Mormon Egyptologists have acknowledged that, contrary to Mormon Church truth claims, the Book of Abraham is not an actual translation from ancient Egyptian of Abraham’s life but, instead, the Book of Abraham is falsely represented to have been translated from papyri that are, in reality, from Egyptian Book of Dead, with no relation to at all Abraham’s life and not written by Abraham.
The Part that’s bolded particularly interested me, just last year a around of changes were made to Mormon scriptures, this as far as I am aware was by no means done in secret and they are available to buy online openly sold as new editions. However before these changes as talked about above, the book of Abraham Introduction said.
The Book of Abraham. A translation from some Egyptian papyri that came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835, containing writings of the patriarch Abraham. The translation was published serially in the Times and Seasons beginning March 1, 1842, at Nauvoo, Illinois. See History of the Church, vol. 4, pp. 519-534.
Now it says:
The Book of Abraham. An inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri. The translation was published serially in the Times and Seasons beginning March 1, 1842, at Nauvoo, Illinois.
In times past it has been absolutely denied that the papyrus found in the 1960’s were the actual ones that Joseph Smith used. LDS.org here, and Fair the LDS Apologetics organization here deny this to be the case.
So why the change? This idea that the book of Abraham is an inspired translation was never mentioned back in Joseph Smiths time. It seemed to be understood that Smith knew the language and translated it. An excellent article on this whole issue is here.
A very rare interview with a Mormon Apostle on this issue can be seen at the beginning of this video.
Again this idea that its an inspired translation and not a literal one is seeming to be communicated here, rather than boldly saying that Smith translated the plates literally and correctly. The Mormon Church has a long history of changing its doctrines and scriptures in response to social pressures. It seems that they may have seen this one coming.
I have had discussion with an LDS guy on facebook that adamantly denies that this Apostle Jeffrey Holland here is admitting the plates were not literally translated, how do you understand it? Why make that change if the above articles denying the papyrus were found are correct?