Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hugh Nibley And The Defense Of The Book Of Abraham


“We have often been asked during the past months why we did not proceed with all haste to produce a translation of the papyri the moment they came into our possession. Well, for one thing others are far better equipped to do the job than we are, and some of those early expressed a willingness to undertake it. But, more important, it is doubtful whether any translation could do as much good as harm.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Spring 1968, page 251)

“... the presence on the scene of some of the original papyri, including those used by the Prophet in preparing the text of the Book of Abraham and the facsimiles wi their commentaries, has not raised a single new question, though, as we shall see, it has solved some old ones.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, Improvement Era, May 1968, page 54)

Richard A. Parker, egyptologist who declared the sensen papyrus as part of the Egyptian Book of Breathings and nothing else, is credible even to top Mormon scholars:
"[Richard] Parker [is] the best man in America for this particular period and style of writing.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, speech at the University of Utah, May 20th, 1960)

“Did he [Joseph Smith, Jr.} really think he was translating? If so he was acting in good faith. But was he really translating? If so, it was by a process which quite escapes the understanding of the specialists and lies in the realm of the imponderable....
“Today nobody claims that Joseph Smith got his information through ordinary scholarly channels. In that case one wonders how any amount of checking along ordinary scholarly channels is going to get us very far.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1968, page 101)

“Of particular interest to us is the close association of the Book of Breathings with the Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham. It can be easily shown by matching up the fibers of the papyri that the text of Joseph Smith’s Pap. No. XI was written on the same strip of material as Facsimile Number 1, ... our ‘Sensen’ Papyrus is closely bound to all three facsimiles by physical contact, putting us under moral obligation to search out possible relationships between the content of the four documents.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Winter 1971, pages 160-161)

“A few faded and tattered little scraps of papyrus may serve to remind the Latter-day Saints of how sadly they have neglected serious education.... Not only has our image suffered by such tragic neglect, but now in the moment of truth the Mormons have to face the world unprepared, after having been given a hundred years’ fair warning.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Winter 1968, pages 171-172)

“ ‘The papyri scripts given to the Church do not prove the Book of Abraham is true,’ Dr. Hugh Nibley said... Wednesday night. ‘LDS scholars are caught flat-footed by this discovery,’ he went on to say. According to Dr. Nibley, Mormon scholars should have been doing added research on the Pearl of Great Price years ago. Non-Mormon scholars will bring in questions regarding the manuscripts which will be hard to answer because of lack of scholarly knowledge on the subject.... Dr. Nibley said ‘worldly discoveries are going to bury the Church in criticism’ if members of the Church don’t take it upon themselves to become a people of learning.”
(BYU's Daily Universe, December 1st, 1967)


“I don’t consider myself an Egyptologist at all, and don’t intend to get involved in the P.G.P. [Pearl of Great Price] business unless I am forced into it....”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, “Letter to Dee Jay Nelson,” June 27th, 1967, reprinted in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? by Sandra and Jerald Tanner, page 308)

Thomas Ferguson And The Book Of Abraham


“One life-long defender of Joseph Smith [Ferguson] made his own independent investigation of Joseph’s ability as a translator of Egyptian records, utilizing recognized Egyptologists without telling them a word about the issues that were at stake. Their verdict agreed with the findings of Mr. Nelson and Dr. Baer. Consequently, he came to reject the Book of Abraham and the claims put forth by Joseph Smith as a translator of ancient languages.”
(Wesley P. Walters, “Joseph Smith among the Egyptians,” The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, v 16, Winter 1973, page 45)

“At that time [December 2, 1970], Thomas Stuart Ferguson told us frankly that he had not only given up the Book of Abraham, but that he had come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not a prophet and that Mormonism was not true. He told us that he had spent 25 years trying to prove Mormonism, but had finally come to the conclusion that his work had been in vain. He said that his training in law had taught him how to weigh evidence and that the case against Joseph Smith was absolutely devastating and could not be explained away.”
(Sandra and Jerald Tanner, relating correspondence with Ferguson, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality?, page 103)

“Nibley’s Era articles on the Book of Abraham aren’t worth a tinker – first, because he is not impartial, being the commissioned and paid defender of the faith. Second, because he could not, he dared not, he did not, face the true issue: ‘Could Joseph Smith translate Egyptian?’ I clipped every one of his articles, and have them in a single file – and I have reviewed them – looking in vain for that issue.”
(Thomas Ferguson to James Boyack, March 13th, 1971; see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, page 261)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cost Of The Original Book Of Mormon In 1830


“After the Book was published, I frequently bantered him [Martin Harris] for a copy. He asked fourteen shillings a piece for them; I told them I would not give so much; he told me [they] had had a revelation that they must be sold at that price. Sometime afterwards I talked with Martin Harris about buying one of the Books and he told me they had had a new revelation, that they might be sold at ten shillings a piece.”
(Henry Harris, in Mormonism Unvailed, page 252)

“The Mormons said the price of the ‘Book of Mormon’ was established at $1.75 by revelation. It did not sell well and they claimed to receive another to sell it at $1.25.”
(Sylvia Walker, Naked Truths About Mormonism, volume 1, page 1)

“Five thousand copies were published – and they said the angel told Smith to sell the book at a price which was one dollar and eight cents per copy more than the cost, that they ‘might have the temporal profit, as well as the spiritual.’”
(David Marks, Baptist minister, The Life of David Marks, 1831, page 341. Quote made after visiting with David Whitmer and the Whitmer family)

Mormonism's Hatred Towards Christ And His People


"And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth..."
(Doctrine and Covenants, section 1, verse 30)

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.”
“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’”
“He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, ‘Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.’ I then said to my mother, ‘I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.’ It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me?
(Joseph Smith, Jr., Joseph Smith–History, verse 1, pages 8–26)

"What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world"
(Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 270)

"...all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels."
(Joseph Smith, Jr. , The Elders Journal, verse 1, number 4, page 60)

“Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
(Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, verse 1, page 40)

“He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him.”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 2, page 171)

"Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth."
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 6, page 176)

"When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was groveling in darkness."
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 5, page 73)

"With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world."
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 8, page 199)

"The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God"
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 8, page 171)

“...the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans. And subsequently the Priesthood was taken from among men, this authority was re-called into the heavens, and the world was left without the Priesthood—without the power of God—without the Church and Kingdom of God.”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 22, page 44)

"Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers' sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. ...You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.
(Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, verse 5, page 89)

"Christianity...is a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century."
(Mormon Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, verse 6, page 167)

"Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom."
(Mormon Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, verse 10, page 127)

"What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast."
(Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, verse 13, page 225)

"What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing... Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God."
(Mormon Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, verse 13, page 225)

"Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent."
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 255)

"But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of Christian Churches ... But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance"
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, verse 18, page 172)

“... who, in his right mind, could, for one moment, suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original.”
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, “The Bible and Tradition, without Further Revelation, an insufficient Guide,” Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon – Number 3, December 1st, 1850, page 47)

“This great apostacy commenced about the close of the first century of the Christian era, and it has been waxing worse and worse from then until now. A short time after the death of the last of the Apostles, the Christian Church, what few of them remained, were persecuted from mountain to mountain, from den to den, from one cave of the earth to another, and from nation to nation until they were entirely exterminated and rooted out of the earth. Well, what was left? An apostate Christianity, a Christianity without revelators, without any voice of God, without any Prophets to unfold the future, without visions, without any communications from the heavens.”
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, verse 18, page 44)

“This class of men, calling themselves Christian, uniting with the various forms of the pagan religion, adopting many of their ceremonies and institutions, became very popular, and finally some of the pagans embraced Christianity and were placed, as it were, upon the throne, and what they termed Christianity became very popular indeed. How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostacy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations.”
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, verse 14, pages 346)

“But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be. They say, "We have built chapels unto the name of the Lord; we call our Churches Christian Churches, they are called the Church of Christ, St. John's Church, St. Paul's Church, St. Peter's Church, and after others of the ancient Apostles;" and one who had never studied the pattern which God has given of the Christian Church would almost really believe that they are Christian Churches. But there has been a long apostacy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance, and they are represented in the revelations of St. John as a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, having a golden cup in her hand, full of filthiness and abominations, full of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that in her forehead there was a name written—"Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots." This kind of a church has existed in great abundance, for as John the Revelator says, she was to have her dominion upon many waters, and she was to make all nations drunken with the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, verse 18, page 172)

“Q. After the Church of Christ fled from earth to heaven, what was left?


A. A set of wicked Apostates, murderers, and idolaters, who, after having made war with the saints, and overcome them, and destroyed them out of the earth, were left to follow the wicked imaginations of their own corrupt hearts, and to build up churches by human authority, and to follow after the cunning craftiness of uninspired men; having no Apostle, Prophet, or Revelator to inquire of God for them: and thus, because of wickedness, the Church, and Priesthood, and gifts, and ordinances and blessings of the everlasting Gospel, were taken from the earth, and reserved in heaven until the fulness of times, when it was predicted that they should again be restored among men to continue until the end should come.”
(Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, Chapter 16, page 205)

"The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called"
(Mormon Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, verse 2, page 196)

"After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon."
(Mormon Apostle George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, page 324)

"Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness."
(Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, verse 3, page 266)

"For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation ...Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the ‘Christian' churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men."
(Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, verse 3, page 282)

"...the Book of Mormon remains secure, unchanged and unchangeable, ...But with the Bible it was not and is not so....it was once in the sole and exclusive care and custody of an abominable organization [Christianity], founded by the devil himself, likened prophetically unto a great whore, whose great aim and purpose was to destroy the souls of men in the name of religion. In these hands it ceased to be the book it once was."
(Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, The Joseph Smith Translation, pages 12-13)

“Believers in the doctrines of modern Christendom will reap damnation to their souls.”
(Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, see pages 45-46)

“... all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ.... in large part the worship of apostate Christendom is performed in ignorance, as much so as was the worship of the Athenians who bowed the Unknown Gods.”
(Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pages 269, and 374-375)

"This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth..."
(Mormon Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pages 164-165)

“We accept that as a statement which came to him [Joseph Smith's vision in which he was told all other religions were "abominations"], which is printed, of course, and published in his history as a statement. But we go forward with a friendly relationship, with a respect for people everywhere and with an effort to accept them as we meet them and, where opportunity exists, to talk with them and explain to them what we believe.... We don’t criticize them for what they believe. We accept the good that comes of that understanding which they have, but we feel we having something to offer beyond what they have.”
(Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, interview with Richard Ostling, as quoted in Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling, page 323)

“Said he [a Protestant minister] ‘I’ve been all through this building, this temple which carries on its face the name of Jesus Christ, but nowhere have I seen any representation of the cross, the symbol of Christianity. I have noted your buildings elsewhere and likewise find an absence of the cross. Why is this when you say you believe in Jesus Christ.’ I responded:‘ I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian brethren who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ.’ He then asked: ‘If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?’ I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.”
(Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, April 1975)

“… we can see the situation in which the world now stands that the eyes of the whole world are blinded, that the chuches have all become corrupted, yea every church upon the face of the earth; that the Gospel of Christ is nowhere preached.”
(Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith Jr.'s mother, letter to Solomon Mack, January 6th, 1831, reprinted, in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, verse 1, page 216)

“God is not at its head, making that church [i.e., Christianity] – following the appearance in it of Satan – no longer the church of God. To say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the apostles is not to say that all that is in it is Satanic.”
(Kent P. Jackson, “Early Signs of Apostasy,” Ensign, December 1984, page 9)

Brigham Young - The Dictator


"I sometimes say to my brethren, 'I have been your dictator for twenty-seven years-over a quarter of a century I have dictated this people; that ought to be some evidence that my course is onward and upward.'"
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 14, page 205, August 13th, 1871)

"As formerly, I present myself before you this morning in the capacity Providence has lead me to occupy, acknowledged and sustained by you as the dictator, counsellor, and adviser of the people of God."
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 9, page 267, April 6th, 1862)

“The man whom God calls to dictate the affairs in the building of his Zion has the right to dictate about everything connected with the building of his Zion, yes even to the ribbons the women wear; and any person who denies it is ignorant.”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, verse 11, page 298, February 3rd, 1867)

"President Young is our governor and our dictator. It is for me to walk with him, and for you to walk with those who go before you."
(Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, verse 7, page 19, July 16th, 1854)

“[Heber C. Kimball] declared to the people that Brigham Young was his God, and their God, and the only God they would ever see if they did not obey him: ‘Joseph Smith was God to the inhabitants of the earth when he was amongst us, and Brigham is God now.’ This strain was caught up and reiterated by many of the elders, from Orson Hyde, the president of the twelve apostles, down to the most ignorant teacher, and to question it openly was to be put under the ban.”
(T.B.H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints, 1873, 1904 edition, page 294)

“There is no despotic monarchy in the world where the word of the sovereign is so absolute as in Utah. And never, in the whole history of Mormonism, has the despotic rule been so arbitrary as it was during the period of, and for a short time after, the Reformation [Brigham Young’s reign].”

(Ann Eliza Young, wife of Brigham Young, Wife number. 19, 1875; Chapter 18)

“[Young’s] power and influence is so great, that no officer neither of the Territory or the Government, who is Mormon, will dare to disobey his will.”
(Jacob H. Holeman, letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, December 28th, 1851; see Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, page 230)
“... he [Brigham Young] had tried to control the [Gentile] merchants, but could not do it. They would go to hell if they did turn a sharp corner.”
(Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September 16, 1868, page 1, LDS Archive, Salt Lake City)


Animals In The Book Of Mormon


The following animals did not exist in the americas at the time that the book of mormon claims they were.

1) Cow
2) Domestic Goat
3) Calf
4) Horse
5) Ass
6) Bull
7) Cattle


"The terms cattle, horses, sheep and so on are mentioned at several points in the Nephite record. And it is dismaying to some who wish to be dismayed, I believe and a few others who (honestly) wish an answer could be provided why there are not cows like we mean cows, horses like we mean horses, sheep like we mean sheep. The fact is that all the ancient studies say those animals simply were not present in the New World. Period. They were not here."
(John Sorenson, LDS Apologist, FARMS)

Changes Made To The Book Of Commandments


“And he [Joseph Smith, Jr.] has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”
(Book of Commandments - Chapter 10)

This was then changed to....

“And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 5:4)

“[Y]ou have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God.”
(Book of Commandments 7:3)

This was then changed to....
“[Y]ou have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 8:6-7)

“In 1835 in Kirtland another committee was appointed to fix up the revelations for print again... I was often in Joseph’s office, and know positively that some of the revelations were so altered, mutilated and changed that a good scholar would scarcely know them. In one revelation I counted 20 alterations! Hence, who can depend on them? I cannot. I will not.... All your trouble arises from your taking that mutilated and altered Doctrine and Covenants.”
(Mormon Apostle William E. McLellin (1806-1883), Saint's Herald, verse 17, pages 556-557)

“In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants began a policy of retroactive editing by reversing previous meanings, adding concepts and whole paragraphs to the texts of previously published revelations. The official alteration of pre-1835 revelations is the more fundamental context for the later pattern of editing in the History of the Church.”
(D. Michael Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath)”)

Quotes From David Whitmer Regarding The 'Book Of Commandments'


“The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the ‘stone,’ through which the Book of Mormon was translated.”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, page 53)

“[The] revelations ... were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly... just exactly as they were arranged by Brother Joseph and the others. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received it as being printed correctly.”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to all Believers in Christ, page 56)

“After the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, early in the spring of 1830, before April 6th, Joseph gave the stone to Oliver Cowdery and told me as well as the rest that he was through with it, and he did not use the stone anymore. He said he was through the work God had given him the gift to perform, except to preach the gospel.”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to all Believers in Christ, page 32)

“Is it possible that the minds of men can be so blinded as to believe that God would give these revelations – command them to print them in His Book of Commandments – and then afterwards command them to change and add to them some words which change the meaning entirely? As if God had changed his mind entirely after giving his word? Is it possible that man who pretends to any spirituality would believe that God would work in such a manner?”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, Saint's Herald, February 5th, 1887)

“When it became generally known that these important changes had been made in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, many of the brethren objected seriously to it, but they did not want to say much for the sake of peace, as it was Brother Joseph and the leaders who did it. The majority of the members – poor weak souls – thought that anything Brother Joseph would do, must be all right; so in their blindness of heart, trusting in an arm of flesh, they looked over it and were led into error.”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to all Believers in Christ, page 61)

“You have changed the revelations to support the error of high priests. You have changed the revelations to support the error of a President of the high priesthood, high counselors, etc. you have altered the revelations to support you in going beyond the plain teachings of Christ in the new covenant part of the Book of Mormon.... You who are now living did not change them, but you who strive to defend these things, are as guilty in the sight of God as those who did change them.”
(David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to all Believers in Christ, page 49)

An Expert Analysis Of The Book Of Abraham


“In more recent times the half-dozen leading Egyptologists who have been asked to examine the facsimiles agree that they were ordinary funeral documents such as can be found on thousands of Egyptian graves.”
(No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie, page 175)

“It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud.... Smith has turned the Goddess [in Facsimile No. 1] into a king and Osiris into Abraham.”
(Dr. A.H. Sayce, Oxford professor of Egyptology, printed in Joseph Smith Jun. As a Translator, by F.S. Spaulding, page 23)

“... these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization.”
(James H. Breasted, Ph.D, Egyptologist, Haskell Oriental Museum, University of Chicago, as cited in Joseph Smith Jun. As a Translator, page 26-27)

Concerning Facsimile No. 1:
“This is a well-known scene from the Osiris mysteries, with Anubus, the jackal-headed god, on the left ministering to the dead Osiris on the bier. The penciled restoration [done by Joseph Smith Jr.] is incorrect. Anubus should be jackal-headed.”
(Professor Richard Parker, Wilbour Professor of Egyptology and Chairman of the Department of Egyptology at Brown University, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Volume 3, number 2, Summer 1968, page 86)

“Richard A. Parker is the Wilbour Professor of Egyptology and Chairman of the Department of Egyptology at Brown University.... He remarks that the Book of Breathings is a late (Ptolemaic and Roman periods) and greatly reduced version of the Book of the Dead.... He would provisionally date the two Book of Breathings fragment in the Church’s possession to the last century before the first century of the Christian era...”
(Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1968, page 86)

“I myself studied Egyptian hieroglyphics at UCLA several years ago in the hope of resolving some of the problems connected with the ‘Book of Abraham’ in Joseph Smith’s favor. Unfortunately, as soon as I had learned the language well enough to use a dictionary I was forced to concede that Joseph Smith’s translation was mistaken, however sincere it might have been. Facsimile No. 2 in the Pearl of Great Price contained enough readable writing to convince me that it had purely Egyptian significance. This was a disappointment....
“After the appearance of the photographs of the papyri... I made some attempt to translate the ‘Book of Breathing(s)’ text.... It belongs to a kind of literature which is alien to Christianity and to our Church....
“Let us not lose sight of what I think is the primary importance of this papyri find. It can free us from our dilemma about excluding Negroes from the Priesthood. Perhaps our Father in Heaven intended the papyri to come to light now just for that purpose.”
(Naomi Woodbury, Mormon scholar, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1968, page 8)

“I must conclude that Joseph Smith had not the remotest skill in things Egyptian-hieroglyphics. To my surprise one of the highest officials in the Mormon Church agreed with that conclusion... privately in one-to-one [c]onversation.”
(Thomas S. Ferguson, Scriptural Exegete for Translation Services of the LDS Church, letter dated March 13th, 1971)

“Ferguson said that the thing that first led him to serious question the Church was the papyri purported to be the source of the Book of Abraham. He said he took a photograph of the papyri to a couple of friends of his that were scholars at Cal., Berkeley. They described the documents as funeral texts. This bothered Ferguson in a serious way! Later he said that he took the evidence to Hugh B. Brown.... After reviewing the evidence with Brother Brown he [Ferguson] said that Brother Brown agreed with him that it was not scripture. He did not say or infer that it was his evidence that convinced Brother Brown of this conclusion. But nevertheless, he did say that Hugh B. Brown did not believe the Book of Abraham was what the Church said it was.”
(Stan Larson, Quest for the Gold Plates, page 138)

“Is it possible that a record written by Abraham... containing the most important revelations that God ever gave to man, should be entirely lost by the tenacious Israelites, and preserved by the unbelieving Egyptians, and by them embalmed and deposited in the catacombs with an Egyptian priest?... I venture to say no, it is not possible. It is more likely that the records are Egyptian.”
(William S. West, “A Few Interesting Facts Respecting the Rise, Progress and Pretension of the Mormons,” pamphlet, 1837, as quoted in Stan Larson, Quest For the Gold Plates, pages 89 and 122)

“To any one with knowledge of the large class of [Egyptian] funeral documents to which these belong, the attempts to guess a meaning are too absurd to be noticed. It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these [i.e., Smith’s] explanations.”
(Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, London University; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912, page 24)

“To sum up, then, these three fac-similes of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian Writing and civilization.”
(James H. Breasted, Ph. D., Haskell Oriental Museum, University of Chicago; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912, pages 26-27)

“I return herewith, under separate cover, the ‘Pearl of Great Price!’ The ‘Book of Abraham,’ it is hardly necessary to say, is a pure fabrication.... Joseph Smith’s interpretation of these cuts is a farrago [confused mixture] of nonsense from beginning to end.”
(Dr. Arthur C. Mace, Assistant Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Department of Egyptian Art; quoted in F.S. Spalding, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator, 1912, page 29)

“We have often been asked during the past months why we did not proceed with all haste to produce a translation of the papyri the moment they came into our possession. Well, for one thing others are far better equipped to do the job than we are, and some of those early expressed a willingness to undertake it. But, more important, it is doubtful whether any translation could do as much good as harm.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Spring 1968, page 251)

“... the presence on the scene of some of the original papyri, including those used by the Prophet in preparing the text of the Book of Abraham and the facsimiles wi their commentaries, has not raised a single new question, though, as we shall see, it has solved some old ones.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, Improvement Era, May 1968, page 54)

Richard A. Parker, egyptologist who declared the sensen papyrus as part of the Egyptian Book of Breathings and nothing else, is credible even to top Mormon scholars:
"[Richard] Parker [is] the best man in America for this particular period and style of writing.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, speech at the University of Utah, May 20th, 1960)

“Did he [Joseph Smith, Jr.} really think he was translating? If so he was acting in good faith. But was he really translating? If so, it was by a process which quite escapes the understanding of the specialists and lies in the realm of the imponderable....
“Today nobody claims that Joseph Smith got his information through ordinary scholarly channels. In that case one wonders how any amount of checking along ordinary scholarly channels is going to get us very far.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1968, page 101)

“Of particular interest to us is the close association of the Book of Breathings with the Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham. It can be easily shown by matching up the fibers of the papyri that the text of Joseph Smith’s Pap. No. XI was written on the same strip of material as Facsimile Number 1, ... our ‘Sensen’ Papyrus is closely bound to all three facsimiles by physical contact, putting us under moral obligation to search out possible relationships between the content of the four documents.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Winter 1971, pages 160-161)

“A few faded and tattered little scraps of papyrus may serve to remind the Latter-day Saints of how sadly they have neglected serious education.... Not only has our image suffered by such tragic neglect, but now in the moment of truth the Mormons have to face the world unprepared, after having been given a hundred years’ fair warning.”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies, Winter 1968, pages 171-172)

“ ‘The papyri scripts given to the Church do not prove the Book of Abraham is true,’ Dr. Hugh Nibley said... Wednesday night. ‘LDS scholars are caught flat-footed by this discovery,’ he went on to say. According to Dr. Nibley, Mormon scholars should have been doing added research on the Pearl of Great Price years ago. Non-Mormon scholars will bring in questions regarding the manuscripts which will be hard to answer because of lack of scholarly knowledge on the subject.... Dr. Nibley said ‘worldly discoveries are going to bury the Church in criticism’ if members of the Church don’t take it upon themselves to become a people of learning.”
(BYU's Daily Universe, December 1st, 1967)

“I don’t consider myself an Egyptologist at all, and don’t intend to get involved in the P.G.P. [Pearl of Great Price] business unless I am forced into it....”
(Dr. Hugh Nibley, “Letter to Dee Jay Nelson,” June 27th, 1967, reprinted in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? by Sandra and Jerald Tanner, page 308)

“One life-long defender of Joseph Smith [Ferguson] made his own independent investigation of Joseph’s ability as a translator of Egyptian records, utilizing recognized Egyptologists without telling them a word about the issues that were at stake. Their verdict agreed with the findings of Mr. Nelson and Dr. Baer. Consequently, he came to reject the Book of Abraham and the claims put forth by Joseph Smith as a translator of ancient languages.”
(Wesley P. Walters, “Joseph Smith among the Egyptians,” The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, verse 16, Winter 1973, page 45)

“At that time [December 2, 1970], Thomas Stuart Ferguson told us frankly that he had not only given up the Book of Abraham, but that he had come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not a prophet and that Mormonism was not true. He told us that he had spent 25 years trying to prove Mormonism, but had finally come to the conclusion that his work had been in vain. He said that his training in law had taught him how to weigh evidence and that the case against Joseph Smith was absolutely devastating and could not be explained away.”
(Sandra and Jerald Tanner, relating correspondence with Ferguson, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality?, page 103)

“Nibley’s Era articles on the Book of Abraham aren’t worth a tinker – first, because he is not impartial, being the commissioned and paid defender of the faith. Second, because he could not, he dared not, he did not, face the true issue: ‘Could Joseph Smith translate Egyptian?’ I clipped every one of his articles, and have them in a single file – and I have reviewed them – looking in vain for that issue.”
(Thomas Ferguson to James Boyack, March 13th, 1971; see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, page 261)

“A collection of pa[p]yrus manuscripts, long believed to have been destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, was presented to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here Monday by the Metropolitan Museum of Art..... Included in the papyri is a manuscript identified as the original document from which Joseph Smith had copied the drawing which he called ‘Facsimile No. 1’ and published with the Book of Abraham.”
(Deseret News, November 27th, 1967)

“The church admits that it had been been suppressing a fragment of the papyrus for 130 years.”
(Improvement Era, February 1968, page 40-H)

“Outside of a few associates, Dr. Clark [of BYU] had kept the fragment a matter of confidence, under instructions from the Historian’s Office, for over 30 years.”
(The Saga of the Book of Abraham, by Mormon scholar Jay M. Todd, page 364)

“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.”
(heading of the “Book of Abraham,” Pearl of Great Price)

“I have in my possession a photostatic copy of the manuscript of Prophet Joseph Smith’s translation of Abraham 1:1 to 2:18. This manuscript was bought by Wilford Wood in 1945 from Charles Bidemon, son of the man who married Emma [Smith] after the death of the Prophet. The original of this manuscript is in the Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City. The characters from which our present book of Abraham was translated are down the lefthand column and Joseph Smith’s translation opposite, so we know approximately how much material was translated from each character.”
(Dr. James R. Clark, Pearl of Great Price Conference, December 10th, 1960, pages 60-61)

“A more careful examination of these [papyri] revealed the startling fact that one of the papyri of the Church collection, known as the Small Sensen Papyrus, contained the same series of hieratic symbols, which had been copied, in the same order, into the Book of Abraham manuscript next to verses of that book! In other words, there was every indication that the collection of papyri in the hands of the Church contained the source which led to a production of the Book of Abraham.”
(Richley Crapo, Mormon scholar, Book of Abraham Symposium, April 3rd, 1970, page 27)

“... both books were translated from the same Egyptian language, and if the translator failed in the translation of the one book, our faith in his translation of the other must necessarily be impaired.”
(A.B. Mercer, The Utah Survey, September 1913, page 5)

“It may be helpful to suggest that the ‘Book of Abraham’ represents simply the product of Joseph Smith Jun.’s imagination, wrought out in the midst of what to him must have been a very crucial and demanding complex set of circumstances.”
(Richard P. Howard, R.L.D.S. (Reorganized LDS Church) Historian, New York Times, May 3rd, 1970)

“I see no evidence that Joseph Smith had a correct conception of ‘Egyptian religious practices’ or that a knowledge of such was essential to the production of the Book of Mormon.”
(Stephen E. Thompson, “Egyptology and the Book of Abraham,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, volume 28, number 1, Spring 1995, page 160)

“No one ever suggested explanations like that – the idea that the papyri was a catalyst for inspiration or a mnemonic device – before November 1967... They had to find new explanations to account for the Book of Abraham, after-the-fact explanations.”
(Stan Larson, as quoted in Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling, page 283)

“[The] ‘Book of Abraham’ was a work of Joseph Smith’s imagination and had no basis in fact. The Mormon leaders did not know how to deal with Spaulding’s pamphlet. Mormon historian B.H. Roberts admitted that there ‘were no Egyptian scholars in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who could make an effective answer to the conclusions of the eight scholars who in various ways pronounced against the correctness of Joseph Smith’s translation...”
(A Comprehensive History of the Church, volume 2, page 139)

Bruce R. McConkie States Mormons Are Not To Have A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ


It is no secret that many false and vain and foolish things are being taught in the sectarian world even among us about our need to gain a special relationship with the Lord Jesus. . . . In an attempt to be truer than true [Christians] devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Another peril is that those involved begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this connection a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence—“Because the Savior is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through His Son.” This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father and the Father only. They do not go through Christ.
(Bruce R. McConkie, Church News, Page 5, March 20th, 1982)

What Joseph Smith And Mormons Have Written About The Apostle Paul


Jedediah M. Grant wrote:
“When Peter came to Antioch,” says Paul, “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed,” &c. Paul does not gain much credit with the Mormons for taking this course. We know he had no right to rebuke Peter; but some man said he was like Almon Babbit, he wanted to boast of rebuking Peter. He thought it was a feather in his cap because he coped with Peter and rebuked him. Had that affair come before a “Mormon” tribunal, they would have decided in favour [sic] of Peter, and against Paul. We believe when Paul rebuked Peter, he had in him a spirit of rebellion, and was decidedly wrong in rebelling against the man who held the keys of the kingdom of God on earth.

(Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, Page 346, 1853)

[The Apostle] Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? He makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his career or progress in knowledge.

(Joseph Smith - History of the Church, Volume 6, Pages 474-475)

Paul had seven churches, and they drove him off from among them; and yet they cannot do it by me.

(Joseph Smith - History of the Church, Volume 6, Page 478)

I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

(Joseph Smith - History of the Church, Volume 6, Pages 408-409)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Gordon Hinckley's Response When Asked Why Brigham Young Taught That Adam Was God


"Brigham Young said if you went to Heaven and saw God it would be Adam and Eve. I don't know what he meant by that." Pointing to a grim-faced portrait of the Lion of the Lord, as Young was called, Hinckley said, "There he is, right there. I'm not going to worry about what he said about those things." I asked whether Mormon theology was a form of polytheism. "I don't have the remotest idea what you mean,"
(Gordon B. Hinckley Interview in "Lives of the Saint", New Yorker, January 2002)