Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 79: Kwaku the Deceiver

Kwaku El is one of the rising generation of young Mormon apologists.

In a recent video, Kwaku attempts to prove the Book of Abraham is true.

But in doing so, Kwaku employs a well known apologetic trick; well known to Radio Free Mormon, at least.

In fact, Radio Free Mormon publicly exposed this very apologetic trick in a podcast published seven months BEFORE Kwaku posted his video.

Some tricks need to be retired from the apologist playbook.

This is one of them.

RESOURCES:

Radio Free Mormon – Book of Abraham Part 1
Radio Free Mormon – Book of Abraham Part 2
Radio Free Mormon – Book of Abraham Part 3
The Book of Abraham Explained as simply as possible

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27 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 79: Kwaku the Deceiver

  1. This podcast moved me. Kwaku deception seemed so cut and dry. However, I dug in further and I think you may have assumed a little too much ill intent and bad research on the part of Kwaku. Kwaku has one comment following the video.

    “One is The Book of Jasher, it was discovered a few hundred years before Joseph was alive. However, the manuscripts were in Europe, and it was not translated to English, and published in America until 1840, five years AFTER The Book of Abraham was translated/written.

    The other is the Book of Josephus, which does reference astrology, but nothing as in depth as The Book of Abraham, or the other texts. Nor does it speak of the other specific unique claims in The Book of Abraham, that are found in other manuscripts.

    TLDR, the only two books Joseph could have copied from were either not A.) not published in English yet, or B.) Lacking the specificity of The Book of Abraham!”

    I think point B is BS. However, point A, he makes a strong point concerning the timeline and Abraham chapter 1 originating in 1835, when there is no proof that the Book of Jasher was available to Joseph Smith at that time.

    Radio Free Mormon, I am a fan. But, you are making similar logical leaps by using the Book of Jasher as your point of argument.

    There are calls for Kwaku to withdraw his podcast and make corrections. Radio Free Mormon, I think you should do the same, especially in the light of giving someone the public label of “Deceiver.”

    I also found this:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/mormon/comments/cheaop/aggregating_resources_on_the_book_of_abraham_and/

    Your argument could be stronger. Due to the 1835 to 1840 timeline, it is not as cut and dry. I left the LDS church because of people bending the truth. Our integrity must be better! Only if the argument is perfect, leaving no doubts, you can’t label someone “The Deceiver.”

    • Please read the LDS topic essay on the Book of Abraham, footnote 46 states “. Some of these extrabiblical elements were available to Joseph Smith through the books of Jasher and Josephus. Joseph Smith was aware of these books”

    • “Some things that are true are not very useful” Elder Boyd K. Parker, but the footnotes are essential when reading the Gospel Topic Essays (GTE). How I read and understand the GTE changed after reading An American Fraud. One Lawyer’s Case against Mormonism, copyright 2010 Kay Burningham. Perhaps title her next book: How the Not Very Useful Became the Essential. Any good attorney or accountant will advise a client to place problematic issues in the footnote of a document.

      I suggest you read Burningham’s book and re-read the GTE with all the footnotes and in the words of John the Beloved: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”.

    • Thank you for your comments, Anne.

      I really appreciate them!

      My attention was drawn to the comment Kwaku made downstream of his YouTube video late yesterday after my podcast went up.

      I was surprised that, apparently a week ago, or close in time to the release of his video, Kwaku would admit two possible sources which Joseph Smith might have “copied from,” being Jasher and Josephus.

      The reason this surprised me is that in the video itself, Kwaku is very clear in saying there were no other documents available to Joseph Smith which contained these stories.

      This is in contradiction, as well, to the infamous footnote 46 in the church’s essay on the Book of Abraham translation, which specifically states both Jasher and Josephus were “available” to Joseph Smith, and not only that, but Joseph Smith “was aware of these books.”

      • We know from research conducted recently at BYU that Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in creating his Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

        The JST commenced in December of 1830 and continued for several years thereafter.

        In his commentary on Daniel 3:6 where Adam Clarke is talking about how the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fiery furnace, guess what he says?

        In commenting on the Biblical phrase, “Be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace,” Adam Clarke comments as follows:

        “This was an ancient mode of punishment among the Chaldeans, if we may credit the tradition that Abram was cast into such a fire by this idolatrous people because he would not worship their idols.”

        That’s right.

        Adam Clarke’s commentary, which we now know Joseph Smith studied prior to 1835, mentions the key detail of the tradition that Abram was cast into a fiery furnace by the Babylonians for failure to worship their idols.

        Joseph Smith didn’t need the Book of Jasher to find this out about Abraham.

        He was able to find it out through Adam Clarke.

        Full stop.

    • Additionally, it appears Kwaku is playing fast and loose with his publication dates as regards the Book of Jasher.

      I agree that, inasmuch as the sacrifice scene of Abraham appears in chapter one, it is likely this part of the Book of Abraham was produced as early as 1835.

      Kwaku wants to make the Book of Jasher unavailable to Joseph Smith by conflating (1) its publication in English with (2) its publication in America.

      While it may be true the Book of Jasher was first published in America in 1840, it was published in English much earlier in, of all places, England.

      According to Wikipedia, the first English translation of the Book of Jasher was in 1751.

      It was published in English again in 1829.

      Either the 1751 or 1829 publication could have been available to Joseph Smith in America by 1835.

      So to the extent Kwaku is trying to imply the Book of Jasher was not published in English prior to 1840, he is mistaken.

      But it gets even better . . .

      • From what I’m able to find the 1751 publication which was published again in 1829 were hoaxes, not at all the same publication in 1840. Am I wrong?

  2. Well done podcast. We’re really at a point with the BoA that it’s more about people being honest with themselves.

    I would suggest that the Mormon Interpreter has a greater following Kwaku so it might be worth recording a response to Jeff Lindsey’s critique of Hauglid/Jensen that they published.

    • I have not read all of Lindsey’s critique of Hauglid/Jensen; only the first few pages.

      I am surprised that comments suggesting Brian Hauglid has somehow lost his way, together with hopes for his eventual return, were allowed to be included in the final version.

      • The Interpreter is a through back to old fashioned apologetics where character assassination was the apologetic norm.

  3. I usually love everything about your podcasts, I’m a huge fan. But I feel like you pronouncing his name wrong (it’s kwaku like KWAYku. Long A sound) is a low blow. It seems like it would be very easy to find out the correct way to pronounce his name, considering how much research you put in to each podcast. Now it will be easy for Kwaku and his friends to write you off as a liar and a bitter anti Mormon, when you are always completely truthful and thorough.

    • I have been approached by several people since my podcast went up correcting me on my pronunciation of Kwaku’s name.

      It was not my intent to mispronounce his name, and I will pronounce it correctly in future public comments involving him.

      Thanks for the correction!

  4. Joseph Smith declared the Book of Mormon “the keystone of our religion,” and it’s for that reason why I reject the Book of Abraham: for contradicting both the BoM and New Testament

    • Great episode. Here is Kwaku’s latest comment on his own video:

      “For anyone who wants to know, there are two possible books Joseph could have plagiarized for The Book of Abraham.

      One is The Book of Jasher, it was discovered a few hundred years before Joseph was alive. However, the manuscripts were in Europe, and it was not translated to English, and published in America until 1840, five years AFTER The Book of Abraham was translated/written.

      The other is the Book of Josephus, which does reference astrology, but nothing as in depth as The Book of Abraham, or the other texts. Nor does it speak of the other specific unique claims in The Book of Abraham, that are found in other manuscripts.

      TLDR, the only two books Joseph could have copied from were either not A.) not published in English yet, or B.) Lacking the specificity of The Book of Abraham!

      The book is true :)”

      I feel like he’s digging himself a bigger hole…

      • I addressed Kwaku’s comments on the Book of Jasher in several posts above, to which I will refer you.

        As to Josephus, however, it is odd Kwaku admits Joseph had Josephus with him, and that Josephus does mention astrology, “but nothing as in depth as The Book of Abraham. . .”

        The reason I think this is odd is because all the other “in depth” details given regarding astronomy in the Book of Abraham have little to no connection with any other ancient document of which I am aware . . .

        . . . or modern scientific understanding of astronomy either, for that matter.

        • I commented on his post a few times and he appears to be scrubbing posts despite limiting the content to that one reference on LDS.org.

  5. I cut and pasted the link to this podcast in the comments section on his YouTube video (re: Book of Abraham). I enjoyed the comparing and contrasting done in this podcast and the attention to the detail is evident. Thank you for sharing. I hope Kwaku does take you up on the invitation to debate the topic.

  6. Kwaku has made the assumption that the book of Abraham was completed in 1835. It was only started in 1835. It wasn’t published or what we know as the book of Abraham was not published until 1842. It may have been finished a day before it was published for all we know

    This is from the introduction to the pearl of great price with regards to the book of Abraham. You can look it up if you don’t believe me.

    “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.

    Joseph started work in 1835 but it was not published until 1842.

    I’m going to include a quote from this publication from BYU.

    https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/apocryphal-writings-and-latter-day-saints/15-book-jasher-and-latter-day-saints

    In June of 1840, a notice from the New York Sunwas published in Nauvoo, Illinois. The following is an extract from that notice:

    The Book of Jasher

    We shall shortly have a literary, or rather a Biblical curiosity, to present to the American reader, which we feel confident in predicting, will excite great interest among those who take pleasure in reading and studying the Scriptures. It is the Book of Jasher referred to in the Bible, in Joshua, and in the second book of Samuel, and which has been in the progress of translation from the Hebrew for several years in England, and is now completed, and will be published in a few days in this city. . . . It is full of interest, and written with a warmth of piety and sacred devotion, worthy of taking an equal rank with any of the missing books, not strictly canonical. It does not differ with the Bible in a single instance, but amplifies the events recorded in Scripture, with the single difference in chronology of some 50 years, by making Noah and Abraham contemporary—commencing with the creation of Adam, and ending with the death of Joshua. . . . The discovery of missing books referred to in the Scripture, and the many yet to be discovered, joined to the singular signs of the times in relation to the chosen people, give great interest to this and similar works.—This Book, which makes nearly three hundred pages, clears up some points somewhat obscure in the Bible, and is very full in detailing the events of the reign of Nimrod; the building of the Tower of Babel, and confusion of tongues; the causes preceding the destruction of the doomed cities; the sacrifice of Isaac and the life of Joseph; and has some curious facts about the deluge. [15]”

    And another quote. This was published about six months after the book of Abraham was printed in the times and seasons.

    “What is the likelihood that Noah’s printing of the translation of Sefer Hayashar—The Book of Jasher—was had by the Prophet Joseph Smith and the early brethren? And if they did have it, what was their evaluation of it? Two years after the notice of the 1840 publication of The Book of Jasher, an editorial appeared in the Times and Seasons concerning the “Persecution of the Prophets” in ancient times. [32] The article cites among others the example of Abraham’s trials, and then seeks to corroborate the story of the attempt to sacrifice Abraham (Abraham 1:15) [33] through a reference to The Book of Jasher [34] as follows:

    Abraham, the prophet of the Lord, was laid upon the lion bedstead for a slaughter; and the book of Jasher, which has not been disproved as a bad author, says he was cast into the fire of the Chaldees. [35]

    It has been suggested that this implied the Prophet’s approval and acceptance of the book. But is it not possible that he was using The Book of Jasher only to corroborate the account of the attempt to sacrifice Abraham which had been revealed earlier to him? The story of Abraham (as translated from the papyrus) had been published six months earlier in the Times and Seasons (March 1, 1842). [36] The citation here of The Book of Jasher was as a historical support to the newly revealed and published text concerning Abraham, not a declaration of doctrinal acceptance of a claimed missing book of scripture.”

    This doesn’t prove that Joseph Smith received the book of Jasher 6 months after the book of Abraham was published in the times and seasons. What it does prove is that he was aware of the book of jasher and may have had it before the times and seasons published The Book of Abraham. It may have actually been quite active on his mind. He probably had it in his possession when he was translating the book of Abraham. In June of 1840 they were looking forward to receiving the book of Jasher. They only made reference To what the book of Jasher contained six months after the book of Abraham was published, not that they had just obtained it. It’s highly likely that Joseph had a copy of it prior to the publication of the book of Abraham in the times and season.

  7. Great episode! I’m not sure why we continue to argue the BOA when there is overwhelming evidence that it’s a fraud. RFM I’d love to see you respond to Kwaku’s YouTube video; “Book of Mormon evidence they didn’t tell you about”. Kwaku uses LiDar Technology as evidence, not sure how this is a definitive proof of the BOM? I Guess it corroborates the Book of Mormon description of dense populations, big cities and roads. I’d be more inclined to believe this evidence if one of the newfound city structures had the title, City of Nephi. What happened to the limited geography theory?? I enjoyed your podcast and I look forward to more.

  8. I am the same age as Kwaku and have friends in his circles. I watch his videos and have noticed his obvious deception in many of his videos including saints unscripted. I can’t wait to listen to this podcast!

  9. Kwaku deletes all of my comments on his videos… Does he have something to hide??

  10. I think you’re giving this kid way too much credit. I highly doubt he’s doing all this writing and producing on his own.

    This feels more like an unnecessary take down/hit piece. It’s beneath you. Calling him “Kwaku the Deceiver” is childish. Why would he take you up on an invitation to refute your “evidence” when you resort to childish insults?

    Also, Joseph Smith was barely involved, if at all, with the Times and Seasons in 1842. Taylor and Woodruff were largely running it. I’m not a JS or LDS apologist, but this fact has been established. I find it funny you’ll accept that he was the editor of the Times and Season because he’s listed as such, but shrug off and ignore Brigham Young’s confession in 1867 that polygamy was “revealed to him.”

    I find that you and Bill and John Dehlin and all the other commentators that occupy this space ignore anything that refutes the narrative you’re pushing.

  11. Honestly, RFM, I love your podcast but this whole dramatic saga between you, Kwaku and Bill Reel has left such a bad taste in my mouth. I know you didn’t mean to pronounce his name incorrectly, but now many people in the exmormon community are intentionally calling him “Quacku”, which just seems so disrespectful.

    I know that exmormon men are irrationally defensive about disproving the BOA, but seriously, what did you and Bill Reel accomplish in your harassment of a twenty-something year old with a YouTube following of 3k? I’ve honestly been shocked at the targeted harassment of Kwaku and his friend Jaxon on Bill Reel’s FB page; it’s an ugly look for two middle aged men to conduct themselves so and encourage an entire community to dogpile on this kid. Who cares if you are correct about the facts behind the BOA? Your inflammatory podcast and Bill’s immature and irrational reaction on FB have done nothing to foster productive dialogue. This whole situation has made me ashamed to be associated with the exmormon community.

    • Hold RFM accountable for his actions and hold me accountable for mine. They are not one in the same.
      Bill

      • Bill, if I were RFM, I would be upset at your weaponization of my podcast to harass the individuals whose thoughts/ideas I was critiquing. I would immediately request that you stop. So, in a way, I guess I am criticizing RFM’s inaction and your actions. I think Johnathan Streeter has set the perfect example of how to respectfully criticize apologetic talking points and he did not feel the need to resort to such pettiness on his social media platform. Probably because the merits of his arguments in his video could speak for itself. Take a page out of his book and let RFM’s podcast speak for itself.

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