Skip to content

Radio Free Mormon: 184: The Brian Hauglid Interview

Professor Brian Hauglid is recently retired from BYU where he spent 21-years as Professor of Ancient Scripture.  The extensive work he has done on the Book of Abraham manuscripts has led him to state publicly that the “scholarship” of Book of Abraham apologists such as John Gee and Kerry Muhlestein is “abhorrent.”  Professor Hauglid explains the research that has led him to this conclusion and a changing in his views on the Book of Abraham.


99 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 184: The Brian Hauglid Interview”

  1. Great podcast, RFM!

    And the song at the end made us bust a gut. Where can I find it? Who’s the performer?

    1. Every one overlooks how wrong Ritners criticism of the book of Abraham actually is. He attacks Joseph Smith for getting all of the Egyptian God’s names wrong while ignoring the books text and its own wording. Joseph Smith never did name the sons of Horus Elkanah nor Korish not any of the others. Joseph named them the god “OF” Elkanah. The God “OF” Korish or the Gods “OF” Egypt. Here’s the rub! Joseph Smith certainly doesn’t say that the God of Abraham is Abraham does he? Or, the God of Israel is Israel. When any prophet says the “god OF” he always means the God Jahovah. Joseph designated the God of Pharough in the book of Abraham. Is he saying Pharough is a God to himself? Rediculous! The God of Pharough was Slovak but why didn’t Joseph want to name that God in holy scripture? Does Joseph ever name Mars or Venus in holy scripture when talking about planets. Heaven’s no! God doesn’t ever use pagan man made names to identify his creations in scripture. Never! But if Joseph identifies Egyptian gods as the God OF a place or person he avoids glorifying or giving recognition to a false God that doesn’t even exist. Ritner and all anti Mormons pretend that Joseph Smith misstranslated these names. He never translate them at all! He never said there was a god Elkenah, he said it was the god “OF” Elkanah. In figure 6 he only translated these names representing the four corners of the earth. ReD it! Even then, he used Hebrew names that God approved of and not Egyptian Idalatrous names in holy scripture. The God of Israel is certainly not Isreal, itself is it? That’s how stupid anti Mormons think we all are and how stupid Ritner thinks you are when he pretends to debunk the book of Abraham. This whole anti Mormon arguement is nothing but a lying echo chamber. Want to see the true meaning of all this. Click to “Book of Abraham” debunks anti Mormons part 8 and also part 2. Get their by clicking my name on YouTube.

      1. “Ritner and all anti-mormons pretend Joseph Smith mistranslated these names.” Well, Smith simply made the names up. Also, Ritner is not an anti-mormon. He is a professional Egyptologist who says Smith’s work is wrong…as do all professioal Egyptologists who have looked at his work.

      2. Would you be so kind, bold, or wise, to take your critique of the Egyptologists, and show your ideas, in writing, in a peer review form to a panel of Egyptologists?
        The reason would be to see if your points or views have any real credibility. IF your work was properly regarded as academic, you should have no problem presenting it to people who are also scholars in the field, who know ancient Egyptian history, the religion, politics, the languages, etc. You should have no problem sending these ideas over and allowing them to be addressed and scrutinized by people who have advanced degrees in the subjects. Because all I see you doing here is trying to defend things that still have no real basis, and are just muddying the waters as to what really is going on. Just because you came up with this does not mean that you are right, it needs to be tested and validated, which I think would benifiet all of us, if the point you are tryng to make is in fact true. It would certainly make your statements credible if they stood up to scrutiny in the community of scholars on the subjects.

  2. Good s#!t, thanks to RFM and Prof. Hauglid. Takes some real balls to call BS on the Mormon Apologetics Complex, thanks Brian for your courage.

    1. I agree that Professor Hauglid has demonstrated real courage in being so open in his interview with me, Mark.

      And Emily, I share your respect for Professor Hauglid, as well!

      1. Do you admire him for agreeing with you as you created the normal anti-Mormon strawmen? Or do you feel he was painting church leaders and former friends as dishonest, and do you then conclude that’s courage?

        Perhaps this is just a sad situation resulting from Brian being a bit too sensitive and reacting against others? Hope he can work it out as Jesus taught, if his brother has aught against him…

        1. Richard, I will answer your question. They are not avoiding to comment on that idea, they are just not going to comment on it, because it never existed. You are asking why people “avoid” comment on something?
          Because there is NO conclusive argument ever presented to say that the Egyptologists have been debunked. You keep saying it, but provide NOTHING to state it. YOU KEEP SAYING that Gregerson proved them wrong, but there is not a single article by ANY academic, expert in the field, educated person with a degree on the subjects has said to give a rat’s scrotum of credibility to a word that Gregerson said. Gregerson’s arguments are CRAP, GARBAGE, and fluff, and would get laughed at by anyone who passed a basic “Ancient Egyptian” language class. Gregerson is a joke, he is the Sydney Powell of the Egyptologists, NOTHING HE SAYS can stand up to any scrutiny.

  3. RFM, in connection with this topic, could you reach out to Robert Ritner for an interview. I would love to hear his input on this, and perhaps on his former student John Gee and how he has applied (misapplied?) his Ph.D. knowledge. I think that interview would be fascinating. I take it you have seen Dr. Ritner’s response to the Book of Abraham essay?

    1. It is a wonderful idea, Hans, but Robert Ritner doesn’t know me from Adam. I doubt he would make time to come on your humble correspondent’s podcast.

      Based on the comments I have seen from him regarding his former student John Gee, I think Ritner would be reticent to go into more detail about their personal falling out.

      But I understand Robert Ritner was not only John Gee’s professor at Yale, but also sat on Gee’s dissertation committee.

      Gee’s dissertation was too apologetic for Ritner’s tastes, and so he offered correction to Gee. Gee did not take it well, and actually raised such a stink that Ritner voluntarily removed himself from the committee.

      Gee thereafter somehow managed to get his dissertation approved and his PhD awarded nonetheless.

      This is interesting enough, but I doubt Ritner would even want to go into that much detail.

      My sense is that Gee, being his former student and protege, is somewhat of an embarrassment to Robert Ritner.

      Which is likely why Ritner has spent so much of his valuable time and resources writing smack-downs of Gee’s shoddy Book of Abraham research.

      1. Thanks for the reply, RFM.

        You may be right, but I think the very reason you provide — that Gee is an embarrassment to Robert Ritner, which is why he spends valuable time smacking down Gee’s shoddy research — is the very reason Ritner might agree to talk to you about this topic.

        After all, John Dehlin was able to convince one of the world’s leading experts on Central American archaeology, Yale Professor Michael Coe, to come on Mormon Stories and effectively obliterate any notion of the historicity of the Book of Mormon (which was epic), so perhaps Ritner would do something similar on the Book of Abraham as it is clearly of interest and important to him. He’s already well versed in the background. I think it is at least worth asking the question.

        Thank you for this great episode. So much food for thought.

        1. Richard Jeffery Holmes

          Ritner was proven wrong along with the other arrogant egyptologists. The egyptologists were debunked back in the year 2014. Can I ask why this is ignored?

          1. Richard –That’s a pretty strong claim. Can you provide a link or source citation? Thank you.

          2. He’s right the whole Abraham arguement by the anti Mormons was totally debunked to the point no anti Mormon can dare refute it now. It’s like you are all acting in denial of what’s happened. Insane!

        2. July 8: Hans Mensch suggests and interview with Robert Ritner.

          July 9: RFM demurs.

          July 9: Hans Mensch reiterates request.

          July 31: RFM interview with Robert Ritner appears.

          And they say miracles have ceased… 🙂

          Thank you!

      2. Richard Jeffery Holmes

        Paul Gregersen debunked the Egyptologists in 2014 by presenting proper interpretation. Proper interpretation is that Joseph Smith translated in reverse back to a biblical text, the original.

  4. Thank you both, Professor Hauglid and RFM for your honesty and integrity and openness! Such a great aphrodisiac podcast! 🙂

  5. Very well done, Professor Hauglid! What a “blessing” this discussion has been to me today. God Bless and Godspeed, Sir. I respect you so much for the courage, faith and goodness you’ve displayed here today! Thank you!!

  6. I am new to RFM, and I must say, very impressive interview. I really appreciated the clarity of RFM’s questions and Dr. Hauglid’s expertise on a sensitive topic for the faithful. Major kudos, too, for Dr. Hauglid’s refreshing reveal at the end of the interview. Considerate of others’ journey while honest about his own. Thanks RFM and Dr. Hauglid.

  7. I think the key for understanding Mormon scholarship regarding the Book of Abraham is best summed up by Kerry Muhlstein himself:
    “I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true,” he said. “Therefore, any evidence I find, I will try to fit into that paradigm. …There are those who will assume that it’s not true, and on these points we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But we will understand one another better when we understand how our beginning assumptions color the way we filter all of the evidence that we find.”

    Latter-Day Saint Apologetics is NOT Scholarship. It’s more like flat earth theory when actual scholarship actually says the world is a sphere.

    1. Richard Jeffery Holmes

      Why do you all avoid comment on the egyptologists being debunked? The egyptologists were debunked in 2014. Why do you anti-Mormons avoid comment on this?

        1. Richard Jeffery Holmes

          This is NOT a subject that needs to be peer reviewed. Google Book of Abraham pt 1 (Why Egyptologists are wrong) you tube.

  8. If this man had any character at all he would have quit his job as soon as he started having these feelings. Instead he hid his true feelings and lied to his employer for money and so he could meet his pension. What can you expect though from an ExMo. They have no morals, no character and they are delusional. If he believes so strongly in these ideas than donate your pension to the poor. But he won’t do that because he is a lying spineless piece of shit.

    1. Dear Jay,

      You are an excellent example of why Mormons in Brian Hauglid’s position think it necessary to keep their feelings to themselves.

      Thanks for listening!


    2. Jay, what you just said is the textbook definition of “confirmation bias”.

      “confirmation bias” = Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or supports one’s prior personal beliefs or values

      My suggestion is to take a few days and really try to understand the issues. The data is on the side of the critic in every single instance

      Brian seems honest. He seems balanced. He seems fair. these issues are real. The data is not on the side of the Church. Brian did the best he could given the toxicity of living in the Church as one who has doubts and disbeliefs.

      The only way believers work through these issues maintaining things are the way the leaders claim, is through the Holy Ghost which strangely deeply resembles “elevation emotion”, which all humans feel and experience.

      “elevation emotion” – Elevation Emotion is elicited by witnessing virtuous acts of remarkable moral goodness. It is experienced as a distinct feeling of warmth and expansion that is accompanied by appreciation and affection for the individual whose exceptional conduct is being observed.[3] Elevation motivates those who experience it to open up to, affiliate with, and assist others. Elevation makes an individual feel lifted up and optimistic about humanity.

      Don’t be an ass and so ethnocentric …. try empathy on and see how it feels

    3. The fact that Professor Hauglid retired as an Associate Professor after 20 year and a PHD speaks volumes to me. Clearly from his interview he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind on academic scholarship he thought was shoddy and biased. That almost certainly prevented his promotion to tenured professorship status. Yet because he wasn’t tenured, the University could have fired him at any time but didn’t. Maybe they know more about the situation than either you or me. So maybe you should not judge.

      1. Associate Professor is a tenured rank. You start as Assistant Professor and are promoted to Associate when awarded tenure. He retired too early to be promoted to full professor.
        20 years is around when that would usually happen. Tenure is pretty meaningless at BYU anyway as they will still fire you over disbelief if you are a member.

    4. Don’t worry, Jay…someday, you will no longer have to defend an adulterer, and a lot of the tension you are so obviously feeling right now will just dissipate. It takes time to get to that point, of course, because of the power of the cult programming. But look at you! All grown up now and using words your Primary teachers told you not to use. I do believe you are well on your way.

    5. Misguided comments that do not consider that he did have a loyalty obligation to his employer and did when ever reasonably able correct the absurd “scholarly” conclusions spun by the apologists. Your judgement is entirely misappropriate for one who appears to be a TBM. Repent ye, repent ye!

    6. What an illogical, mean-spirited mess! (Makes me think it was written by Jay-O-H-N G-E-E … or one of his apologist friends.)

      But thank you, nonetheless, because I think your comment illustrates well how such apologists have only mean-spirited personal shots to offer.

      John 15:12

    7. Jay,
      It’s clear that over the years you haven’t been paying attention to Brian’s assertions. He’s been quite consistent for at least the past six years.

  9. Thanks RFM and Professor Hauglid. This episode was particularly helpful to me as the subject has been on my mind for a while.
    It helped to clarify for me some puzzling issues I have had over the Book of Abraham.

    1. Puzzles plague the Book of Abraham, Pam, so long as one insists on seeing it as an actual translation of an ancient record.

      Glad it helped clarify some issues for you!


  10. I enjoyed this episode very much. I think RFM and Prof. Hauglid made their points well and seemed at ease with each other, which was good to hear. RFM did tease Prof. Hauglid a little too much too my taste about the unfortunate comment near the end. If it’s any consolation to Hauglid, I once made a similar faux pas (confusing the words exotic and erotic)in front of a music class I was teaching.

    1. Once, as a new member of the church in the south years ago, I tried to explain the Aaronic priesthood to a never mo friend. He thought I had said ‘erotic priesthood’ and was very interested for several minutes until he realized the mix up lol!

    2. Yes, Boyd Ricks, I did have a bit of fun at Brian’s expense over that. It was at that point, if not before, that it became evident Brian and I have been friends for some time now, and frequently engage in that kind of banter over the phone.

  11. I’m still missing something. Why did the BOA have to be complete in 1835? Couldn’t the scribes have taken a completed portion of the translation and generated the KEP? Then afterward Joseph continued the translation of the rest?

    1. Dan Vogel explains and exposes the apologists need for the BoA to be complete before the creation of the KEP, Egyptiain Alphabet, etc. in these videos (I took the liberty of including the timestamp to the beginning of the section that deals with it):

      1. I still don’t see it. I see Nibley and Gee saying that the finished text was decorated with Egyptian characters from (supposedly the wrong section of) the text, but I don’t see why the text had to be finished in 1835. Help?

        1. Ryan, I am with you. When people say something “cannot” have happened, I think they just lack imagination. 🙂 There is always some way it could have happened. Listeners must then judge whether the explanation is likely or not. That is different from saying a thing “cannot” have happened.

          I think it is very dangerous to say “probably not” means “definitely not”. Because a string of “definite” facts can be strung together safely:

          100% x 100% x 100% x 100% x 100% x 100% x 100% = 100%

          But a string of “probable” facts gets weaker as it gets longer:

          90% x 90% x 90% x 90% x 90% x 90% = 48%

          In that case, each point of evidence might be 90% certain, but put them together and the odds of them ALL being right falls to less than half.

          This does not mean that Gee is right of course: he has admitted that his purpose is kingdom building, not scholarship. But it does mean that ex-Mormons can fall into the same traps as Mormons, such as in this case, in my opinion, confusing judgement with knowledge.

        2. Hi, Ryan!

          You raise a good question and it is one that had been niggling me in the back of my brain for a bit.

          I talked about it with Brian last Friday night.

          I asked him first if all the BOA text was on the Abraham/Egyptian papers. (I thought I already knew the answer to that but wanted to confirm.)

          He said no, only the first chapter and up to verse 18 of the second chapter.

          I then asked, “Well, from John Gee’s perspective, why does he have to argue that all the BOA was translated in 1835? Wouldn’t it suit his purposes just as well to say that only the first part of BOA that appears on the papers was translated before 1835, and that the rest was translated after that? That way, he wouldn’t have to argue against all the evidence that Joseph’s translation continued after 1835 and even into 1842 immediately prior to publication. In other words, John Gee could have the benefit of still saying the papers were an attempt by Joseph’s followers to reverse engineer the text into the characters, but wouldn’t have to stake out the position that everything was translated before then.”

          Brian thought about it and agreed with the proposition. Brian said he doesn’t know why John Gee maintains that position, because he definitely doesn’t have to, and yet it is beyond doubt that John Gee does feel it necessary to maintain that position, even in the face of the countervailing evidence.

          Nice catch, Ryan!

        3. I am going off of memory here so I invite any correction if what I write is not accurate. My understanding as to one of the main reasons why John Gee needs the BoA to be completed in 1835 is because some of the information in the BoA can be seen as “correct” parallels with ancient history.

          The apologists will say that “there is no way” Joseph could’ve known some of these ancient things about Abraham and the ancient world (in 1835). However, by 1842, it is well documented that Joseph had studied with hebrew experts and had access to sources that would have taught him the information that “he could not have known” in 1835.

          If he could not have known some of the parallels with the ancient world and with Abraham of old, then it “must have been from God.” However, by 1842, we know he had access to this information so he was clearly using that material to write the BoA (which we now know with 100% certainty that he did with the Bible translation, and the temple ceremony… He plagiarized the info from other sources).

          I hope that makes sense and I hope that I am sharing correct information. I ask any BoA expert to please confirm or correct what I have written.

  12. This was a wonderful podcast. RFM- you were a fantastic interviewer and made great connections and asked perfect questions. Brian- thank you for your time, honesty, and polite and thought out perspective and insight. Thank you to both of you!

  13. RFM…before my blood pressure goes right through the roof, I have to concede that it’s always great to get an inside view of the inner slime workings of the LDS church. It’s a bit like getting a jail house snitch to help you win your case. What he testifies to could very well be the cold hard truth, but you’ll want to shower for a week afterwards.

    I get it that the professor has a retirement pension to protect. I get it that he could have kept this all to himself, but forgive me if I don’t fall all over myself in gratitude and fake respect for what he has been a part of!…especially while he continues to play their game just well enough not to lose his membership or his pension.

    Forgive me if I don’t buy his characterization of NOT being apostate so that he doesn’t have to actually sacrifice anything real for the actual truth he knows better than anyone.

    How could he look himself in the mirror while being a part of the essays committee meant to specifically deceive the members of the church.???..ALL OF THEM!

    And NO, I don’t have to be a freaking egyptologist to use my common sense! in this case , I think it’s an advantage. I can’t stomach these so called intellectuals with their degrees, who have no scruples or scholarly integrity.

    Sure, the guy is milquetoast nice all the day long but he’s not harmless! His self effacing, aw shucks manner is just how he’s dodged the bullets.

    And I get it that you have to walk a fine line to even get these important interviews and that you won’t probably be able to openly agree with me if you do.

    There was no surprise that this is how the deception goes down, but hearing first hand from this man about the essay committee was not good for my mental health. How dare they???!!!

    1. A number of listeners are reporting they thought the inner workings of the essay committee was the most significant part of the interview, as well.

      There are a few who are finding fault with Brian Hauglid for not going public as soon as he “knew” it was “all a fake.”

      From my experience, and I think from Brian Hauglid’s, this is probably an oversimplification.

      I mean, coming to a conclusion that something you have given your whole life to, and that forms the major component of your personal identity, is not true, isn’t something that happens overnight.

      It’s not like losing a wallet that you have one day and the next you find it missing.

      For me, it took decades to slowly and painfully come to these conclusions.

      And there was a lot of going back and forth in the meantime, and a lot of focusing on other things and whistling past the graveyard.

      This can often be even more protracted when a person is engaged in Mormon apologetics, as both Brian Hauglid and I have been; Brian at an obviously higher level.

      I think that, for Brian Hauglid, we can plot two points of significance on the timeline.

      The first is 2010 when he published a book advocating the apologetics he later came to discount.

      The second is 2018 when he posted on Dan Vogel’s Facebook page that he now rejects those apologetics and finds them “abhorrent.”

      I honestly don’t think eight years is an extraordinarily long time to to go through the process to completely reverse one’s position on that subject. It took me much longer.

      I don’t think Brian felt the essay was meant to deceive members of the church.

      I think he objected to the bad apologetics John Gee and Kerry Muhlestein wanted to include in the essay, but was ultimately overruled by those “higher up.”

      Having gone through this myself, it is one thing to realize the apologetics don’t hold up. Some people using bad apologetics doesn’t mean the church isn’t true.

      But recognizing the bad apologetics can, and often does, lead to the second phase of closer examination of the issues and concluding the church isn’t true.

      I am not certain Brian even now “knows” the church isn’t true. I myself wouldn’t say I “know” the church isn’t true. I would say, however, that the church is not what it claims to be. This is a distinction with an important difference.

      I think Brian Hauglid may be closer to that end of the spectrum than he was in 2010, but there is nothing I know of to say he is there, or that he will ever actually arrive there.

      Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that these things are very complex, and I do not for one minute think Brian Hauglid was out to deceive anyone.

      On the contrary, he seems to have been so interested in not deceiving people with apologetics he came to see as deceptive that he called John Gee out on them and ended up earning John Gee’s wrath.

      Brian Hauglid has been very open about his feelings at BYU and the Maxwell Institute regarding the bad apologetics for some time now.

      1. Good apologetics for the professor. LOL. Seriously though, I realize that you have your own first hand experience with this world of forcing the the square peg into the round hole.

        I appreciate your point of the complexity of finally coming to terms and the time it can take with so much at stake. I had 6 decades in and everything to lose and it was a matter of 4 hours for the entire house of cards to come down. ( I’m still paying a steep price ) I’m not saying I’m better or smarter than those who take longer once they see the irreconcilable deal breakers but I don’t relate as well.

        Most of us are not on the committee to write those deceptive essays, using our talents to cosign them. I know he tried to impose his objections, however. he opened himself up to this reasonable feedback when he decided to interview publicly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did. He didn’t have to.

        You can’t blame any of us for wishing that he could have had more moral fortitude….but then couldn’t we all use a bit more of that.

        I don’t believe the full impact of his actions will come home to roost until and unless he leaves the church, realizing what he has been a part of. That may never happen.

        But then aren’t we all in the business of our own version of apologetics for ourselves???….more commonly known as excuses, rationalizations and denial?.. I’m guilty of all the above.

        Thank you RFM for taking me seriously and not just discounting my points out of hand.

    2. I think you are turning your anger on the wrong target, Angie. Maybe you should be angry about is a toxic academic environment where a researcher cannot speak the truth without being severely punished. Hauglid tried to be honest about the BoA in his original essay but it was taken from him and handed over to a committee. My impression is that Hauglid was really trying to preserve his faith and standing in the church for most of his years at BYU.

      1. I agree with you. I thought I included my outrage at the workings of the committee . The church’s actions are despicable and do not allow for honest scrutiny without punishment. We have all been victims of this cultish mind control.

        The professor had and has a grand opportunity based on his unique positioning to stand more strongly against this farce. I’m disappointed with what I see as his moral weakness and the huge lost chance he has had to make a unique impact on the deceptive way the church deals with its members.

        I suppose that is what he said he was trying to do. I thought he was sadly lacking in terms of what he could have done.

        Do I understand it? Of course I do. Is my judgement of his actions harsh and unfair?..perhaps so. Would I have done any better for my fellow mormons?? …I would hope so, but cannot in all fairness say I would have.

        Thank you for your feedback

        1. I understand your anger Angie but I empathize with Brian’s situation. Even if he eventually came to the knowledge that the church is all a sham and continued to stay at BYU for a few more years, I don’t judge or blame him one bit. It wasn’t his fault he was lied to and pursued the career path he took. That fault lies with the church leadership and their deception and hiding of information for decades. When Brian accepted the position at BYU, I am almost certain he was 100% believing at that point based on the information he had studied and had access to.

          It’s known that once you are a professor at BYU, it is very difficult to have a decent academic career anywhere else. It’s kind of a dead end because other respected institutions look down at BYU. I won’t get into the reasons for this but they should be obvious.

          It’s easy to say that IF Brian lost his faith, he should’ve resigned and come out. Is it really that easy though? I don’t think so. Why should Brian have to suffer financially when the church is the true culprit and deceiver? I hope he gets every dime and more from any retirement that BYU offers. Would you really give up your retirement benefits and further enrich the church? They win in that situation.

          I get what you are saying but I see Brian as more of a victim in this mess just as we all were when we “knew” it was true. We didn’t have the complete picture when we made the critical life decisions we made. We didn’t have access to the information because it was hidden by the 1st pres and Q12. Brian was in that boat too at one time for no fault of his own and I am glad he didn’t take a financial hit for that.

          1. Thats the hard choice…have integrity once you know the truth or sell yourself out.

            It sounds like what you’re saying is that because the church screwed him over while he was fully believing , he is justified now in perpetuating the lie with other true believers just to get back at the church.

            He is actually teaching these lies to his TBM students knowing full well they are NOT true! How is that then any different from what the church has done to him? That goes beyond just having his own faith crisis.

            How is that moral or ethical by any standard???

            The greatest men in history were those that sacrificed whatever was necessary to uphold truth, including their own lives at times.

            Of course it presented him with a great moral dilema that he didn’t create, but does that then justify his less than ethical response???

            Losing one’s retirement pales in comparison to losing one’s soul….or at the very least, one’s self respect.

          2. Thats the hard choice…have integrity once you know the truth or sell yourself out.

            It sounds like what you’re saying is that because the church screwed him over while he was fully believing , he is justified now in perpetuating the lie with other true believers just to get back at the church.

            He is actually teaching these lies to his TBM students knowing full well they are NOT true! How is that then any different from what the church has done to him? That goes beyond just having his own faith crisis.

            How is that moral or ethical by any standard???

            The greatest men in history were those that sacrificed whatever was necessary to uphold truth, including their own lives at times.

            Of course it presented him with a great moral dilema that he didn’t create, but does that then justify his less than ethical response???

            Losing one’s retirement pales in comparison to losing one’s soul….or at the very least, one’s self respect.

            Consider how Grant Palmer faced a similar dilemma with just as much at stake as a 34 yr. employee of the church in his CES career.

  14. Thank you, Professor Hauglid and RFM. I think this is one of the most important podcasts I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.

  15. Professor Hauglid has been on my research radar so some time. Thank God he has come out to set the record straight. Serious tears of gratitude!

    RFM thank you for your simplified questions. It took the entire 3 hours to truly comprehend the intentional complexity of apologetics deception.

    1. Sometimes it takes a while to do the digging necessary to expose the truth.

      Which is usually because so much time has been spent burying it in the first place.

      Glad you liked it!

  16. 3 hour interview. 3 days to listen. Question: which Egyptian language is the papyri written in? I was under the impression it was coptic but please correct me if you know.
    In addressing Angie’s comment. I could easily agree except since having my born again moment judging another has become a much more charitable event for me. My own experience looks like this; I only had wins when leaving the church. Husband didn’t believe. 4 of 5 kids already out. My job is not affected. My ward had thrown me aside in 2010 when I divorced.
    I can agree it’s difficult to understand how one entrenched with so much info about the fraud which was Joseph Smith would take so long to say these things. How easy for me to judge him without knowing his day to day mind set. I would have hated being in his shoes. As stuck as I felt in my life Brian must have felt as if his lower half was in cement. My former life had people in it in the BYU educational vice grip. BYU ruled their lives, literally.
    I keep using the word free to describe how I feel. Free with wings and a love in my heart beyond anything I ever thought possible. I enjoyed this interview. A shout out to you both, thank you.

  17. Excellent!

    I would love (LOVE!) to hear you interview Hauglid about the Book of Mormon!

    There was a tiny tease right at the end… “Much like the Book of Mormon, which I think of as a 19th century text”.

    If this kind of interview never happens, does anyone have any suggestions for an in-depth scholarly review of the Book of Mormon, similar to what was done here with the Book of Abraham?


  18. “Middle way Mormons” often take shots from both sides — from exmos and TBMs.

    Some exmos deride middle way Mormons for enabling the system, while some TBMs deride middle way Mormons for dishonesty. But middle way Mormons do not owe anything to these self-righteous critics.

    From this interview, it appears to me that Professor Hauglid chose to be a heretic who attended sacrament meeting with his wife, professionally met his employment obligations and deserves his pension, and attempted as best he could to influence the drafting of the Book of Abraham gospel topic essay. I thank him for an interesting interview and wish him well in his retirement.

  19. Thank you for an enlightening podcast Brian and RFM. Thank you for all the comments everyone. The song We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard came to mind at one point. Alexander Pushkin promotes the idea that, “Better the illusions that exalt us than ten thousand truths.” I suppose that is what motivates some people with information to hide the information. I can appreciate Brian’s situation and believe that his integrity kept him on the inside trying to get more accuracy into the reporting. He could have just walked away and tried to increase accuracy from the outside which would probably have been dismissed and marginalized as sour grapes. He was trying to make improvements with respected peers and friends when it was possible. It was not his fault that he ended up working “behind enemy lines.”

  20. Outstanding! I have always liked Hauglid, a gentleman and an actual scholar who says lets see what the evidence says and what conclusions we are allowed to come to BASED on the actual evidence. And you…….you RFM, are an exceptional interviewer. When I wrote my huge Bayesian approach to the papyri only 3 years ago, and ignored by Mormon “scholar” apologists, and witnesses to them in Joseph Smith’s day, (relax, I left out the math, it’s readable) I came to conclusions similar that there are fatal problems with apologists approaches to all this. One can find my research on Mormon Discussions message boards. It’s the most honest thing I have written on this Book of Abraham subject instead of my silly earlier apologist Nibleyesque manipulations when I was doing apologetics n the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It’s why I no longer can trust apologetics. It is agenda (read faith) driven, not evidence driven. That is not scholarship, that is faith, and it’s actually, to use a Trumpism I love to hate, “Fake News.” Thanks to both of you for this outstanding and clarifying presentation. I have arrived at very similar conclusions on LDS “faithful scholarship” or more heinously “disciple scholarship” (BLECH!!!), independently with the evidence.

    1. It’s likely inappropriate for me to put Kerry on the spot, but I would love to have him appear on RFM and/or Mormon Stories. I’m sure Kerry has a lot of insights for us all.

  21. Kerry, I looked you up. There is a Wikipedia page about you, but you knew that. You have obviously studied all this apologetics stuff thoroughly. Good to get your insight.

  22. Brian Hauglid delivers the integrity that I thought I was getting from Mormon scholars growing up. Living in a ward full of BYU professors, I grew up across the street from campus. As such, I had multiple conversations with well-known religious scholars as I asked a variety of questions about Church history and artifacts. Some of these professors that I trusted so deeply were youth leaders, as well. Years later, as I learned more about historical events, it became clear to me that those I believed most had more loyalty to the institution than honesty or intellectual integrity. It’s in this context that I feel gratitude to Brian for his belief that everyone has a right to all the evidence regardless of how useful it is to building faith. Thanks so much, Brian, for facing the headwinds of honest religious scholarship.

  23. I learned more about the Book of Abraham from the interview with Brian Hauglid. Throughout the whole interview I was wishing I could hear the other parties side of research. Scholars often disagree-as they should. These disagreements between professors almost seemed personal versus scholarly.

  24. Robin Scott Jensen did a presentation on the Book of Abraham manuscripts in NOV 2018 at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. In the Q & A part, Jensen said if Joseph Smith didn’t translate correctly the Egyptian characters we have then why would his translation be correct of any missing manuscripts.
    I wondered since his presentation was held on Temple Square if his candor on the Book of Abraham translation has tacit Church approval.

  25. RFM, Love your insights and appreciate your work to produce these podcasts. I hope you can find a way to equalize or balance the audio when you have a guest. I listen to you turned down low at night to not wake my wife, so the balance is critical 😉 A quieter intro also 🙂 Stay safe!

  26. Thank you for this podcast and thank you Dr. H for explaining all of this with the BoA! I’m in the same complicated boat with my wife and I feel ya! (well except I’m not a historian)!

  27. Great job RFM! Thanks to you and professor Hauglid. Regarding John Ghees assertion only trained egyptologists can weigh in on his work how about what the top Egyptologist like Robert Ritnor from University of Chicago say? Like there’s no indication a longer scroll existed

  28. Thank you for mentioning this! That is what I say over and over again. I appreciate all of the deep dives we have taken into the “complexities” of the BoA but even a kindergartner can understand with complete clarity that Joseph could not and did not translate ancient languages.

    WE HAVE JOSEPH’S TRANSLATIONS OF THE FACSIMILES!!! They are canonized in the Pearl of Great Price. He got them ALL WRONG! He utterly failed as a translator of the Egyptian characters on the facsimiles.

    Done. Joseph made it all up. End of discussion.

    It’s SO sad that these apologists are wasting their entire lives and brain power defending something that any 5 year old can figure out in a two minutes.

  29. Ryan: Joseph smith does not translate the facsimiles; rather, tells us what they mean in relation to the text of the Book of Abraham. Moreover, several of his interpretations are dead on in terms of their meaning in Egyptian iconography such as the canopic jars, the Hathor cow (in Fac. #2) and Sobek (in Fac. #1). All of his interpretations are defensible. Moreover, Joseph Smith gave us ONLY his interpretations of the facsimiles and not the KEP or related Egyptian papers. I suspect that there is a reason for that — like he didn’t regard the musings in the KEP as either his own or as inspired.

  30. Brian and RFM, thank you so much for this interview and for the bravery it took to be forthright about scholarship about the BoA.

    Two points I would like to ask about or discuss.

    1) the discussion makes a large connection with the Abrahamic documents meaning the Egyptian grammar and scribes documents in 1835 and how the missing scroll theory and the translation of the BoA having to be competed before the production of the Egyptian papers to sustain the missing scroll. This is obvious to try to dismiss the Egyptian papers being part of the translation which is problematic because the attempt at Egyptian translation in terms of scientific verifiable evidence fails completely. Yet doesn’t the argument that the Egyptian papers only deal with the first part of the BoM? So the later parts could be claimed to be from a part of the papyrus that is not extant? So is there reference in the Abrahamic papers to the latter part of the BoA text?

    2) I wish som scholar would go thru the level JS went to explain Egyptian grammar wit first level second level and third level and how in correct these theories are? Why a long list of every way the attempts is JS failed to translate Egyptian? So how do LDS Egyptologist’s claim that no-one who is not an Egyptologist can comment on the BoA when they will not allow other non-LDS Egyptologist’s peer review their options regarding the BoA?

    Brian makes a valid assertion that the BoA and the Abrahamic papers have nothing to do with Egyptology. But it claims it does so valid Egyptian expertise is necessary to validate or invalidate those assertions. But the LDS Church comes up with apologetic explanations for how real Egyptologist evidence doesn’t matter.

  31. Professor Hauglid commented on his problems with Dr. John Gee’s apologetic work. I also have had difficulties with Gee’s apologetic work.

    About 10 years ago, in a thread on a now defunct website, I commented on a serious mis-statement by Dr. John Gee in his booklet, “A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri.” Gee responded and I commented on Gee’s response. This exchange is documented in an article in another website, Following is this portion of the article.

    Since writing the above, I have re-read this booklet and have found a serious misstatement by the author, Dr. John Gee. To bolster his theory, that the Egyptian characters were added to the left margins of the BoA manuscripts after the English text was written, Gee furnishes several examples. On page 22, he claims that in example 1 (KEPA 1, page 8), the Egyptian characters “run over” the margin and the English text. If one examines this closely, one can see that it does overrun the margin; however, it does not run over the English text. I pointed out this misstatement on the Zion Lighthouse Member Board website.
    In this same thread, John Gee, via Daniel Peterson, stated that I incorrectly interpreted “overrun” as meaning, “overwrite.” (On page 21 Gee uses “overrun.” On page 22 he uses “run over.”). Gee’s statement via Peterson is:
    The argument claims that I am (1) stupid because I used the term “overrun” to mean “overwrite,” and (2) dishonest because the text is not overwritten. I never intended the term “overrun” to mean “overwrite” since they are not synonyms. The term “overwrite” means “to write (something) over other writing.” “Overrun,” on the other hand, means “to run farther than or beyond (a certain point, a limit, etc.); to exceed.” I used the term correctly to argue that Egyptian characters ran farther than or beyond the margin line and into the space used for the English text — in fact, in one instance, into the indentation left by the English text. The Egyptian may overrun the English without necessarily overwriting the English.
    Gee is wrong in his interpretation of the meaning of the word “overrun (he did not try to explain “run over”). To double check I looked up “run over” and “overrun” in the 2nd edition of the American Heritage Dictionary. Meaning number 3 of “run over” is the only one that would apply to something written on paper. That definition is “flow over.” The two applicable meanings of “overrun” are 1) “To overflow” and 2) “to run or extend beyond”. Gee was clearly mistaken. He said the Egyptian characters “overrun” or “run over” the English text. He should have said that the Egyptian characters “run over” or “overrun” the area used for English text, without being written on top of the English text.

  32. I was interested but came away disappointed because what came thru the loudest in this interview was professorial jealousy, academic politics, and how slighted Hauglid feels by Gee. Sad, when so much is at stake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.