Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 194: Brave Sir Kerry (Muhlestein)

Dr. Kerry Muhlestein, BYU Egyptologist apologist for the Book of Abraham, has finally responded to our invitation to have him and Dr. John Gee on the podcast to show Dr. Robert Ritner where he is wrong.  Unfortunately, Dr. Muhlestein and Dr. Gee have declined the invitation.  Not because they are scared, mind you, but because that is not the way “true scholars” discuss things.  Sit back and enjoy a delightful dismembering of Dr. Muhlestein’s non-response response, as only RFM can!

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96 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 194: Brave Sir Kerry (Muhlestein)

  1. Hahaha! Loved the ‘closing song’. I think this whole episode is SO telling. What people like Kerry depend on is the absence of argument in order to be successful in hawking their flawed scholarship. It can’t stand up to the light. Or Robert Ritner. And the hypocrisy of kicking Bokovoy out of BYU and then commandeering his theory is just the icing on the cake. If the best he can do is make an argument from silence or an argument from a ‘possibility’ then he isn’t much of a scholar to start with.

    • I think Dr. Muhlestein has at some point arrived at the conclusion he can’t prove the Book of Abraham true; the Egyptology just doesn’t support it.

      And so he is trying to show that Egyptology doesn’t prove it is NOT true.

      That is what he and Dr. Gee appear to mean by “plausibility.”

      That argument he can make.

      By twisting the evidence only a little . . .

      • RFM, if they won’t agree to debate Dr. Ritner, would you go on the FAIR podcast by yourself? It could be broadcast live so as to prevent selective editing. Obviously not ideal, but it would give you the opportunity for a dialogue with them. Maybe I’m naive but I hope there is a way to set aside the histrionics and engage the substantive issues. You would be a capable stand in for Dr. Ritner.

        I just started listening to your podcasts and am enthralled. Thank you so much for all of your excellent work!

    • Perhaps I’ve gotten off on the wrong foot with all my new friends 😊. So, do you think the reason RFM/Dehlin/Ritner are bravely hesitant to publicly discuss my questions on YouTube (or even on the RFM FB page, so far…still hoping though 👍🏼), because they “ depend on…the absence of argument in order to be successful in hawking their flawed scholarship.” I personally wouldn’t be that harsh but you may know them better than I… Perhaps the good Dr’s are preparing something as we speak? 😊

    • At least he does not appear to have the courage of his convictions. ;^)

  2. I think Dr. Muhlestein just invented a new logical fallacy:
    “Blaming the Venue”

    • I think Dr. Muhlestein’s gambit is clear.

      He doesn’t want to accept an invitation to go on a podcast, which would take only a few hours.

      Instead, he wants Dr. Ritner to co-author a book with himself and Dr. John Gee, an enterprise that would take years, and which Dr. Ritner would have no interest in doing.

      So when Dr. Ritner declines the invitation, Dr. Muhlestein can draw a false equivalency and claim it is Dr. Ritner’s fault for not accepting HIS invitation.

      The false equivalency, of course, is that three hours for a podcast versus three years for a book hardly seems the same.

  3. It seems to me that Dr Muhlestein and BYu would be exposing themselves to sanctions or some type of censorship from professional Egyptologists and/or reputable academic institutions with a magazine article like this. The attacks on Dr Ritner as a low level podcast guest were shocking, unprofessional and mostly fabricated out of thin air……….

    • You may be right, Zeke.

      On the other hand, it is possible that the reputations of Dr. Muhlestein and Dr. Gee could not fall any lower in the estimation of their colleagues.

  4. Great episode.

    Maybe you sometimes put out content and you’re not sure that anyone is paying attention and you wonder whether you are having an impact. In the case of the 13+ hour Ritner opus, you don’t need to worry about that, you kicked the beehive and the bees are furious (in their inimitable passive aggressive fashion).

    Also, the Bokovoy incident was fascinating and brought to mind the following “joke”:

    Question — What do you call a Mormon who is more than 5 years ahead of the church on historical, scholastic or social issues?

    Answer: An apostate.

    • Great joke, Rick!

      And I have definitely taken some satisfaction in seeing the effect the Ritner interviews are having in the Mormon apologetic world.

      I know full well that, if it were at all possible, they would simply ignore these interviews and hope their impact just goes away over time.

      It is only because the impact has reached critical mass that they feel it necessary to respond at all.

      Even in a non-response response.

      And one that studiously avoids mentioning either Dr. Ritner’s name or the podcasts on which he appeared.

  5. The Egyptology may be a hot mess, but you have to admire his disingenuous obfuscation skills.

    It often seems as if the BYU profs genuinely revere Smith and buy into his claims of prophet-hood.

    Then again, maybe they’re just playing along because they need to work. Egyptology-ing isn’t a profession with a lot of job security, and if that means turning out a constant stream of misinformation about Egypt and pandering to a delusional first presidency, hey, it’s a living.

    • It is hard to tell, I agree.

      I don’t pretend to know their motivations as to why it is they are doing what they are doing.

      All I know is the result is intentional obfuscation of the issues in order to reach their predetermined conclusion.

  6. I have to wonder if part of the delay tactics might be to wait long enough that Dr. Ritner’s health declines to the point that he can’t participate. Muhlestein and Gee’s refusal to engage is a testament to the paucity of evidence supporting their claims.

    • The heat is so hot they feel they must make some sort of response.

      But the long-term strategy is clearly to kick the can down the road by suggesting some sort of joint scholarly publication in order to let the current conflagration die down and fade from public consciousness.

  7. Those shameful BoA YouTube videos will dog Kerry the rest of his life. They are so dishonest.

    • All he has to do is insist they be edited or removed.

      My understanding is that a similar thing happened with the late, great John Tvedtness; that when it was brought to his attention that some of the things he said were incorrect, he insisted on removing those errors he had unintentionally made from the public discourse.

      That is what a person with integrity does when they have made an unintentional error.

      Apparently Dr. Muhlestein is not that kind of person.

  8. If the Book of Mormon was written in just a few months, why do we have to wait “over time” for a response? Can the apologists not call upon revelation and inspiration to support and defend these holy scriptures?

    • LOL! No, revelation and inspiration are for church leaders.

      The apologists just defend church leaders.

      But the question remains why prophets, seers and revelators can’t settle the entire issue with one well-worded inquiry of the God of heaven and earth.

  9. Clearly, Gee and Muhlestein have sold their souls to the devil, also known as LDS inc. If their employment with BYU was to end would any reputable academic institution offer them jobs after all this apologetic nonsense? I think not……….

      • Right, the only way this situation makes any sense is that Gee and Muhlestein must have an arrangement with the LDS Church which guarantees lifetime employment.

  10. Well done counselor. I’ve been a university department chair (large, doctoral; research heavy) in a “hard science” for >20 yrs. I found Sir Kerry’s post extremely revealing. I knew from looking at Mulhstein’s and Gee’s weak publication records that the majority are Church-related (journals, magazines, presentations, books, etc) and are part of the same big correlated family. There are a smattering of pubs that are from journals that I cannot determine rigor. Take away the Church pablum and there isn’t much left for either. However, KM’s sloppy and chaotic writing along with his inability to make a point was gave me new information. I’ve seen many like Mulhstein and Gee come and go in my academic career. They are unemployable outside of being pathetic apologists for the LDS Church. I know other faculty at BYU that are excellent and don’t deserve the embarrassment of association with these two.

    • I appreciate the insight you bring to the table on this, Steve.

      It does seem to me that Dr. Muhlestein’s piece is written from a point of retreat, endlessly reciting all the things he doesn’t know, in order to not come to the conclusion he desperately wants to avoid.

      While it is certainly true that no field of study is in possession of all the facts, and it is important to keep in mind what we know and what we don’t know, it appears Dr. Muhlestein’s reliance on what he doesn’t know is done strategically.

      Dr. Ritner, on the other hand, comes across as one talking from what he does know and applying that knowledge to the issue at hand. This, of course, leads to the conclusion Dr. Muhlestein seeks to avoid.

      My impression is that Dr. Ritner sounds like he knows ninety percent of stuff and ten percent is unknown.

      Dr. Muhlestein sounds like ninety percent of stuff he doesn’t know and only ten percent is known.

      I have little doubt that Dr. Muhlestein is aware of most of the information that Dr. Ritner knows.

      Dr. Muhlestein is just playing dumb for effect.

  11. How fun you made 1 hour and 14 minutes. Thank you. It is a really great thing for Kerry and John the church isn’t true. D and C section 76 vs 103 speaks of those caught up and have earned the Telestial kingdom.. ” These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.”
    Lucky for them it’s all BS.

    • The footnote to that passage from D&C 76 carves out an exception for those who “love and make a lie” for the Lord.

      For them is reserved the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom.

      But when you are dealing in lies, it is hard to take even that at face value.

  12. I went to the Interpreter to read David Bokovoy’s comment to Mulhstein and lo and behold, it is gone. Someone didn’t want that damning information up there.

    • I don’t know if David Bokovoy posted his comment on the Interpreter website.

      I found it on his Facebook page.

      But I do know of several others whose posts are not appearing on the Interpreter website.

      Including a rather lengthy and well worded comment from our very own Bill Reel!

  13. I went to the Interpreter blog to read David Bokovoy’s comment and lo and behold, it is gone.

    Someone didn’t want that damning indictment up for all the world to see.

  14. Dr. Muhlestein’s whole blog post reminded me of the scene from the movie The Breakfast Club where Brian tries to convince Bender about his expertise with women. When Bender presses Brian for details, Brian cagily responds “she lives in Canada, we met at Niagara Falls, you wouldn’t know her.”

    Why won’t Dr. Muhlestein just bring his Canadian girlfriend to the Radio Free Mormon podcast and prove the world wrong?

  15. Are we not still waiting on Daniel Peterson to respond to his dishonesty with the suppression of the first vision accounts? He said he would answer in his own time and yet nothing. It seems like this is the apologists modus operandi. Telling us they’ll respond but never do. Just praying that we’ll forget. But no one in Radio Free Mormon Land will forget. I can guarantee that.

    • Oh, yes, this is a time-honored tactic of apologists on the losing end of an argument.

      Distract and delay.

      It works every time.

      Except for those who can see it for what it is.

  16. Bitch slappin em baby! I LOVED this rejoinder. It demonstrates that one does not need to be an Egyptologst in order to destroy Mormon Egyptologists. RFM a new hero to keep them and us straight! The Mormon scholars are terrified to dialogue with the world, so they keep it in their own cucoons. NICE refutation of Kerry’s ridiculous tanslation of the Leiden!!! I can’t find even ONE Egyptologist who agrees that it says “Abraham on the lion couch.” It’s a woman with a spell making her so meek someone can have sex with her! It’s got absolutely NOTHING to do with the Book of Abraham, or Abraham, or Mormon wishful thinking. RFM hits a Grand Slam!!! BRAVO! Encore! We want more of this man! They think their Mormon audience are so stupid they can’t understand the simple truth. We think they are the ones muddying up the waters. Ritner was crisp and clean, and very EASY to understand, and he got heavily into the Egyptian materials!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Kerry Shirts!

      (How does it feel to share the same first name with Dr. Muhlestein, by the way?) ;^)

      This was one of the big takeaways for me, too.

      Everything I know about Egyptology I learned from Book of Abraham apologists; from Hugh Nibley to John Gee to Michael Rhodes to Kerry Shirts.

      The problem is they were making things hopelessly confusing in order to hide the fact they don’t have any good answers.

      Because of this, i thought Egyptology itself was hopelessly confusing.

      It was only through interviewing Dr. Ritner that I found this is not the case. It may be complex, but it is not confusing.

      Which then gave me a clue as to why Book of Abraham apologists insist on making it confusing . . .

      When are you going to come on my show for an interview, by the way?

      ;^)

      RFM

      • RFM, I’m convinced that apologists deliberately make discussions like Egyptology complex and confusing for at least two reasons:
        – If a topic like Egyptology is so difficult to understand and follow along the vast majority of TBMs will simply give up and move on
        – If a TBM feels stuper of thought trying to follow apologetic explanation of the topic, that is the Spirit telling the member that the critics are wrong.

        It’s to the apologists advantage to make the simple complex. This principle applies across the board for all sorts of topics: multiple accounts of FV, Masonic endowment, BoM text, etc.

        Personally, I feel that Charles M. Lasrson also presents a clear and understandable discussion on the papyrus and the BoA: by his own hand on the papyrus

  17. RFM….

    I am not a violent person , but lets just say that it’s a good thing that that snivelling, arrogant, insulting , self righteous excuse for a “scholar” isn’t here in person or I fear I could be inspired by his cowardice to drop kick him from here to Egypt!!!!

    But since I’m not, I won’t.

  18. Dr. Muhlestein implying that his response will come and will be satisfying reminded me of Hans Mattsson’s experience.

    Hans Mattsson discussed his faith transition in the Mormon Stories Episode 433 starting at 3:44. In that discussion, Mattsson tells how a Swedish stake president (with a stack of materials raising questions about the church from his stake members) and Mattsson met with a high-level church authority (Hans later identified him as L. Tom Perry, from what I recall). The high-level church authority claimed to have in his briefcase a document that would be a book “very soon” and that the document will prove the critics all wrong and “nail them”. The high-level general authority collected the stack of materials and left both the Stake President and Mattsson optimistic that good answers would be coming soon. The book never came. When the stake president asked the status of the book, he was told he shouldn’t be asking such questions.

    The church’s strategy is (1) to give trusting members the impression that good answers exist or that good answers will be published soon and (2) hope that the trusting members never follow up. The church does not want a full, open, and frank discussion of the issues and their answers because their answers are wholly inadequate for a large percentage of the people willing to investigate.

    • Thanks for posting a link to this incident, NTH!

      In all fairness to Dr. Muhlestein, however, I think it important to say that this issue was covered briefly by Dr. Ritner, who said this type of thing happens all the time when dealing with the Egyptian government, and it is often more a reflection on the government than it is on the Egyptologist whose permit is revoked.

      RFM

  19. LDS apologists and Fair Mormon are like the pagan prayers mentioned in Mathew 6:7; “They think that in their much speaking they may be heard”.

  20. Dear RFM, and followers. I’d forgotten you existed until I watched some of your mormonstories interview with Ritner. Your behaviors here don’t surprise me (reminiscent of some middle school bullies I once knew). But, anyway, before seeking to contend over your assumptions about the BofA, we should first establish some basics about what Dr. Ritner has to say that is relevant, and thus worth discussing. I’m friends with Kerry and some others (I haven’t communicated any of this to any of them BTW). I have fewer restrictions on immature behaviors due to my choice of occupations and lack of restraint. So, I’m here for you, and will contact Kerry, etc. when we’ve established a few things. I’ve written to Dr. Ritner and asked some important and relevant questions. He seems to have reservations about answering. I posted them on YouTube a week ago and sent him a link…same result. As you know, faithful LDS are opposed to contending, so Kerry M. probably won’t take you up on your invite for “debate” but has offered something more Christian and worthy of serious scholarship. However, it seems Sirs Robert, Dehlin, and RFM (and followers) are seeking to quibble in your house, a house you’ve built on your presumptions. No offense or anything, but if you’re really seeking truth, then please invite your homies ; ) (Dehlin, Ritner, etc.) to a discussion in comments on a Kerry Muhlelstein YouTube interview. If Ritner/RFM/Dehlin can answer my questions in a way that helps establish the relevance of Ritner’s claims, then I’ll contact Kerry and see if he will join a legitimate conversation about important issues. If he doesn’t wish to engage, I’ll get his input and etc. If you kind sirs bravely shy away from thoughtful, written conversations (which you don’t control and so will have less power to steer to darkness and irrelevance), then feel free to copy everything and we’ll continue here or on your stories. If you don’t want any conversations anywhere with a person you’ve impacted with falsehoods, and if you wish to just stay here and give yourselves pats on your backs, then at least admit to everyone that you aren’t really honest, and are what you accuse us of being. Thanks : )

    Here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJtkwzWvBQE

    • Dear Joe,

      Dr. Muhlestein has been invited to engage in a discussion on the subject of the Book of Abraham with another Egyptologist, Dr. Ritner.

      Dr. Muhlestein was given complete discretion to choose the time and format of the discussion.

      Dr. Muhlestein has refused that invitation.

      Now you are coming on the scene to say that “if” Dr. Ritner can prove to your satisfaction that what he has to say on the subject is “relevant,” then you will convey that to Dr. Muhlestein to see if he will engage in a “legitimate conversation about important issues.”

      And then maybe, maybe, Dr. Muhlestein will engage, and if he does, it will almost certainly be in writing.

      Dr. Ritner has already proven the relevance of what he has to say in 13-hours of interviews on RFM and Mormon Discussions.

      It makes no difference whether you personally find it “relevant.”

      Either Dr. Muhlestein has the courage of his convictions to present his side of the argument in a public discussion with Dr. Ritner or he doesn’t.

      He doesn’t need you to come rushing to his defense to try and throw up more obstacles to such a discussion, and say that unless we agree to your demands, we are the ones who are afraid of having a discussion.

      You must be Joe King.

      Respectfully yours,

      RFM

      • RFM, I think you’ve read a lot into my comment. Or, perhaps you’re courageously refusing my invite? To simplify, I’ll leave Kerry out of it. If you could be so kind as to answer my questions on YouTube, it would be awesome. If you bravely wish to stay here where u can moderate and filter, I’ll understand 😊. However, since much of your/Ritner’s argument is based on assumptions, and if you’re unable or unwilling to support those assumptions, wouldn’t you agree that you’re building an irrelevant house of cards? No offense intended, I’m simply asking honest questions. You should be able to easily demolish them or me. If you’ve answered in the video, somehow I’ve missed it, please give an approximate time, so I don’t have to waste 13 hours searching…again, no offense. But either you/Ritner have the courage of your convictions to engage in an ACTUAL public discussion that you don’t control, or you don’t. It’s pretty simple to respond to 3 questions on YouTube….I won’t even speak to Kerry if that’s what you’re worried about 👍🏼 Thanks for responding and finally posting my comment. Have a great day!

        • Please let me know when Dr. Muhlestein finds the courage of his convictions to discuss the Book of Abraham publicly with Dr. Ritner.

          Thanks in advance.

          RFM

          • I see, I’m sure it’s a bit scary to venture out into the world of free speech where you have little control 😉 : ). You answer some questions here it seems, so perhaps if we begin here? I mean, this is what you do isn’t it? I’m messing around as far as the posturing, and etc. I’m just a maintenance guy. I won’t ask for any help from Kerry or anyone from FAIR. (I’ve never even been to a FAIR conference and I’m not close to Kerry or anything (emailed him a couple of times a while back, with some questions that he graciously and fearlessly answered, and he was friendly 🙂 so it shouldn’t be a big deal to talk to me (and hopefully you dare venture to YouTube so I won’t have to worry about offending your moderators ;). I’ll probably end up looking really stupid and you’ll look even better than ever to your adoring fans. I’m ok with that : ) I have questions, and I’ll bravely come to you, if you’ll allow questioning of your faith
            : ). I’m not trying to trick you or win anything or make you look stupid, etc. just want to talk and learn.

            AND, I’m not afraid of truth, hope you’re not either.

            But, as I say, it seems that much of what you’re arguing is irrelevant if we are building on assumptions about so many things.

            QUESTION #1- as you know, eyewitnesses describe an ancient BofA source text which is no longer extant. Textual criticism, eyewitnesses, etc. also indicate that the extant KEP, and later manuscripts, are reliant upon previously translated BofA text which is no longer extant. Thus, the KEP don’t represent BofA translation from any extant papyrus. Having that evidence, and other historical information, do you feel it’s honest for Critics (e.g. RFM/.Dehlin) to continue to claim you’ve translated the source of the BofA and have found it doesn’t contain anything about Abraham? Or, how do you feel about your interview running with the title “Dr. Robert Ritner – An Expert Egyptologist Translates the Book of Abraham Pt 1” when you’re really only sort of translating the vignettes and etc.? (And questions on those are to follow).

            Question #2– For Robert/RFM/Dehlin I’m sure you’re aware that the BofA shows a detailed relationship to ancient extra-Biblical Abrahamic lore (although you may be unaware of Muslim lore, celebrated or not) and, perhaps, some Ptolemaic influence. This indicates that either: a- Smith did a lot of BofA research (much of it before Chandler came to town) and was extremely fortunate to obtain vignettes that could be related to the previously-studied ancient extra-Biblical lore (some arguably unavailable to him) and the forthcoming BofA; OR b-someone anciently had access to Abrahamic records, etc. and created a record which Smith then converted to his language (“translated”). What is the best evidence supporting the logic of theory “a” rather than “b”? Or, is there anything from Egyptology that proves “a” and that isn’t based on assumptions about revelation etc.? If we could establish a real response to the apologist claims that an ancient person created an Abrahamic text which Joseph somehow tapped into (by direct revelation, or partial from papyri, or etc.), then more of what you’re saying will be shown to be relevant and we can move on in the search for truth… : ) Thanks

            Question #3 there are numerous ideas about the translation of the Facsimiles/Vignettes. Again, some of these fall outside of the realm of Egyptology (e.g. evidence indicates that the Fac. translation could have been a group project (including the term “we” in Fac. 2, etc.) and thus, it’s presumptuous to assign everything to Joseph and to base much of your video on your idea that the Facs. were said or thought to be attached to the missing long scroll (even though they could have been), etc.). Some may be related to Egyptology (e.g. if Joseph re-purposed the vignettes (rather than an ancient Egyptian or etc., then the ongoing discussions of the pillars/facade, heavenly Nile or earthly, 4 sons, Shinehah, etc. could still be relevant to Egyptology–depending on what “this subject” means or which “Egyptians” (Hor, J-red, or etc.). However, there are some theories that have support, are related to Egyptology, and have little attention. These should be solved before moving on e.g.:

            Actual Q #3–(One of several variants of Barney’s J-red theory): Some scholars believe Chandler’s mummies were the original owners of the papyri. Thus, the “old man” is Hor, etc. You seem to agree. To some of us (less learned), it seems evidence contradicts that. What chance is there that an ancient Jewish Egyptian, Greek Egyptian, Native Egyptian, or even Christian Egyptian, etc. could have repurposed the Breathing Permit (for brevity), associated it with a Ptolemaic or later BofA, and was entombed with it (or mummified it with someone else, etc.)? What is the strongest evidence against this?

            fn: if I fail to respond without an appropriate farewell, it means RFM has probably blocked me, or I could be dead etc.

          • @Joe Andrew Cook issued two rebuttals to the missing scroll theory. Gee tried to rebut the first one, but acquiesced to the response. JSP Project dealt the final fatal blow to the missing scroll theory. Any resurrection of it is contrary to evidence.

          • @Joe “some of these fall outside of the realm of Egyptology” the notion that funeral texts found inside the cavity of Egyptian mummies where funeral texts are stored is actually something completely different is laughable. There is zero evidence that supports this. All the artifacts can be tied to funeral texts. All of them. In fact if there were indeed completely separate unrelated documents crammed into a mummy, this would the first and only time ever. This is what happens when rather than people following the evidence, draw preconceived notions and try to contort portions of evidence into it.

    • You are literally arguing out of two sides of your mouth in your video. Basically that Joseph Smith was lying when he claimed it was written by the hand of Abraham and that he translated it.

      All of the evidence that directly references the Papyri and the Book of Abraham from the time of Joseph Smith do not in any way, shape or form support in any evidence, whatsoever, a catalyst theory. NO where in the history of evidence is there ANY reference at all that Joseph Smith or his associates believed that they were NOT translating what was on the Papyri.

      Dishonest Mormon Apologists have INVENTED an excuse NEVER MADE by Joseph Smith or his contemporaries. One that contradicts Joseph Smith’s own testimony. One that contradicts all evidence, facts AND reason and are holding it up this ginormous STRAW MAN they invented and are not trying to gaslight the world into injecting this 20th Century Strawman creation back into 1830’s Mormon History.

      The Catalyst theory is as much an invention of the 20th Century as the Book of Abraham is an invention of the 19th Century.

      Liars will claim they are anything but what the facts dictate they are.

      I invite you to stop lying to and misleading other men and start being honest and call on those dishonest apologists to also stop their lying and deceiving.

      If it makes you feel better, pretend the ask isn’t coming from me, but from God and Jesus Christ because you know they also want you to be honest.

      So if you won’t stop being dishonest for the sake of being honest, stop lying about the Book of Abraham for the sake of God, Jesus Christ or whatever religious belief you have that asks it’s adherents to be “Honest in dealing withe their fellow man” because right now, you and Muhlestein, Gee, et all are factually FAILING that question.

    • All I can say is Twenty Muhlestein Borax was never this cowardly in the old days……

  21. Well, surprise surprise, John Stories posted my comment but, unless your moderators are very slooow, it seems that RFM will bravely run away, lol: “Not because they are scared, mind you, but because that is not the way [critics dare to] discuss things.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Dehlin has my comment removed, and would be very very surprised if he actually dared come out and have an open public discussion where he isn’t in control and where everyday people can kindly confront and ask thoughtful questions that can’t simply be dismissed with a subject change or new question, etc.

  22. RFM
    I am disappointed in Kerry’s response. It is dialogue with Egyptologists that can peer review his and John’s assertions about the papyrus and translations that Joseph Smith claimed to have made that is important. He / Gee tell others they can’t have their perspectives taken seriously because they are not real Egyptologists but when a preeminent Egyptologist is in the discussion they will not have a direct dialogue back and forth with a non Mormon Egyptologist. This writing back and forth doesn’t work because Kerry and John often fail to address the overall criticism they and the Book of Abraham is given by scholars who can read Egyptian and they don’t submit their work on the BoA to outside Egyptologists for peer review. Then they say to Dr. Ritner who is an Egyptologist, he can’t comment on the BoA as it is a spiritual work.

    I’m hopeful that Kerry and John will respond eventually to and invitation to have a real time dialogue with a non Mormon Egyptologist and have people like you RFM or Dan Vogel in the room too to provide the LDS background of what they are saying so Dr. Ritner can get the context.

    To me it is doubtful this will happen as I presume they know that they will not be able to frame the narrative and pull out things that they see as faith sustaining and avoid focusing on the overall issues that modern scholarship absolutely shows that Joseph Smith was not doing what he claimed to be doing in translating Egyptian and the BoA is not an accurate document that has relation to the papyrus.

    I just wish that a count would be made of every error, a tally of each character, symbol, pictograph, alleged translation, explanation of how Egyptian works or alleged Egyptian word Joseph Smith or his scribes made and got wrong vs any partial credit JS may have for getting close. The ratio is probably on the order of 1000 : 1/2.

    On a side note we can get angry and responsive when we see a person with academic qualifications acting in ways we feel are unethical. Yet our ability to state their argument and reasons for holding that position elevate our commitment to dialogue and understanding. When the conflict is taken or gets personalized, I think we can lose a bit of our high ground.

    Thank you for your work!

  23. Cross-examining witnesses is one of the most effective tools to determine whether a witness’s testimony is reliable.

    Dr. Muhlestein and Dr. Gee will never appear in a podcast with RFM and Dr. Ritner because they don’t want to be cross-examined, which would lay bare their unreliability.

    No doubt, Dr. Muhlestein and Dr. Gee think it better to be thought unreliable then to open their mouths and remove all doubt, as the saying goes. Their pathetic dodges allow them to retain some plausible deniability, which is the best they can hope for. They cannot retain such in a free and open discussion with experts like Dr. Ritner.

  24. Dear Joe,

    I have transferred your initial post and my response to my Facebook page, where you are welcome to join in the fun.

    The comments here have sort of died out and I wanted to make sure as many of my listeners as possible have the chance to interact with your views and questions.

    https://www.facebook.com/Radio-Free-Mormon-100668634888237

    See you soon!

    RFM

    • Thanks for responding RFM. I know YouTube can be intimidating, and real conversations, but bravely posting my questions on your FB page was a big step forward. Are you going to eventually try to answer my questions? Just wondering? And, if u do, hopefully not with “watch 13 hours of us presuming” or “watch Dan Vogel” etc. 😊. I don’t mind references but you’re the authority, right? Even Robert asks you questions and builds on your answers. Is there a chance that he’s misleading a multitude because you’ve misled him? Science is one thing. True science is often wrong, but you’re leading people from good things and it seems there may be a lot of presumption involved in that.

      As I explained to one of your followers (who asked what I disagreed with from Ritner) I disagree with much of what Ritner says but, there’s no sense in quibbling over that when there’s a chance that his/RFM/Dehlin’s entire premise is false. This is why I’m hoping that, even if Ritner won’t respond, at least RFM believes in what he’s doing enough to try to answer and take a stand on the premises he builds on.
      So far, it seems you’re not really sure, not enough to have an open conversation. And, that’s ok. We all have questions. It’s ok to admit that. I don’t know the answers. Kerry seems confident enough to admit he doesn’t know. I respect him for that. You mock. If you have the answers to everything please share what you know about my first 3 questions and, once facts are established, we can move on from there as time permits.

      I’m really not intimidating and am completely willing to change my mind and to learn from anyone who is thoughtful 😊. Do you hesitate because you don’t really know? If so, you should admit that, and your followers should be thoughtfully questioning you. I’d respect that.

    • It’s ok 👍🏼 go ahead and take your time. I apologize if you’re feeling pressured. I shouldn’t have assumed you and the good Dr’s. would already have thoughts on this. 😊 Faithful LDS have been discussing the issues for quite a while but that doesn’t mean everyone does.

      • Joe, I don’t believe you are honest in changing your beliefs regardless of facts and evidence. That said, here you go.

        Evidence does NOT support a 4 scroll theory. It would have to be a four scroll theory because we have 2 of the scrolls. There isn’t any mention of 4 scrolls. There is tons of historical eyewitness evidence of 2 scrolls which no one can deny are the two scrolls we have. There is a TON of eyewitness evidence that the scrolls representing the Book of Abraham and Book of Jospeh were mounted in glass. Are the two scrolls we have access today mounted in glass? Did Mother Smith hold up these two scrolls mounted in glass to visitors as the Books of Abraham and Joseph? Yes she did according to MULTIPLE accounts.
        Did Oliver Cowdery in the Church Newspaper at the time make direct descriptions to the Book of Joseph Papyri that are exact descriptions of one of the Papyri we have now? Yes he did. He did not describe 4 scrolls either.
        Do the KEP directly tie to the papyri to the Book of Abraham? Yes they do. They die exact wrongly sequential characters from the Papyri we have to the Book of Abraham.
        Do the journal entries and church history of the time correspond and describe the Egyptian Alphabet, that Joseph Smith created and the translation papers in the KEP we have from the scribes? Yes they do.
        Is Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Alphabet literal bullcrap? Yes it is. It’s false.
        Are the translations of Facsimile 1 by Joseph Smith false?
        Yes they are. Are you honest enough to admit they are false?
        Are the translation of Facsimile 2 by Joseph Smith false?
        Yes they are. Are you honest enough to admit they are false?
        Are the translation of Facsimile 3 by Joseph Smith false?
        yes they are. Are you honest enough to admit they are false?

        Basically Joe, unless you will honestly state what the facts dictate, and that is, Joseph Smith’s translations and interpretations of Facsimile, 1, 2 and 3 are false, then we know for a fact, we are dealing with a dishonest individual.

        State those three translations by Joseph Smith are false, then we’ll have some evidence that you are honestly approaching this.

        • Name withheld. You’re getting ahead of RFM. He seems to be bravely pondering Pt 1-2 posted a few days ago. Pt3 below is for him but it should answer some of your assertions. You can reply to this with questions/disagreements.
          Others I’m waiting on, so we don’t get distracted from foundational critical assumptions but, for example, multiple eyewitnesses accurately described an intact separate long roll AFTER the extant fragments were mounted under glass. The Facs were considered to be part of the BofA. The fragments are not long rolls or even short rolls but are fragments. They could have been attached to the long roll, or included with, or etc.

          • I’d be interested in your evidence for the longer scroll that date from that time.
            I’m also waiting for you to confirm the facts of the other questions above.

  25. Brilliant! The “Brave Sir Kerry” angle is perfect. In a way, the most disturbing aspect of this is the self-righteous and pious Muhlenstein now recommending a possibility for the BOA on the basis of which he earlier questioned a colleague’s (Bokovoy) “orthodoxy”, resulting in that colleague losing his employment. It’s utterly disgusting. As for this response of his as a whole, as you so aptly demonstrate, it’s beyond ridiculous.

  26. RFM – If one of the goals of your podcast is to help Mormons understand and believe the accurate historical and scientific challenges to their faith’s narrative, I support you in this goal. However, I believe you are making a serious mistake with this episode and ones like it. Are you open to hearing this critique?

    In my opinion one of the things Kerry M is doing in his post on “The Interpreter” is criticizing your podcast with Robert Ritner as being an example of ‘low level discourse’ and ‘unbecoming of effective academic and scholarly exchange.’ In short I think he is calling your Ritner podcast rude and unprofessional. I think he is, on this topic, completely correct.

    Like you, I see the book of abraham and everything connected to it as delusional at best, fraudulent at worst. Even so, I was honestly embarrassed by the derisive tone, the mockery and what simply felt like immaturity in much of your Ritner interview. I agree with Kerry. This seems like a low level of discourse. I think most objective listeners would agree. Regardless of your opinion of the claims made, the tone was mostly sarcastic.

    Now, in your response to his “Interpreter” piece (IMO) you are side-stepping this warranted criticism by Kerry and either pretending it isn’t there and fair… or sincerely unaware of its reality. If you are unaware and simply don’t see it (the sarcasm) I can’t fault you. I would encourage you to consider this possibility and how the sarcasm weakens your position as a conveyor of truth. On the other hand, if you do recognize the sarcasm but want to deny, spin or otherwise divert attention from it… … you, sadly, have fallen into the same trap as the people you are lambasting.

    I support your goal of spreading as much accurate information to believing Mormons as possible. I am a paid subscriber. I feel you are sabotaging yourself by failing to own your sarcasm and acknowledging it as a weak tool of coercion. You are making yourself an easy and fair target.

    Maybe you think I am totally wrong. Maybe I am. I am happy to hear how and to change my position based on new and better information. If you don’t succeed in persuading me to change my opinion, I will continue to promote it as long as you will let me. I want your mission to succeed.

  27. In my Defense Pt 3 of Question 1-

    SIMPLIFICATION & REVIEW
    Correct if wrong : )
    You Critics dismiss those who accept the BofA as scripture, and you malign their defenders because:
    In spite of contrary evidence, you believe:
    A- all BofA sources are accessible and have nothing about Abraham and are incorrect.
    B- scripture must describe History as you see it.

    You support A with these assumptions previously shown to be false or tenuous:

    A-1: the KEP Parrish, etc. BofA manuscripts couldn’t be retrofit attempts because no LDS attempted such things (only Champollion, etc), and no one besides Joseph and Chandler (and Anthon and his learned?) would try to translate anyway, even though they clearly did.

    A-2: Joseph couldn’t translate a missing papyrus, even if he had one, because he created Cowdery’s Valuable Discovery and Phelp’s plea for help and mistranslated them, with his handwriting looking remarkably like theirs.

    You support A (all sources are accessible and translated) with these assumptions to be shown false or tenuous here, in Pt 3 of Q1:

    A-3: a-that the post October 1835 Parrish (or etc) BofA manuscript represents original translation by Joseph’s dictation directly from heaven; b-it’s not a retrofit attempt; c-and it’s aligned with accessible Hor BP characters, thus showing Joseph translated directly from the BP.

    A-4: Webster didn’t do it like that.

    You support A (all sources are accessible) with these assumptions to be discussed with my replies to the other 2 questions:

    A-5: contra evidence, the catalyst theory doesn’t work because a-Joseph never did anything like that, b-and he couldn’t be wrong about what he thought or said, c-and translation is what we say it is, not those involved.

    A-6: contra evidence, the Facsimiles prove Joseph couldn’t translate, so “case is closed” and minds are closed, regardless of anything else: the Facs. were “translated” as we insist they were: a-no group or “we” project ever happened, b-no intellectual studying it out (with or without JST-like Clarke references), c-no reapplication (ancient or modern), no J-red, no C-red, or JS or peer views allowed; d-no aesthetic changes in Fac 3 wording, e-no scribal errors, etc. etc. Nothing outside your narrative can possibly be true… : )

    Assumption B- (scripture must describe History as you see it), to be discussed when it comes up..

    PART 3 of Question 1, finally, yay, 😊

    You support A (all sources are accessible and translated) with these assumptions to be shown false or tenuous here:

    A-3: a-that the post October 1835 Parrish (or etc) BofA manuscript represents original translation by Joseph’s dictation directly from heaven; b-it’s not a retrofit attempt; c-and it’s aligned with accessible Hor BP characters, thus showing Joseph translated directly from the BP.

    ABSTRACT: the evidence indicates BofA translation began in early July; reliant EA, GAEL, etc. production followed in conjunction; Parrish became scribe Oct. 29; reliant extant manuscripts WWP then WP/FGW then WWP/WP and Richards, followed and were, evidently, a retrofit, reliant upon previously translated text; Parrish’s statement of scribing original translation from Joseph referred to post Oct 29 translations and not the extant copies; the alignment of Hor BP and other characters in the copies is not original translation; said character alignment, EA, GAEL, retrofit, etc. projects were most likely projects led by WWP but, even if Joseph, etc. directed some of the copying, “research,” etc. it doesn’t discredit his BofA translation.

    RFM/Ritner primary Assumption A-3: a-the post October 29 Parrish (etc) BofA 1:4-2:2 manuscript represents original translation by Joseph’s dictation directly from heaven to Parrish.

    Now that we know retro/reverse translations are reality, and also interest in creating an Adamic/Egyptian/Hebrew alphabet (they thought related), etc. HOW do we decide if WP 3 (JSPP “3. Warren Parrish Copy of Book of Abraham Manuscript” was a retrofit or original?

    We each create narratives to fit our thinking, but for examples, which of these (JN vs RN) is best supported by history and reason?: was it Chandler came to town; JS takes 2 “or more” scrolls home (OC maybe gets some fragments, maybe sees them as epitaphs etc or>) perhaps OC WWP take turns scribing that night (remember the History etc. entries are late, and perhaps secondhand); either way, at some point around July 3 Joseph sat down with WWP and OC as scribes and commenced the translation, with Joseph looking at a seer stone, as he had, and translating the characters on a BofA. Before or after, it’s decided that 1 or more scrolls (depending on whose memory) contain records “purporting” to originally be of Abraham and/or Joseph (created by, finished by, etc. Joseph); and the mummies are not Patriarchs. Before or after, MC insists they buy the unwanted mummies also, and translation is ongoing between travel, busy schedules, issues, etc. Parts of the BofA and a couple of excerpts from Joseph are finished before Nov. when Parrish is scribe. In the 2nd half of July work on Phelp’s, etc. EA/GAEL begins. This is also ongoing and in conjunction with BofA translation. They created the EA/GAEL (also called translating, but a different kind) under Phelp’s experienced direction (including the Hebrew, and Adamic/Egyptian, etc. as seen in his teachings, letters, etc. and his seeking for the gift of “science and languages”), and align various characters “to” previously translated BofA text,etc. which they included in the EA/GAEL. Toward the end of the EA someone interpreted Abr. 1:12’s “commencement of this record” as meaning the Hor BP text right next to Fac. 1. They record characters from the Hor BP, with other various characters (including WWP’s Adamic, if my memory serves me), etc. Finally, they align GAEL almost precisely with Abr. 1 text. In Nov., etc. Parrish is scribe, and records additional original BofA text directly from Joseph, and also works on the GAEL “research” or “science” or “translation” Rosetta project (probably intended to help others with their goals of translating) by taking turns, (or etc., see references) copying characters from the EA/GAEL, etc. and then reading from an original JS dictated BofA with FGW, and recording matching GAEL text in the “twin manuscripts” or “copy.” Thus, the twins are not the direct inspiration documents.

    OR, could it be an RN narrative: Smith, Phelps, etc. had long been researching Abrahamic lore and languages hoping to validate priesthood, very fortunately, July 3, MC brings papyri with vignettes matching this lore, JS feels pressured to perform (though he wouldn’t with Aztec, etc. thought to match the BofM, but would with Egyptian lookin Kinderhook (maybe using Phelp’s GAEL to decipher after getting nothin by rock…showing he actually believed in the stuff he made up, lol). They pay a bundle only wanting the papyri but not Onidah or the princess who found Moses or etc. Joseph announces the papyri, which we have, are records of Jos&Abr., sits on them until Parrish is Scribe in Nov., spends laborious days, starting late July, dictating various characters making up an EA/GAEL, counting, etc. adds various phrases from various existing sources and also, perhaps mainly, a nonexistent BofA, so he can later laboriously translate the papyri (apparently direct revelation by stone was out of style, or not, doesn’t matter, we’ve rendered case moot by PhD ;), sorry, I try…Joe King tho, lol…). When they get to the end of the EA, they realize Fac. 1 is at the beginning of the record, so grab some characters near Fac. 1 and record; then create a GAEL starting on pg. 15/16 where Smith dictates “This order should be preserved,” and some Hebrew (which he hasn’t yet studied) etc. and …Ah broam— a follower of righteousness,”
    “…Coming down from the begining…The first in lineage, or right…”etc. etc. & “from Chaldea I travelled to , etc. “Zip Zi.” (remember from the authentic Egytpian original Zeptah?) “The women sought to settle her sons in that land. she being the daughter of Ham,” etc. and they finally arrive at pg1 where they align it to the nonexistent BofA text and “dang,” says Smith, the Hebrew Beth means house and we have that all along associated with the nonexistent BofA Abr. 1 place of residence stuff, and looky here, we dun left it out…it’s gotta match the text we’re going to create when Parrish is here using these characters and stuff, we got the Iota as seeing, and everything else lines up just right with the text of the nonexistent BofA which we’ve referred to in various documents, etc. and the characters are from the papyri that the nonexistent text says is at the beginning, so yeah…let’s go back right before moving on and add notes all the way through in the spaces, etc. so it matches the forthcoming BofA, : )!”
    Then,face in hat (either looking over shoulders, or by powerpoint or chalkboard, etc.), in Nov. etc. Smith directs Phelps and Parrish to draw said characters, dissect, number, etc. to match the forthcoming nonexistent text (finally, yay!), that’s he’s memorized, and then wow!; direct from Heaven it all matches up with the words coming out of his hat. “Holy Kah-te-Min and ZePtah! Wow! Shiz-am!” say the very impressed and knowledgeable Phelps, Parrish, and Williams “profit threw & threw &c.! How’d he align that with the GAEL Hebrew in my handwriting without even looking at the GAEL? We better not make fun of him later on in Hebrew school!” Meanwhile, back in Sept, and etc. Cowdery is secretly adding Book of Joseph material to Blessings, etc. and Phelps already added more nonexistent BofA material to the GAEL, etc. along with some previously translated OTHER stuff, etc. (only OTHER stuff was previous, only BofA not, correct?), not to mention that someone at some point, before all this excitement, added BofA material to the D&C, etc. and so on and on. : ) Did I get that right? He does this with only a few errors e.g. he receives an entire paragraph directly from heaven twice (easy to read that wrong because started with the same line in the nonexistent original so…yeah, or I mean, reveal it wrong as Richards records but WP not hearing that); or e.g. they hear Regular rather than Royal (easy to reveal that wrong, because g and y look alike when dictated from heaven, good thing Joseph saw them and corrected on the fly after a double check the hat ;)); and so on.

    SO,HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHICH which is more REASONABLE and historical? We can think with our Mormon “half a brain” : ), and also check the Historical record with our other half… : ) Even Robert and maintenance people can do this (in spite of degrees or lack) : ).

    Evidence indicates there were at least 2 interrelated projects and that the “direct inspiration” translation mentioned by Parrish wasn’t a reference to the extant manuscripts, but a reference to a later translation session when he was scribe. The recorded sequence (supported by textual criticism and other evidence) shows:

    ​”…On the 3rd. of July…Chandler came to Kirtland…two or more rolls of papyrus”

    July 6th, 1835 certificate from chandler that Joseph’s translation is as good as the learned.

    July 3-6 or 6-8 Joseph sat down with WWP and OC as scribes and “…commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics…” and translated enough to know there was a book of “Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc.”
    This may have been by seer stone, face in hat, and not looking at papyri (which doesn’t mean God put words in his mouth, but seems to be more a search for the past and putting it into his own language, or a “co-creative” project as Mike Ash suggested for the BofM, with its abundant evidence). Either way, evidence indicates this was not Joseph dictating characters to record in margins and then studying, etc.
    It’s logically honest to conclude that something was recorded by the two scribes, that some of that included text from Abraham and Joseph, and that Parrish wasn’t there.

    July 1835
    “” (&c.= >?) “The remainder of this month…engaged in translating an alphabet TO the Book of Abraham, and arrangeing a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients.”

    Note, the sequence of events, they translated portions of the BofA, and then translated/created an EA/GAEL TO the BofA. This part clearly involved WWP and was likely led by him (as evidenced by Hebrew, arrangement, etc.). The EA, in spite of what Vogel used to argue, contains BofA material, but, in agreement with Vogel, the EA/GAEL have “nothing to do with the translation of the BofA.” This is because they are derived from it and other previous materials.

    We continue to get statements such as this before Parrish was involved:

    7 October 1835
    “This afternoon, recommenced translating the Ancient Records.”

    We can see when Parrish started adding notes in the EA/GAEL after Oct. As late as October 1, 1835 we’re still getting this “This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet (EA), in company with brsr. (OC &WWP) and during the research the principles of Astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients was unfolded.” Parrish apparently wasn’t present for this, but many of the later astronomy entries were his. This indicates that brsr. O. Cowdery and W. W. Phelps likely recorded what was unfolded, and Parrish, in November, or after, transferred to the EA, etc. Note: go ahead and jump to conclusions on astronomy : ), thanks.

    And after Parrish was scribe:
    “20 Nov. …translating…Cowdery returned… [with] Hebrew Books.” (Note, Joseph hadn’t yet studied Hebrew, and Pratt poked fun of his ineptitude with languages when he later attended Hebrew school, they clearly understood that his seer stone gift only applied to things revealed, or etc. the rest was up to his less educated human brain).

    Then, again, another kind of translating:
    26 Nov….Spent the day in translating Egyptian characters from the Papyrus: though severly afflicted …reading Hebrew. Bro Parish …being afflicted…asked…in return I asked him to lay his hands on me, and we were both relieved,” (again, others with gifts).

    You can go through all of that, check word order, copying errors, development of ideas, etc. and think, ponder, etc. all by yourself. And, and if you’re running short on time, others have gone before. However you choose, the evidence indicates the TWIN and WWP/WP Manuscripts were retrofits and copies, reliant upon the original for BofA text. Also, the 1840s BofA was reliant on a now missing text, you may read about that in the references below. Lindsay has done excellent work on this, and read the marathon comments with Vogel, etc. and also comments on Lindsay’s Interpreter article where Vogel was courageous enough, and somewhat open minded enough, to show (without admitting) that he’d changed his stance on some things based on evidence presented on Mormanity.

    Mormanity:
    “The Twin BOA Manuscripts: A Window into Creation o…”
    “Kirtland’s Rosetta Stone? The Importance of Word Order…”
    “The Twin Book of Abraham Manuscripts: Do They Reflect…”

    And comments here and the rejoinder on the Interpreter:
    “THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPERS AND THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM: A RESPONSE TO RECENT REVIEWS”

    In CONCLUSION: the evidence: shows that Gee and others were correct in presenting an early translation date. The D&C, EA/GAEL, Blessings, etc. predating Parrish all show reliance on BofA text (and some on Joseph). The EA/GAEL were created after the BofA and other texts, were reliant upon those other texts, were not used to translate the BofA but were a product of it and the extant Parish manuscripts (with the Hor BP, and various other characters) were created after, and reliant upon one of the other preceding copies of the BofA (perhaps one of those described by witnesses). This supports my narrative that the characters in the margins were a retrofit attempt.

    ALSO, we know Joseph was scribe on part of the EA, but don’t know how, or if, he was involved with the GAEL as far as selecting Hor BP characters to align to previously translated BofA text. If he was involved, there’s no need to fault him any more than anyone else. An incautious reading of the text would lead him to think just like anyone else. He’s not omniscient, as Critics believe.

    There’s additional evidence that the GAEL project was not his, to be discussed as needed.
    Just ask, thanks : )

    AND-
    A-3: b-it’s not a retrofit attempt; and A-3: c-and it’s aligned with accessible Hor BP characters, thus showing Joseph translated directly from the BP.”
    Guess we covered a,b, and c. Good, that was long.

    A-4: Webster didn’t do it like that.
    If you, John and Ritner were there to tell them, maybe they would have done it your way…but seems Webster did, and others, but that means nothing to me.

    Let me know if you want further discussion on A-3 (guessing you will, and I’m here for you :))
    Moving on to the others ASAP (still have life, family, job, house issues so yeah, but I’m here for you..:).

  28. Not sure what Joe is talking about. I also not sure how I could be “courageous” and “open minded” but “without admitting” that I had changed my mind about something. Sure, I could do that, but what I encountered on Mormanity was some very poor apologetics.

    • On YouTube Joes claims that evidence put forth by Lindsey has changed your mind.

      …faced with overwhelming evidence, Dan has recently changed some of his views on the GAEL (although his videos and comments may not reflect that- I’ll check your link ASAP to see). The GAEL has been shown to be reliant upon the BofA. He has agreed that Abr 1:1-3 are reliant (he can still work the narrative with only that, as illogical as it is). As I said explained to RFM (who’s MIA) Also, the 1840s BofA was reliant on a now missing text, you may read about that in the references below. Lindsay has done excellent work on this, and read the marathon comments with Vogel, etc…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gie2y16BsDg&lc=UgxWU4aGS46RZkXhsq14AaABAg.9D8rg7Mlr5O9DEIdsm07o7

      • Joe is so busy bouncing around the internet claiming I am MIA, he doesn’t see that I replied on my FB page and now on YouTube.

        Thanks for pointing that out!

        My response is simple:

        “Joseph Smith could not translate Egyptian. Facsimile 3 alone tells us this. The rest is just excuses. Sorry, Joe.”

  29. Thanks, RFM I appreciate your response (finally🙄 😉and only one paragraph but that’s ok😉 ). I’ve probably studied Critical materials as much as, or more than, the apologetic. I believe dialogue is wonderful, and would love it if John G., Kerry, and Robert could find a mutually agreeable way to work together. It will speed progress. And, as we continue with our dialogue : ), if you’re willing, please keep in mind that, due to my cheery disposition, much of what I say is jestful jousting. Boredom sucks.

    It has been shown that Ritner, you, and Dehlin have been misleading and not very thorough before rushing in. Let’s think it through together, and see what happens. Your response so far (to the evidence showing that you/Ritner/Dehlin have been misleading)is to insist Joseph couldn’t translate. The evidence supports that Joseph could and did translate. He could not read Hebrew in 1835 (thus the Hebrew school) or Egyptian (thus the GAEL), or translate by secular means (thus Kinderhook), etc but he did produce scriptural translations of texts written in those or related ancient languages. There is abundant evidence for the BofM and it stands firmly, against all attacks, as evidence for Christ. So far, the same seems true for the BofA.

    RFM Answer #1 is not supported by evidence, and is based on false assumptions, as shown by the evidence presented so far. (There is strong evidence supporting: that there’s missing papyrus (@VfanRJ, Smith/Cook’s measurements only apply to a certain theory (Hor or etc. had the BofA on the rest of the BP) and are irrelevant at this time, but we can discuss later if desired); that the EA/GAEL were retrofit to previously created BofA text; that the extant manuscripts with characters in the margins AND the Richards manuscript do not represent original translation and are reliant upon missing manuscripts; etc.)

    Answer #2 could this possibly be intentionally misleading, just a tad? Seems worded so the less informed will believe that all ancient BofA material is “found in sources that were available to Joseph Smith.” And that “The LDS Church essay even acknowledges this in the final footnote.” You know that reading is false, if you’ve read the essay, FAIR, Hauglid, Gee, etc.

    RFM’s Answer #3 We haven’t discussed this yet, but (in reply to yesterday’s paragraph), as with other BofA criticisms, it’s based on unproven assumptions and faulty misleading conclusions. Apparently, you’re now supporting all anti-BofA claims (and mocking of apologetic religious minorities :)) on this assumption: “Facsimile 3, where Joseph Smith …is here not just giving explanations of vignettes, he is actually claiming to translate the Egyptian writing above the heads of the pictured individuals… In every instance, Joseph Smith gets it wrong. Even LDS Egyptologists agree on this…What we know from this is that Joseph Smith could not translate Egyptian.”

    Again, worded with the appearance of honesty, yet a bit standoffish as far as reality.
    “In every instance, Joseph Smith gets it wrong,” is a misleading assumption.
    “Even LDS Egyptologists agree on this” is a misleading assumption, etc.
    The Facsimile “EXPLANATION” doesn’t claim to translate the text above the heads or even hands, etc. He/she/they (the editor and/or “we” explaining/translating) say that the figures were “represented” by, named, and “as written” above their hands etc.
    There are several logical explanations for the Facsimile explanations (defined as a translation by “we” in Fac 2). Some will melt snowflakes, and “Fraud! Fraud!!” might be exclaimed, even though it’s not fraud if “they” believed in Egyptomanian Victorian/19th C. Science (isn’t that what we’re pressured to do today, accept your pseudoscience?). Nor is it dishonest for subsequent leaders to misunderstand: e.g. this isn’t my favorite theory but perhaps, as with Kinderhook, Joseph got nothing from “Heaven” on the included Vignettes (other than a text reference, or not, could be added but not likely), so assumed they were to use their God given brains at this point. So, they (the “we” translators) broke out the GAEL and Clarke, and etc., building on the science of Kircher (as Ritner implies) and having heard of Champollion (as Ritner denies- being foremost renowned expert in Church History ;), just messin brave Sir, really do love you but gotta have fun..) and they came up with something they felt was valid.

    HOWEVER, currently (until you or Robert, etc. can show otherwise by supporting your claims in your interview with evidence that goes beyond “cause we say so” : )), the missing redactor theory best explains the evidence. Which, when time permits, leads to Pt 4-6. And, hopefully you’re willing to continue with dialogue (especially before running off to further destroy faith and families…)

  30. Joe is delusional. We have always proposed that Abraham 1:1-3 were dictated first early in the process possibly in July 1835. It appears in W. W. Phelps’s handwriting followed by Warren Parrish’s for Abr. 1:4-2:18. Parrish wasn’t hired as a scribe until Late October 1835. This is nothing new and this chronology has not changed. It’s possible that JS dictated Abr. 1:1-3 to Phelps before the first three pages of the GAEL were composed explaining the text and characters in terms of Egyptian grammar. There are a number of brief lectures on grammar in the GAEL that were not in the Alphabets, but the characters and their explanations were in them. However, the remainder of the GAEL came before JS dictated Abr. 1:4-2:18, which probably occurred on 19-20 and 24-25 November 1835.

    On page 2 of the GAEL the first character in the margin of WWP’s transcription of Abr. 1:1-3 is dissected into several parts and explanations given to each part that coincides with Abr. 1:1. Joe argued that the order of explanation follows the elements of the passage as JS dictated it and Joe believed this was evidence that the text existed prior to the creation of the GAEL. He further noted that a character part named Bethka, which appears last with a note that it should be inserted above between Iota and Zub Zool oan, which harmonizes it with the text of Abr. 1:1.

    This last comment, in my view, destroyed his argument. I wrote: “You haven’t explained how moving Bethka on page 2 of the Grammar tells us something about the order of translation. Bethka was not “placed … in the wrong spot throughout,” only in the fifth degree. It had to be added with notes to all other degrees. This implies that it wasn’t thought of until they reached the fifth degree, which would be unusual if WWP was working off a pre-existing Abraham text. There is a good reason Bethka wasn’t used until then.”

    “It isn’t until they got to the 3-page lecture on grammar that begins the fifth degree that the three hieratic characters that WWP wrote in the margin of his translation manuscript appear in the same order. The first two, the reed and w-loop characters, are from the beginning of JSP XI and the third would have appeared in the hole in the papyrus, which was actually taken from one of the columns flanking Fac. 1. They are all defined in the Alphabets. The first two were copied at the end of the Alphabets and defined as referring to Chaldea and Abraham. The third comes from part 3 of the Alphabets and was copied from column 2 next to Fac. 1. In the fifth degree the reed character is dissected into its constituent parts and meanings given each part. Combining the elements of the various definitions of these three characters, Joseph Smith dictated the text of Abra. 1:1-3, which WWP recorded in the translation book. Following JS’s dictation, Bethka was moved to align with the translation, and then added to the other degrees. This is the most likely scenario.”

    The marathon happened when Joe tried to save his theory. So Joe’s is spewing nonsense when he asserts that I changed my position when faced with overwhelming evidence.

    • Dan, thanks so much for weighing in. Great to have a more knowledgeable scholar (vs Robert, etc). I was referring to you expressing an understanding that the GAEL draws on Abr. 1:1-3. Knowing that the GAEL is a product of the BofA and other texts is an important step, even a wee one (working up to Abr. 1: 1–?) and etc. I may have been mistaken, but was under the impression that you previously felt the GAEL had nothing to do with the translation of the BofA, and that the early July translation was only to find names (not Abr 1:1-?), and the EA/GAEL didn’t contain significant BofA text and don’t have anything to do with the BofA (so, contrary to other critics, the GAEL wasn’t used to create the BofA?), and the fact that Bethka had to be inserted to match BofA text shows that the translation came after, etc. and therefore the BofA would be dependent upon the GAEL, if anything? It’s a bit confusing—but, still, I apologize if I’ve misrepresented, and will make an effort to better represent your thinking, once I understand.

      And, since we have always been in agreement (funny, how we didn’t see it), and still agree that the GAEL was partially drawn from a previously translated Abr. 1:1-?, there’s no need to waste more time discussing the elements that prove what we agree upon (Bethka being forgotten, etc. etc.). And, since it seems you agree that the GAEL was made for Joseph’s peers, and not for the translation(?), and etc. I think it’s best to pick up at showing the EA/GAEL were likely retrofit to elements from the BofA beyond Abr. 1:4, and not proven to be otherwise.

      It will save time if we’re clear at the beginning so, again, what leads you to wisely and bravely disagree with C. Smith, and other critics and agree with those who feel that part of the GAEL was drawn from Abr. 1:1-3? And, what evidence leads you to claim the situation is reversed after Abr. 1:3? I.e. that Abr. 1:4 was created from the GAEL or after the GAEL but not from it, etc.?

      And, thanks again : ).

  31. Please don’t lie to make your point, Joe.

    That’s what Mormon apologists do.

    • RFM, this reminds me of a scene in the Holy Grail, have you seen that? ; ) Just kidding my friend, I’m sure you’re working on continuing the dialogue about your/Robert/Dehlin’s misleading assumptions and reliant false conclusions. I don’t expect an apology or anything, just thoughts, or you can simply correct where I’m wrong. Simple logic works best with me, thanks. I look forward to hearing what you think about keeping an open mind on the Facs. (and the idea that maybe they studied the Facs. and came up with something, etc.) and if it was a simple oversight to claim or imply such things as: only Joseph would translate or lead such a project; there are no examples of retrofit (Dan’s videos probably still insist that only Joseph would do such things and thus he led the entire GAEL project, etc.); the VD was in Joseph’s hand, Phelp’s plea to the Green Mountain Boys was actually Joseph claiming to be able to read Egyptian, etc. If you don’t have time, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on the most important elements of our conversations thus far. E.g. keeping an open mind on the Facs. (since you now seem to base so much on only that?).
      Thanks : ). Pt 4-6 below ASAP—or somewhere (lotsa yard work for the holiday 😥), including summary so you can respond there, or here, whichever : ).

  32. Actually, decided to do a quickie before heading out, hoping to get this movin😋 –

    In my Defense Pt 5-6

    REVIEW
    Correct where wrong : )
    RFM/Robert/Dehlin, etc. justify dismissing those who accept the BofA as scripture, and maligning their defenders, because:
    In spite of contrary evidence, you had insisted (but no longer do?)that:

    A- all BofA sources are accessible and are incorrect; and Joseph couldn’t translate.
    B- scripture must describe History as you see it.

    The evidence currently (and sometimes strongly)supports: that there’s missing papyrus; that the EA/GAEL were retrofit to previously created BofA text; that the extant manuscripts with characters in the margins AND the Richards manuscript do not represent original translation and are reliant upon missing manuscripts; etc.

    You deny this by falsely claiming/implying you’ve supplied evidence to prove:

    A1: 1-4 we should pretend unavailable Abrahamic lore, BofA (and BofM) support, and accurate eyewitness descriptions of now missing papyrus (and other evidence) don’t exist (because that evidence doesn’t fit the Critical narrative? is that it? so confused at the moment), etc.; there were no retrofit attempts by anyone; only Joseph would translate and he therefore dictated the GAEL, EA (including to himself) and twin manuscripts with characters (again, remember, in spite of evidence which you, so far, haven’t addressed); the Cowdery, etc. VD were in Joseph’s hand; WWP’s plea to the GMB was Joseph’s, and in it he claimed to know Egyptian (rather than just phrases by tongues, GAEL, study, gift, or etc.); the extant manuscripts represent the original BofA translation and weren’t retrofit attempts.

    As I write this I haven’t seen any clear discussion of that evidence. Therefore- I’m left to believe that you understand A:1-4 don’t actually support your claims and do not provide evidence that Joseph couldn’t translate or that there is no missing papyrus.

    A5 CATALYST
    The evidence supports that JS could translate ancient records (BofM, missing John, etc.) without them actually being present and open to the appropriate plate, etc. There is abundant evidence to support the BofM, and sufficient to support the BofA, etc.

    A5: there are several BofA catalyst translation theories. Most don’t work for me (but no reason to mock and malign supporters, especially without really hearing their cases). And, since the evidence for a missing papyrus still stands (as I’ve discussed since A:1, not just “now” as you claim in your latest almost-response ; )…but notice I don’t reduce my responses to diverting with “don’t lie RFM, that’s what Critics do”;)), there’s no need to discuss those that do work at this point (should have been A6, maybe). However, by way of preparing, I’ll mention that, if the evidence supports the BofA but not the missing papyrus theory, then it really doesn’t matter if Joseph saw ancient text in vision, received BofA text by stone, etc. etc. and assumed it was from the papyrus he purchased. If mistaken beliefs constitute fraud, then you/Ritner/Dehlin are guilty all day long. : ) No offense, just sayin, obviously ; )

    A6: I’ve mentioned several theories that, as yet, fit the evidence for the Facsimiles. Some of that will follow for future discussions, as needed. But, currently the best explanation for the facsimiles is they were multi-use or re-appropriated by Smith, J-red, C-red, etc. For brevity, I’ll speak of Joseph as the translator (“we” for later) and go with a derivative of Barney’s Jred (although borrowing may have been more common for Christians..I know, let’s ask Robert…). Let’s see where Jred takes us in our quest for truth (again, prove me wrong, and I’m happy to eliminate Jred and, thereby, move closer to truth, but please don’t waste time with diversions, accusations, drama, or “my friend Dan is going to demolish you” sorta things, etc. ; ) lol (please do demolish my theories if you really can, no sense in wasting time holding false ideas)):

    Fac. 1 says “in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shaumau.”

    This, as yet (in spite of mediocre efforts ;)) still may imply a Jewish redactor. What evidence is there that we aren’t getting Jred’s personal views in the “EXPLANATION”s for the Facs.?

    A6 alternate theories for future discussion: Contrary to evidence, you claim the Facsimiles prove Joseph couldn’t translate a BofA or Mormon, etc, so “case is closed” and minds are closed, regardless of anything else: the Facs. were “translated” as you insist they were: a-no group or “we” project ever happened or is possible, b-no intellectual studying or working (with or without JST-like Clarke references), c-no reapplication (ancient or modern): no J-red, no C-red, or JS or peer views allowed; d-no aesthetic changes in Fac 3 wording possible, e-no scribal errors, f- no one else would be trusted to translate, etc. etc. Nothing outside your narrative can possibly be true… : )

    Assumption B- (scripture must describe History as you see it, not as Jred, etc. etc. saw it), to be discussed when it comes up…

    One previous example for alternate to Jred, etc. or
    RFM’s Answer #3 …Apparently, you’re now supporting all anti-BofA claims (and mocking of apologetic religious minorities :)) on this assumption: “Facsimile 3, where Joseph Smith …is here not just giving explanations of vignettes, he is actually claiming to translate the Egyptian writing above the heads…”
    Again, worded with the appearance of honesty, yet a bit standoffish as far as reality.
    “In every instance, Joseph Smith gets it wrong,” is a misleading assumption.
    “Even LDS Egyptologists agree on this” is a misleading assumption, etc.
    The Facsimile “EXPLANATION” doesn’t claim to translate the text above the heads or even hands, etc. He/she/they (the editor and/or “we” explaining/translating) say that the figures were “represented” by, named, and “as written” above their hands etc.
    There are several logical explanations for the Facsimile explanations (defined as a translation by “we” in Fac 2). Some will melt snowflakes, and “Fraud! Fraud!!” might be exclaimed, even though it’s not fraud if “they” believed in Egyptomanian Victorian/19th C. Science (isn’t that what we’re pressured to do today, accept your pseudoscience?). Nor is it dishonest for subsequent leaders to misunderstand: e.g. this isn’t my favorite theory but perhaps, as with Kinderhook, Joseph got nothing from “Heaven” on the included Vignettes (other than a text reference, or not, could be added but not likely), so assumed they were to use their God given brains at this point. So, they (the “we” translators) broke out the GAEL and Clarke, and etc., building on the science of Kircher (as Ritner implies) and having heard of Champollion (as Ritner denies- being foremost renowned expert in Church History ;), just messin brave Sir, really do love you but gotta have fun..) and they came up with something they felt was valid.

    HOWEVER, currently, the missing redactor theory best explains the evidence.

  33. There is no redactor, Joe.

    That is why he is “missing.”

    Because he never existed.

    Except in the imagination of some BOA apologists.

    Why did this “missing redactor” have to be created?

    Because Joseph Smith couldn’t translate Egyptian.

    • The redactor theory, as with the theories of gravity, evolution, and relativity, was formulated because it explains evidence. It can, in some ways, be tested and is, so far, holding strong 😊

      Why were the Joseph did it or didn’t (regardless of evidence but depending on which narrative Critics are trying to prop up); Robert is always right so don’t ask questions (regardless of evidence); etc theories developed? Because Joseph translated the BofM and BofA and the evidence for them stands firmly and the only way to gain RFM/Robert/Dehlin followers is to hide that with spin and fake news. 😊

      Dehlin has apparently instructed his moderators to block anything further showing truths about RFM/Robert/Dehlin’s false claims. You respond by tooting in my general direction and telling Dan on me 😉 😂
      It has been fun, and thanks for at least allowing my comments to stay here…so far. And, lest u start blocking me also, I want your misguided followers to know that, I’ll try to check back, and if RFM comes up with valid evidence supporting his claims or proving mine false, I’ll acknowledge truth as it comes.
      Have a great day and love y’all. ❤️❤️😊😊

  34. Joe, I’ve already explained this to you in vast detail. Your “wee step” is a quibble about nothing. You inadvertently gave a good reason for believing the GAEL came before Abr. 1:1-3. But even if the Abr. 1:1-3 existed before the lecture on grammar was composed, that wouldn’t be a problem to my argument that the EA/GAEL were not dependent on the BofA because the content of the BofA is not recapitulated in them. One is not dependant on the other. While there was no doubt an overlap the basic chronology is: Valuable Discovery notebooks > Egyptian Alphabets > GAEL > BofA. In other words, there is a direction of development, rather than a reworking of content. I review this for others who might be interested.

    The valuable Discovery notebooks contain copies of the fragments of the Amenhotep Book of the Dead, which JS translated as the epitaph of princess Katumin, who lived long after Abraham.

    The Egyptian Alphabets have five parts: Part 1 discusses the identity of the mummies, the Egyptian royal line, princess Katumin and her mother, and the discovery of Egypt by a woman while it was still under water. It translates characters from the Amenhotep fragments and Ta-sherit-Min papyrus, which was found on the breast of the female mummy. Although the information about the founding of Egypt will later be reflected in Abr. 1:23-24, it is important to note that at this point it pertains to the lineage of Katumin and her mother, who lived centuries after Abraham. Part 2 deals with the pure language project that predated the purchase of the papyri and mummies, but after about thirteen characters it starts using characters copied from column 3 on JSP I, which flanks Fac. 1. None of this material deals with the BofA as dictated in Ohio, but builds on the pure language project: grades of heavenly beings, grades of humans, grades of planets. Parts 3-5 continue to copy characters from the columns on JSP I. JS’s explanations of the characters stop partway through part 2, except one character in part 3 taken from column 2 of JSP I, which is named Ki Ah broam brah-oam zub zool oan, and two characters at the end of the Alphabets, taken from the beginning of JSP XI, defined as “The land of the Chaldees” and “Ah-brah oam, father of the faithful.” These three last characters were used in the margin of WWP’s transcription. So this would suggest that Abraham came at the end of the EA project.

    The GAEL deals only with parts 1 and 2, expanding the definitions in five degrees of meaning. The three characters mentioned above appear in the grammar lectures that preface the expanded Alphabet material as well as in the margin of WWP’s transcription of Abr. 1:1-3. That no other characters from the BofA manuscripts appear in the GAEL indicates that it was composed before Abr. 1:4-2:18 was dictated, probably in November 1835.

    So, except for the three characters that appear in the margin of WWP’s transcription of Abr. 1:1-3, the EG/GAEL deal with characters not from JSP XI and therefore not part of the BofA. This is a serious challenge to the Nibley/Gee/Muhlestein apologetic that the EG/GAEL were created by reverse engineering the BofA.

    • 🧡Dan, my friend, seems you stepped forward, but some back also. You may have contributed more than any other Critic (at least) to understanding the EA/GAEL, etc. You also have a lot vested, which may discourage open investigation.

      But, truth will prevail…sooner or later, whether you’re part of it or not.

      You seemed to know the GAEL drew from Abr. 1:1-3. You’re correct if you know the GAEL wasn’t a catalyst. We agree, it had “nothing to do with” translating the BofA and was not created “for” creating the BofA translation (as other Critics still insist). We both see Katumin material in the EA, likely originating from the Valuable Discovery Notebooks (unless the VDN draws from something else, but not likely), and Pure Language material, etc, so we logically conclude the EA/GAEL draw from them.

      You also know that, if we have BofA material in the EA/GAEL, then the same reasoning will naturally apply i.e. the EA/GAEL draws from the BofA. But, then, it seems, you consciously or unconsciously turn blind eyes to the BofA material, which permeates the EA/GAEL. i guess I can understand this, you have a lot on the line. So, then, you conclude that “the EA/GAEL were not dependent on the BofA because the content of the BofA is not recapitulated in them.”

      HOWEVER, it’s clear that the author(s) of the EA/GAEL had access to BofA source material beyond Abr.1:3 and drew upon it. They may have even understood the story beyond the creation drama, etc.
      Thus, the reasonable timeline should be closer to: Pure Language, etc.>BofA and Joseph material (early July as the record indicates)>Valuable Notebooks> EA>GAEL material created “to” existing BofA material> more BofA material> GAEL “research”>BofA astronomy>GAEL 5th degree 2nd part, etc. etc. > EA/GAEL characters aligned with the copied (read) BofA “twin manuscripts.”

      The EA/GAEL includes BofA material throughout, beginning with creation etc.:

      “The first Being; The first man; having greater dominion; Royal blood, or Pharaoh; virgin;
      The earth; under, water; Iota to see; Egypt. The land first seen, by a woman, under water; Reign, government, right, Kingdom; The begining; In the beginning of the earth, or Creatio; as light in the earth; from the fi[r]st; etc. and “Beth man’s first residence; saw; fathers; saw; Bethka the greatest place of happiness; Zubzooloan; Ahbrahaam, a father of many nations a prince of peace, & one who keeps the commandments of God. A patriarch a rightful heir, a highpriest; Coming down from the beginniug— right by birth— and also by blessing, and by promise; a father of many nations; a prince of peace; one who keeps the commandment of God; a patriarch; a rightful heir; a high priest; The first man, or Adam coming from Adam. Kings or right over Patriarchal right by appointment….Kah tou mun, a distinction of Royal lineage …from her whom Egypt was discovered while it was under water, who was the daughter of Ham…a true desendant from Ham, the son of Noah, and inheritor of the Kingly blessings from under the hand of Noah, but not according to the priestly blessing, because of the transgressions of Ham, which blessing fell upon Shem from under the hand of Noah; …Iota having seen; The land of Egypt which was first discovered by a woman , and afterwards settled by her Sons she being a daughter of Ham…land by enriched by being overflown low marshy ground; Patriarchal government; …or order given to the patriarchs or fathers; …a people living under the law of the gospel; A priestly government; …In the reign of Adam; in the days of the first patriarchs; in the days of Noah; in the blessings of Noah; in the blessings of the children of Noah; in the first blessings of men; …going up to the altar to worship; From the beginning of the creation until now; Abraham…sent by commandment into the Land of Canaan; Having preached the gospel unto the heathen, was forewarned of God to go down into Ah=meh= strah, or Egypt, and preach the gospel …chronology of the patriarchs the right of the priesthood,…by promise, begining at Abraham signifying the promises made to Abraham saying through thy fruits, or the seed of thy loins, the gospel shall be preached, unto all the seed meaning from Noah and unto all the kindreds of the earth; Ah=brah broam— Father of the faithful. The first right— The elder; Kolob in the first degree, It signifies the first great grand governing fixed Star …etc.
      They associated that with characters, perhaps guessing at appropriate locations. Phelps, the “Mormon Linguist,” seems to have led, and understood not just the Hebrew words (e.g. Beth) but their Kabbalistic meanings. They aligned to preexisting BofA text and forgot Bethka, and had to go back and add it to match said pre existing text. They read, as Lindsay has shown, and made 2 copies. There is abundant evidence for this for a few examples: a reader saw “reglar” instead of “royal,” but corrected both scribes quickly (that’s a mistake in reading, not hearing), etc. etc.; ZipZip, etc. are clear Z in GAEL but the original manuscript had crazy “Z”s so November copyists had difficulty reading the Egyptian ZePtah (including Richards later) and she eventually became Egyptus. The “L” in Libnah (associated with the appropriate missing color), was switched to Zibnah, again, not a “Joseph dictated” error, but an error in reading…it goes on and on. The evidence is abundant, but RFM/Ritner/Dehlin are too bravely enthroned to discuss it further. That’s why I respect you more than them. You don’t see it as condescending to try to explain yourself.

  35. I am still waiting for Joe to admit the obvious fact that Joseph Smith could not translate Egyptian.

    If he can’t acknowledge so obvious a fact, there is no
    point in continuing the conversation.

    • I have to say, Sir Robert didn’t even try to defend or apologize for his obvious misinformation, Dehlin blocked my questioning long ago…so, at least you made a showing (insisting you were right and lowly Mormons shouldn’t question, etc.) before bravely running away. (How could you not make a showing, after all that crowing? ;))
      “No I didn’t say it” “didn’t!” “I did not!” “It was in Joseph’s own hand…” “Robert is foremost Church Historian! Don’t question him…” : ) : ) 😉😊😋

      Just kidding, do you want me to give more evidence that Joseph could translate?
      I’ll try to work that in ASAP.

      But, you shouldn’t fear trying a response to what I’ve already said. You know I love you…I could be very wrong on some of this and, as I said, if you can demolish it, please do, it’ll lead us closer to truth.
      But, for real, you said this would be fun, so make it fun…and the old, “there is no point in continuing the conversation” will mean a lot more if you demonstrate first.
      : ) good night new friends… luv y’all, as always… just trying to keep the lines open and have fun, too : )

    • So, as I said, when you/Robert/Dehlin/Runnels/Slackerman/etc claim “case is closed” the burden of proof lies with you. The evidence you’ve supplied so far is dubious at best :). For examples: the plea to the GMB probably wasn’t Joseph; the VDN weren’t in Joseph’s hand; the Facsimiles say they were translated by “we” and if we continue to assume that was Joseph alone, then he lets us know in the “explanation” that they’re reappropriated or multiuse (and could be miraculously accurate in those cases); the BofA source accurately described by witnesses (with details they wouldn’t have known without seeing an actual source: e.g. the bitumen linen casing, snake with tripod legs, etc.) is still missing, so y’all claiming Robert has translated it is dishonest; etc.
      HOWEVER, if you want further evidence that Joseph COULD translate, well, here are some of my favorite evidences, as they come to mind. I have sufficient. It’s personal, but interesting that y’all spend your lives trying to sow seeds of doubt, especially when you know that the Church does so much good. I’m happy, and rejoice, and am eternally sealed, why try to destroy?

      1-millions of humans verifying Alma 32 science; 2- anti-scholar BofM attacks fail 100% of honest examination including: DNA; metals; morphology; the undeniable, detailed relationship between Native and Middle Eastern religions (including thousands of things ranging from: foliated temple aprons and lifting the cosmic tree/cross/crocodile mother/father sky/milkyway source of life water MaryAmm, etc. TO Baalism (names, syncretism, foreskin blood offerings, hibernating, cloud rider..again 100s), rites, halting step snake/rain dances, languages (not just chiasmus anymore); mythic names etc (long list, too detailed for chance)); AND swords; names (Isabel claimed as late invention, Alma, Laman, etc. (100s)); precise geography; located places (and it’s not just Nahom anymore, but also the River Laman and Valley etc. which critics still claim doesn’t exist but includes details from Lehi’s dream, causes of bow breaking, Bountiful, etc. etc etc.); arrival by sea; reformed Egyptian; liahona culture; steel; Shule; silk; sheep; elephants; glass in Jared’s day; breathers in barges (not rolling); Sidon; volcanos @33AD; witnesses; roads cast “up”, etc etc etc), customs, it goes on and on…. And that’s just the BofM, with the much shorter BofA we also have some, for example: the plain, Abrahamic lore, potipher’s hill, the 100s of correlations pointed out by scholars for decades, Olishem, etc.

  36. If facsimile 1 is a copy of an image done in a now-destroyed temple, as Dr. Ritner made good evidence it is, there is zero chance that it was a human head on Anubis as Muhlstein is trying to claim.

  37. Dear Joe,

    If you are like me, at some point you will grow tired of making excuses for Joseph Smith and simply admit the obvious fact that he could not translate Egyptian.

    For example, you try to distance Joseph Smith from the explanations of the three Facsimiles while ignoring the fact they were published in the Times and Seasons in 1842 when Joseph Smith was the editor.

    You have to postulate that Joseph Smith was unaware of the publication of these facsimiles with their explanations in the newspaper over which he was the editor, and also account for why it was that, in the two years remaining in his life, Joseph Smith never once corrected the record to say the explanations were not given by him and were incorrect.

    Do you see all the games you have to play to make your position work?

    Which reminds me, I just put up a new podcast titled, “The Games People Play.”

    I think you will enjoy it.

    RFM

    • Hi RFM, Bill (or whatever), thanks for continuing the conversation (whew, thought you were on the run for second). If I were like you, I’d hope someone who loves me would smack me upside the head and remind me that, even if I was lying when I said I knew it was true, it’s an even bigger lie to say I know it’s not…

      If you pay attention you’ll see that Joseph’s awareness and support of the facsimiles (even though he probably knew about Champollion, again, evidence contrary to Ritner’s claims) isn’t a problem for him, same with his support of the GAEL (he likely used it to translate the Kinderhook plates (a disbelieving fraud would just make something up, or not risk it, but oddly, no secular attempt at Aztec, thought to be BofM related, etc.)–and Phelps seemed excited when Joseph asked to see the GAEL and that Joseph seemed impressed with its use, etc.) What I’ve been pointing out is that Joseph, being gifted, believed others could also have gifts, and that others would also translate in their own ways. He predicted other ancient records, etc. The GAEL was very likely a part of that (as Dan says, it was for his peers, not him- Joseph used a stone and etc, not a rod, not a GAEL, etc.)
      So, yes, Joseph (and present leaders, etc.) support the continued publication of the Facs. with the BofA. You might melt if it turns out that they were wrong but there is a chance that it was a group project (since Fac. 2 implies that “we” translated it, and since Vogel has pointed out a possible Clarke reference (so perhaps similar to parts of the JST), and etc.) There’s even a chance that the BofA text is wrong, but highly unlikely for that one, and still unlikely for the Facs.

      HOWEVER, there’s no sense discussing all that now, since you still haven’t really addressed my current favorite theory: Jred could have included explanations with, or on, the papyri described by eyewitnesses, now missing. Or Joseph could have seen through his eyes, or etc. There’s evidence for that also, and so on. So, let’s focus on that, if you don’t mind… : ) more games. I’ll try to check out your podcast when time permits. Hope you talk about me a lot.😉 and maybe you proved something there? That will help us move forward..

  38. Theories are a dime a dozen, Joe.

    If you want to believe the Missing Jewish redactor theory, in spite of the fact it is wholly without any supporting evidence, that is your business.

    You might as well believe the translation was beamed down to Joseph Smith by a pointy-eared first officer on the starship Enterprise.

    There is as much evidence for that theory as there is for the missing Jewish redactor theory.

    And, like the missing Jewish redactor theory, it also cannot be disproven.

    Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    All I have been saying from the first is that Joseph Smith could not translate Egyptian.

    And I sense you are starting to waffle your way toward agreeing with me on that.

  39. So, since you can’t disprove the redactor theory, and since there is evidence to support it, and abundant evidence to support Joseph Smith as translator, and evidence to support the missing papyrus theory, and since you’ve used dubious evidence and assumptions to support your claims that JS couldn’t translate, do you finally agree that it’s dishonest for RFM/Ritner/Dehlin to claim Ritner has translated the source of the BofA and that Joseph couldn’t translate?

  40. I don’t appreciate the subtle ad hominem. When we measure our relative investments in this topic, no way could my investment even come close to a Mormon apologist’s.

    Abr. 1:1-3 is choppy as WWP transcribed it and seems to imply it was built on the fragmented translation of the parts of the character in the GAEL. As I keep reminding you, you have given a good reason to believe the GAEL came first because it clearly did not follow the translation and had to be revised to bring it into agreement.

    The GAEL had nothing to do with translating Abraham because, as I have shown, parts 1 and 2 deal with characters from different sources than JSP XI, not because, as you say, the translation had already been done. The Alphabets and GAEL were independent translations, although JS drew on some of its ideas in his subsequent translation of Abraham. He didn’t use all the ideas, but because apologists think they were reverse engineered from the BofA, they have to account from the unused material by suggesting, as you do, that there was more to the BofA that what JS published in Nauvoo. This is merely one of many ad hoc inventions that have no other reason for existing besides as a patch for the gaping holes in your theory.

    As you know, the apologetic assertion that the entire BofA and possibly more was dictated in July 1835 comes from JS’s history, which WWP and Willard Richards worked on with JS’s assistance and approval. However, it only says that JS “with W. W. Phelps and O[liver]. Cowdery as scribes, commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics; and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham; another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, &c.” This merely states that some characters had been translated for identification purposes. Smith’s history also states that for the remainder of July Smith was “continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients.” Thus, contrary to the assertion of the apologists, Smith was the author, not WWP, and it was a translation.

    The BofA material does not permeate the EG/GAEL. As I explained, but you chose to ignore, JS later drew on some of the material in EG/GAEL about Egypt (for example, its being discovered by a woman under water), but the EG/GAEL gave this information in the context of Katumin and her mother, who live after Abraham. JS dropped this information into his narrative right where the papyrus was missing and then he invented characters that incorporated the characters in part 1 of the EA/GAEL, but, unlike the other characters from JSP XI in the margins of the translation manuscripts, were fake and not hieratic Egyptian.

    You quote a bunch of words indiscriminately from parts 1 and 2 of EG/GAEL without context or analysis. As I pointed out, part 1 is about Katumin and her mother. Pointing out vague similarities won’t do. Context matters. It mentions creation, but has nothing to do with Abr. 4-5, which weren’t dictated until Nauvoo. Rather, creation is mentioned in relation to the time Katumin lived, as in the VD’s mention of the reign of Onitus “in the year of the World 2962.” If you follow the development of ideas from EG through the five degrees of the GAEL, you will see that it’s all about Katumin and her parents and the justification for Egyptian royalty having two books of Hebrew patriarchs in their possession and nothing to do with Abraham.

    The first thirteen characters of part 2 are not hieratic Egyptian, and six of the characters are identical to WWP’s copy of the pure language. The subject matter of these characters comes from the pure language project begun in 1832, not the BofA: God, Son of God, sons of God, angels, children of men, the earth. Part 2 reflects the same theme: God, His Son, angels or spirits, angels immortal, ministers or high priests, ministers not ordained, all mankind. Characters 10-13 of part 2 are variations of the last character from WWP’s copy and continue the theme: Adam, first king, second king, third king, fourth king. Picking up characters from column 3 of JSP I, the theme continues: fifth high priest, man’s first residence, a 5 times greater garden, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, earth, eternity, the celestial kingdom, etc. None of this from the BofA. Switching to the GAEL: the terrestrial kingdom, telestial kingdom, Hah-dees and its degrees, secret Masonic signs, and finally the cosmos and Egyptian astronomy, which JS’s journal dates to October 1835, not July.

    Properly understanding the content of the EG/GAEL destroys the reverse engineering theory of the apologists.

    The evidence shows that Parrish and Williams wrote simultaneously as JS dictated Abr. 1:4-2:2. They made the same in-line corrections on the spot. Lindsay’s attempt to explain several examples of this is so forced and ad hoc that it can’t be taken seriously. According to him, while making a copy of a now-missing text, he read out loud so that Williams could also make a copy; but while doing so, he made several mistakes in reading, which he immediately caught and corrected, thus explaining how the same in-line corrections occur in both documents. This is a farce. We know JS was dictating text that was being written simultaneously. The same kind of in-line correction occurs in the Katumin passage in the VD notebooks as Cowdery and Phelps wrote from JS’s dictation. Lindsay’s ad hoc explanations can’t explain why Parrish and Williams chose to exclude the first three verses from their copies.

    The reason Lindsay goes to such absurd lengths is to explain away this evidence is because it shows that the Parrish and Williams documents were written as JS dictated and therefore are originals and that most of the BofA dates to November 1835, not July when the EG/GAEL were created.

    • Hi Dan, sorry this took a bit. I let myself be distracted. For a second there I hoped Ritner would be as courageous as you, and join us as we openly discuss truth (without fear of losing credibility, jobs, etc.). He’s probably too busy to question, etc. and may not be as confident with defending information he gleaned from evangelicals, Dehlin, RFM, etc. But he builds on their misinformation and presumptions, so I’d hope he’d be open to examinations and questioning…It’s ok though.
      As I’ve said, there’s sufficient evidence for the BofM (overwhelming), and so there’s no fear here, I’m open to the BofA being a blundering experiment. However, the book is doing miraculously well with a deeper look.
      Also, as you know, I’m no apologist. I wish I were as adept as they. The reason I don’t use my last name is because I’ve had some threats from critics and don’t want a rock through my window, as others have, or worse.

      You say “…you have given a good reason to believe the GAEL came first because it clearly did not follow the translation.”
      Upon finding a document with several repeating sequences of 1,2,3,4,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,15, 16,17,20,21…etc And, after several pages an inline “1,2,3,4,5, (5 should have been added between 4 and 6) 6,7,10”…etc. showing 5 “should have been” there in the past, but was left out. And, if the pretend counting document were in Smith’s hand, and we had records indicating that Smith began creating an octal counting system in early July and spent the remainder of July creating an octal system and arranging numerals “to the” octal system, THEN we cannot reasonably argue the forgotten 5 proves they weren’t counting in octal in July. “Should have” is a sure indicator that 5 “should have” been there, in keeping with the developed octal system.

      In real life Smith’s hand is on one Egyptian Alphabet copy. His copy shows clear signs of listening to someone reading (variant spellings, hearing variant words, substituting “stands for” when intimidated by “signifies,” etc.). Cowdery most likely visually copied Phelps at certain points (or, less likely, Phelps copied Cowdery’s spellings, “signifies,” etc.), as indicated by copied spellings. (Note—I’m aware that, especially towards the end, Cowdery (or possibly, but less likely Smith) seems to be branching out. We may discuss this later (and how,after being released from the project, Cowdery, perhaps miffed at being left behind, notes that he was to be translating with his “superior intelligence” at Joseph’s side) but that’s more relevant to establishing project director, and less relevant to establishing order of operations).

      SO, assuming the GAEL relied on the EA (for simplicity, but doesn’t matter yet), then we have clear evidence that Phelps copied Phelps’s EA spellings, etc. (either way, Phelps’s spellings and variants are in his EA and the GAEL, so he’s looking at his work) AND, WHILE translating the GAEL (probably by “understanding in all science and languages” as he was blessed) Phelps was obviously looking at a parent text (presumably translated by Joseph Smith, as the record indicates) which contained “seeing there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers” and, while finalizing the “5th D,” comparing the GAEL “to the BofA” text (“to” which they were “arrangeing,” in retro, an alphabet and grammar system, evidently trying to crack the Adamic code), and noticed he had “seeing” and “first born….fathers” and “greatest place of happiness” “should have been inserted” between the two phrases to match the text. So, he notes this, repeatedly, all the way back. As 5 should be inserted between 4 and 6, he’s following the order of the provided translation.

      LIndsay’s Rosetta is the only reasonable explanation presented for why “Bethka” “should have been inserted.” Either way, the BofA text already existed. This, I hope to show further (as time and RFM permits (Dehlin still opposed to open discourse), etc).

      Dan, you and I know that forcing a theory is backflipping, especially when it’s supporting something we can all now check and claims: one word in a series was added in July (or during GAEL development on pg 2, not on a blank page) to make the series fit the BofA because, in Nov. or etc, when the BofA text finally (FINALLY) came out, it just happened to be amazingly close to the GAEL, less that one word, so they dropped Bethka in and had….a way to create the BofA text : ).

      You see (based on evidence) “The GAEL had nothing to do with translating Abraham,” but please ask why you’re still waffling over seeing the more obvious evidence that the GAEL is reliant upon the previous BofA translation. You know the theories fabricated by LH Ministry, etc. are outdated, misleading, and dishonest. Yet, they’ve WIki, Ritner, numerous evangelical and agnostic websites (including ex-mormon), and so on and on are all built on their false anti-Mormon based claims. None of these can continue to maintain credibility among informed persons without rethinking. The scientific method requires a new theory, in light of the evidence. You may lead the Critics if you wish, or follow. You don’t need to worry about their testimonies. Critics are very creative people and will, no doubt, come up with some faith demoting rumor to replace the old. : ) Time for truth to prevail.

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