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Radio Free Mormon: 195: Book of Abraham Fireside

Many Latter-day Saints are leaving the Church over issues relating to the Book of Abraham.  In this special fireside, I talk about the most commonly heard criticisms of the Book of Abraham, and how faithful LDS scholars respond to them.  This fireside is a must-listen for anyone with questions about the Book of Abraham.


19 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 195: Book of Abraham Fireside”

  1. Oh goodie! Another treat! I’m about to tune and see what’s happening. I’ve been busy posting on Mormon Discussions and this thread takes the Sacrifice Scene to a whole new place and is well worth the read. It will continue to grow because I’m not done yapping. It’s not for the faint of heart or easily offended so I apologize in advance if I was a bit too rough. Sometimes I get a bit excited. Pearl of Great Price Central Facsimile 1 as a Sacrifice Scene

  2. Hi RFM,
    Thank you for doing this podcast to simplify information. Do you have a similar podcast on the Book of Mormon and why it is not true? I would greatly appreciate that.
    Thank you,

    1. You know, I had not even thought about that, Chrissy.

      It is possible the Book of Mormon would be more difficult to simplify, but I will give it some thought.

      Thanks for the great idea!

    1. It is really quite remarkable watching them scurry about from my humble underground bunker.

      Respectfully yours,

      –The Puppet Master

  3. Thanks again RFM for all your years of dedicated research and time on this subject and your continued efforts with these podcasts. Even though a very long process for you, all of us have the privilege of being benefactors.

  4. If you translate the Abraham Papyri from Egyptian to English, then it is clear that the translation does not match the text of the Book of Abraham. If, however, you translate the Abraham Papyri from Egyptian into “Reformed” Egyptian, and then translate that into English, you will find a near 1-to-1 correspondence to the Book of Abraham. I call this theory the “Missing Catalyst Theory” (TM – Jack Strep)

  5. Wait, so the book of abraham isn’t what they say it is?

    Next you’ll tell me the national enquirer isn’t reputable journalism I can trust.

  6. Poor Joe (both the modern one and the 19th century one).

    It’s true, if you remove all the evidence, facts, first hand accounts and everything else factually critical of the book of Abraham and instead adopt the new 20th Century apologetic theories, then it’s true and Joseph Smith is a true prophet.

    Joe and apologists efforts can best be described as “kicking against the pricks” or in other words, willing, through denial and obfuscation, the false into truth.

    The Book of Abraham is as true as the earth is flat.

  7. Hey RFM, thanks for the lovely fireside. You know what’s funny about facsimile 1? For the longest time I always thought that it was such a lucky coincidence that the head and hand of Anubis were broken off of the papyrus, giving us a wonderful example of how Joe is a fraud; but after learning on your podcast with Dr. Ritner that the head of Anubis was altered in facsimile 3 to make the black figure appear to be a slave it struck me: I think Joe deliberately knocked off Anubis’ head and hand in facsimile 1 to suit his story-telling need just like he did in facsimile 3 to keep with his narrative. Just thought I would share my “epiphany” that your podcast helped me realize. Thanks for all your hard work making this podcast, it has been so helpful. <3

  8. Fantastic episode, very factual. You did a good job handling the thorny issue of the unfalsifiability of the catalyst theory.

    I thought of another problem with the Catalyst theory that I wanted to get your take on: The Catalyst theory says that the Book of Abraham is a revelation from God to Joseph Smith. This implies that God is responsible for providing a the text. However in Abraham 1:24-27, the Book of Abraham states that Priesthood was restricted based on race due to a curse. In the Church’s gospel topics essay on Race and the Priesthood, it is claimed that that the racial-based curse is incorrect and it was just a theory advanced by Church leaders.

    So because the Catalyst theory removes Joseph Smith as the translator of the Book of Abraham, and instead has the text coming directly from God, we can no longer blame Joseph Smith for the incorrect racial doctrines contained therein. It forces us to put the racial doctrines in the mouth of God instead, which contradicts the race and the priesthood essay.

    What do you think about that?

  9. Ha, just listened to more of this and realized I may be the Joe you are responding to. I’m flattered and really appreciate you taking the time to explain your doubts etc. You’ve misunderstood me as far as arguing two theories.
    It doesn’t matter though. I do disagree with your conclusions and feel you may have been a bit hasty in turning on your former brothers and sisters. But we’re all free to choose, even if we will, of our own selves, choose tone cast off.
    1- the evidence indicates that the KEP manuscripts with sequential characters in the margins were created after the GAEL and the GAEL is reliant upon previously translated BofA material. Therefore, the KEP manuscripts don’t represent Joseph’s direct from heaven translation, and were not done by stone.

    2- you’re correct that Abr. 1:12 etc refer to Fac. 1 (and BTW, I appreciate your nice voice, you will catch more bees with honey, but you could state things more quickly e.g. if you realize I’ve read the BofA, etc. and then i won’t have to FF to get to the point, as your friend points out, I have a short attention span 😊, but I understand it’s not all about me), but that doesn’t discredit the missing scroll theory. You’re assuming the WP and FGW copies represent the original translation when they do not. You’re also assuming that the “record” was only one piece of papyrus when Cowdery, etc (likely Smith) thought of the two rolls (not scrolls, as the “rolls” clearly contained fragments from multiple sources) as a single record.
    3-Given the evidence, Occam would conclude that Joseph translated at least up to Abr. 2:18 by November 1835, he used his stone, face in hat, as Lucy describes (and Parrish implies) and the characters in the margins were copied from after Fac. 1 and etc. because someone assumed that they must represent the start of BofA text (as opposed to the more logical beginning of the Hor scroll or the beautifully preserved papyrus which Cowdery concluded had the writings of Abraham and Joseph (in Dec.).

    3- your spin on Abrahamic lore makes it sound as if all the extra-biblical BofA material was available to Joseph Smith, you should either verify that all of it was available by responding to each point and showing where Joseph had access, or be honest and clarify that only some was available.

    4- you make several assumptions about the Facs, which I will address when time permits, (dinner time) and I’ll try to be patient as you attempt to debunk the catalyst theory (probably by assuming Joseph etc. couldn’t make assumptions about revelation or etc.)

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