(Original thread posted by Philo Sofee » Wed Jul 12, 2017)
(Statements made by Shulem have been modified to improve Discourse)
Shulem wrote:There is no question that Joseph Smith is guilty of fraud and representing himself as one who could literally translate and interpret the ancient Egyptian language. The man was a blatant liar and totally immersed in the practice of deception. It simply doesn’t get any worse than Joseph Smith when it comes to deceiving others about one’s professed spiritual gifts. The early Mormons believed Smith literally translated Egyptian hieroglyphs. Those beliefs were grounded in their testimony of a new cult led by a man who even walked his own mother down a garden path of lies. Modern Mormons believe the Book of Abraham is inspired and are also victims of Smith’s lies. Mormons today throw reason and logic out the window for the sake of preserving their testimonies that Smith was a prophet.
A so-called spiritual testimony of the Book of Abraham and the Explanations of the Facsimiles are false. It’s based upon a lie created by Joseph Smith. The Book of Abraham is a work of fiction, some material therein borrowed from the bible and from various sources – a plagiarized work of fiction but not cut from true Egyptian cloth. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3, for example, in the Book of Abraham are absolute fabrications. Scientific discipline through modern Egyptology has exposed Smith’s fraud and he stands thoroughly rebuked. Smith’s early followers believed the Explanations of the Facsimiles were literal translations from the Egyptian, true and correct translation. They believed it with all their hearts as much as they believed the Book of Mormon. That was the spirit of Mormonism – invented out of lies and deception. Smith’s professed inspiration from his Holy Ghost was the spirit of a lie. But today, apologists continue to defend Smith at any cost.
An apologist (Zerinus) said “Before they would be warranted in saying that the entire Book of Abraham was not properly translated, they would have to examine the original papyrus, or a copy of it, from which the Book of Abraham was translated – John Henry Evans (1912).”
Well, that is not a problem when it comes to Facsimile No. 3 and the Explanations which have been canonized in LDS scripture. Therein, is every single hieroglyph and character in which Joseph Smith used to tender his translations and interpretations from the very vignette. It’s all there: Lock, stock, and barrel. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 have been proven 100% false through modern Egyptology. It’s conclusive, Smith couldn't read or translate Egyptian. The early Mormons were duped.
Former Book of Abraham apologist, Philo Sofee, now a critic, wrote “Joseph Smith appears to have believed that he actually possessed the literal handwriting and autographs of Abraham and other biblical Patriarchs on the papyri that he purchased from Michael Chandler in June 1835.” I agree, but I would discount the use of the word, “appears”. There’s no question that Smith claimed to believe it, the testimonials from himself and others involved with the making of the Book of Abraham prove it conclusively. Using the word “appears” softens the blow against Smith and tends to suggest that there may be an alternative other than the facts which prove he was dead wrong.
Apologist Zerinus said, “I don’t need to know Egyptology to know that the book of Abraham is the word of God; any more than I need to know Hebrew to know that the Bible is the word of God.”
Mormons aren’t overly concerned with facts or scientific certainty that goes against their cause. One who formally investigates Mormonism starts out by making friends with missionaries and listening to interesting religious discussions and claims, being persuaded to pray and get a good feeling. Once the candidate gets a good feeling and feels a sense of enlightenment – a testimony is born. It’s based on feelings and impressions from a mind that is subjected to the power of suggestion coupled with brain chemicals such as dopamine or serotonin.
Egyptologists and scientists deal with the facts and make determinations on real data rather than a missionary’s subjective feelings or so-called spiritual impressions influenced by brain chemicals that induce excitement or well-being. Egyptologists can read the hieroglyphic writing in Facsimile No. 3 and have produced an accurate translation. It’s conclusive, Joseph Smith could not read the writing in Facsimile No. 3; he made up explanations out of thin air – and they are not the word of God! Facsimiles No. 2 & 3 are accurately read by Egyptologists today, including wayward Mormon Egyptologists who have perverted their craft in defending the Book of Abraham. Qualified Egyptologists can read the writing and know exactly what it says. They correctly interpret the figures just as they do on other papyri, tomb walls, and ancient temples. They can identify the gods with certainty and explain the rites and ceremonies that are written and portrayed. No credible Egyptologist agrees with what Smith claimed.
Apologist Zerinus said, “I trust that what Joseph Smith taught was true. If your ‘Egyptology’ says that it isn’t, then I mistrust your ‘Egyptology’ rather than Joseph Smith. I don't believe that your ‘Egyptology’ has advanced enough to be able to solve every mystery therein.”
It’s incredible how apologists brazenly deny science and Egyptology which has advanced to the point that reading and interpreting Facsimile No. 3, is simple child’s play. There is nothing complicated about it. It’s not rocket science! The vignette is easily understood by Egyptologists but was completely misunderstood by Joseph Smith who falsely misrepresented the entire scene in his publication of the 1842 edition of the Times and Seasons.
All mysteries need not be known or understood in order to understand the basics of what is going on in Facsimile No. 3. It’s really, a rather simple vignette abiding within a pattern expressed in the Book of the Dead and other funerary literature and tomb inscriptions. It’s basic Egyptian religion – to include spells, incantations, and praise to the gods of Egypt.
Not surprising, Zerinus digresses further in denying that basic Egyptology is on solid ground: “You are talking nonsense. You know a little bit, and you think you know everything. ‘Science’ proves nothing of the kind. There are many truths that cannot be known by ‘science,’ but by the revelations of God. You can knock your head against that wall forever; but it won't alter that fact.”
However, it’s Zerinus who is knocking his head against the wall because he knows there isn’t a king’s name written in the writing of Facsimile No. 3 and neither can Mormon Egyptologists produce a royal name. Why? Because it doesn’t exist! It’s not there and never was. Smith’s revelation was proven false when modern Egyptology sprung forth to reveal truth and restore the writing through real revelation. But, Zerinus defends his position by attempting to discredit and downplay Egyptology, saying, “The ‘Egyptology’ that you rely on so much is not as foolproof as you think it is. There is a better way of discovering truth that never goes wrong. ‘Egyptology’ doesn't even come close.”
Perhaps the foolish apologist might have us believe the beautiful goddess Isis in Facsimile No. 3 is really a man dressed up as the king of Egypt! The apologist would have us believe that the beautiful goddess Maat in Facsimile No. 3 is really a boy? Can we also believe that the mighty god Anubis was really a slave by the name “Olimlah” according to Smith’s reading of the inscription? Mormon Egyptology or, Smithology, is a perversion and makes a mockery of the ancient Egyptian religion – that which was dear to the heart of countless millions who once lived. Mormonism is guilty of slandering the ancient Egyptians and publishing lies about another race and culture.
But, Zerinus the apologists just won’t give up defending the indefensible: “Again, I question that. There were esoteric teachings which the symbols represented that were reserved for the ‘initiated,’ and were not revealed to everyone. In other words, what you think you have discovered may not be all that is there.”
This is nonsense that the apologist pulls out of thin air in a vain attempt to defend Smith’s false Egyptology of Facsimile No. 3. It’s unsubstantiated bunk! It’s a desperate attempt and a distraction to sound fancy and mysterious, couching Smith’s so-called revelations in pseudo-science that somehow and mysteriously validates Smith’s Explanations of Facsimile No. 3. However, ignorant Mormons may buy into this apologetic ruse!
Imagine today’s Egyptologists asking Joseph Smith to identify a royal Cartouche written above the hand in Facsimile No. 3, a required emblem used to enclose a royal name inscribed in hieroglyphic writing! Where is the royal Cartouche which is one of the most sacred signs of ancient Egypt? It’s not there! But apologists peddle nonsense while grasping at straws and making claims which they can’t substantiate or prove. Like spaghetti, they throw anything up in the air to see if it sticks. How about we test Smith’s assertion that the so-called (lovely looking) king is really a man as were all the Egyptian kings who reigned in Abraham’s dynastic era. Reach hither your hand under the kilt of the king in Facsimile No. 3 and see if he has a pair! (Ouch!) That would be enough to tell anyone whether it’s a man or a woman, would it not? Sadly, Joseph Smith’s numbers just don’t add up. It’s bad math. It’s bad Egyptology. It’s a mockery of sacred things had by a race of people who lived long ago. Mormons today trample over their beliefs and have little to no respect for the ancient Egyptian religion.
Everyone (believers and unbelievers) should ask themselves the following question: Is it possible that Joseph Smith believed the Holy Ghost revealed to him that the papyrus used to translate the Book of Abraham was a literal 3,500-Year-Old Abraham Autograph?
[x] Yes [ ] No
Bear in mind, it’s crucial to differentiate the possibilities of what Smith actually thought – two categories to consider:
1. Smith’s claim
2. Smith’s belief
The two are not necessarily the same. One can make a claim and not believe it – thus, they are lying and they damn right know it. Or, one can make a claim and believe it’s true, whether it’s actually true or not remains to be determined. Smith was not sheepish in making literal claims about fantastic things, whether it be angelic visitations or ancient Egyptian papyri that miraculously fell into his hands – particularly autographs of the patriarchs, Joseph and Abraham. Smith’s bombastic claims regarding the age and content of the papyri being original signatures of the patriarchs is clearly demonstrated in his own statements including those who assisted him in translating the records. Only later, when modern science was able to weigh in, Mormon apologists started to offer alternative explanations other than the one Smith originally tendered.
Joseph Smith’s day was a heyday for miraculous Mormon claims. Smith’s ability to translate went completely unchallenged and was uncontested. Egyptology was in its infancy. But things started to change towards the end of the century and it became readily apparent that the Explanations of the Facsimiles were incorrect and clarification regarding these discrepancies was sorely wanting. Apologists were intelligent and well informed but they had serious questions and reservations on how to interpret the obvious differences between the JosephSmithism Explanations of the Facsimiles and conventional Egyptology – the standards had in the most learned universities on the planet. The brethren certainly had questions brewing in their minds but the General Authorities remain ever silent on the subject and left it to academic scholars to comment and instruct church members regarding the controversies.
The Missing Roll theory became the essential defense for Mormon apologetics and the quest to find any and every parallel to connect Smith’s interpretations with conventional Egyptology was a new mandate within the Mormon apologetic circle. Without the papyrus (then missing) there would ever remain questions and mystery on how to connect the Facsimiles to the actual papyrus that contained the chapters of the Book of Abraham in which Smith translated. Suddenly, out of the blue, in 1967 everything changed when missing Joseph Smith papyri was discovered and returned to the church! Immediately, Mormon apologetics went into full swing and the missing papyrus theory had to be changed from, “We don’t have the papyrus” to “We don't have ALL the papyrus”. The ground was broken for a full spectrum of all kinds of wild, crazy, and wacko ideas on how to defend Smith’s translations. Smith is on record for specifically pointing out patriarchal signatures on the papyrus as well as an Egyptian king’s name. Apologist have to deal with these claims!
Which statement made by Joseph Smith is harder for an apologist to accept and why?
1. “There, that is the signature of Abraham.”
2. “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.”
Smith was into literalism and when he wasn’t, he often pointed out the difference by saying things were “symbolic”. Having the papyrus of Abraham & Joseph was like a feather in his cap to increase power and hold over the church. Paying a large sum of money for the Egyptian artifacts would further the commitment of church members in sustaining the miraculous powers Smith professed to possess in translating Egyptian into English.
Mormon apologists are stuck with the impossible task of defending Smith’s perverted Explanations of Facsimile No. 3. Egyptology has firmly established beyond any doubt that the following points are set in stone and that Smith was absolutely wrong – for example, we know the figure Isis is really a woman, not a man, as Smith improperly assumed. The following points are absolutely true and debunk Smith’s revelations:
1. There isn’t a king’s name in Facsimile No. 3
2. Isis is a woman
3. Maat is a woman
4. Anubis is a god
5. The name is Horus, not Shulem