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December 17, 2020 8:32 pm
.1 Mormonism examined the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM were discussing the topic of truth what is truth and we began on Monday. By looking at an article that was published in the desert written news on January 10, 2019 titled what is truth why Pontius Pilate's question still resonates today and of course that statement regarding Pilate is taken from John chapter 18 verse 38 words. Pilate asked that of Jesus. What is truth, and we been discussing some of the ways that people tend to arrive at what they believe to be true and also the fact that many times, believing people don't want to believe the truth and so they tend to ignore it. The context that we been looking at yesterday show has to do with an article that was in the December 2018 addition of & magazine.
It began on page 54 and goes through page 57. It was titled the book of Abraham Revelation and you it was written by Dr. Carrie Milstein who was a professor of ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University.
Dr. Milstein seems to admit that he tends to view man's reasoning or man's scholarship.
With a bit of suspicion, especially when it contradicts what he believes to be the revelation of God and I can understand that coming from a Christian perspective. If I felt that the certain statement was in fact a revelation from God and some secular individual contradicted that I would tend to want to run towards what I believe to be the revelation of God to counteract that position. But as I was mentioning yesterday to believe something that has not been proven.
This faith but to believe something that's been disproven is not faith but in fact foolishness and as a Christian looking at the book of Abraham which Dr. Milstein very much defends I would say that the problem is that many of the things that Dr. Milstein wants to believe about it, even though he admits he has lots of questions they have already been disproven, which to me makes it appear that the whole book of Abraham needs to be rejected and many people have done that, as we mentioned earlier, many people in the church in the LDS church have left the LDS church because they found out that the book of Abraham is not what they were led to believe. Or we could even say they came to find out that the book of Abraham, was not what Joseph Smith led them to believe and so Dr. Milstein's, trying to assuage a lot of that doubt and encouraging people to believe the court" revelation as opposed to what he would say is man's scholarship before we go any further, Bill. I just want to point out if the information if the academics were able to give evidence to show that the book of Abraham was true don't you think that he would have in this article stressed that and shown how academics is actually a support for the book of Abraham, but if you don't have that evidence then you have to rely on the revelation will he kind of tries to do that, at least in one area because he believes that the fact that the facsimile one shows Abraham lay it on a lightheaded couch about to be sacrificed tends to prove what he now says is academic evidence to show that that could be true. Even though that image in and of itself is highly controversial because that image is not found in the funerary text that we know the book of Abraham to come from that portion of the papyri that Joseph Smith had in 1835 that he got from Michael Chandler was torn in that section and someone drew those images in their completely ignoring what many other papyri that we had to do with this funerary text that contradicts what many other papyri from Egypt had in that particular area. Let's get back to what Dr. Milstein says at the bottom of page 54. He says the academic learning process is only a tool and a tool with limitations that knowledge we currently have is limited and we need to keep improving it.
This means that many things we are currently convinced of could be overturned in the future if we forget the limited nature of what we learned by the academic process we leave ourselves open to the danger of trusting in man's wisdom more than God's. After that quote, there's a pull quote on page 55 and it says although academic research can provide helpful information revelation from God is the most trustworthy and valid source of knowledge Bill. That's what we call a presupposition.
He says that revelation is better than academic research, especially when the revelation comes from his leadership, but I think the bigger question, though, would be Eric is how does Dr. Milstein really know what he believes is based in revelation coming from God himself.
That's what he's been led to believe right, but many of the things that Latter Day Saints think is revelation from God we find out later on was really not bad at all that the Mormon churches had to change course on a number of issues that early Mormons were led to believe came from God himself, only to find out what was probably more Brigham Young's idea or someone else's idea and that becomes the bigger question because I think as Christians we would agree revelation from God should trump man's knowledge. If it contradicts it. The question is, is knowing for sure that what we believe is really in fact a revelation from God that makes a little more difficult but I think what Dr. Milstein is doing here and as I said this before. This cuts both ways when he says in his article the academic learning process is only a tool in the tool with limitations. The knowledge we currently have is limited and we need to keep improving that. This means that many things we are currently convinced of could be overturned in the future.
Wait a minute Dr. Milstein a lot of the things that you are including in this article. Your conclusions are based on the academic scholarship that showed that you were court" revelation from God really wasn't revelation at all. Why do you think so many people believe that because that's what they were told by the leadership in the LDS church and now scholarship has shown that those conclusions were not worth believing here exactly right on that bill because the next section he spends three different paragraphs. Going through the human sacrifice in ancient Egypt and talks about how there was evidence that there was human sacrificing going on in ancient Egypt.
I mean I'm not one who's going to disagree with that. But why is he coming up with that well because of facsimile number one which is portrayed on page 54 of this December 2018 issue of the enzyme magazine because what Joseph Smith said is that this is the idolatrous priests of Elkanah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice. But when you go to the common funeral papyri and this is not unusual that this is not anybody named Elkanah. This was not Abraham. What Joseph Smith said was actually true. Based on this facsimile one the Egyptologists have very clearly proven. It's not. So when he is trying to place a huge cloud of doubt about some of the findings of the scholars who exactly is Dr. Milstein referring to world there are a number of Egyptologists out there that have been quite critical of some of the conclusions that Mormons have had regarding the book of Abraham. One of them is Dr. Steven E.
Thompson, Dr. Steven Thompson holds a PhD in Egyptology from Brown University and he was the first LDS scholar to earn a doctorate degree in Egyptology, will he give a paper at the Sunstone symposium in 1993. This was held in Salt Lake City in August 1993 and in this paper titled Egyptology in the book of Abraham, Dr. Thompson explained why he even though he was a professor. Latter Day Saints had problems with some of the conclusions that Mormons have been led to believe regarding the book of Abraham not let me give you an example, if you were to look at the encyclopedia of Mormonism in volume 1, page 136 to 137. The encyclopedia of Mormonism came out in 1992 it says.
Moreover, the profits explanations of each of the facsimiles in this would be facsimiles one, two and three that you find in the book of Abraham to this very day.
This says that each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices. Now that's what was being taught in the encyclopedia of Mormonism in 1992. Now do you think that the modern LDS Church of the 21st-century would stand by that statement. I don't think they would. Because scholarship expertise in the field has come forth to show that that's just not true and Dr. Thompson was one of those who expose this in his talk at the Sunstone symposium in August 1993. This talk that he gave later on was published in dialogue a Journal of Mormon thought, volume 28 number one, and it starts on page 143 doubt this came out in 1995.
So it's not like this is earth shattering, recent news, there have been a lot of scholars who had their doubts about some of the conclusions that the church had regarding the book of Abraham but the church was holding on to what I would assume would be what they think to be revelation from God. So they tend to ignore what the scholars were finding including the scholarship of this man, Dr. Steven E.
Thompson that I think is what Dr. Milstein is trying to combat these morning members of the church to continue to hold faith in the book of Abraham regardless of what seems to be evidence that disproves what Mormons have been led to believe about the book of Abraham. I would say going back to 1835 when Joseph Smith starts quoting book translating the book of Abraham from the Egyptian papyrus it in tomorrow's show. We want to do is go through some of the criticisms that Dr. Steven Thompson had regarding the book of Abraham because as I mentioned, he did not at all agree with that statement from the encyclopedia of Mormonism, where it states the profits explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices. Dr. Thompson, an expert in this field certainly felt that that statement was tenuous and should not be believe so tomorrow as we continue this series and what is truth were going to look again at some of the methods that Dr. Milstein thinks an average Latter Day Saints should employ when drawing a conclusion regarding the book of Abraham. Thank you for listening.
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