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June 28, 2021 9:38 pm
Looking for a book that clearly explains the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.
If so, Norman is a 101 by Mormonism research ministries Bill McKeever and Jerry Johnson may be what you're looking for woman is a 101 covers a number of topics that will give you a better understanding of the Mormon faith.
Mormonism 101 is available at your favorite online bookstore or if you're in the Salt Lake City area at the Utah lighthouse bookstore across from Smith ballpark on West Temple .1 is a program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a perspective view .1 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.
So glad you could be with us for this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism.
I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book of the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. This week we are examining Chapter 11 the continuing controversy over the book of Abraham.
It was written by Stephen C.
Tay some to be quite honest, Eric.
I think Mr. Tatian does a very good job in concisely telling the story of the book of Abraham. Admittedly, it can get confusing pretty rapidly and I know discussing this topic on this program in such a short span that we are allowed to have some people might feel that they're being overwhelmed by a lot of new words and new names but the reason why we feel that the book of Abraham is an important subject is because, as we mentioned yesterday, we have heard personally from former Latter Day Saints that it was the book of Abraham and the controversy surrounding it that led many people out of the church if they are being led out of the church because of this book that is still a part of Mormon scripture.
Well then, perhaps as Christians we need to familiarize ourselves with some of the basics of this story, and in a chance that we might be able to bring it up in a conversation talking with our LDS friends. Today we are going to begin our look at this chapter starting with page 283 the book of Abraham is unique and uniquely controversial among these books because it is the only text translated by Smith for which we have the original source material. Let me stop you there because it should be mentioned that the word translated is in quotation marks.
So Stephen Tay some seems to understand that part of the controversy in and of itself is the quote translation itself. Not only that, as he rightly brings out this source material is X stamped.
To this day we don't have the gold plates from which the book of Mormon allegedly came from there. Nowhere to be found. The angel allegedly took them back with him, but we do have the papyrus on which the book of Abraham supposedly comes from and that is the basis for the whole controversy he goes on and writes Smith claim to have translated the book of Mormon from a set of ancient metal plates that disappeared when he completed the translation. Smith said that the material in the book of Moses came to him through a process of direct revelation and that he did not work with an original source at all. Now here we are throwing out another phrasebook of Moses. We talked about the book of Moses a lot on the show but the book of Moses is also a part of Mormon scripture. It happened to be added to the pearl of great price. In 1878, and it was canonized in 1880. What makes the book of Moses so significant probably not too terribly much. But one portion does stand out and that is the creation account that is found in the book of Moses and why is that creation account found in chapters 2 through four so important because it sounds very similar to what we have in the Bible talking about God creating God doing this God doing that that becomes significant because when you look at the creation account in the book of Abraham. We have God's plural and here in the book of Moses. It always says, God, so showing the singularity of God. Tatian continues and rights. By contrast, Smith produce the book of Abraham from a set of documents that came with some mommies that he and his followers acquired from a man named Michael Chandler in the 1830s purchasing mommies may strike modern readers a strange but in the 19th century, the United States and much of Europe was in the throes of Egypt to mania on the next page 284 it says the story of the book of Abraham is anything but clear. This confusion both contributes to and derives from the controversy that continues to smolder around the nature of the text. The book of Abraham generate such intense debate because in the minds of many of the participants in the controversy, Smith's entire prophetic identity rises and falls with the legitimacy of the book of Abraham, and that is no doubt why we have personally heard so many former Mormons tell us that it was the book of Abraham that led them out.
The stakes are very high when it comes to the book of Abraham. Why is that well I think it's quite obvious.
If a member of the LDS church comes to realize that Joseph Smith translation of the book of Abraham is totally fabricated or a quote unquote revelatory translation.
It raises a huge? About the legitimacy of Joseph Smith translation of the gold plates that led to the book of Mormon. In fact, I would think it would become even more suspicious. Given that we don't have the plates from which the book of Mormon Casey to me if I was a member of the LDS church that would seem awfully suspicious and highly convenient that we don't have the artifacts from which Joseph Smith translates the book of Mormon. It sounds so convenient to me that you could say while an angel took it away and now there's no way to falsify which Joseph Smith said we are going completely by Joseph Smith's testimony that this is supposedly a story of ancient Americans and the doctrine that they held at that particular time. The problem with the book of Abraham is we have something here today.
Now it can be examined and as we mentioned in yesterday show it has been examined by those who were qualified in the field of Egyptology, one of whom was Dr. Robert written are we mentioned yesterday and who comes up in the chapter later on as well, but there were others that examine what Joseph Smith claimed to have translated and they all came to the conclusion that it had nothing to do with what the text itself was telling Egyptologist who were learned in that field so you can see why folks member of the LDS church coming to realize all this, how that can have such a devastating effect on their testimony when they've been told. Up until this point and I might say this is what a lot of Latter Day Saints were told prior to this essay coming out that this is a legitimate translation into English from the Egyptian text. We've talked to Latter Day Saints who've told us that that's how they understood the book of Abraham that it was Joseph Smith translating the text. Certainly he did not understand Egyptology. He did not understand the Egyptian language, but that's irrelevant. God gave him the revelatory means of translating that but they still concluded that that revelatory translation was pertinent to what was on the papyrus. It wasn't just completely made up, and different from what people found that text to say but see now that's all had to change.
Now you can understand how difficult this must be for a scholar in the LDS church. Realizing all these controversies but having to stay true to the LDS church now. This chapter mentions John G he's kind of like the go to guy now in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but John G made an interesting statement about the book of Abraham where I don't know Eric would you say he kind of throws the whole book under the bus by the comment that he made at a conference several years ago must let the listener decide. This comes from the 2002. Fair conference, and we should mention that this conference was put on by the foundation for apologetics information research. This is apologetic group within the LDS church. It's not officially sponsored by the LDS church, but there have been times when church leaders have pointed to the research of fair in defense of certain controversies within Mormonism escorting generate comes from your book in their own words. Page 62 year compile elation of different quotations, so this is what he said. The book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The church survived for the first 50 years of its existence without the book of Abraham as part of the scriptural canon. So the first thing to remember about the role of the book of Abraham and apologetics is that the church does not rise or fall on the veracity of the book of Abraham, the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.
So declare Joseph Smith.
The book of Abraham is an appendage in importance. It ranks below the Bible, the book of Mormon and the doctrine and covenants. This is not to say that Latter Day Saints can or should forgo the book of Abraham, but simply to give an idea of its relative importance. It is more important than some things and much less important than others build based on what you said earlier, it almost does feel like a copout yellow book of Abraham is important.
It really isn't as important as the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus. All the central tenets of our faith and the book of Mormon and other things like that but let's just be honest we said this yesterday. If the book of Abraham is not true. Joseph Smith did not know how to translate the book of Abraham from the Egyptian hieroglyphics then how do we know that he was correct on any of the translations that he supposedly produced and I think was problematic with that incredible statement from John G is first of all, folks.
John G has really no authority to speak on behalf of the church to begin with. This is just his opinion. Now I'm sure that his opinion could be found to have some high value to many other Latter Day Saints were probably just as troubled as John G is with the book of Abraham and maybe that gives him some comfort. But let's not forget this was canonized as a part of Mormon scripture in 1880, so obviously the first presidency of the church found significant value in the book of Abraham to include it as part of its canon on an official basis.
How can you just blindly dismiss that decision. To me it sounds like John G is given us the impression that the first presidency kind of acted out of bounds. Perhaps, although he does kind of give himself some wiggle room by saying it does have some value to it, but he's acting almost as if we don't need it at all and how can you say that because the book of Abraham chapter 1 verse 26 the verse that David O. McKay, president of the church pointed to to justify prohibiting those of African heritage from holding the priesthood so it does have a lot of significance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints regardless of the comment made by John G thank you for listening.
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