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June 30, 2021 9:43 pm
When one examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited 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. What is the catalyst theory. What does that have to do with the book of Abraham.
Welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. This week we are looking at Chapter 11 the continuing controversy over the book of Abraham. It was written by Stephen C. Tate, some today were going to start by looking at page 289 because there's a very interesting sentence that we need to talk about and it's quite a confession. When you think about it that is found in the gospel topics essay dealing with the book of Abraham. What does Stephen tase him have to say on page 289. The church is gospel topics essay is an important document on the ongoing history of the book of Abraham, due in no small part to the essay's attempt to shift the grounds of the debate. The essay concedes that quote Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham" but that's quite a statement. Quite a confession. If you will, because, as we been mentioning throughout this week we have spoken with many former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who tell us that one of the reasons why they left the church was when they discovered that it wasn't in fact a translation into English from the Egyptian text that Joseph Smith used tase and goes on to say, the essay argues that Smith never translated things in the traditional sense of that term, but rather use supernatural gifts to draw English text from ancient sources according to the essay. There is no reason to believe that the translation process of the book of Abraham differed significantly from the method Smith used to translate the book of Mormon. Now think about that if were going to make a comparison to how Joseph Smith translates the book of Abraham with how he translated the book of Mormon. You would think that would certainly raise a lot of questions in the minds of many Latter Day Saints because as we discussed in another chapter in this book Joseph Smith according to the essay dealing with the translation of the book of Mormon did what was known as a read method he was reading the text off of his seer stone and from that reading we get the book of Mormon. How do we know that what he was reading was really on the gold plates. Of course we don't know we don't have the plates to check there's no way to verify whether or not Smith was telling us the truth. But then we skip over to page 296 where it says the essay makes the case that a statement from a revelation in which Joseph Smith was told by God in relation to the book of Mormon that Smith could quote not right that which is sacred.
Save it be given you from me." Also, quote can be applied to the book of Abraham. He continues the basic point here is that no matter what the papyri say or do not say Smith's book of Abraham was somehow bolstered by extended by enriched by, or completely consisted of divine revelation. The papyrus scrolls. According to this view acted as a material vehicle that prompted some sort of revelatory experience, which in turn resulted in the production of the book of Abraham.
This is sometimes referred to as the catalyst theory because the papyrus acted as a catalyst for the reception of Revelation. Do you think most Latter Day Saints. Prior to the release of this gospel topics essay had that in mind when it came to the book of Abraham and the answer to that quite simply is no because we have, as you mentioned at the beginning of the show talked to a number of former LDS who have said that this book of Abraham essay just gave them information that made them leave the church so no I don't think most people did taste goes on to say in 2013 the LDS church issued a new addition of its scriptures and an important shift in describing the book of Abraham. I'm glad you included this because we were talking about this as well. He says before 2013, the official language in the published book of Abraham stated that the book was quote a translation from some Egyptian papyrus."
The 2013 edition and to the present now describes the text as an inspired translation of the writings of Abraham to let me read from the 1981. Addition of the standard works and this is the book of Abraham, and let me just read exactly what it says is is translated from the papyrus by Joseph Smith and then the note says a translation of some ancient records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt called the book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus that when you read that how can you not draw the conclusion that the book of Abraham that you're about to read. After that subheading is not a translation from the Egyptian text to the English. In other words, it's in the English equivalent of the Egyptian text. It seems from that statement alone.
You would have to draw that conclusion. I would think that the translators of the Bible would hope that they were inspired in making the translation that they did from both the old and New Testament manuscripts. But they wouldn't be making an inspired translation without having the copies that they would be able to translate from and I think that's something that needs to be understood here when you say inspired translation. Translation is meaningless because you would think that you have something ago off of.
He's going off of something that he has no clue as to what it says and then he doesn't have the ability to accurately translate it so you're going to have to make it into a spiritual translation. What should have been said or what might have been meant by Abraham, but that goes against all logic, because as you mentioned earlier in the show. Bill Joseph Smith could basically do whatever he wanted and write down whatever he wanted. I think he did and you're supposed to believe that by faith alone will is tase and brings out the book of Abraham before 2013 so that the book of Abraham, was a translation from some Egyptian proprietor. The 2013 edition and to the present now describes the text as an inspired translation folks. That is a huge change. It's a huge change in completely does away with how it was understood traditionally and now were supposed as you said Eric basically believe whatever Joseph Smith tells us there's no way to verify whether Joseph Smith is telling us the truth and that's why they're telling us now that you basically have to have a witness from the Holy Ghost. In fact, on page 289.
Tase him notes that the essay asserts that ultimately the status of the book of Abraham as ancient Scripture can only be established through faith as a witness from the Holy Ghost.
Once again we have to enter the realm of the subjective. In order to draw a conclusion regarding a truth claim that is given by Joseph Smith and ultimately the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints tase and continues onto 96 and he says although not a huge shift. The change in wording does add an important new dimension quote unquote inspiration is now co-mingled with quote unquote translation in such a way that any deviation from the modern Egypt, a logical translation of the papyrus fragments may be explained, the believers, at least as the result of catalytic inspiration.
Obviously, those who do not accept Smith's prophetic claims see this move as nothing more than an effort to salvage credibility in the eyes of believers. Although this is a fair point, it must be remembered that while Smith did apparently attempt to translate the Egyptian characters in a traditional manner. Contemporary accounts clearly attest that he claimed to be getting some sort of revelation as well. This is not another words a new invention by apologists. Although the emphasis on the role of Revelation has grown stronger. Let me stop you.
There is not just grown stronger but that understanding seems to envelop the whole bringing forth of the book of Abraham, even Hugh Nibley has brought out in this chapter didn't place a lot of emphasis on the area where as tase him notes that he was trying to translate the Egyptian characters in a traditional manner. Even Hugh Nibley seems to throw that out because he recognized what Smith was quote unquote translating wasn't at all what was on the text so even Nibley knew you had a problem there. So you've got to go in moving this different direction and come up with this idea of inspiration or a revelatory type of translation because it's not working in the traditional way, you've got to get rid of it because they even recognize it makes no sense whatsoever. The problem, of course, for the average member is before this essay came forth that so many Latter Day Saints were led to believe.
So you can understand why it was a shock for them to see the church admit that it really wasn't a translation at all, at least not in the traditional understanding or definition of that word and we come back to the introductory part of the book of Abraham in the 1981. Edition and it says the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt called the book of Abraham written by his own hand upon papyrus. How else can you understand that then Abraham wrote these words down, and Joseph Smith must have then taken those words and translated them into English. On page 297. Mr. tase him makes this observation. He says also, as with all of the churches essays this one is aimed at believing Latter Day Saints who may be troubled by what they are reading about the book of Abraham. I'm not doubting that conclusion. I think we firmly agree that this is exactly what.
Not only this essay but all of the gospel topics essays were meant to do. They were to give some comfort to a heel to the average member who is struggling with some of these things at their finding out in the general public, mainly on the Internet and so they're trying to give them some information that hopefully will will what would you say Eric keep them in the church but look what you have to sacrifice in order to do that you have to completely reject all that you were taught up until this point. In fact, it has to do with all yesterday's. You were probably led to believe is a member that a lot of what these essays are now admitting to were nothing but lies made by enemies of the church and now your church is only confirming what these alleged enemies were saying.
Many weeks ago we talked about the reason why the gospel topics essays were written in the first place.
For this one.
The book of Abraham I mentioned on Monday.
Show the lost book of Abraham DVD which is available on the Internet that came out before 2014 when this essays was produce.
The information has been well known that the words that are found in the book of Abraham are not the words that were actually found on the papyrus.
I think this is a way to say well yeah of course we acknowledge that these are not the literal words but there still Revelation going on. There's inspiration. I think the average person with any kind of logic would say there's a problem here.
Tomorrow were going to continue looking at Chapter 11 the continuing controversy over the book of Abraham, written by Stephen C. Tase him. Thank you for listening.
If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is