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jerryp48

Your View On The Book Of Abraham, Jsp, Kep, Etc.

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I'm trying to understand the position of all who are following the BOA, KEP, JSP, etc.

I'm not looking for a debate. I'm simply trying to understand who subscribes to what theory.

I'd like to believe what I've been taught since youth; that the papyri written by the hand of Abraham fell into the hands of Joseph Smith and he translated them into what we have today as the Book of Abraham and what we don't have as the Book of Joseph.

The problem with my traditional belief is it rather contradicts the facts as I've come to understand them. Kind of unfortunate but thats the way it goes.

So far I've heard of theories such as pnuemonic, catalyst, and missing papyri.

Now, again I'm not asking you to defend your position. Just state it. I could go through tons of former threads but I think theories have evolved and I want to know how you feel today.

This is intended for everyone but I'd like mostly to here from first DCP (he has taken a fairly silent role IMO in the past), William S., Paul Osborne, He-who-shall-not-be-named (KG), California Kid, and the rest of their holinesses, the "pundits"

Jerry

p.s. Sorry for another BOA topic.

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CK in not Mormon...do you want everyones imput or just LDS?

I just don't know! I know the "Book" teaches true principles. It is the book I refer to the lest of all in my studies. I believe to know the "entire story" one would need a time machine. We will never know.

Pa Pa <_<

Note that whats put so many off is the references to "The Gods" created etc. The word Elohiem...means Gods"

So Gen could read "In the beginning the Gods, created the heaven and the earth" (Gen 1: 1)

Pa Pa :P

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I have never studied its origins. I have read the PoGP and think of it as scripture until I feel otherwise that's how it will remain with me. I have too many things on my plate to start worrying about the BoA. Now I can hold my own with other subjects (mainly the MMM). But I will have to concede my lack of knowledge on this topic.

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Hello jerry,

I am a non-LDS critic, so I do not believe in the Book of Abraham. My view is essentially that Joseph made it up, though I couldn't say for sure whether this was a conscious or unconscious fraud. I think he borrowed some of the details of the book from Josephus' Antiquities and from Thomas ****'s Philosophy of a Future State, both of which he and/or Cowdery owned and were reading at the time.

Paul Osborne and Kevin Graham don't post here, so I guess I'll speak for them as well. Paul believes in the catalyst theory, but since the catalyst theory throws out the Alphabet and Grammar he is not content to stop there. It is difficult to encounter the Alphabet and Grammar without getting the impression that it was produced by means of inspiration. Since he is convinced that the Alphabet and Grammar is an inspired production, Paul explains that it is an Alphabet and Grammar of the pure Adamic language and that Joseph Smith was mistaken in thinking he was translating Egyptian. As for Kevin Graham, he agrees with me that the Book of Abraham is a fraud. He thinks it should never have been canonized by the Church. Both he and Paul are highly critical of the apologetic establishment, which they believe is dishonest. I am not Paul or Kevin, of course, so if you want their views it's best to get it from the horse's mouth. They don't post here, but you can reach them at the BoA Forum.

I haven't seen David Bokovoy around for a while; it would be a shame if he missed this thread. He's a catalyst guy who seems to believe the BoA is ahistorical but that it nevertheless utilizes valid ancient Near Eastern motifs. For the horse's mouth on that count, you might PM him or read his MADB blog.

Benjamin McGuire is another important BoA pundit, but he doesn't post much. He has written in defense of the missing papyrus and has argued that JS didn't think the BoA was an Abraham autograph, but I've also heard (don't know how accurate this is) that he thinks the BoA shouldn't have been canonized. I really don't know where he stands today, and I'd love to have him come clarify his views. Maybe you could PM him and point him to this thread as well.

-CK

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Jerry,

I'd like to believe what I've been taught since youth; that the papyri written by the hand of Abraham fell into the hands of Joseph Smith and he translated them into what we have today as the Book of Abraham and what we don't have as the Book of Joseph.

The problem is the critical understanding of what Joseph meant by "translation." The fact of the matter is that he used the term very, very loosely. Look at the Book of Moses and see if the sub heading makes any sense. It simply doesn't (using our understanding). Anything (even a revelation) that was "prompted" from a text is something that he consistently called a translation. He clearly did not go word-to-word in all of his productions, and his efforts to understand Egyptian through the KEP almost certainly provide reason to believe that they were destructing the papyri after having received revelation...albeit erroneously.

So far I've heard of theories such as pnuemonic, catalyst, and missing papyri.

I don't know if they're right or wrong, but I don't think its a big deal. You could come up with the "little green man" theory if you wanted. I think these theories (although they all have some portions with certain merit) are too formal. I don't know that the issues are really that complex. I believe Joseph received the revelation that the message of the papyri went back to Abraham, which in its originality was written by Abraham. I believe that's the truth, and that the Book of Breathings (or the Book of the Dead) really de-evolved since Abraham, corrupted through use by the Egyptians. What we have in the papyri is a document very much different than what was originially created...but Joseph didn't "translate" it anyways. He "translated" it through revelation, getting the important original story. He had all the pieces, the picture on the box, and just put the pieces together wrong. No big deal.

PacMan

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I am a non-LDS critic,

Is there another kind?

so I do not believe in the Book of Abraham. My view is essentially that Joseph made it up,

-CK

Could that not be said of anyone...all other writers had no manuscript. Islam teaches as well as Cristopher Hittchens that the Apostle Paul made up Christianity. A view I completely disagree with!

Pa Pa :P

Glad to see you back

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I've been taught since youth; that the papyri written by the hand of Abraham

fell into the hands of Joseph Smith and he translated them into what we have today

The position of the RLDS Church and (I think) the consensus conclusion in Community of Christ,

has been that the papyri were NOT written by the hand of Abraham and that the published text,

from the 1842 "Times & Seasons" is NOT an authentic ancient document.

The evolution in this understanding probably occurred as early as the 1850s when William Smith,

brother of Joseph, reportedly pawned most or all of the Kirtland mummy materials for a relatively

small amount of money. Mother Lucy, who had repeatedly exhibited the papyri as Abrahamic

documents passed away and her survivors among the nuclear Joseph Smith family in the midwest

grew to believe that the documents were not what she (and Joseph) had said they were. At least

THAT seems to have been the roots of the RLDS position --- that if the documents were truly the

holographs of Abraham, that the family might have sold them for a very high sum, and not the paltry

cash that William was able to get for them as "side-show" stuff.

The evolution in RLDS thinking continued down into the next decade -- the text was published in the

Church's "Saints' Herald" for all members to inspect, but nobody came forth with a testimony that

the contents were from Abraham, let alone from God.

The Reorganite position as officially stated is that the Saints (including the Smith family) do not

recognize the text as scripture -- nor is there any reason to ever canonize the text, as it is evidently

NOT a communication from Abraham and NOT a revelation to the Latter Day Saints.

That much, I think, is "official." --- But among the RLDS/CoC leadership you will hear more forciful

views expressed: That the BoA is JS's imaginative theologizing, or, That the BoA was "Joe's fraud."

Those are pretty strong conclusions, coming from within the Smith family itself, and reaching as far

back at the late 1850s at least. Joseph Smith III had a fascination to know more about the material

and he tried to track down some of the original documents for inspection -- but he obviously never

accepted the content of the published text as authentic scripture, nor as ancient literaure.

Thus, the Reorganites have been able to "keep their head above water" in the midst of the BoA

contentions -- and that has worked to their advantage.

On the other hand, they are thus left with one interpretation of history which concludes that JS was

a knowing forger of pseudo-scripture. That has thus far not worked much to their advantage.

Dale R. Broadhurst

web-host

SidneyRigdon.com, etc.

.

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I don't subscribe to the catalyst theory, the mnemonic device theory, or the missing papyrus theory. I suscribe to the "Joseph Smith knew how to give his followers what they wanted" theory. As for the missing papyrus theory, it's hard to take that seriously when in fact all of what we actually have that has anything to do with the Book of Abraham, the KEP, or really anything else, has to do specifically with the BoB text, the vignette attached to the BoB text, and the hypocephalus. It's a strange notion to imagine that the Book of Abraham came from some papyrus unrelated to the ones we have now, and yet no mention other than some argued reference to a greater quantity of papyrus than we now have is made. It's a strange notion that some close to Joseph, and maybe Joseph himself, would try to "reverse engineer" the Egyptian by using the Book of Abraham text and a different set of papyrus (ie: the Book of Breathings) than the one the Book of Abraham really came from.

As far as mnemonic device and catalyst theory, I think they're stupid, ad hoc, desperate attempts to stave off disaster, and really have nothing much to recommend them otherwise. I believe it's clear that Joseph Smith claimed to be translating the words of Abraham, written by Abraham himself, not some cryptic, encoded text that only refers through the catalyst method to something Abraham had earlier written, etc. In order for these theories to be correct, I believe Joseph Smith has to have been completely ignorant of what it was he was really doing, a sort of, to quote the Dude, "Rain-man, calendar idiot" model of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of these latter days. I have a hard time understanding how that can be acceptable to some members, but oh well, whatever it takes to keep the faith.

My own personal theory of it all goes something like this. Joseph Smith had represented to his followers that he could translate ancient documents (through the example of the Book of Mormon), and when these particular ancient documents showed up, some of them saw it as a good opportunity for Joseph to prove his detractors wrong by translating them, thus demonstrating his ability. Joseph perceived that he had to put up or shut up, and extemporized on the papyrus, telling people that they were the records of Abraham and Joseph, giving them exactly what they wanted. He then took enough time actually writing the Book of Abraham that he had to time, either alone or in concert with others, to create the actual Book of Abraham and release it to the public. Since Joseph probably presumed that nobody could really translate these papyri and contradict him, he must have felt safe in making his claims and releasing the BoA. Little did he know that we'd eventually be having this conversation, with access to actual translations of the papyrus to compare with his story.

If you recall the Zelph story, Joseph extemporized on the identity of the skeleton they had found there, too, giving his followers exactly what they wanted - an example of Joseph the Seer "revealing" information that nobody could possibly know, and tying the skeleton in with the history of ancient America Joseph had already produced, ie: the Book of Mormon. Now recall from the Kinderhook story the claim by William Clayton that Joseph Smith extemporized on the plates when shown them, saying that they were a record of the guy they were buried with, that he was given his kingdom by God, etc. Some dispute this report from Clayton's journal, but if you look at it in the context of other similar situations like Zelph and the Book of Abraham papyrus where Joseph was presented with some ancient artifact and asked what it meant, and told his followers some faith-supporting tidbit about it, the Clayton reference falls right into place. It fits right into the pattern.

If you haven't read enough of my posts to know, I'm still a member on record, and I generally go to Sacrament meeting most weeks because my wife wants me to, but I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this church is really just a man-made institution, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholocism, and all the others. I believe Joseph was really good at telling people around him what they wanted to hear.

One more thing. Joseph Smith seemed to pull revelations out, or "translations" of ancient scripture, whether he had anything (Book of Abraham) at hand to act as source material, or not (Book of Moses). He seemed to get revelations from God really easily, and came up with them in all kinds of situations, many directed at specific individuals regarding specific topics of relevance to them personally. You may have noticed that his successors have hardly produced any revelations, nor any new scripture, or almost anything remotely like what Joseph Smith did. I believe this is because Joseph Smith knew he was making it up, and was perfectly willing to do so, but his successors actually bought into his story, and they believe it, and they are waiting for God to actually give them the revelations. When God doesn't do this, there's quite simply no new revelations. They don't know the real "secret" to getting revelations like Joseph Smith, which is to make them up. :-)

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Sethbag,

Since Joseph probably presumed that nobody could really translate these papyri and contradict him, he must have felt safe in making his claims and releasing the BoA. Little did he know that we'd eventually be having this conversation, with access to actual translations of the papyrus to compare with his story.

I think there's ample reason to reject that notion. There's an interesting piece where he refers to the Egyptian priests, and also says that man couldn't understand what was revealed unless God wants them to. In a note, he basically said the Egyptian preists didn't know Egyptian, or that the actual message was beyond the surface. The revelation was beyond the text, and think other statements made by job indicate that this was indeed the fact of the matter.

PacMan

P.S. With Zelph, it's certainly hard to say. The sources are questionable at best, and few and far inbetween. For all we know, it was another 9-foot quaker story (I know what you're going to say...don't).

:P

PacMan

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Sethbag,

I think there's ample reason to reject that notion. There's an interesting piece where he refers to the Egyptian priests, and also says that man couldn't understand what was revealed unless God wants them to. In a note, he basically said the Egyptian preists didn't know Egyptian, or that the actual message was beyond the surface. The revelation was beyond the text, and think other statements made by job indicate that this was indeed the fact of the matter.

PacMan

P.S. With Zelph, it's certainly hard to say. The sources are questionable at best, and few and far inbetween. For all we know, it was another 9-foot quaker story (I know what you're going to say...don't).

:P

PacMan

Pac,

1) I'd be interested in your source for the Egyptian priest thing, and

2) There are really quite a few sources for the Zelph thing, and they mostly corrborate each other. See Ken Godfrey's article.

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Pac,

1) I'd be interested in your source for the Egyptian priest thing, and

2) There are really quite a few sources for the Zelph thing, and they mostly corrborate each other. See Ken Godfrey's article.

On the Egyptian priest thing, I'd be interested in my source too (it's at home)! I wish I could remember better what was exactly said... I'll get to it, but I remember going away with the impression I posted above.

On the Zelph thing, I confounded stories with the Kinderhook plates--my bad.

EVERYBODY LOOK...I CENSURED MYSELF!!

PacMan

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I've said it before... I just doesn't matter, it's too muddy an issue!!! I personally believe in the missing papyri theory. Honestly, I think the fact that there are several theories and even theories about those theories proves, :), that there will never be a way to DISPROVE that the Book of Abraham is not revealed doctrine, and it seems to be that way with every LDS controversy. This means that there is no justifyable reason for leaving the Church, because you can't prove anything. You can prove that there is doubt, that there is blurred history, and that there are possibilities, and that's all you can prove. Which is why becoming worthy enough to receive answers from God is so important, and asking sincerely enough to receive them.

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Here is a good link that focuses in on the Book of Abraham...

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.ph...ripts&id=69

here is an excerpt from the article, it's Nibley;

"There is a doctoral dissertation that has just come out of Germany by a young man who has taken over a hundred facsimiles matching our facsimile number three, private and so forth and so on, and compared them. The results show that they all look very much alike. But the accompanying inscriptions show that they tell the widest variety of stories. They use the same images to tell all sorts of stories with great freedom. Not uncommonly in a scene in which all is ordinary and familiar, or seems so, a completely unexpected and unorthodox figure will appear, and it changes the interpretation of the whole thing."

Some erroneously believe that it's about some king or God named Horr, sure, there must have been some pic just like the one in Abraham about Horr, but there are hundreds that look the same and are not about Horr.

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California, Hor's name actually appears in written Egyptian characters.

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Excellent discussion so far. Thank you.

The implications of admitting that the BOA should never have been canonized are enormous to say the least. I hope that will never be the case and evidence will surface to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. I'm curious to know as to whether those members who hold this position are TBM's in every other way. Is that possible? Perhaps a topic for another thread.

Keep going, I'm eager to read more.

On a personal note I discussed my concerns last night in my second TR interview with the counselor in the SP. Not surprisingly he had no clue as to the issue. I don't hold that against him or anyone for that matter. But I know the issue and now the barn door is open and cows are already out to pasture.

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Excellent discussion so far. Thank you.

The implications of admitting that the BOA should never have been canonized are enormous to say the least. I hope that will never be the case and evidence will surface to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. I'm curious to know as to whether those members who hold this position are TBM's in every other way. Is that possible?

To say the least--NO! CK, Uncle Dale, and Sethbag are not TBMs.

The problem isn't he canonization, nor the BofAbraham itself. Its the infusion of a poor understanding of terminology. The papyri came, the revelation explained its origin, and the rest was left to Joseph and his scribes. They logically thought it was a 1:1 relationship, which is most evidently the case. That fact hasn't any bearing on the BoA.

PacMan

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As Pacman says, I'm not a TBM anymore. I used to be, but not anymore. That said, my lifestyle isn't that much different. I guess 36 years of a given lifestyle kinda puts one in a deep rut, and I haven't felt much impetus to become a philistine or anything like that in the last couple of years. I don't pray to Heavenly Father to show me where my lost car keys are though, and I stopped paying tithing a couple years ago. Oh, and I don't read the scriptures anymore. I've told my bishop, in two separate interviews, what my reasons are for unbelief, and he pretty much leaves me alone and probably is just glad that my wife and daughter still attend the full three hours each Sunday. I don't go out of my way to discuss my views on the church with any of the local members, so I guess he's willing to let the status quo stand. I don't think he knows I post as a critic on this board and the "obsession" board though. I don't know if that would change anything. It might.

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Excellent discussion so far. Thank you.

The implications of admitting that the BOA should never have been canonized are enormous to say the least. I hope that will never be the case and evidence will surface to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. I'm curious to know as to whether those members who hold this position are TBM's in every other way. Is that possible? Perhaps a topic for another thread.

Keep going, I'm eager to read more.

On a personal note I discussed my concerns last night in my second TR interview with the counselor in the SP. Not surprisingly he had no clue as to the issue. I don't hold that against him or anyone for that matter. But I know the issue and now the barn door is open and cows are already out to pasture.

I was recently in Salt Lake City and Provo and there I had a private interview with a respected LDS

elder in the "middle management" level. I will not repeat here much of what was said -- which was

generally about the JS account in the PGP, etc. However, that gentleman made one interesting

comment which I will attempt to paraphrase ---- and that is, that the PGP does not stand above the

BoM or the D&C in the LDS Standard Works. It was a "late arrival" to the canon and was never

accepted by common consent in the Church. Also, that it one day may be viewed more at the level

of the JST than at the level of the BoM and D&C -- that is, as an inspired deutero-canonical text,

useful for footnoting and explicating the other Standard Works, but interpreted in light of THEIR

content and not THEY in light of the PGP's content.

This was an interesting concept to me -- and I'm not sure exactly what it might mean in terms of

future LDS doctrine. Has anybody else recently encountered such a re-interpretation of the PGP?

Uncle Dale

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I was recently in Salt Lake City and Provo and there I had a private interview with a respected LDS

elder in the "middle management" level. I will not repeat here much of what was said -- which was

generally about the JS account in the PGP, etc. However, that gentleman made one interesting

comment which I will attempt to paraphrase ---- and that is, that the PGP does not stand above the

BoM or the D&C in the LDS Standard Works. It was a "late arrival" to the canon and was never

accepted by common consent in the Church. Also, that it one day may be viewed more at the level

of the JST than at the level of the BoM and D&C -- that is, as an inspired deutero-canonical text,

useful for footnoting and explicating the other Standard Works, but interpreted in light of THEIR

content and not THEY in light of the PGP's content.

This was an interesting concept to me -- and I'm not sure exactly what it might mean in terms of

future LDS doctrine. Has anybody else recently encountered such a re-interpretation of the PGP?

Uncle Dale

That's an interesting speculation on the part of your "Elder" at the "middle management level" -- whatever that means.

And it may bring a smile to the faces of those who would love to see the "Brighamites" begin to adopt the course taken by the "Josephites" of the last century.

But I'm quite confident that it's never going to happen.

Why?

Because the core of the church is still guided by divine inspiration -- the same inspiration that revealed the Book of Abraham (and the Book of Moses, for that matter) to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

And I guess that provides my answer to the original question of this thread, as well.

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PacMan,

I could easily adopt your understanding if the facsimiles never made their way into the translation and text. When "whoever" drew in the missing fragments of the facsimilies and left out the typical hawks and drew in hands they made a grave error. IMO Joseph Smith would have translated the hawks into some meaning had they been there.

I guess if JS was inspired enough to receive revelation as to the uncorrupted original version of the papyrus than why couldn't he have also received the uncorrupted version of the facsimiles? He saw the Nauvoo Temple in vision and it was important enough that he forced the architect to make the round windows work but somehow its ok to include corrupted facimilies?

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I'm trying to understand the position of all who are following the BOA, KEP, JSP, etc.

I'm not looking for a debate. I'm simply trying to understand who subscribes to what theory.

I'd like to believe what I've been taught since youth; that the papyri written by the hand of Abraham fell into the hands of Joseph Smith and he translated them into what we have today as the Book of Abraham and what we don't have as the Book of Joseph.

The problem with my traditional belief is it rather contradicts the facts as I've come to understand them. Kind of unfortunate but thats the way it goes.

So far I've heard of theories such as pnuemonic, catalyst, and missing papyri.

Now, again I'm not asking you to defend your position. Just state it. I could go through tons of former threads but I think theories have evolved and I want to know how you feel today.

This is intended for everyone but I'd like mostly to here from first DCP (he has taken a fairly silent role IMO in the past), William S., Paul Osborne, He-who-shall-not-be-named (KG), California Kid, and the rest of their holinesses, the "pundits"

Jerry

p.s. Sorry for another BOA topic.

What is really the problem?

A bunch of Papyri came into Joseph's hand, some of it contained the Book of Abraham, he got rid of all the rest. A small amount of that papyrus was later found, it happened to have ONE of the facsimiles on it. Anti's boldly conclude without any solid evidence that it is the great papyri Joseph translated the Abraham text from. Most LDS, understand that this according to the evidence is likely not at all the case. Was it revelation, yes, but Joseph clearly said it came from an actual text, but clearly not the text the anti's want you to think (as well as a couple of rare LDS nuts who don't take Joseph at his word).

Of course, there is the possibility that it was all simply revelation, and the text in his hands were simply the "spark" which made him think the actual writings were in his hands. Of course, I doubt this is even close to the case, because of the same issue with the Book of Mormon. But who knows, maybe it was a spark as well, I don't know. But, in my view the evidence is that their word is reliable, and so I take him for his and others word.

The papyri found cannot at all come close to conclusively showing that it IS the actual and only text Joseph translated from. Period. But, you can believe the anti flawed thinking if you want.

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That's an interesting speculation...

It must be remembered that our conversation was about the JS story in the PGP, and not about

the BoA --- He was primarily responding to my question, of whether Mormons should accept the

JS story as the perfect Word of God. His answer appears to have been "not exactly."

He only mentioned the JST/PGP relationship in this sense: that he could quote the exact same

sentences from each source (where they overlap in their texts) and that as things stand today, the

PGP quotation would have a higher canonical status than the JST quotation. Both he and I saw this

as merely a superficial absurdity --- however, it was from that observation that he projected his

opinion that one day the PGP would be interpreted in light of the BoM and D&C.

This is not the "Josephite position," in that most RLDS I have ever encountered place the JST and

BoM on equal ground -- with the JST standing as the first among equals. CoC scholars and liberals

of course have a different view, mostly.

However, if the Nauvoo theology were re-interpreted in light of the BoM and early D&C, that indeed

would have the effect of reversing the current LDS thinking -- that the PGP is the "more light & truth"

extending and clarifying the BoM.

Perhaps this was one elderly man's personal opinion and is not a matter currently under discussion

in the LDS Church. If so, then this would be the first time he has ever voiced such an individualistic

view to me.

PM me and I'll give you his e-mail (with his permission).

UD

.

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PacMan,

I could easily adopt your understanding if the facsimiles never made their way into the translation and text. When "whoever" drew in the missing fragments of the facsimilies and left out the typical hawks and drew in hands they made a grave error. IMO Joseph Smith would have translated the hawks into some meaning had they been there.

I guess if JS was inspired enough to receive revelation as to the uncorrupted original version of the papyrus than why couldn't he have also received the uncorrupted version of the facsimiles? He saw the Nauvoo Temple in vision and it was important enough that he forced the architect to make the round windows work but somehow its ok to include corrupted facimilies?

When referring to the drawings, so what? To conclude what you are suggesting, you first need to legitimize that they were 1) Meant to be authoritatvely correct, 2) indeed are...wrong.

Moreover, there's no reason that my theory can't be applied to the facsimiles. Again, the revelatory bits of information could have simply been pegged to the facsimiles...although, there is something to the facs.

PacMan

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When referring to the drawings, so what? To conclude what you are suggesting, you first need to legitimize that they were 1) Meant to be authoritatvely correct, 2) indeed are...wrong.

Moreover, there's no reason that my theory can't be applied to the facsimiles. Again, the revelatory bits of information could have simply been pegged to the facsimiles...although, there is something to the facs.

PacMan

Can you further clarify yourself here? Are you saying the "revelatory bits of information" might have been "pegged" accidentally to the wrong vignette? Sorry if I'm slow.

To be clear here I'm not justifying my view, I have not formed one yet. I want your view. I have leanings but I'm trying to remain pliable.

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