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What are the implications if the BoA is false?

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I doubt they'd publish that article today. Remember, the internet didn't really come into widespread use until the late 90s. I watched episode 2, "The Facsimiles", of this PoGP broadcast on the BYU channel the other day. Andrew Skinner and everybody else, except Mike Rhodes, appeared completely clueless as to what the papyri were.

I was taught that as a kid. You'll have a hard time finding that in the Gospel Doctrine manual these days.

Like the shot heard around the world, I am sure it was an earth shattering event. I am sure Adam felt the earth move under his feet.

"What light through yonder window breaks? 'Tis Juliette and she is the sun!"

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Well, it depends on what you mean. False as in the translation is wrong or false as in the doctrine is wrong? The former is falsifiable, the latter is not.

Nah.... let me explain better...

What I sorta mean is we don't know how direct the translation is - and so even if the papyrus doesn't translate to what the BoA says, there are other ways translation could have taken place.

In other words, if we limit oursleves to a direct translation process, then it may cause problems. If we look at it more as a 'power of God' thing... or perhaps as a 'indirect substitute papyrus', we won't be in such a bind every, I think. After all, if God can make writing appear on a compass (Liahona) which works based on faith, I'm sure this would be pretty easy for him to do. For with God, nothing is impossible =).

Even today though, the direct hasn't been disproven, so I leave both options open =).

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I'd rather not discuss whether or not the BoA translation is accurate - there are many long (and often tedious) threads debating that topic. What I'm asking is, what is the implication if it's false? Is there room for continued faith in the LDS church regardless? I think there is, but I'd like to hear your perspectives.

Well in the first place their are already overwhelming proof of its authenticity; is it all 100 percent correct? we dont know; but we do know the truths that have been expoused so far are beyond reproach; In the second place; the B.O.A is not the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. it is truths of Some things abraham wrote.:P

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It would mean Joseph lied. Where that would lead is anyones guess.

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For many (perhaps most) who leave the Church, the Book of Abraham is one of the heavier straws on the camel's broken back, ranking right up there with polygamy and polyandry. It provides some of the best evidence a critic could have that Joseph Smith did not possess the prophetic abilities and authority he claimed.

The BoA is a component of the Mormon belief system from which many who remain in the Church, including some apologists, are beginning to distance themselves. Current handling of the BoA problem by the Church is starting to look like a rear guard action.

So my answer to your question is that, in due time, Joseph Smith's BoA will probably be of no greater importance to the average (active) Mormon than Brigham Young's Blood Atonement, or McConkie's Mormon Doctrine.

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I'd rather not discuss whether or not the BoA translation is accurate - there are many long (and often tedious) threads debating that topic. What I'm asking is, what is the implication if it's false? Is there room for continued faith in the LDS church regardless? I think there is, but I'd like to hear your perspectives.

Most LDS Church members are oblivious to such questions and would be unlikely to notice whether it were proven true or false -- because they do not have the preparation or experience to determine the facts in the case, much less the skill to evaluate the facts. In addition, they are not wasting their time blogging about such frivolous questions.

Thus, if there were some hypothetical proof of the falsity of the translation of the Book of Abraham, hardly anyone would notice. And even if they did, they might very well ignore the results (cognitive dissonance can be somewhat painful, you know).

Indeed, a lot of people find the social and familial relations bound up with Church membership (any Church membership) to be far too valuable and meaningful to be jettisoned over someone else's declaration that a touchstone of faith has been proven false -- itself a very tenuous concept. The late Prof. Sterling McMurrin publicly maintained that the Book of Mormon was fiction, but he constantly praised Mormon social structure and valued his membership in the Church for that reason. Yet the leadership of the LDS Church did not seek to excommunicate him.

On the other hand, precisely because the leadership of the RLDS Church decided that the Book of Mormon was fiction, they took their whole Church, willy nilly, into mainstream Protestantism. I recall hearing RLDS Professor William D. Russell declaring publicly that the Book of Mormon was Scripture only because it contained precious truths about people -- just as a lot of fiction is so compelling because the authors are able to express deep truths in a poetic, parabolic, or metaphorical way. The problem with that position is that, once adopted, it calls into serious question the truthfulness of other Scripture -- including the Bible.

Many faithful Mormons have a healthy sense of skepticism about ardent and a priori declarations that this or that aspect of their faith is built on a house of cards. They see the detractors from their faith as a bunch of carnival barkers trying to work another scam.

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I think coming to a conclusion that the Book of Abraham is false would lead to a slippery slope to apostasy. Either that or becoming a much more liberal mormon that would be more comfortable in the Community of Christ.

If a mormon were to come to such a conclusion, there would be a loss of trust in the current church. It would be a loss of trust in the church's capability to discern truth from error. There would be much more skepticism towards things that general authorities teach.

After concluding that the BoA is false, I would think that the same reasoning used to conclude the BoA false would be used on the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon would then be concluded to be false.

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Thus, if there were some hypothetical proof of the falsity of the translation of the Book of Abraham, hardly anyone would notice. And even if they did, they might very well ignore the results (cognitive dissonance can be somewhat painful, you know).

No need for hypothetical proof. It was already proven false in the 1960's when the papyrus was discovered. The traditional understanding of the translation was proven false anyway. We have the catalyst hypothesis now and that can't be falsified.

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No need for hypothetical proof. It was already proven false in the 1960's when the papyrus was discovered. The traditional understanding of the translation was proven false anyway. We have the catalyst hypothesis now and that can't be falsified.

Wow, when did they find that papyrus?

I could of sworn all that has ever been recovered is one partial piece of the first facsimile and even this finding is disputed.

So I do know when the rest of facsimile 1 was found and the rest of the lost and presumed destroyed scrolls happened, could you please show references to when this happened?

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I doubt they'd publish that article today. Remember, the internet didn't really come into widespread use until the late 90s. I watched episode 2, "The Facsimiles", of this PoGP broadcast on the BYU channel the other day. Andrew Skinner and everybody else, except Mike Rhodes, appeared completely clueless as to what the papyri were.

I can assure you that Andrew Skinner is not clueless about the papyri.

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Wow, when did they find that papyrus?

I could of sworn all that has ever been recovered is one partial piece of the first facsimile and even this finding is disputed.

So I do know when the rest of facsimile 1 was found and the rest of the lost and presumed destroyed scrolls happened, could you please show references to when this happened?

There was also text attached to the facsimile that was discovered. The writings turned out to be funerary writings. I used to like the missing scroll theory, but after reading Rough Stone Rolling, I've become more partial to the catalyst theory. It is consistent with the manner in which Joseph received revelations.

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Well, it depends on what you mean. False as in the translation is wrong or false as in the doctrine is wrong? The former is falsifiable, the latter is not.

The translation is not falsifiable until you are sure you have the source material that was translated. As has been pointed out that has not happened nor it seems is likely to happen.

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There was also text attached to the facsimile that was discovered. The writings turned out to be funerary writings. I used to like the missing scroll theory, but after reading Rough Stone Rolling, I've become more partial to the catalyst theory. It is consistent with the manner in which Joseph received revelations.

My point was without the whole text you can't say the translation is false, the Church bought six mummies and a multiple scrolls, so there is bound to be non BoA texts mixed in with the BoA scrolls, the gentleman selling the artifacts insisted the Church by everything or nothing. So the only way to truthfully state you have physical evidence against the BoA because the translation is false is to recover all the scrolls the Church bought originally.

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It was already proven false in the 1960's when the papyrus was discovered.

Again, this is not accurate at all. The translation we have as the Book of Abraham was not necessarily (and not even probably and barely possibly) derived from the now rediscovered papyri in the 1960s or any other time.

The traditional understanding of the translation was proven false anyway.

This is an entirely different proposition, one that has nothing to do with the first one.

We have the catalyst hypothesis now and that can't be falsified.

That's but one "hypothesis" that some people have raised. I find it sadly lacking in many respects, not least of which is the fact that Joseph actively maintained that the words on the scroll (not the sheets, which is what we now have) were the work of Abraham (and Joseph, and possibly others of the Patriarchs). The contemporary descriptions of the papyri do not match the extant documents. There is no need at all to relegate the actual translation "hypothesis" to the dust bin, since it has not been tested, and cannot be due to the fact that the entirety of the Abrahamic papyral library is not available for examination.

Based on the fact mentioned above, were the translation ever to be proven "false", it would call into question the whole Restoration. I find nothing to fear from this position, since one or both of the following will be true until the Advent of Christ at some point in the future:

  1. The whole of the library is no longer in existence or has been lost irretrievably. Finding it seems extremely unlikely.
  2. What Abraham wrote (and others probably copied by hand

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For many (perhaps most) who leave the Church, the Book of Abraham is one of the heavier straws on the camel's broken back, ranking right up there with polygamy and polyandry. It provides some of the best evidence a critic could have that Joseph Smith did not possess the prophetic abilities and authority he claimed.

The BoA is a component of the Mormon belief system from which many some who remain in the Church, including some apologists, are beginning to distance themselves. Current handling of the BoA problem by the Church is starting to look like a rear guard action.

So my answer to your question is that, in due time, Joseph Smith's BoA will probably be of no greater importance to the average (active) Mormon than Brigham Young's Blood Atonement, or McConkie's Mormon Doctrine.

Wrong

You cannot understand the endowment without the Book of Abraham. I wouldn't suppose you would know that though.

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My point was without the whole text you can't say the translation is false, the Church bought six mummies and a multiple scrolls, so there is bound to be non BoA texts mixed in with the BoA scrolls, the gentleman selling the artifacts insisted the Church by everything or nothing. So the only way to truthfully state you have physical evidence against the BoA because the translation is false is to recover all the scrolls the Church bought originally.

We can fairly well piece together the fact that JSP I is connected with JSP XI, which is most likely the source for Abraham 1, and that portions of JSP IV were used to replace missing sections of the Hypocephalus.

Technically, as long as we can determine which portions of the JSP correspond with which sections of the BoA, we can test Joseph Smith's translation against that of modern scholars. Of course, that begs the apologetic question, what is a translation?

Suppose you have a crime that takes place. Evidence as far as can be compiled is pieced together. A suspect is named, and there is sufficient evidence to convict him. LDSGuy1986, you need to figure out the difference between all evidence and sufficient evidence.

CFR that Michael Chandler "insisted" that they "buy everything or nothing."

And there were four mummies, not six. :P

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We can fairly well piece together the fact that JSP I is connected with JSP XI, which is most likely the source for Abraham 1, and that portions of JSP IV were used to replace missing sections of the Hypocephalus.

Technically, as long as we can determine which portions of the JSP correspond with which sections of the BoA, we can test Joseph Smith's translation against that of modern scholars. Of course, that begs the apologetic question, what is a translation?

Suppose you have a crime that takes place. Evidence as far as can be compiled is pieced together. A suspect is named, and there is sufficient evidence to convict him. LDSGuy1986, you need to figure out the difference between all evidence and sufficient evidence.

Exactly.

If the matter were to be decided in a court of law, one would need to establish the credibility (or lack of credibility) of the defendant. For scenes in the JSP for which we have the "translations" of Joseph Smith, these "translations" bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of qualified Egyptologists, including Michael Rhodes, who is LDS.

Thus, while we may not have all of the papyri that were in Joseph Smith's possession, in those several examples where we can check his ability to translate, including names of characters in scenes from the papyri, the meaning of the scenes themselves, and even the Kinderhook plates, etc., we find not a single example supporting Joseph Smith's claim that he could translate ancient languages. What we do find, even in comparison to LDS Egyptologist translations, is that Joseph Smith was simply making it up as he went along.

I claim that this fact is already recognized among apologists, who have transitioned to a rear guard action, and that is why we have principal BoA apologists such as John Gee making statements to the effect that Mormonism does not depend on the BoA.

So I will say again; in my humble opinion, such statements as that by John Gee are preparatory to moving the BoA out of the spotlight in order to take some of the heat off, just as Mormon Doctrine, Blood Atonement and the priesthood ban for Blacks have been rescinded or moved to the side to take off the heat.

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What we do find, even in comparison to LDS Egyptologist translations, is that Joseph Smith was simply making it up as he went along.

I claim that this fact is already recognized among apologists, who have transitioned to a rear guard action, and that is why we have principal BoA apologists such as John Gee making statements to the effect that Mormonism does not depend on the BoA. In my humble opinion, such statements are preparatory to moving the BoA out of the spotlight in order to take some of the heat off, just as Mormon Doctrine, Blood Atonement and the priesthood ban for Blacks have been rescinded or moved to the side to take off the heat.

Or perhaps, it is a correct philological interpretation of the papyri, but this is debatable.

I don't see the BoA being removed within my lifetime.

"Mormon Doctrine" as a book was never considered the final word on LDS doctrine. Only among the Volk Der Fransen was this so.

"Blood Atonement" was fairly speculative in the first place, with ambiguity being partially to blame. That some might view it as literal is not uncommon. If Blood Atonement as defined by many critics was practiced as widely as it was claimed to be, we'd have more evidence of it. I'm not saying we need "all evidence" as Volk Der Fransen like LDSGuy1986 have claimed, but if you'd like to discuss the issue more in depth, I suggest you start a new thread on it.

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You cannot understand the endowment without the Book of Abraham. I wouldn't suppose you would know that though.

Foxtrot44 as well as many others who have been to the Temple may "know" what goes on there. They may "know" our doctrine. But I believe you have hit on a critical issue: They "know" but do not "understand". And that makes all the difference.

Lehi

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Foxtrot44 as well as many others who have been to the Temple may "know" what goes on there. They may "know" our doctrine. But I believe you have hit on a critical issue: They "know" but do not "understand". And that makes all the difference.

Lehi

They see only the brown shell on the outside of the onion and wonder why everyone is crying.

Or something like that? ;):P

So much for my poetic skills!

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They see only the brown shell on the outside of the onion and wonder why everyone is crying.

Or something like that? ;):P

So much for my poetic skills!

Well, all you need do is format it, like this:

They see only the brown shell on the outside

Of the onion and wonder why

Everyone is crying.

Otherwise, I think you have it.

Lehi

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Or perhaps, it is a correct philological interpretation of the papyri, but this is debatable.

I don't think "philological interpretation" theory is viable. If it were, then I would think that the BoA apologists would need to concede that the other extant Book of Breathings and Book of the Dead papyri, which contain exactly the same scenes with the same characters as the JSP, could also be "translated" in such a way as to yield the Book of Abraham.

I find that a bit of a stretch, and can't imagine that any BoA apologist would be able to wrap their tortured logic around the concept either.

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Well, all you need do is format it, like this:

They see only the brown shell on the outside

Of the onion and wonder why

Everyone is crying.

Otherwise, I think you have it.

Lehi

:P

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I don't think "philological interpretation" theory is viable. If it were, then I would think that the BoA apologists would need to concede that the other extant Book of Breathings and Book of the Dead papyri, which contain exactly the same scenes with the same characters as the JSP, could also be "translated" in such a way as to yield the Book of Abraham.

I find that a bit of a stretch, and can't imagine that any BoA apologist would be able to wrap their tortured logic around the concept either.

Interestingly enough, I came across a footnote suggesting that Klaus Baer was open to the idea that Joseph Smith could have translated the papryi philologically. I can't find my note card at the moment, but that was the gist of it.

Trust me, I'm not a huge fan of some of the contemporary arguments being offered for the BoA, but I wouldn't describe Rhodes, Nibley, or Hauglid as having "tortured logic." There is only one BoA apologist that even comes remotely close to that description, and I'm producing an analysis/review of his work during a ten day hiatus between semesters next month.

With the facsimiles you have the resurrection/redemption, the journey/ascension, and the coronation. This isn't a historical novel, it's novel history. We could go into an infinite regress of reasons why we should or shouldn't accept the BoA as scripture.

We know that Joseph Smith by and large did not produce the Book of Mormon with the plates in view, but rather used the plates as a catalyst to advance the process of divine revelation. I am open to the idea of the papyri having a much less direct role in the process of translation than many might accept.

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I am open to the idea of the papyri having a much less direct role in the process of translation than many might accept.

It wouldn't matter to me if he thought he was "translating" the patterns on the wallpaper next to his desk, nor would it change my perception of the Book of Abraham as "scripture".

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