The Lost Book of Abraham
I was initially very excited about this video after noticing that Ed Ashment, Stan Larson, Brent Metcalfe, and David P. Wright were featured in it. My skepticism built however when I noticed that IRR was in charge of production. So with some trepidation I popped it in the VCR hoping that a Chapter 17 (“The Alternative: Biblical Christianity“) from …by His Own Hand Upon Papyrus wasn’t laced throughout. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the bulk of the video.
The production is quite professional. The reenactments from the 19th century reminded me of Mormon videos like Restoration of the Priesthood and The Three Witnesses. For those who are unfamiliar with the controversy and/or the history of how the church obtained the papyri this is a great place to begin.
In the end, the IRR couldn’t resist a Christian testimony from a former Mormon telling us that Mormonism and the Book of Abraham may be the bathwater but don’t throw out that baby Jesus. (At least there wasn’t a card attached this time asking the reader–or viewer in this case–to check the “I made a decision for Jesus Christ as a result of reading this book” box.) The question still remains though, why discount and/or completely write off the Book of Abraham and Mormonism on scholarly evidence and yet not do the same for the Bible and Christianity? Why criticize Mormon apologists for coming up with ad hoc rationalizations when the same can easily be pointed out in Christian apologetics?
Anyhow, I highly recommend the majority of this video’s content. You’ll learn more about Michael Chandler and his traveling Egyptian mummy gig than you ever thought possible. If you are into watching people get uncomfortable (I’m not BTW and don’t plan to try this out) stick this tape in the next time your home teachers come over for a visit or the next time you invite the missionaries in for a discussion.
from the publisher:
The Lost Book of Abraham is a documentary film that investigates one of the books in the canon of Mormon scripture called the Book of Abraham. The Book of Abraham was first published in 1842 by Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As with the more well known Book of Mormon, Joseph claimed that he received divine inspiration, not in writing a new book of scripture, but instead, in having discovered and translated an existing ancient work. In the case of the Book of Abraham, Smith said that a papyrus scroll which he purchased from a traveling antiquities dealer in Kirtland, Ohio in 1835, was, in actuality, an original text from the patriarchal father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This scroll, according to Joseph�s own words, contained lost writings of Abraham and Joseph claimed to be the �prophet, seer, and revelator� who could decipher it.
Joseph Smith did translate the scroll, and he included pictures from the papyrus! But, no one at the time could verify whether his translations of the text or the explanations he provided of the pictures, or �facsimiles� were accurate, since at the time no one in America could read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic text.
Joseph�s translations raised more than a few eyebrows among non-Mormons, but the Church has to this day steadfastly held to the authenticity of the document, and the accuracy of the translation done by Joseph Smith.
But what if modern Egyptologists could examine the same documents that Joseph used to make his translations in the 1830�s? Would the scholars, who have long since cracked the Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic codes, concur with Joseph�s translation? If so, it seems his reputation as a prophet of God would be incredibly enhanced and supported.
On the other hand, what if he was proved to have been inaccurate? What would the Mormon Church say, what would faithful Mormon�s do?
Find out in this fascinating new documentary, The Lost Book of Abraham: Investigating a Remarkable Mormon Claim.
- See re-creations of Kirtland as it appeared in 1835 when the traveling antiquities dealer rolled into town selling ancient Egyptian artifacts.
- Learn about the amazing re-appearance of the papyri, 100 years after they were presumed destroyed in the great Chicago fire.
- And listen as prominent scholars � both Mormon and non-Mormon � explain what these documents really were, and what all this means to the church today.
It�s a fascinating story. It�s bound to be a controversial story. But while this documentary succeeds in presenting the story and the facts in an interesting and accurate manner, it will be up to each viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.