We have received the anti-Mormon video “The Lost Book of Abraham” which claims that the scrolls of Abraham are from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and, according to modern Egyptologists, have a totally different translation than Joseph Smith’s. What explanation can you give for these? Thanks,
The accusation that the Book of Abraham is a false translation is an old story, completely refuted, that still makes its rounds in anti-Mormon circles. Here is the story—
We don’t know the number of papyri that were recovered by the Prophet Joseph Smith from the four Egyptian mummies that came into his possession. But some fragments retained by Emma Smith were sold after the Prophet’s death. In early 1966, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya, a professor of Arabic Studies from the University of Utah was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He stumbled across 11 papyrus fragments and a letter from Emma Smith certifying that they belonged to Joseph Smith. The papyri had been glued to a paper backing which included a map of the Kirtland, Ohio area. They were returned to the Mormon Church the following year. These fragments have been made public and have been examined by hieroglyphic experts. To the best of my knowledge they have been identified as fragments from the Book of the Dead. The Book of the Dead is a very common document found associated with many burial remains from the catacombs in Egypt. The simple answer is that these fragments were not those from which the Book of Abraham was translated. If Emma Smith did have the actual papyri of the Book of Abraham in her possession, it would have been highly treasured and highly guarded, and certainly would never have been torn in pieces and sold!