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I seem to find myself in need of asking you another question. The thing is that I have been asked about the Book of Abraham. I felt as if I were a child for not knowing the answer. Would you happen to know the final dispensation of the original papyrus that the book of Abraham was translated from? I thank you ahead of time for I know if any one knows this it will be you.





Dear Richard,

The disposition of the papyri from which the Book of Abraham was translated in not known. There is some evidence and a general belief that the papyri and the mummies with which they were found were destroyed in the great fire in Chicago.

In 1967 some papyri fragments were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in New York City that were pasted onto a paper backing that contained Emma Smith’s handwriting. When this was verified by the museum the fragments were presented to President N. Eldon Tanner, of the First Presidency. Upon examination it was determined that these fragments were not those which were used in the translation of the Book of Abraham, although they were undoubtedly recovered from the same set of mummies as were the writings of Abraham and of Joseph. For some time after the death of the Prophet small pieces of papyri were sold by Emma Smith to different individuals. The fragments found in the Metropolitan Museum could well have been from among those that were acquired from Emma Smith.

The fragments, available for viewing as part of the Joseph Smith Papers Project contains the original for facsimile 1, but not facsimiles 2 or 3. While portions of the fragments portray scenes described by eyewitnesses who saw the scrolls, they do not match the descriptions given for the source of the Book of Abraham (see references to the “long roll” mentioned in the Gospel Topics Essay Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham). It is very likely that the source for the Book of Abraham (with the exception of facsimile 1) has been destroyed.






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