Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, July 01, 2019

The New Hauglid and Jensen Podcast from the Maxwell Institute: A Window into the Personal Views of the Editors of the JSP Volume on the Book of Abraham

The Maxwell Institute recently revamped their website after roughly a week of downtime, introducing dramatic changes (and some painful losses). The new website currently gives pride of place to a new podcast featuring the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers volume on the Book of Abraham, Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts, volume 4 in the Revelations and Translations series (hereafter JSPRT Vol. 4), where they discuss their work and what they have learned during the course of preparing the volume on the Book of Abraham. See “MIPodcast #92—Joseph Smith’s Egyptian papers, with Robin Jensen & Brian Hauglid,” interviewed by Blair Hodges, Neal A. Maxwell Institute, June 27, 2019.

While JSPRT Vol. 4 is a fabulous scholarly tool, I have argued in a series of recent posts that some of the editorial decisions and commentary reflect apparent bias and a stance that often favors common arguments from our critics (though perhaps unintentionally so). After pointing out the lack of balance, and the apparent bias, including the puzzling failure to even acknowledge Hugh Nibley and his vast collection of publications related to the materials and hypotheses touched upon in JSPRT vol. 4, I was hoping that the editors might take a more balanced approach in subsequent public presentations rather than continuing to offer what I have called "friendly fire without the first aid." Unfortunately, the comments of both editors underscore some of the concerns that have been raised.

The risk of editorial blindness to many crucial issues relative to the Book of Abraham and the possible bias against or neglect of evidence supporting the Book of Abraham as a revealed work rooted in antiquity (the disreputable stance of “abhorrent” apologists, per Hauglid’s unfortunate Facebook comment in 2018) was first made clear to me when I heard of a damaged testimony from an LDS member who listened to Hauglid and Jensen’s January 2019 seminar at BYU for the Maxwell Institute. In that presentation, problems with the Book of Abraham and Joseph’s translation work were raised with no hint of “first aid.” After writing several blog posts with criticism of that presentation and of Hauglid and Jensen’s personal opinions that appear to have influenced comments, citations, and omissions in JSPRT Vol. 4, concerns that I am confident were made known to the editors, I was disappointed to find similar comments in the new podcast. The podcast presumably did not have the tight time constraints of the BYU seminar, which I initially hoped might have been the reason for the lack of discussion of the strengths of the Book of Abraham. It was not an official scholarly document that could possibly require strict rules against discussing faith-promoting material. It was simply an informal opportunity to discuss and share views from the authors and what they have learned from their study.

Several problems are apparent in this podcast. One is that an overly simplistic view of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is promulgated when Hauglid says:
In other words, they’ll take characters from the papyri, they’ll put them in the left column, and I think they tried to do a pronunciation guide with how to say this particular glyph or whatever. [emphasis added]
Later he adds:
Those documents [the Book of Abraham manuscripts with added characters] are unique because they have in the left margins characters taken from the fragment that was once attached to the vignette that we get Facsimile One from.
An important point that needs to be underscored is that many of the glyphs in the KEP and on some Book of Abraham manuscripts are not Egyptian at all and do not come from the papyri. As one can learn from examining the "Comparison of Characters" section in JSPRT Vol. 4, at best only 7 of the 62 characters given translations in the KEP are found on the key papyrus fragment. Some of the KEP characters come from a letter W.W. Phelps wrote about the “pure language” before the scrolls ever reached Kirtland, and some appear to come from other sources such as Greek, including archaic Greek, Masonic ciphers, etc. (and even, perhaps, one of the cipher systems used by Aaron Burr).

Only about 10% of the characters on the Book of Abraham manuscripts both have definitions in the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language (GAEL) and are found on the papyrus, raising serious questions about the theory that the GAEL was an attempt to translate the papyri and was somehow used to translate the Book of Abraham. Some of the characters in the Book of Abraham manuscripts are not found on the papyri at all. To overlook the puzzling diversity of origins of the characters in the KEP is severe oversimplification that irons out some vital clues about what is or is not going on in the work with so-called “Egyptian” characters.

Another questionable viewpoint expressed in the podcast is that the Book of Abraham was an evolving product reflecting Joseph’s culture and theology, which began in 1835 for only Abraham 1 through 2:18, and then years later in Nauvoo as Joseph’s thinking evolved he added the remaining material. The editors are quite confident of this:
JENSEN: One thing that I find interesting, if you look at the Joseph Smith Papers volume, this volume we’ve been talking about, the majority of the documents were created in Kirtland in 1835. But if you look at just the Book of Abraham itself, the majority of the Book of Abraham was actually produced, translated in Nauvoo. I think that’s something that not many have realized, where this certainly was divided into two parts. Joseph Smith first began work in Kirtland and then he stopped, the temple was being built, he moved to Missouri, there were all sorts of problems in Missouri with non-Mormon neighbors, and then it took a long time to get things settled in Nauvoo trying to get that going.

HODGES: Why did that break matter? Why should anyone care that it had this break?

JENSEN: So I find it fascinating because Joseph Smith as religious leader—you can trace his developing, understanding of theology, of the things that he’s teaching to Latter-day Saints. So to know that the first portion of the Book of Abraham is in Kirtland, historians can better how the theology as found in the first portion of the Book of Abraham was read by Kirtland Saints and the theology that was, to that point, revealed to those Saints.

But then you look at the later portion of the Book of Abraham and, placing that in a Kirtland theological setting, doesn’t make as much sense. But when you look to the Nauvoo theological setting, Joseph Smith has revealed all sorts of new information that it fits better. There’s a better context to that in Nauvoo than in Kirtland.

HAUGLID: And Joseph Smith also incorporates Hebrew terms that he learned after his Joshua Seixas tutoring at the Hebrew school in Kirtland that come out after his tutoring experience in Nauvoo, where he put some of those in Abraham chapter three and there’s other things that you find with some Hebrew connections that he would have learned.

So I think we’ve kind of got it where we can see what’s going on in the Kirtland area there pretty well. The Abraham chapter one to chapter two, verse eighteen seems to fit just fine right in that time period. Then, as Robin said, when you get up to Nauvoo that also fits that context really well in terms of his theology, in terms of how they’re looking at the language, in terms of how they’re incorporating some of the Hebrew. It fits into that Nauvoo period. Plus, you also have some plain language coming out of Joseph Smith’s journal saying “we’re translating on March eighth and March ninth for the tenth number of the Times and Seasons.” So that fits as well. So you’ve got some historical backing there. [emphasis added]
This split scenario is countered by scholarship from one of the peers decried by Hauglid. In an important work that is not acknowledged in JSPRT Vol. 4 or in the podcast or seminar given by the two editors, Kerry Muhlestein and Megan Hansen have provided compelling reasons for accepting that much more than Abraham 1 and 2 had been translated by 1835. See Kerry Muhlestein and Megan Hansen, “'The Work of Translating': The Book of Abraham's Translation Chronology,” in Let Us Reason Together: Essays in Honor of the Life’s Work of Robert L. Millet, ed. J. Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: 2016), 139–62.


If Hauglid and Jensen had been more open to the possibility that the Book of Abraham translation preceded the creation of the relevant portions of the existing Egyptian Alphabet documents and the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language, then it might seem much more logical that those documents are drawing upon bits and pieces of the translation, including terms related to the supposedly later cosmological material and to the creation account, rather than providing a tool that could have been used for an imagined translation of the papyri. Again given that roughly 90% of the “Egyptian” characters translated in the GAEL and the Egyptian Alphabet documents are not even found on the papyrus fragment supposedly being translated, theories of Joseph using the GAEL to translate the papyrus may seem untenable.

Further, the use of Hebrew learned from Joshua Seixas in 1836 does not date the translation that employs those term to the Nauvoo era, nor does it even require that it occurred after 1836. Relevant Hebrew terms could have been added as late editorial glosses in preparing and revising the original 1835 material for publication. It was in 1835 when Joseph, while translating, indicated that the system of astronomy had been unfolded to him. (Joseph Smith History, Oct. 1, 1835, in “History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838],” Joseph Smith Papers website.) That would be consistent with Facsimile 2 and Abraham 3 having been already revealed then.

Among the numerous evidences raised by Muhlestein and Hansen for the translation being largely done in 1835, one of them is the vastly different pace of translation required if Joseph had translated Abraham 2:19 through Abraham 5 in the day and a half allocated to translation in 1842. Compared to the days of known translation in 1835, he would have to have translated over 2,200 words a day in 1842 compared to an average of about 250 words a day in 1835, a pace 9 times greater. Rather than generating new verses in 1842, a more reasonable hypothesis is that Joseph was editing existing translation to incorporate some things learned from Hebrew study and to make other changes to prepare the manuscript for publication.

The prior scholarship of Muhlestein and Hansen, along with many others, should have been carefully and addressed in some way, both for the podcast but especially for JSPRT Vol. 4.

The editors seem to see Joseph’s later use of material related to the last 3 chapters of the Book of Abraham and Facsimile 2 as evidence that his theology (and cosmology) came first, then the “translation” with related material. Here the editors might better have considered the possibility that Joseph had been learning from what he translated and applied it in later discourses. To see his evolution in thinking as the cause for the additional material in Abraham 3–5 rather than being partly a response to what he learned from Abraham 3–5 reflects an overly humanistic, secular view on Joseph Smith’s work in creating scripture. It may be that the editors and other scholars associated with this project are comfortable with that approach, but it does not represent the only reasonable approach, it does not represent sound scholarship if other approaches from other scholars are not fairly considered, and it does not fairly represent the position of the Church and faithful members (including many LDS scholars) who see the ancient and the divine in Joseph’s translations of the Book of Abraham, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Moses.

Let us now turn to a critical issue. The editors reveal in this podcast that they are keenly aware that people have left the Church over arguments about Joseph’s allegedly failed translation of the Book of Abraham from the Joseph Smith Papyri. At that point, it would have been reasonable to offer some consolation and encouragement based on the strengths of the Book of Abraham and the many evidences for its antiquity and divine translation. Instead, they both take a stance which seems consistent with Hauglid’s “coming out” on Facebook (regarding his negative attitudes about "abhorrent" apologetics and his acceptance of some of Dan Vogel's critical views on the Book of Abraham):
HODGES: You’re just trying to make the documents themselves accessible so that people can then do work based on the documents.

HAUGLID: Right. It’s a resource for people. And so I agree. There’s plenty to talk about in terms of the content of the Book of Abraham.

JENSEN: I think increasingly you’re seeing less angst over the content of the Book of Abraham than you are with the context of the Book of Abraham. There’ve been people who may have left the church or felt frustrated with the historical narrative. It’s not so much about the content itself. It’s not about the actual narrative of the Book of Abraham. It’s about the way in which it was produced, and I find that interesting, not surprising at all that Joseph Smith as prophet, seer, and revelator, there’s a lot hanging on the Book of Abraham and what it means for Joseph Smith’s revelatory process, his translation. It’s been such an important symbol for Joseph Smith’s calling.

And when people look to the Book of Abraham and when people say, “I left the church because of the Book of Abraham,” that’s shorthand that I think almost everyone understands is, “It’s not the content. It’s “Joseph Smith produced this text from papyri. The papyri does not actually contain the Book of Abraham, therefore Joseph Smith is a fraud.” That is, frankly, a reasonable, logical conclusion to someone whose testimony is based upon this simplistic view of Joseph Smith’s translation. If we have simplistic views of how Joseph Smith produced his scripture, then it’s not going to take much to topple that simplistic understanding. So I think that producing a better understanding—kind of this nuanced understanding of production of scripture by Joseph Smith—is not only good scholarship, but I think it’s good for Latter-day Saints throughout the world.

HAUGLID: Let me just add that—maybe in defense of those who do leave—they were raised in the church. They were given the narrative they were given, that they were supposed to believe. There was no nuancing that was going on, really, with any of that as we’re trying to do now with what happened with the Book of Abraham. So yes, it’s a big decision that these people sometimes make, and perhaps there is a simplistic aspect to that, their testimonies, but I’m of the opinion that it’s not all their fault. [emphasis added]
Those believing Joseph’s translation to be divinely inspired are told that leaving the Church may be a “reasonable, logical conclusion” based on that expectation, but the expectation is said to be overly simplistic. The fault for people leaving the Church over the Book of Abraham is laid at least in part at the feet of the Church for teaching that Joseph actually translated the Book of Abraham through the power of God. The “translation” is not valid as those with “simplistic” testimonies had unwisely expected. Hauglid and Jensen seem to see the “translation” as Joseph’s (failed) human toying with the Egyptian on the Joseph Smith Papyri — there is no mention of other possibilities that many other LDS scholars have discussed at length, no mention of the clear evidences that something other than fraud and guesswork is behind the text, but an apparent acknowledgement that the critics have been right all along about the Book of Abraham, echoing Hauglid’s agreement with Dan Vogel.

Unlike JSPRT Vol. 4, Nibley is mentioned in the podcast, but only to dismiss his arguments regarding the possibility of translation from a missing scroll and his views on the KEP coming after the translation. The basis for the editors’ belief that they have largely “overturned” Nibley’s views is that they can see bits and pieces of the Book of Abraham translation, as if the Book of Abraham later worked out those concepts more fully. But that’s a subjective view. Why aren’t not the bits and pieces of Book of Abraham concepts found in the KEP point to derivation from the Book of Abraham?

They argue that since Joseph’s history speaks of work on the Egyptian alphabet, whatever that was (we don’t know that it was the same as the extant manuscripts – an assumption is involved in the editor’s argument), around the same time as the translation, that it was a concurrent process and that the alphabet was therefore used somehow in the translation, but that process could easily involve periods of revelatory translation followed by personal attempts to understand Egyptian and crack the code. There is no new evidence presented here that overturns the reasons offered by Nibley and others for the KEP to be a derivative work based on translated material.

Both editors call for a more mature “nuanced” approach, which seems to mean that as Joseph evolved over time, he injected his theological views into the framework of a fictional Book of Abraham from a failed but perhaps sincerely attempted “translation” of papyri that he could not understand. So to understand the Book of Abraham, we don’t need to look to antiquity, to ancient literature about Abraham, or to what Egyptian priests may have known and written about Abraham, but we should only turn to the nineteenth century and consider how Joseph perceived the papyri in his nineteenth century setting, the only context which determined the fruits of his work:
JENSEN: Yep. Intellectually you want to divide them. You want to say “well the papyri, that’s one thing. The nineteenth century setting, that’s another thing. They’re not together.” In some senses that is true. But in another way, we have to understand how Joseph Smith and others viewed the papyri, viewed them in their nineteenth century context, without trying to take on our own understanding. There’s been a lot of work in Egyptology since Joseph Smith’s day, obviously.

HODGES: I would say the vast majority of usable work has been.

JENSEN: So it’s very tempting to say “well, Joseph Smith didn’t know what he was talking about. Oliver Cowdery, Phelps, others, they were naive in thinking they could even make sense of this,” but for Joseph and his contemporaries this was a real effort. This was a real attempt to understand these papyri for what they were, what they could offer them, and what they could teach about the universality of human nature.

HAUGLID: Yes. That’s kind of where I was going to go. You have really a first response to all this Egyptomania stuff going on with all these papyri fragments and such coming in. We’re seeing Joseph Smith as one of those first responders in a sense to this material coming into their possession, and what they’re making of it is sometimes, for us we might say it’s off, it’s not Egyptology at all, and that’s okay, but just the fact that how they responded to it tells us things. It helps us understand where they’re coming from and this Egyptian material triggers that for us. So we get kind of a close-up view in a sense.

JENSEN: I also often tell people that Joseph Smith and other’s work in understanding, trying to decipher these papyri, tells us more about their own worldview than it does about the ancient world.
So in light of the apparent problems the editors emphasize, it’s “tempting to say Joseph was a fraud,” but he was really trying, rather sincerely, in “a real effort.”
This nuanced approach not only makes the translation of the Book of Abraham a pious fraud, but raises obvious questions about Joseph’s translation of the reformed Egyptian that yielded the Book of Mormon. We don’t even get the reassurance that since there are compelling reasons to accept the Book of Mormon as a legitimate translation of an ancient document through the power of God, then perhaps our approach to the challenges of the Book of Abraham should be given enough “nuancing” to recognize that there may be answers to the challenges it seems to face based on the “simplistic” assumptions used by critics.

Ironically, the dangerously “simplistic” approach that can cause so much harm is not that of believing Joseph could give revealed translations of ancient documents through the power of God, but it the overly simplistic approach taken by the critics: “the only papyri Joseph attempted to translated are the surviving fragments,” “no missing scrolls can account for anything,” “these twin documents from two scribes mean Joseph was dictating the translation live from these few Egyptian characters,” “the GAEL is the source of the translation,” etc. Hauglid and Jensen tend to lend credibility to those perspectives in their podcast, their Maxwell Institute seminar, and in their editorial work for JSPRT Vol. 4, and have excluded significant and well considered alternate possibilities, even going so far as to avoid any mention of some of the most important scholarship and scholars related to their work (e.g., a complete neglect of Hugh Nibley in JSPRT Vol. 4). This is not balanced scholarship, but, even if purely unintentional as it likely is, it reflects a biased and perhaps harmful perspective.

The issue of the twin Book of Abraham manuscripts by Frederick Williams and Warren Parrish is particularly concerning in the podcast. The hypothesis that Joseph Smith is dictating the Book of Abraham translation live to his scribes, based on “Egyptian” characters from the papyri in the margins (some of which are not Egyptian and not from the papyri at all!) is an old one from our critics, but is raised in response to Hodges’ question, “Did the Joseph Smith Papers research team uncover anything new that was previously unknown about these documents while putting this book together?” The contribution of the authors on this issue was realizing that the scribes were writing on paper from a common source, but the textual evidence of simultaneous work is already clear. The issue, though, is what was occurring in this process. Was it really dictation from Joseph Smith giving original translation?
JENSEN: So what we have is pretty compelling evidence that they’re there at the same time using the same piece of paper, creating this text, the Book of Abraham, that gives us a new appreciation to the dictation process. Usually when we hear about Joseph Smith dictating, it’s him dictating to one singular scribe. So it’s interesting to imagine to try to reconstruct what that would look like with Joseph Smith dictating to multiple clerks.

HAUGLID: It’s interesting that we’re now talking about this when years and years ago Ed Ashment proposed the same thing. It created a firestorm of rejection amongst our LDS scholars, but now here we are talking about this and agreeing with Ed Ashment.

HODGES: About having multiple clerks in particular at the same time?

HAUGLID: Receiving dictation, yeah.

HODGES: Why was that so controversial?

JENSEN: I have no idea.

HAUGLID: Probably because it was Ed Ashment that proposed it. [laughter]
Simultaneous writing, yes, but what is the evidence that they were “creating” the Book of Abraham in that moment? That is the argument of the critics, but one that is based on assumptions, not evidence. In fact, as I have previously reported, analysis of the text suggests that the most plausible scenario for this document is that Warren Parrish was reading from an existing manuscript until he ceased and probably left, at which time the other scribe began copying directly by himself and then committed a major scribal error known as dittography (copying three verses a second time by mistake, an error typical of copying visually but unlikely for oral dictation).

The twin documents and their interpretation is at the heart of some modern attacks on the Book of Abraham. It is a pivotal issue that Dan Vogel uses to undermine acceptance of the Book of Abraham as revealed text, one that has weakened the “simplistic” testimonies of many unprepared to see past the gaps in the argument.

Why is this controversial? Our editors say they have no idea. Could it be because if their assumptions are valid, it suggests that Joseph Smith was giving live translation for a handful of characters, translation apparently derived from the characters in the margins rather than characters being added by the scribes to an already existing translation (for reasons that aren’t clear).

This scenario is controversial because it suggests that we do in fact have the very characters that Joseph was translating (no mention, again, is made of the fact that several of these characters are not even Egyptian), that the Joseph Smith Papyri were the source of Joseph’s translation work, that he foolishly thought that one character could give over 100 words of translation, and that what the Church considers to be a revealed translation is idiotic and inept, with nothing of any value (although some faithful LDS people may see and value inspiring doctrines in a fictional framework). The inability of the editors to understand why their position is controversial and potentially harmful is deeply puzzling. But it’s consistent with the tone of their previous webinar, rich in presenting warts without first aid. For those who feel that Joseph translated the Book of Abraham with divine power from an ancient document of some kind, such unbalanced and overly simplistic negative information can be harmful.

It is true that the issues are complex, that warts exist, and that nuance is needed, but not the nuance that says, “The critics were right. The Church was wrong. But Joseph had some inspiring ideas in his fiction and it's cool to see how his evolving beliefs and ninetenth-century environment shaped the beleaguered Pearl of Great Price.” We need to strengthen our awareness of the other side of the story, of the positives around the Book of Abraham and the evidences of antiquity, to help those who struggle to have the balanced information needed to have a healthier, more nuanced testimony. “Friendly fire” that zealously overlooks, denies, or even decries the existence of “first aid” (i.e., "abhorrent" apologetics) is not the solution.

54 comments:

Dan Vogel said...

What you write about Parrish reading out loud then leaving and a dittography existing at the end of the Williams copy is all addressed in my first video. Since my videos are partly responsible for Hauglid's new position, you might want to watch them.--Dan Vogel

encircled said...

It's extremely unlikely Joseph Smith came up with the Book of Mormon out of his own mind, and therefore it's extremely unlikely that he did so with the Book of Abraham.

What Jensen and Hauglid probably mean when they talk about a nuanced understanding of production of scripture by Joseph Smith is an abandonment of belief in it actually being revelatory.

If so, then instead of reaching enlightenment they are on a fool's errand.

JoePeaceman said...

Hi Dan, luv ya, ❤️ but not so much on your work. I’ve watched 1-most of 3. You do have video skills, and some other skills. I was thinking I’d be able to leave the church and drink vodka if I watched all of them, but I just couldn’t get past the impossible, misleading, and dishonest scenarios. ;) haha. Just kidding, except on the second part of that. You may be able to relate to the JS that you create, but he is quite different from the Joseph I know. I’m not sure what bro Hauglid is thinking, but is there a chance that you’re mistaken about the breadth of your impact? There are some critics who comment here who likewise have delusions of grandeur and say they’ve proven the BofM false etc. ;). ;). I know people say they leave the church over the BofA, and maybe even blame u, but I think it’s probably their own faults, not yours. And, if I leave, it’ll be my fault.

What I’d like to see is you, with your face in a hat, dictating the rest of the book of Joseph. You have to base this on the GAEL but introduce new concepts similar to Kolob, etc. You can stick the GAEL in the hat if it helps, :)and the rock of your choice. But, no computers. Have one scribe write the characters and story line as you dictate, the other can video for YouTube.
Please leave comments open. Luv ya.

Oh, also, this has to be done by July 3. You’ve had years to research, JS had a day or two.
You are an expert at creative writing and so should have no problem. :) :)

And, you’re obviously super smart, but it’s pretty clear that Jeff is wiser, and more honest. I think he has you on the dittography but I will review, when time permits.
And, so far, the idea that the BofA is based on the KEP is far less reasonable than the idea that the BofA came first, is ancient, and is of God.

I’m super busy, but would be more than happy to discuss that with you, if a “hapless layman” isn’t too far beneath u or too intimidating. ❤️❤️

Jeff Lindsay said...

But of course I've watched it, Dan.

You claim that "Translation" is essentially the label of the second column, corresponding to "character" as the translation of the first column. That's misleading. "Translation" is not the label for the column, but the opening words of the header that is still the header of the Book of Abraham: "A Translation of some ancient Records...."

You state that there is no evidence that the twin manuscripts were copied from an earlier text, yet you cite the conclusion of vol. 5 of the Joseph Smith Papers on this point without recognizing the reason they offer: "Documents dictated directly by JS typically had few paragraph breaks, punctuation marks, or contemporaneous alterations to the text. All the extant copies, including the featured text, have regular paragraphing and punctuation included at the time of transcription, as well as several cancellations and insertions." Rogers et al., The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 5, footnote 323, pp. 74–75.

But there is more evidence that this. The consistency of spelling of complex names by Parrish, who is a not a great speller and makes many mistakes, suggests that he cold see a document that he was copying, while the abundance of mistakes in names from Williams suggests he was copying orally. The mistakes they both make initially reflect the kind of reading mistakes a reader can make as they skip ahead and/or see similar words nearby, and are not the kind of mistakes that make sense for somebody creating text on the fly. These issues are discussed in "The Smoking Gun for Joseph's Translation of the Book of Abraham, or Copied Manuscripts from an Existing Translation?" with implications of the spelling pointing to Parrish treated in "My Hypothesis Overturned: What Typos May Tell Us About the Book of Abraham."


Anonymous said...

Jeff says "healthier, more nuanced testimony" ...

Nice to see that now a testimony isn't something one either has or not. There is always that one girl (wish it was only one) that won't go out with you until "you get a testimony." Why turn the whole rejection into a great referendum on comparing personal relationships with God?

In this nuanced universe, Jeff is apparently THE great adjudicator of "healthy" testimonies. Maybe I am just nostalgic for the good old days, when abhorrent Philistines didn't overcompensate for the size of something by self aggrandizing their abstract, linguistic construct.

Anonymous said...

Heaven help me....The LDS Church has become such a mass (or perhaps a morass) of confusion and nonsense. Just trying to read this summary of mental gymnastics is JUST SO EXHAUSTING. I simply cannot imagine that Christ would have wanted it this way; in his (so called) "one true church". Sccccreeeammmm!!!

Anonymous said...

Hauglid has made his negative feelings known on Facebook. Jensen, to my knowledge, has not expressed any such feelings, and I hope he's a wonderful and faithful guy. But. His wife does participate on Facebook, in fora that are very critical of the church, and one gets the sense she doesn't want to expressly share her feelings against the church, but she certainly doesn't disagree with the critical stance of others. Worth considering.

Dan Vogel said...

Jeff, the Parrish and Williams documents were written directly from Joseph Smith’s dictation. You ask, “what is the evidence that they were “creating” the Book of Abraham in that moment?” They make the same corrections inline. This shows that Joseph Smith made corrections as he was dictating. Your suggestion that Parrish read his out loud and Williams copied is way off the mark. You miss the point that both men make the same in line corrections. There is only one way to explain that. The paragraph-long dittography at the end of the Williams document is too long and different to be explained as simply a visual error. The second paragraph doesn’t maintain the left margin and therefore doesn’t have a character. It wasn’t an accident; something changed. The explanation I give in my first video is far more sophisticated. You do not seem to know these documents very well. Stop being an apologist and be a scholar.

Richard Winmill said...

Ah ah, if they say “it’s not Egyptology at all” you don’t have to deal with those Egyptologists at all. Just dismiss them as luddites or worst yet apologists. I wonder who did the peer review of their JSP documents. Their podcast at least do not seem to on the same wave length As Elder Holland’s Apostolic Charge.

Collin Simonsen said...

Is that the only explanation for an inline correction? Seems like one could be reading a manuscript out loud while writing and another is listening and making his own copy.

Collin Simonsen said...

Jeff, Hauglid and Jensen are using a form of deception called, "Talking past the sale." They put on the air of scholars, then instead of weighing the evidence for or against a proposition, they speak as if the conclusion has already been made and now all that is left is for unsophisticated people with simple testimonies to catch up and for the church to stop causing people to lose their testimonies. In this way they avoid the hard task of defending their position and just hope to get away with presenting half the truth.

Anonymous said...

The day Jeff becomes a scholar is the day he leaves the church.
As for the repeated references to Holland's "Apostolic charge" that keep coming up in the comments on this site, what a fat lot of good it's done! Check out the fruits! NONE!

Anonymous said...

So Jeff Lindsay is the great mirror on the wall telling us whose testimony is the healthiest of them all, and then after looking up Jeff Holland's Apostolic charge I read this: “I come tonight in my TRUE identity as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ” So Holland is just his Clark Kent. Holland's day to day persona is humility, his raging alter ego is arrogance obsessed with power and control over other human beings.

"The Church", a bunch of people full of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Collin Simonsen - What you did is a form of deception called appeal to possibility, strawman, and ad hominem attack.

Dan Vogel said...

Collin Simonsen: This is nothing but an ad hoc escape to save the theory that the Book of Abraham was dictated in July 1830 and that the Parrish and Williams documents are copies, for which there is no evidence. The two documents have every sign of being dictated, not copied. Now you have Parrish copying the text visually while reading out loud and making corrections. Note that these errors don’t occur when Parrish copies his text into the translation book following W. W. Phelps’ three verses. Why would Parrish and Williams skip those verses in their documents if all they were doing is copying an earlier more complete copy? Why did Phelps stop after three verses if he had a complete text that existed before the book was made? The explanation is sufficient to explain the kinds of errors that were being made inline anyway. They aren’t due to sight or misreading, which still applies even if you think Parrish was reading to Williams.

Dan Vogel said...

JoePeaceman: What you write is silly beyond belief. Of course you are trying to emulate the sarcastic and dismissive tone of Nibley, but ignoring scholarly criticism, evidence, and arguments based on the reviewer’s ability to duplicate the feat is nonsense. Would you do that to a scholarly critique of a novel? It’s like saying your criticism of any literature is invalid until you can duplicate it on the same level. Why would decide that anyway. Wise up, don’t be a wise guy!

William J Reel said...

If you stand back you can see what these men operate out from. Jeff for example senses that Hauglid and Jensen give up too much ground for Jeff to maintain faithful belief. He senses to go where they have gone, requires too much of his belief to be laid on the table. The same goes for Gee and Muhlstein. Those who hold the catalyst theory see too much at stake for adopting the missing scroll (their minds realize it isn't plausible that Joseph asserted he was working off what we have) and those who hold a missing scroll can't make a catalyst theory hold up ( They realize there is a struggle to maintain faith if we maintain the current docs we have as what Joseph worked with)

Hauglid on the other hand seems to be willing to follow the truth regardless of where it leads and while he is maintaining publicly a faithful position, he seems to sense that when we follow reason rather than start with a conclusion, we are in a little trouble if we must have Mormonism be true.

William J Reel said...

Rob Terry says it well - "What I find most interesting and promising for the church's future, is that 30 years ago the conservatives were fully aligned with the church and the moderates were being labeled apostate and facing excommunication. Things have changed. The moderates here now are representing the Church in official capacity. The conservatives are frustrated with their positions being pushed out into the fringe and with the Church adopting the position of the moderates."

The Church had Jenson and Hauglid work for them on the JSP and it appears the Church is moving towards and gives a sense of validation and approval of their work and yet the other apologists seem to be struggling to reconcile their beliefs with the data and with this direction from the Church and JSP project

William J Reel said...

Lastly, The Book of Abraham is a complex issue and for those who want it explained simply I suggest the following podcast episodes where it is clearly explained along with the dishonest tactics on the part of apologists and critics.

https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2018/12/radio-free-mormon-049-the-book-of-abraham-missing-scrolls-catalyst-theories-and-bad-apologetics-part-1/

https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2018/12/radio-free-mormon-050-the-book-of-abraham-missing-scrolls-catalyst-theories-and-bad-apologetics-part-2/

https://radiofreemormon.org/2019/02/radio-free-mormon-055-the-book-of-abraham-missing-scrolls-catalyst-theories-and-bad-apologetics-part-3/

Anonymous said...

If we take a step back and look at the forest rather than the trees here, what we see is a religious community struggling to accommodate itself to modern ways of thinking. In the LDS community, this struggle has focused at various times on polygamy, race and the priesthood, and now gay rights — and perennially on the question of the historicity of the scriptures. In Muslim-American communities it seems to center on female circumcision and the hijab. I’m sure many other religious communities are undergoing the same struggle in their own particular ways.

I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that very traditional Jewish-American communities of a century ago managed to ease the transition to modernity, and the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the role played by the arts. The stories of Sholem Aleichem, plays/films like The Jazz Singer and Fiddler on the Roof — these are all about the trials and tribulations of assimilating not just to a new culture but to modernity itself, and it seems odd to me that Mormons, Muslims, and others going through some of the same trials are not similarly transmuting them into art.

Of course, maybe they are doing so, and I’m simply ignorant if it. I’ve read a little Mormon and Muslim-American literature (e.g., The Backslider and Persepolis) but nothing that really seems to be working through the larger issues that undergird so many of the arguments here and elsewhere in the bloggernacle.

Just an observation.

— OK

Unknown said...

Dan Vogel,

Thanks for responding to my comment. Do you feel like Hauglind and Jensen adequately treats all of the good scholarship on the Book of Abraham in their interview?

Collin Simonsen

Anonymous said...

The phrase "friendly fire without the first aid" strikes me here as apologetic speak for "best scholarship without the varnish of faith-affirming obfuscation."

Jeff Lindsay said...

No, the "first aid" is basic information that needs to be taken into account. That includes observations about the vast amount of non-Egyptian in the "Egyptian" documents of the Kirtland Egyptian Paper. Most of the "Egyptian" characters given definitions in the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language are not from the papyri. NONE of the "Egyptian" characters in the Egyptian Counting document are from the papyri and none appear to be Egyptian. So what was the purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers? The theory that Joseph and his scribes created these as a tool to translate the papyri seems quite odd in light of that information. Why not make that clear? Why make statements suggesting that these documents were used to translate the Book of Abraham from the papyri when something much less clear is going on?

As for the statements suggesting Joseph got everything wrong, why not at least acknowledge the many interesting things that make sense? The four sons of Horus as the four quarters of the earth, for example, and many more. Isn't that part of the big picture that needs to be considered? Pointing to the warts while masking the beauty is not scholarship; it's polemics. I'd like a little balance.

Anonymous said...

But Jeff, "four sons of Horus as the four quarters of the earth," whatever that is, is simply not interesting in comparison to the amount of evidence in favor of the very simple theory that they were all just making it up as they went along.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:36 says "faith-affirming obfuscation" Jeff denies it and says "something much less clear is going on." You can do this all day long with Mormons, describe what it is they are doing, they deny it, and then they muddle back to you the same thing declaring it a positive "nuance."

Jeff is begging the Mormon scholars to do what scholars do, not make statements about the forest. You see (or in Jeff's preference, don't see) if everything has "something much less clear" going on, then Jeff can draw into focus a forest of his choosing for his friends. There is an unwritten code in the LDS fraternity, you never show the warts to children and when as adults they stumble upon the warts, you always provide outs and weasel interpretations. Somebody broke the code, "friendly fire", and will eventually be excommunicated.

Anonymous said...

correction *not do what scholars do, make statements*

Anonymous said...

What a bloody group of arses.

The "scholars", the anonymous anti LDS commenters....

I am Armenian. I joined the LDS church because of the Book of Mormon. I recognized that an American in the 1830s with limited education could not have made up the Book of Mormon. I recognized that even with leadership drifting far from what Joseph Smith established and taught, it is where truth is more so than any other religion.

These people may call themselves scholars but actually they do not know what they think they know, and they don't know what they don't know.
It is never cut and dry, black and white. All speculation and personal opinion. And ignore too many other things.

I have been watching the LDS leadership and it is disturbing to witness the direction they are leading the church.
These "scholars" are a good example as to where the leadership is leading, among other issues, as well as those who are "apologists" for the church....they are not much better. Both groups are rude, arrogant, and treat people very badly.

The damage by both the "scholars" and "apologists" as well as by leadership is not good. Very disturbing to witness.

People such as myself who believes Joseph Smith was called to be a Prophet, are on our own until Christ comes once again. Hopefully other people such as myself will ignore the nonsense that is playing out with church leadership at all levels, these arrogant apologists and arrogant and non believing so called scholars.

Once again Apostasy has set in the church that Christ established.





Tracy Hall Jr said...

Jeff, I really thank you for keeping me abreast of this issue and for putting yourself in the line of fire as another"abhorrent" apologist. Hang in there!

I'd like to emphasize a point of view that keeps trying to creep back into this discussion, that of "spectral" evidence!

What makes some "intellectuals" so full of themselves, and I include here both Hauglid and Jensen, is that they believe that ALL we need to discuss are the extant scraps of physical evidence. They act as if nothing else will ever turn up, nor could ever turn up.

But the room is full of elephants -- living, eternal spirits. They forget that Joseph Smith still lives and still presides over this dispensation. He knows exactly how the Book of Abraham was given, and I expect there may be surprises therein for all of us.

I doubt that Joseph pays any attention at all to their sniping -- he is way beyond their reach -- but I am appalled by their condescending tone toward the Lord's chosen prophet. Someday they will meet him, and I see only two possible outcomes. (1) They will shrink from their pride in shame, and humbly confess his divine calling, or (2) They will defiantly turn their backs on him as if he were still the rube farm boy unworthy of their imagined intelligence.

JoePeaceman said...


Hi Dan, see what I mean about Jeff? Wise. I’ve never met him, but it’s apparent that he’s seeking AND finding truth. One of the things I admire about him is that he is so far ahead of the opposition that he has to overturn his own advances in knowledge. He thoughtfully thanked u for the pencil thing and gave us a 100 more :). If you are likewise an honest truth seeker, wishing to inform others, then you’ll also be open to conversations, and won’t give the critic’s “watch my videos (and don’t ask questions)” or “I don’t need to explain my claims—sophistry trumps all that silly nonsense”, etc. ; ) : ).
You’re a great guy, I love you ❤️, you have my support in this BofJ effort, you’re Learned, this is your job, you’ve had decades to prepare, there is already some of JS’ BofJ available to you, etc. and so I’m still hopeful that, if you’re allowed to use your 21st C. resources (we’ll still call it a valid test of your theory :)), you will be able to produce something credible, and will be willing to discuss how you created it from the GAEL. Then, using the scientific method, we will be able to unfairly apply this to JS and determine how he did it with his limited resources and 19th C. ideas. : )
I understand that it’s the 4th of July, and that JS may have likewise been celebrating until the 6th of July, when he finally had time to sit down with 2 scribes to dictate to himself (since everything is JS, right?) a “translation” of at least some of the BofJ and also some of the BofA. So, you may have until the 6th :) (helpful hints-- google Joseph and Asenath, etc.).
Love,
JoePeaceman

JoePeaceman said...

And, if you don’t have time to work on the BofJ right now, we can discuss how the BofA didn’t come from the GAEL. This is a perfect opportunity for you to shine. You’re an expert, I’m a Nibley imitator, but I’m not dead yet (so it will make you look really smart when you crush Nibley as a vicarious work—-no need to victory dance around a sleeping giant, challenging him to explain things that you can’t, and he did . ;).
As a JS Biographer, you’ve excused yourself from supporting your theory of how the GAEL was used to create the BofA, and have diverted us by asking “apologists” to explain how WWP got the GAEL from the BofA.
Even though I don’t think of myself as an apologist (since you apparently apply the term to any faithful LDS scholar and not to yourself or the critical apologists, AND I’m no scholar), I’m willing to point out some things, including the application of Occam- the simplest solution being that the BofA came first, no need for your sophisticated explanations for dittography etc. just simple and open conversations : ).....and several much more likely scenarios (vs yours) for the creation of the BofA.

JoePeaceman said...

Dan,
As I read your comment I realized you are admitting that you can’t do what Joseph did, even with all of your resources. That’s a step towards honesty. I won’t ask you to explain how JS did it because we all know the BofA is miraculous. But, all wiseguy stuff aside, I’ll admit that I have only read some of the GAEL, some of the alphabets, etc.
And, I’ll ask you to explain a few things about your theory:

If we were to create a BofJ:
1- would we want to have Joseph also further establish priesthood restoration (even though that was clearly discussed at least 5 years before), and work that in with Joseph traditions that are yet to come out, including an ancient discussion of priesthood? This is what the BofA gives to us.
2- would we have a requirement that the GAEL follows the order of BofJ, even though the GAEL came first (e.g. “this should be inserted between when Joseph was in his first place of residence (beth) and saw (Iota) there was a better place, and so on?
more to come later, time to celebrate this great nation :)

Anonymous said...

Tracy, there are more than two options, and you should go ahead and flush that whole idea of "spectral" evidence if you want to be take seriously.
Anon @8:32, you need to read up on Joseph. No man can lie that much, to his own loved ones no less, and be considered a man of God. God does not work through lies, and it doesn't take long to find Joseph's.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

Rambling and unintelligible as usual. Luv ya!

Dan Vogel said...

JoePeaceman: “As a JS Biographer, you’ve excused yourself from supporting your theory of how the GAEL was used to create the BofA, and have diverted us by asking “apologists” to explain how WWP got the GAEL from the BofA.”

I will answer the only serious part of your comments. The second part needs to be answered if we are to take the Gee and other apologists seriously. The first part can only be asked by someone not paying attention. I don’t say the GAEL was used to create the BofA. Some ideas came from it, but it is to be understood as work done prior to reaching the Abraham text, that is, on the Amenhotep fragments and the five columns flanking Fac. 1 (JPS I). Then JS skipped to the right-to-left lines on JSP XI, where the first four lines of hieratic text were copied into the margins of the BofA Manuscripts. Thus the Egyptian manuscripts record JS’s working through the papyri linearly. There is some over lap, but not as much as the apologists need to make their theory work.

JoePeaceman said...

Hi Armenian Saint. I was also led to the Gospel by the Book of Mormon. And I agree that “an American in the 1830s with limited education could not have made up the Book of Mormon.”
You may also know that the “Melchizedek Priesthood”, Temple Ceremony, and other things restored through Joseph Smith were something the Armenian Church held on to for millennia and which gradually faded. One reason that it faded was because the apostles were driven, attacked, even murdered. I believe that Church leadership today is on track, but they are letting scholars work out the details of history etc. From everything I know, leaders generally disagree with some of what Brian Hauglid believes. That’s no reason to pull him off the JSP project. : ). Stay strong my friend.
If you don’t mind my asking--there is a lot of evidence that Israelites migrated to East Asia, Central Asia, etc. Do you believe some Armenians are descended from them?

JoePeaceman said...


Hi Dan, I appreciate your thoughts. When I said that I don’t love your work, I didn't mean that I’m not impressed with some things. You have put a lot of time into this, and have helped move forward the work of solving the KEP puzzle. The part I don’t love is the misleading that you do with the information you glean, and the emotional effect that spirit has on some eternal families. It’s a sad use of gifts...but I digress.
You make some good points but aren’t really giving evidence for your thesis, only repeating it as if it were fact. And, saying that I’m not paying attention seems to be diversion. We both know that, while we faithful LDS miss things, we do tend to pay more attention than your fans. They seem to focus on the feeling, rather than reason. This seems rooted in the same emotions as- “I abandoned my faith and eternal family because Mormons are bigoted, love is love.”

JoePeaceman said...


So, if you’re not one to ignore “scholarly criticism, evidence, and arguments”, or dismiss questions, challenges, and etc., then please be willing to consider the idea that, if your claims don’t stand up to tests with a live, ordinary person, then you are misleading, and likely wrong. I’m perfectly willing to accept any convincing evidence that you can share. However, if you dismiss thoughtful challenges with arguments such as: “The explanation I give...is far more sophisticated. You do not seem to know these documents very well. Stop being an apologist and be a scholar,” then I believe Collin’s accusations just might apply to you, and you can’t have that- “...using a form of deception…...They put on the air of scholars, then instead of weighing the evidence for or against a proposition, they speak as if the conclusion has already been made….. and now all that is left is for unsophisticated people...to lose their testimonies. In this way they avoid the hard task of defending their position and just hope to get away with presenting half the truth.”

I’ll present a scenario that I believe may be compatible with the evidence. Then, I will present what I think you are insisting is “the truth about the Book of Abraham”, but is really not true and can’t be defended with open dialogue here.
You will hopefully clarify my misunderstandings, and we can then compare evidences. I might start on the evidence part as I have time. ❤️

JoePeaceman said...


Some of these details are less relevant, some more likely, but the historical record, logically leads me to believe that:

1- JS began translating July 3-6.

2- He had 2 scribes recording as he translated portions of the BofA and BofJ.

3- Later that month, work on a multipurpose alphabet project began. This was likely (but not necessary for BofA validity) led by Phelps. It was hoped that it would eventually help others translate or decipher, among other things.

4- There was an original manuscript created before the GAEL (some likely July 3-6, but more could have been in stages- “before” the GAEL was started is relevant, I don’t currently see why it would matter if it were done in stages).

5- The GAEL was originally created “to” the BofA or BofJ (perhaps thought of as a single record at times), but there was some rethinking and a learning curve.

6- The alphabets were created after the GAEL, or at least in conjunction with.

7- The extant manuscripts are based on an earlier copy, and what you refer to as an original JS dictation is actually reading and copying.

8- Finally, the BofA and BofM stand firm, and we don’t need to extract JS from any activities that he actually participated in.

Side note, JS did have some form of BofA among the papyri, and he also translated the facsimiles correctly, but these aren’t required for the BofA to be ancient scripture from God.

Please give evidence....fire away :).

JoePeaceman said...


YouTube and your comments lead me to believe that your thesis (and following implications) includes (and I apologize if I sound confused, I am, and hopefully you can straighten me out):

1- When Chandler came to town, JS saw an opportunity to fool people into believing he had priesthood and therefore invented, or perhaps hurried, work on a BofA.

2- No one thought of this priesthood thing for 5 years after Oliver was telling media and others that angels had restored the priesthood and so they didn’t say anything until this idea struck them from the papyri
.
3- JS quickly skimmed the papyri July 3-6, with 2 scribes waiting for him to identify Joseph and Abraham. He did this without reading or inventing text, just a skim of characters, no readable context or anything, so there is no missing text from the Books of Joseph or Abraham, and the scribes wrote nothing at this time, just sat there or something.

4- At some point, JS had Oliver, WWP, etc. write down characters, and then JS dictated a translation about Katumin, and worked some of the Amenhotep characters into the forthcoming BofA GAEL, even though it didn’t mention her. Everything related to translation was always JS because he frowned upon anyone else having a gift such as: translating, using a rod, casting lots, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, etc.

5- JS then created the EA, GAEL, etc. by dictating to WWP, himself, OC, WP, etc.

6- JS then dictated the BofA manuscripts by giving instructions on setting up boxes as WWP had in a letter to his wife; then, after describing a character from the scroll of Hor, Amenhotep, WWP’s letter, etc.; he’d give paragraphs of ancient text. Any sign of WP, OC, etc. taking turns reading,
describing characters, etc. is pure, desperate fantasy, for which there is no shred of evidence. Evidence that these were dictated includes that, when WP was copying his manuscript over to WWP’s Abr. 1:1-3, he accidentally misjudged and had to erase and rearrange to make it look like the manuscript. This alignment is for sure translation and not retro.

7- It doesn’t matter if the characters were written first or after, it’s still a translation (none of this makes sense to me, but this one seemed so off that I’m not really sure if you said it, even though I have a distinct memory of hearing it...so I apologize if I’m wrong)

8- Evidence of verbal reading from an original manuscript is always, instead, JS dictating the original BofA to WWP, WP, and etc. There was no real BofA before these manuscripts were created. Mistakes are his new developments, he would create an amazing ancient text in his head, dictate it, and change on the fly after glancing at the GAEL (or no?, so confused as to why he would need the GAEL or what role it plays in this complex, even sophisticated theory).

9-This can’t be WWP reading from a JS ms to develop a translation key, because he, previously, wrote (not copied) Abr. 1-3 before getting some help to record while JS dictated. The dittographies that Jeff and others have pointed out are simply later linear copying of complete paragraphs that JS had already dictated, as indicated by the extension of the paragraph after a few sentences. This is not a simple and logical case of FW sitting back down to copy directly, picking up on the wrong “Haron”(as heard) and copying 3 lines until he realized what he’d done and so extended the paragraph out to make sure he could fit everything, perhaps intending to cross out the worst of the 2 but obviously getting distracted mid sentence— no this is something so complex and sophisticated that it can’t be explained.
10- There is no way that WWP could have copied 1-3 from the original manuscript and then started reading to other scribes, because that would require a missing or burned manuscript, and we don’t have one of those.

11- Apologists have a lot of explaining to do.

:), sorry Dan, but that’s what I’m seeing, and I think u know better. ❤️

Now back to life in the fast lane. I’ll think about this when I can and proof that soon ;). ❤️❤️

Anonymous said...

Can't you just feel the love from the faithful here? How could any Mormon doubt that the LDS have a monopoly on the Spirit and want to leave for it another Church?

JoePeaceman said...

Anon, I’d guess you’re ok with any other Church? As you might know, the vast majority of fallen Saints end up being agnostics. They tend to live on what used to be the extreme, but now is becoming the norm of our society. If you were to really lead someone from the Church or Jesus Christ to your Church, it would probably only be temporary. They would, sadly, probably eventually abandon all faith and try find some solace in liberalism, activism, conservatism, homosexuality, philanthropism, environmentalism, medications, alcohol, addictions, anti-Mormonism, suicide, etc. If they stay with the other Church, etc. it wouldn’t be for faith in the faith critical religion (which apparently tend to dismiss the Bible as myth) as much as distraction.

JoePeaceman said...


Hi Dan, starting over
I think I can simplify this, so it shouldn’t take too much to defend your thesis. Keep in mind that, as a real person, I’ll be fixing a lawnmower, pulling wires, etc. while I write on my phone, computer, and so on.

Some Evidence for my proposal that apologists are right to believe:

A- The BofA CAME FIRST (but it doesn’t have to be that way to be of God). It is miraculous, and a GAEL was not needed to translate it.


1- JS began translating papyri sometime July 3-6 and saw (or assumed) a relationship between the Egyptian and BofM. Then, after purchasing the papyri, between July 6-8, he “commenced” translating characters.
2- He had 2 scribes recording as he translated portions of the BofA/J. It isn’t clear if they both recorded the same things or if these were different sections or different sessions.
Dan, as you wisely point out, Joseph translated the BofA by revelation, much like he did the BofM. As you’ve noted, Parrish, Lucy, and others support you in this. They clarify that he didn’t need or use the GAEL.
The documents, which you know well, support that JS could have easily dictated several pages of the BofA in only a few hours.

As described in this 1988 article- “How long did it take Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon?” JS probably translated all of the book of 1 Nephi in less than a week. This is phenomenal. It is complex, gives details that Joseph and his contemporaries couldn’t have known, and stands undaunted against 200 years of attack.

Thus, logic indicates that the July 6-8 translation would have at LEAST included Abr.1:1-3. The 2 scribes wouldn’t be needed if they each aren’t going to record something.
And, as you indicate, JS also gave us part of the BofJ before Cowdery’s developmental Blessing redactions in September.
These sections of the BofJ don’t appear in the GAEL. Logic indicates that JS translated more than a few characters of the BofA/J in early July. I’ll return to this after discussing>> GAEL evidence.

JoePeaceman said...

1- GAEL evidence for A (I’d guess this has been discussed over the decades, but haven’t searched a lot. I believe Dan has, and I want to hear what he has to say before forming more concrete opinions.):

❤️ Dan, as you intelligently point out (and Jeff has agreed), some of the extant BofA/J manuscripts show an effort to align Egyptian and other characters with BofA/J text.

You argue that this proves the text is an original translation dictated by JS, even though there are many other options (some hopefully to be discussed with you) and, even though you also seem to agree that the WP portion of the WWP/WP manuscript is a copy, and was not dictated by JS.

I’ve only watched 1,2, and part of 3, of your “Truth” of the BofA videos, and I haven’t seen your attempt at explaining what I currently see as clear evidence of aligning the GAEL to a PREVIOUSLY translated and recorded BofA/J 1:1-?. I could be wrong, and am willing to accept solid evidence to the contrary. You are the critical expert, but I think if we start by finding a beginning, it will help us with the entire KEP project.

Your coworker, Chris Smith, argues that the GAEL was used to translate the BofA. You intelligently disagree - “I don’t say the GAEL was used to create the BofA.” (Given our agreement that it wasn’t used, we must later ask why you need to argue, or believe it matters that the GAEL was the primordial egg, and came before the chicken :).

As you know, the WWP/WP manuscript begins:
Character 1
Character 2
1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residince of my fathers, I,
2 Abraham,
1 saw,
that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence, and
seeing there was
greater happiness and peace and rest, for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers….” and etc.

The GAEL begins with instructions for translating using concepts not in the extant papyri (multiple lines adding degrees, parts of speech, meanings etc.) but a character that is. We will hopefully return to this.

Then, with some Hebrew, (for those who don’t know-Beth= B, house, residence, primordial house, pregnant primordial female ancestor, etc. Iota is related to the eye, etc. and 19th C. science would have probably associated Hebrew with an Adamic language, Egyptian, Chaldaen, etc.) WWP continues with:
8 No 8 shows this character dissected
9 Beth man’s first residence, a fruitful place, &c (crossed out)
9 Beth place of happiness, purity, holiness & rest
Iata— see, saw seeing or having seen
Zub zool— oan— The first born, or the first man or fathers or fathers
….(3 lines)

Bethka the greatest place of happiness exceeding extending beyond any thing This should be inserted between Iota and Zub zool oan

Ah brah— aam— a father of many nations a prince of peace, & one who keeps the commandments of God. A patriarch a rightful heir, a highpriest”


I’m off to buy a lawnmower belt, but will think about what I can remember of this :).
Luv y'all, and love learning with Jeff, and even Dan :)

Anonymous said...

You're out of control, Joe. Come up for air, for heaven's sake. I'm concerned for your mental stability quite honestly.

Anonymous said...

Joe - Just because Jeff interprets the flood as a local and not a worldwide event does not make him a fallen Saint who has abandoned faith, thinking the Bible is a myth. Jeff will tell you it means he actually has more faith. Plus, only the Spirit leads people to greater understanding, none of us can take credit.

Thanks for clarifying your stance on Brian Hauglid. He just did not strike me as the type of guy jonesing for joints and vodka (like your "friend"), or one of those people that progress to greater understanding because they realize that being with their family forever could be eternal hell. Now that you explained he must be one of those philanthropism / environmentalism people, it all makes sense now.

Anonymous said...

“Keep in mind that, as a real person, I’ll be fixing a lawnmower, pulling wires, etc. while I write on my phone, computer, and so on.“

Sounds like you’re not a real person—a real person wouldn’t be able to do all of those things at the same time. The number of hands required alone wouldn’t be enough for one “real” person.

Anonymous said...

JoePeaceman 2:56 - Numerous people have testified they were saved from suicide by leaving the Church.

JoePeaceman said...

Hi, Ok/not-ok
Sorry, I’m not giving you as much attention as I was. I will try to focus on you again soon.

I agree that there’s no true multitasking. Some people try to type while thinking, but you can’t really do both at the same time. For me, the pause was implied ; ).

From what I know about Jeff and Brian, there’s a wide gulf separating: interpretation and rejection; Brian and the Church of latter Day Critics, etc.
E.g. I currently disagree with Brian’s interpretation of how the BofA came to be, but that doesn’t mean Brian has rejected his sealing to his family (thinking of it as hell), which would include: God and Christ (as a son), ancestors (including Abraham, Jacob, etc.), spouse, children, and so on.

I respect my friend for being honest with himself about his decisions, and his beliefs : ). He was able to sort of admit that the Church of Jesus Christ is true, but that he was choosing to like weed. That is rare honesty, which the critical Church doesn’t teach or have. So there’s a divide there also.

Also, research has shown that religious people do better in many ways, including suicide. LDS, for example, are more educated, happier, etc. ... non-Mormons and ex-Mormons have much higher suicide rates vs members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that ex-Mormons have much higher rates than Americans in general.

Have a great sabbath. :)

JoePeaceman said...

Busy day yesterday, not much time to think about this but, today, I’m thinking that even the most committed critic should be able to see that the GAEL was either used to create BofA 1:1-?, or it was created “to” the BofA, as the documents indicate .

So, ❤️Dan, since your translation theory makes little sense right now, I’m hoping you’ll clarify a bit, before I compare how our claims hold up to the evidence (and then you can honestly say “without doubt”) :)

While I wait I’ll quickly review (I’d guess you’ve read this, but…):

As you know, the WWP/WP manuscript begins with Abraham 1, in the hand of WWP, and the evidence indicates that JS could, and would, have already translated at least Abraham 1:1-?. The evidence also indicates that, at least, pages 1-2 of the JSP GAEL were written AFTER Abr. 1 was translated. Evidence for this includes this statement: “This should be inserted between Iota and Zub zool oan

As you might say, “the Critical Apologists have failed to explain why Phelps would insist that it be “inserted between Iota and Zub zool oan” if he weren’t following an already written BofA text. Inserting there aligns it with the text and anything else is pure fantasy”! ;)

As I would say, I don’t know for sure that I’m right. You’ve studied this for decades. If you would kindly explain what the other possibilities are, I’d appreciate it. : )

Anonymous said...

Of course, correlation is not causation. Happy people to tend to participate in some social group, be it the Shriners, Scouts, Kiwanis, Lions Club, the LDS club, etc. The club does not cause the happiness, the happy person causes the club. There is the still the rock solid fact that numerous people have testified they were saved from suicide by leaving the Church, which you did not deny. Which is what I think your point is about your "friend" that you keep bringing up. The case of your friend has nothing to do with anyone here and you are just pointing out that everyone's situation is different and God does not want everyone to be LDS, and that doesn't mean those people have rejected their relationships with God, their families, or their fellow man. Good point.

JoePeaceman said...


Ok/not-ok,

I agree on some of that, but I’ve known tens of thousands of Saints, I've lived in Utah County (consistently rated as one of the happiest places on earth by non-propaganda studies), and I’ve seen many families and lives destroyed by critics, and NONE destroyed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (ie ‘The Church”).

I do hear a lot of tall tales, and agnostic etc. ex, almost always have to say how happy they are since they left etc. But I have had too many experiences with LDS, “Christians” and agnostics to believe what anti-mormonism says. Other groups have far greater issues, and yet you evidently spend your time on us, not them.

This study published in Oxford Journals and found on American Journal of Epidemiology found that it's not just any "club": "In summary, active LDS...are at decreased risk of suicide compared with their Utah counterparts...our measure of religiosity is not self-reported, our findings represent stronger evidence than previously published research in support of the hypothesis that religious involvement is protective against suicide...Nonmembers of the LDS church...the total US population represent groups whose members have varying levels of religious commitment….active LDS males...are at decreased risk of suicide compared with their Utah and US counterparts..."

"...the less active LDS group had higher suicide rates than the active LDS group...and none of the 95 percent confidence intervals included one...The fact that the observed association between suicide and low levels of religiosity has remained consistent within this population over a 20-year period lends credence to its validity."

So, even with their clubs, I'd say that non-LDS and those led away are more likely to commit suicide than those who never were members and ex.

And, this report admits that it is probably skewed against the active LDS since they use priesthood advancement etc. as predictors of Church activity but, as we both know, many people join your critical Church after being ordained an Elder etc. So, if you were a member, and were to commit suicide they would count it as an active LDS suicide. And, that is in spite of the constant attacks by critics on the faith of Saints.

But, we are way off topic....so getting back to Abraham ❤

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that still do not deny the original statement, numerous people have testified they were saved from suicide by leaving the Church.

The Epidemology article you cite has already been debunk in Jeff's thread a while ago. Try and keep up. Or go to that thread if you wish to rehash. In that study suicide was actual higher during the youth years for active LDS compared to national average of teens with similar parental involvement. For some, despite being stellar missionaries, the later adult years depression was compounded by the false promise of the Church's theology to help them, or so they said before committing suicide. The higher suicide rate among LDS teens generally and LDS LGTB teens is not disputed by Jeff.

"Other groups have far greater issues, and yet you evidently spend your time on us, not them." Exactly Joe, so why are spending your time on us, go spend your time on those other groups with far greater issues.

JoePeaceman said...

Hi Ok,
I feel like I am spending my time on them :), and isn't some of that called "missionary work" and one of the things that your Church uses to justify fighting the Gospel?
Just asking... : )

Millions have testified that the restored Gospel has saved them from many things. Glad to see that you don't deny that :).

Why would I deny that people find ways to justify leaving it? And, as I've said, if they are happier out, then they should be out. I hear that often, and have no argument. I do disagree with leading people from something that I know is good.

Isn't it interesting that you spend your days trying to find anything negative that you can about the Church of Jesus Christ? You call this debunking? Do you ever ask yourself why? Do you ask what Lord you serve in this?

For example, you say the study above has been debunked. I don't have time to review any of this, but it seems that what you are saying is that:

1- The study on Utah kids was debunked, youth age LDS rates of suicide are actually higher than national average. Up there on Kolob,:) I'm sure people remember that all mountain states have higher than national average rates of suicide. Several factors are thought to contribute, including low vitamin D levels, over-prescription of anti-depressants, and that being around happy people is depressing if your not. LDS "youth", like other youth, are generally going to church because their parents do. They don't have the same internal religiosity levels. So, the fact that they are close to national average is expected and, in Utah, it means they are doing better, and that even those who dislike Church are still helped by it.
You still should ask if blaming the Church is destructive. I'm confident that going to Church helps with all sorts of ills. I had a friend who committed suicide. There was a lot of talk about many things, and how he didn't know what he was doing. His older brother (also less active) got up and didn't blame the Church, didn't blame the ex, etc. but put the blame on his brother for the stupid thing he did to himself. He said God was going to kick his @$$ down to He!! :(. At the time I thought he was being harsh, until I discovered that he probably saved another life by that.

2-The comment about "stellar missionaries" doesn't seem rooted in anything that I can test. My experience, with knowing many LDS, is that those staying active do much better vs those who don't.

3-I don't always agree with Jeff, as you know, but I would expect higher suicide rates among LGBT teens, and among LDS teens who aren't living the Gospel in their hearts, even if they are attending Church. This would be increased for those living in Mountain States.

Why distract from Abraham? I've asked before, but isn't that your slam dunk? I mean, if you're trying to destroy me....?
❤😊😍😂💕💖
Love Ya, have a nice day. : )

Anonymous said...

Every LDS I know says you and your behavior are not at all what they their church teaches people to inspire to. Everyone is here to help you return to the LDS church Joe.

"Isn't it interesting that you spend your days trying to find anything negative that you can about the Church of Jesus Christ?" Once again you have me confused with of other voices, some which may only be in your head.

"Glad to see that you don't deny that :)." Never did, in fact, I have been very explicit that many people find great satisfaction in the LDS Church. Again, pay attention. You, on the other hand, are implying you possess some sort of super power to know what is in people's hearts.

"Why would I deny that people find ways to justify leaving it?" I have heard tall tales of people finding bogus reasons to justify leaving the Church, but I have never met anyone in real life like your "friend". I have met people who the LDS Church left them. So using your super power, tell us what was Jeremy Runnells' real reason for leaving the Church?

"I'm sure people remember that all mountain states have higher than national average rates" Bingo, now you are getting it. The claim that God is a respecter of persons and gave the LDS a special gift of the Holy Ghost after 1800 years of being taken from the earth is not displayed in the data. That is most likely because many LDS had an errant, but nonetheless dearly held belief, that the gift of the Holy Ghost is only given to the LDS, when all of humanity has equal access to it because God is no respecter of persons. Jeff frequently discusses his efforts to compensate for the LDS leadership failings in helping the LDS overcome such errant dearly held beliefs. It is all part of the incomplete restoration of the fully restored gospel.

Oh,and if you don't like changing the subject, quit doing it.