While reading a sermon by LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell, about a half dozen problems from his text quickly ran through my thoughts.
Mr. Maxwell was quoting a passage from the Joe Smith inspired canon, Book of Abraham, located in ‘The Pearl of Great Price’. In this part of Mormon canon, Smith tried his hand at interpreting the ancient Egyptian language, which at that time was a new field just given birth to through the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.
This particular passage was part of a larger narrative of the Mormon god sharing with the patriarch Abraham, that he lives near a star called Kolob.
As of November 19, 2015, there’s no available data explaining what part of the Egyptian papyri contained the text for chapters 3-5 in the book of Abraham. According to the LDS website, Joseph Smith Papers, they’re not sure where Smith extracted it from. The only explanation given for this part of the Book of Abraham is a sworn statement by Warren Parish, (church scribe), who testified he wrote things down while Smith translated.
Long story short, Smith came up with his own interpretation of what he believed the ancient papyri said, but never found an Egyptologist who would endorse his work. The erroneous Egyptian names that supposedly stemmed from unknown dynasties in Egyptian history, can lead one on a proverbial rabbit trail for eternity.
Our look at the passage in Abraham comes from a much simpler approach. We’re looking at two verses in this passage, and then listing a few questions stemming from this Mormon canon.
Abraham 3:16-17; “If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me. 17 Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and the moon be above the earth, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.”
1.The phrase ‘if two things exist, and there be one above the other…’ is part of the typical Masonic philosophical mantra of speaking in allegories. This type of vocabulary can be, and frequently is, applied to numerous situations in their lodges, books, and even down to the structure of their organization. See Ed Decker’s site @ SaintsAlive.com for the best info on Freemasonry.
2.What dynastic period in Egypt’s history has anything similar to what Mr. Smith is alleging?
3.The words ‘Kolob’ and Kokaubeam’ aren’t part of the Egyptian vernacular so how did these things find themselves in a sacred inspired text?
4.The God of the Bible doesn’t direct man’s attention to contemplate about His creation in the manner we see in the book of Abraham. Why is this book encouraging man to focus on creation instead of the Creator?
5.What does the phrase ‘there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take into his heart’ mean?
God is Omnipotent, and the Creator of all things, making Him impervious to absorbing anything outside of Himself. How does an omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal God take something into his heart? Wouldn’t it already be there? Wouldn’t He already know these things?
From eternity God has set the time, set the rules, and set the plan for us. Whatever ideas or schemes man comes up with must fit within the parameter of God’s agenda, not ours.
6.Why is the text in the book of Abraham written in 17th century Jacobean English if –
- Abraham lived around BC 1813 and didn’t speak Jacobean English.
- This was supposedly written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, telling us the Egyptians didn’t speak Jacobean English.
- Smith lived in the 19th century, and wasn’t speaking a 17th century Indo-European form of English (Jacobean), so if God intended for Smith to translate this into the vernacular of his day, he didn’t do it.