Topics on the Book of Abraham, JST, and D&C
In this section we want to give a wide-ranging discussion about issues with the Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the Doctrine and Covenants. We want to highlight the issues for each and why they put into question the authenticity of Joseph Smith's status as a prophet of God. This section will go into many different areas of these scriptures in order to get a fuller picture of both the problems as well as the apologetic responses to them.
Book of Abraham Write-Ups:
Book of Abraham Overview, Part 1: Translation and Source Materials - A look at the translation of the Book of Abraham along with the source materials that we have from the translation process, and what that tells us about Joseph Smith's ability as a prophet, and the authenticity of the Book of Abraham as an ancient text.
Book of Abraham Overview, Part 2: The Book of Abraham Text - We build on our part one overview, and look at what the text of the Book of Abraham itself tells us about the authenticity of the Book of Abraham as an ancient text, and what the material tells us about both who wrote the Book of Abraham and when it was written.
Official LDS Essay "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham" with Discussion Notes - The official church essay on the Book of Abraham with annotated notes, looking at how the church's claims regarding the Book of Abraham stand up to the evidence, scholarship, and history of Joseph Smith and his composition of the Book of Abraham.
The Book of Abraham in 1,000 Words - A very quick, high level look at the Book of Abraham and the problems that come from Joseph Smith's translation of the papyri fragments. It literally covers the problems and apologetics for the Book of Abraham and the Mormon church in 1,000 words and is a good beginning step for anyone who has not read much about the Book of Abraham before.
We did a chapter by chapter fact-check and review of the church's "Saints" volume 1 book, looking at where the church was being honest, where they were being dishonest, and where they left out important context to their historical claims. This was a fun project to help learn a lot about early church history, and there is a chapter summary so you can read the chapters of most interest.
Joseph Smith's Other Translation/Revelation Projects:
Overview of the Word of Wisdom: A look at the Word of Wisdom, reviewing the historical events that led to the creation of D&C 89, how the church viewed the Word of Wisdom during Joseph Smith's lifetime, and how the church has redefined the revelation since it became a temple recommend question in 1919.
Overview of Changes to Revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants: Our overviews continue with a look at the revelations received by Joseph Smith, and how he altered the text when compiling the Doctrine and Covenants. I look at some of the changes he made, what those changes tell us about the idea of revelation in the Mormon church, and what they tell us about Joseph's role in creating them.
Overview of the Kinderhook Plates: An overview of Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates, looking at the history of the plates, Joseph Smith's partial translation, and how the church taught about the incident even after Fugate admitted they were a hoax. I also look at common apologetic responses to the Kinderhook Plates, what they tell us about the Book of Abraham, and what they reveal about the leaders of the church and their ability to discern truth.
Overview of Joseph Smith's Translations - An overview of some of Joseph Smith's most significant translations, and what the evidence tells us about their authenticity including the Book of Mormon "caractors," the pure Adamic language, the Kinderhook Plates, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the writings of John.
Overview of the Temple Endowment Ceremony and Masonry - An overview of Joseph Smith's introduction of the temple endowment ceremony, looking at the elements that were taken from the Masonic ceremony that Joseph Smith had learned just seven weeks earlier. This overview includes arguments from a 2019 church produced video on the temple ceremony and Masonry along with a look at how Joseph Smith used the signs, tokens, penalties, clothing, and symbols from the Masonic ceremony to create the temple endowment.
Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible - BYU Study on the Plagiarism of Adam Clarke's Work - A summary and preview of the study done at BYU by Haley Wilson, detailing the many times that Joseph Smith used Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary when translating the Bible. This has been a groundbreaking study that helps to further understand how Joseph Smith created scripture, and reframes what revelation and translation are in the church's history.
The Church's "Now You Know" Video on the Word of Wisdom - A review of the church's official "Now You Know" video about the Word of Wisdom, looking at the history behind the Word of Wisdom's initial revelation along with what science and nutrition tell us today about the accuracy of the revelation, along with the source that Joseph Smith was pulling from when creating it.
Masonry and the Temple (Now You Know Video) - A review of the church's official "Now You Know" video about the church's temple ceremony and its connection to the Masonic ceremony that Joseph Smith learned just before creating the endowment ceremony.
I Cannot Read a Sealed Book - A look at the Charles Anthon visit by Martin Harris, and how Joseph Smith retroactively turned the story into a fulfillment of revelation with a misreading of Isaiah.