Back to Papyri & Book of Abraham Section
This is an email exchange with Randy Jordan and another Mormon which I
took up because good old Brother Jordan insists on using second hands
sources when they suit his purpose, but to no avail in light of the evidence we have on hand.
I never heard back from Bro. Jordan. Gee, I wonder why...........
Randy wrote: (a wonderful critic against the Book of Abraham
with a scathing sense of humor most of the time)
Nice theory if you weren't so wrong, Charles. Josiah Quincy, an author,
interviewed JS in Kirtland and viewed the mummies. Quincy reported that JS
stated "I want you to look at that little fellow over there. He was a
great man in his day. Why that was Pharoah Necho, King of Egypt!"
Pointing to the hieroglyphs, JS said "That is the HANDWRITINGOF ABRAHAM,
father of the faithful; this is the autograph of Moses, and these lines were
written by his brother Aaron. Here we have the earliest accounts of the
Creation, from which Moses composed the first book of Genesis." (Josiah
Quincy, Figures of the Past).
Kerry Shirts wrote:
So a SECOND HAND source is THE proof of this eh?
Uhhh...no, "scholar" Kerry, Quincy personally interviewed Smith in 1844 and
gave a comprehensive report of his visit in his book "Figures of the
"According to Quincy, he wrote his chapter in 'Figures of the Past' on
Joseph Smith at Nauvoo on the basis of letters written at the time and sent
to Boston, and the diary of his traveling companion Charles Francis Adams."
("The Story of the Pearl of Great Price," p. 71).
The "Quincy Whig" published an account of Smith's mummies on October
17,1840, which corroborates Quincy's:
"The embalmed body that stands near the center of the case," said he,
(Joseph) "is one of the Pharoahs, who sat on the throne of Egypt, and the
female figure by it was probably one of the daughters."
In some cases, there are very good reasons for accepting what secondary
sources indicate. In this case though Randy consistently ignores a vital
primary source, namely the "History of the Church". Looking in Vol. 4, p.
524 we see how Joseph Smith himself really did describe the papyri.
"Translation of some ancient records that have fallen into our hands, from
the catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he
was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon
In John Gee's review of Harris, Silverman, and Peterson, he shows how Joseph
Smith described this as I have here. Gee then shows how Charles Francis
Adams describes this:
"written by the hand of Abraham"
And Gee shows how Josiah Quincy describes this:
"That is the handwriting of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful."
Now the statements by Adams and Quincy are seen as progressive garblings of
Joseph Smith's published statement. (John Gee, "Farms Review of Books," 8/2
(1996): 53.) Quincy is anything but a faithful eye-witness who reports what
Joseph Smith said at all as Randy wishes to portray him. The actual
published statement of the Prophet is the soundest refutation to Randy there
is in print.
Now if Randy wants to go with a secondary source who obviously garbles the
account, the actual published account, that is his option, but it is no
wonder we Mormons won't follow him out of the church over this. In this case
we have a direct primary source which Randy must ignore in order to make his
claim stick. Fine and well, but not convincing. That another source follows
Quincy which Randy uses to bolster his argument is again seen as irrelevant.
Any number of sources could follow the secondary source and completely get
it all wrong. Randy surely has the intelligence to understand this, but
refuses to go with the primary source. And that's O.K. As for me and my
house, we will serve the Lord.
Kerry A. Shirts