"I want to say to you, read the book, the Pearl of Great Price, and read the Book of Abraham. The Pearl of Great Price I hold to be one of the most intelligent, one of the most religious books that the world has ever had; but more than that, to me the Pearl of Great Price is true in its name. It contains an ideal of life that is higher and grander and more glorious than I think is found in the pages of any other book unless it be the Holy Bible. It behooves us to read these things, understand them: and I thank God when they are attacked, because it brings to me, after a study and thought, back to the fact that what God has given He has given, and He has nothing to retract." - Levi Edgar Young, Conference Report (April 1913), 74

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Example of Abraham - Pres. Kimball

 
 
The First Presidency Message in the June 1975 Ensign was entitled, "The Example of Abraham," by President Spencer W. Kimball. An excerpt from his message is as follows:
Abraham’s desire to do God’s will in all things led him to preside over his family in righteousness. Despite all his other responsibilities, he knew that if he failed to teach and exemplify the gospel to his children he would have failed to fulfill the most important stewardship he had received. Abraham’s instruction and example in his home led the Lord to say of him: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” (Gen. 18:19.)
This excerpt provides some insight as to why Abraham was not considered just a righteous prophet, but why he was also known as the "father of the faithful" (Gal. 3:7; D&C 138:41), and why the 'covenant' was made with Abraham and is renewed through his righteous posterity. Read the rest of this great article online here.
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Iconotropy and the JS Abraham Facsimiles

This post was originally written and published online by Bill Hamblin at Mormon Scripture Explorations on April 7, 2013, and is reproduced here without alteration (except for slight formatting changes), courtesy of Professor Hamblin - my sincere appreciation.

Iconotropy is an English neologism from Greek, meaning literally “image turning.”  It is defined as “the accidental or deliberate misinterpretation by one culture of the images or myths of another one, especially so as to bring them into accord with those of the first culture.”   Iconotropy is, in fact, the most common ways cultures deal with images from foreign or ancient cultures.  That is to say, we almost always misunderstand and/or transform, at least to some degree, the iconography of other cultures or religions.  The further distanced we are from another culture in time, religion, ideology, or space, the more likely we are to misunderstand their iconography.

There are numerous examples of iconotropy in human history.  The most well-known is the Nazi swastika, which originally was an Indo-European good-luck symbol, possibly representing the sun, and can be found in most cultures throughout the world.  The Nazis iconotropically adopted this symbol for their Nazi ideology, and it is thus understood by most Westerners today.   But among Buddhists, the swastika is an auspicious religious symbol, often associated with images or temples of the Buddha (Below: Buddha with swastika on its chest.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Coptic Spell of the Second Century

In Kerry Muhlestein's latest article, "The Religious and Cultural Background of Joseph Smith Papyrus I,"1 he furthers the work of illustrating the cultural context of the mid-Ptolemaic period in its adaptation of Biblical figures in place of Egyptian deities that occurs within Egyptian religious texts. John Gee had previously presented a paper providing significant historical and cultural insight into the ancient owner(s) of the Joseph Smith Papyri, including the pertinent connection between the period in which the JSP emerged and the Ptolemaic Egyptian culture's usage of Biblical materials.2 Muhlestein's paper seems to be a continuation of this subject with a shift towards the culture at large, the culture in which the JSP owner(s) were situated. Also relevant to this discussion is Bill Hamblin's comments on iconotropy, which is partially defined as the "accidental or deliberate misinterpretation by one culture of the images or myths of another one...," but in this case, "the Egyptians themselves, engaged in inconotropic reinterpretations of their own symbols in different Egyptian denominations and times."3

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Millennial Star - Hypocephali in Vienna - 1903

While serving as President of the European Mission, Elder Francis M. Lyman was the general editor of the Millennial Star. A few weeks prior to the article posted below, he became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles following the passing of Brigham Young, Jr. While editorials were likely written by the general editor, the following editorial was probably authored by "J.J.C." This article references two missionaries in the Swiss Mission, James L. Barker and  John A. Mathis, who noticed a reference to Facsimile 2 from the Book of Abraham in a catalogue for the Imperial Museum of Art History in Vienna:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Responses to Franklin Spalding - Janne Sjodahl on Kolob

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator.  While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding.  Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing.  The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet.  The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit he employed in masking his true intentions in attacking Latter-day scriptures.  While non-Mormons believed the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it unconvincing.  Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912.  Forthcoming responses appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era.  Subscribers to the Era were notified of pending responses in the January 1913 issue (V16, No 3): 280:
 
 
In the February 1913 issue, responses by B.H. Roberts, Janne Sjodahl, Frederick Pack, Junius F. Wells, John Henry Evans, Levi Edgar Young, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith were all included to address some of the issues raised by Spalding and the Egyptologists.  In the following month (the March 1913 issue of the Era), responses included Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans), Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Richard W. Young.  The responses were summarized thus:


Subsequently, in the April 1913 issue of the Era, responses were published from Osborn J.P. Widtsoe, N.L. Nelson, as well as Spalding's response to Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Elder John A. Widtsoe's response to Spalding, and an article on Kolob by Janne M. Sjodahl.  The following extract is from Janne Sjodahl regarding "Kolob":

Responses to Franklin Spalding - Elder John A. Widtsoe

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator.  While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding.  Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing.  The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet.  The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit he employed in masking his true intentions in attacking Latter-day scriptures.  While non-Mormons believed the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it unconvincing.  Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912.  Forthcoming responses appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era.  Subscribers to the Era were notified of pending responses in the January 1913 issue (V16, No 3): 280:
 
 
In the February 1913 issue, responses by B.H. Roberts, Janne Sjodahl, Frederick Pack, Junius F. Wells, John Henry Evans, Levi Edgar Young, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith were all included to address some of the issues raised by Spalding and the Egyptologists.  In the following month (the March 1913 issue of the Era), responses included Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans), Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Richard W. Young.  The responses were summarized thus:


Subsequently, in the April 1913 issue of the Era, responses were published from Osborn J.P. Widtsoe, N.L. Nelson, as well as Spalding's response to Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Elder John A. Widtsoe's response to Spalding, and an article on Kolob by Janne M. Sjodahl.  The following extract is from Elder John A. Widtsoe's response to Franklin Spalding's response:

Franklin Spalding's Response to Elder Widtsoe

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator.  While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding in regards to the Book of Abraham.  Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing. The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet. The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit he employed in his approach to attacking Latter-day scriptures. While non-Mormons believed the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it unconvincing.

Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912. Forthcoming from responses, mostly from Latter-day Saints, appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era. Church leaders such as B.H. Roberts, John A. Widtsoe, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith contributed, as well as other notables, Janne Sjodahl, Junius F. Wells, Levi Edgar Young, and non-Mormon Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans). Franklin Spalding responded to Elder Widtsoe's comments, which was published in the April 1913 issue of the Era; included below. Elder Widtsoe subsequently responded to Spalding, and was included in the same issue: 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Responses to Franklin Spalding - N.L. Nelson

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator. While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding. Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing. The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet. The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit that he employed in masking his true intentions in attacking Latter-day Saint scriptures. While non-Mormons believed that the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it to be unconvincing. Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912. Forthcoming responses appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era. Subscribers to the periodical were notified of pending responses in the January 1913 issue (IE 16/3:280), as follows:

 
In the February 1913 issue, responses by B.H. Roberts, Janne Sjodahl, Frederick Pack, Junius F. Wells, John Henry Evans, Levi Edgar Young, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith were all included to address some of the issues raised by Spalding and the Egyptologists. Notice was also posted regarding follow up responses in the subsequent issue (IE 16/4:404):
 

In the March 1913 issue of the Era, responses included Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans), Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Richard W. Young. These articles were summarized thus (IE 16/5:530):


Subsequently, in the April 1913 issue of the Era (IE 16/6), responses were published from Osborn J.P. Widtsoe, N.L. Nelson, as well as Spalding's response to Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Elder John A. Widtsoe's response to Spalding, and an article on Kolob by Janne M. Sjodahl. The following extract is from N.L. Nelson:

Responses to Franklin Spalding - Osborn J.P. Widtsoe

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator. While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding. Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing. The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet. The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit that he employed in masking his true intentions in attacking Latter-day Saint scriptures. While non-Mormons believed that the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it to be unconvincing. Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912. Forthcoming responses appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era. Subscribers to the periodical were notified of pending responses in the January 1913 issue (IE 16/3:280), as follows:
 

In the February 1913 issue, responses by B.H. Roberts, Janne Sjodahl, Frederick Pack, Junius F. Wells, John Henry Evans, Levi Edgar Young, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith were all included to address some of the issues raised by Spalding and the Egyptologists. Notice was also posted regarding follow up responses in the subsequent issue (IE 16/4:404):
 

In the March 1913 issue of the Era, responses included Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans), Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Richard W. Young. These articles were summarized thus (IE 16/5:530):
 
 
Subsequently, in the April 1913 issue of the Era (IE 16/6), responses were published from Osborn J.P. Widtsoe, N.L. Nelson, as well as Spalding's response to Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Elder John A. Widtsoe's response to Spalding, and an article on Kolob by Janne M. Sjodahl.  The following extract is from Osborn J.P. Widtsoe:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Responses to Franklin Spalding - Richard W. Young

In 1912, Bishop Franklin Spalding published his pamphlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator. While it was meant to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon, it was much more effective in raising non-Mormon awareness of the Book of Abraham and redirected much of the Latter-day Saint's attention to addressing issues raised by Spalding. Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the Prophet from various forms of Egyptian writing. The Reverend's attempt to disprove Joseph's ability as a translator would, by inference, destroy confidence in him as a Prophet. The responses by Latter-day Saints acknowledged Bishop Spalding's seemingly courteous approach, but also identified the deceit that he employed in masking his true intentions in attacking Latter-day Saint scriptures. While non-Mormons believed that the publication was immensely successful, most Latter-day Saints found it to be unconvincing. Spalding's pamphlet was published in November 1912. Forthcoming responses appeared in the Deseret News and were subsequently printed in the Improvement Era. Subscribers to the periodical were notified of pending responses in the January 1913 issue (IE 16/3:280), as follows:

 
In the February 1913 issue, responses by B.H. Roberts, Janne Sjodahl, Frederick Pack, Junius F. Wells, John Henry Evans, Levi Edgar Young, and the Prophet Joseph F. Smith were all included to address some of the issues raised by Spalding and the Egyptologists. Notice was also posted regarding follow up responses in the subsequent issue (IE 16/4:404):

 
In the March 1913 issue of the Era, responses included Robert C. Webb (alias for J.E. Homans), Elder John A. Widtsoe, and Richard W. Young. These articles were summarized thus (IE 16/5:530):


The following extract is from Judge Richard W Young: