The Book of Abraham
In 1835 Joseph Smith purchased four mummies that included some papyrus written in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Joseph “translated” them into what is now the Book of Abraham. After the death of Joseph the original papyrus were lost. In 1966 some parts of the papyrus were found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
1966 discovery of the documents caused great anticipation in the church because since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, scholars would now had the capability to translate the hieroglyphics and prove that Joseph was a true prophet.
As Egyptologists analyzed the papyrus however they found that they had nothing to do with the Prophet Abraham but were a typical burial or funerary document that was placed with most mummies. Radiocarbon dating has also suggested that the papyrus were from a time 1500 years after Abraham was said to have lived.
Even though the Pearl of Great Price calls the scripture “The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” The Church now acknowledges that they are “Inspired Translations” which means that Joseph used the ancient papers as a way to receive inspiration.
|One of the discovered fragments|
While most people outside the LDS church consider story to be an example of Joseph Smith’s deception, faithful members consider the Book of Abraham to be of divine origin and that they include sacred truths about God’s dealings with man.