The Book of Abraham: An Insightful Look on Whether it is Authentic and How it May Have Come Forth

Is the Book of Abraham true?  Yes, I think so.  But this volume of LDS scripture very likely didn't come about in quite the way that you were taught in seminary or Sunday school.

I've recently come across a great podcast called Mormon Sunday School by Jared Anderson. In one of his episodes, Jared and his panel of guests have some very insightful looks at the value of the Book of Abraham and how it came to be.  The podcast can be found here.  My interpretive notes and quotes from the podcast are included in this blog article.

Note: Jared and his guest panelists come at this topic from a believing perspective.  They all agree that the Book of Abraham is authentic and teaches profound eternal truths. For some who may not be sure that they can accept the traditional story of how Joseph Smith brought about the Book of Abraham, the 3-hour podcast discussion will be a treat!

2:45:50 - David Bokovoy: Joseph Smith was not a translator in the traditional sense.  He was a seer, a visionary who makes the hidden things known to the world. Carl Sandberg in "Knowing Brother Joseph Again" states that Joseph Smith never did document-to-document translation, except in a Hebrew class that he took from Joshua Seixas.

2:47:35 - Jared Anderson: So many stumble over the coming forth of the Book of Abraham for reasons that are unnecessary.  Joseph Smith is an authentic prophet.

2:49:00 - Maxine Hanks: It doesn't matter that the Book of Abraham may not have been written by Abraham and that Joseph Smith may not have translated from papyri that he received from Michael Chandler.  Our testimonies of the Book of Abraham should be based on the wonderful eternal truths that it teaches us.

2:50:00 - Maxine Hanks: As opposed to "translating", Joseph Smith regularly referred to himself as "translating by the gift and power of God". He claims to have experienced a revelatory process during each episode of his translations. This conforms to ancient visionary tradition.

2:51:00 - Maxine Hanks: Members were probably taught a much more simplistic view of Joseph Smith's translations, but the more complex reality is actually a much deeper and more satisfying realization than that Joseph Smith simply looked at ancient documents and translated them in a scholarly way. "Mormonism is based on vision. You go within, and access a spiritual dimension that is beyond the mortal/physical. Lots of Mormons have visionary and revelatory experiences. It is far more profound and demanding and awe-inspiring to have a vision, to have an encounter with the divine, than sitting down and translating Hebrew or Egyptian characters in a scholarly way.  Not to discount the inspiration and bliss that comes from scholarship and [traditional] translation, but it is a far more profound exercise to enter into the doorway of your own soul and encounter God and angels and try to verbalize that visionary experience."

2:53:25 - Hanks: Joseph Smith often contrasted his revelatory experiences with what the "learned men"--who could not grasp his methods--were doing.
. . .

April 26, 2015: I've only just begun to put down my notes regarding the podcast.  Please check back from time to time to see more and more of my observations


  1. Thank you for the comments regarding the podcast. At Mormon Sunday School, we try to have constructive discussion regarding difficult issues.

    If anyone is interested in participating in the Facebook Group, we look forward to your participation:


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