The Book of Abraham 1
(1:1) “I, Abraham”
Although Joseph Smith said that the Book of Abraham was written by Abraham “in his own hand, upon papyrus,” there is no mention of Abraham’‘s name anywhere in the papyri or the facsimiles that Joseph Smith claimed to interpret (Ashment 2000, p.126.).
1:2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
(1:2) “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge…. ... ...”
How did Abraham manage to get all this useless, redundant, and completely unnecessary babbling on the little scrap of papyrus that Joseph Smith translated?
1:3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
(1:3) “It came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam.”
Abraham became a priest because he was a descendant of Adam. (Isn’‘t everyone supposedly a descendant of Adam?)
(1:3) “The first man, who is Adam.”
I guess this means that Mormons can’‘t believe in human evolution. (Who would have thought that Abraham would have known about Adam?)
(1:4) Abraham was a priest “concerning the seed.” (Whatever the hell that means.)
1:5 My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
(1:5) “My fathers having turned from ... the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them.”
God gave the commandments to Abraham’‘s ancestors? And all those silly Christians thought it was Moses! (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)
(1:6) “For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to” other gods.
(1:6-10, 13, 17, 20, 25-27) “Pharaoh” is an anachronism (a term that would not have been used at the time of Abraham) (Thompson 1995, pp. 154-155). The first use of the term “Pharaoh” dates from 1504 BCE during the reign of Thutmosis III).
1:7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.
(1:7) “Offering up their children unto these dumb idols”
So those nasty Egyptians sacrificed their own children to God. But why would that bother Abraham? He was willing to sacrifice Isaac. (Genesis 22:10)
1:8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.
(1:8) “The offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children”
There is no evidence for human sacrifice among the Egyptians of 2000 BCE.
(1:9) “Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.”
No, Ra was the Egyptian sun god.
(1:10, 20) Anachronism: Potiphar’‘s Hill (Thompson 1995, p. 155). Potiphar is a Hebrew form of an Egyptian word, first used in the 11th century.)
1:11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.
(1:11) “From the loins of Ham”
1:12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar; and that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.
(1:12) “I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.”
The facsimile that Joseph Smith (er, Abraham—excuse me!) refers to does not show a man (supposedly Abraham) being sacrificed, but rather an Egyptian priest being embalmed. Since facsimile 1 dates from approximately 100 BCE (Thompson 1995, p. 154), Abraham could not have referenced it in this verse.
1:13 It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
1:14 That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics.
(1:14) “That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning.”
Gosh! Thanks, Abraham! (Of course, the figures are not gods as Joseph Smith says, but jars that contained the deceased guts.)
1:15 And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands;
(1:15) “And as they lifted up their hands upon me”
Just at the last second, God and an angel saved Abraham from being killed by those nasty Egyptians!
1:16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
(1:16-19) “And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, ...”
And then Jehovah makes a little speech.
1:17 And this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
(1:17) “Because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship [other gods]”
God destroys those who worship other gods.
1:20 Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea. And the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died; and there was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh; which Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood.
(1:20) “The Lord ... smote the priest that he died.”
(1:21-24) “From Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land”
All Egyptians were (are?) cursed by God because Ham saw Noah when he was drunk and naked. (Genesis 9:20-25)
(1:23) “Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden”
“Egyptus” is a Greek, not a Chaldean word, and it doesn’t mean “forbidden” in any language. It wasn’t used at until 1375 BCE, well after the time that Abraham was supposed to have lived (Thompson 1995, p. 155.).
1:26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
(1:26-27) “Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood”
The Pharaoh was black (according to this verse, anyway), and because of that he was banned from the priesthood. (Poor Pharaoh couldn’‘t be a Mormon priest, since all black men were denied the Mormon priesthood until the 1978 revelation.)
What the Book of Mormon says about People of Color
1:27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;
1:28 But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time.
1:29 Now, after the priest of Elkenah was smitten that he died, there came a fulfilment of those things which were said unto me concerning the land of Chaldea, that there should be a famine in the land.
1:30 Accordingly a famine prevailed throughout all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he repented of the evil which he had determined against me, to take away my life.
1:31 But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.
(1:31) “God preserved ... a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars”
Oh boy! Abraham is going to tell us about astronomy. I can hardly wait.