Criticism of Mormonism/Books/By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri/Chapter 1

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Response to claims made in "Chapter 1: How It All Began"

A FairMormon Analysis of: By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, a work by author: Charles M. Larson

Response to claims made in By His Own Hand upon Papyrus, "Chapter 1: How It All Began"

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Response to claim: 10 - The author claims that the Book of Mormon was written "in a strange, long-forgotten language called Reformed Egyptian"

The author(s) of By His Own Hand upon Papyrus make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that the Book of Mormon was written "in a strange, long-forgotten language called Reformed Egyptian."

Author's sources: *Mormon 9:32

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

  • Moroni said that he was writing using a form of "reformed Egyptian," meaning that he was using a version of Egyptian characters that had been modified by his people over the years. He did not claim that their language was called "Reformed Egyptian."
  • Observe in Mormon 9:32

And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

Response to claim: 11 - The author states that Joseph's followers would ask "How do we really know the Book of Mormon is what you say?" and "Show us the plates-if there ever were any!"

The author(s) of By His Own Hand upon Papyrus make(s) the following claim:

The author states that Joseph's followers would ask "How do we really know the Book of Mormon is what you say?" and "Show us the plates — if there ever were any!"

Author's sources: None cited.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Despite these statements appearing in quotes, they appear to be some sort of conjecture on the part of the author.



Response to claim: 12 - The author claims that Church growth in Kirtland "became stagnant" until Joseph acquired the papyri and translated them, thus impressing the Church with his ability as a seer

The author(s) of By His Own Hand upon Papyrus make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that Church growth in Kirtland "became stagnant" until Joseph acquired the papyri and translated them, thus impressing the Church with his ability as a seer.

Author's sources: None cited.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

  • John Gee responds to this claim:

But the Kirtland apostasy took place in 1837-38, two years after Joseph Smith began work on the book of Abraham. Moreover, rather than stagnating, "the LDS population in Kirtland multiplied from about 100 in 1832 to over 1,286 in 1836."7 In Kirtland alone, the Church was nearly doubling annually at this time. This is stagnation? Larson provides no documentation for any of his claims here; his approach is pure, unsubstantiated speculation.
—John Gee, "A Tragedy of Errors. A review of 'By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri' by Charles M. Larson,' FARMS Review, Volume - 4, Issue - 1, Pages: 93-119 off-site





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