Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife)/Chapter 21

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Response to "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 21 - The Translation (Book of Abraham)

A FairMormon Analysis of: For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife), a work by author: Anonymous

Response to claims made in "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 21 - The Translation (Book of Abraham)

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Response to claim: "The modern Church has known for decades that Joseph Smith's translations were not correct, yet has only now admitted to it"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

The modern Church has known for decades that Joseph Smith's translations [of the Joseph Smith papyri] were not correct, yet has only now admitted to it.

FairMormon Response

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

The Church acknowledged that the Joseph Smith papyrii did not contain the text of the Book of Abraham immediately after it was discovered and examined, and discussed it in the official Church magazine, the January 1968 Improvement Era. It did not keep this information hidden "for decades."



Question: Was the Church forthright in identifying the rediscovered papyri prior to their examination by non-LDS Egyptologists?

The January 1968 issue of the Improvement Era demonstrates that the Church was very forthright about this issue

The Church announced that the fragments contained a funerary text in the January 1968 Improvement Era (the predecessor to today's Ensign magazine). Of the 11 fragments, one fragment has Facsimile 1, and the other 10 fragments are funerary texts, which the Church claimed from the moment the papyri were rediscovered. There is no evidence that the Church has ever claimed that any of the 10 remaining fragments contain text which is contained in the Book of Abraham.

The critics are telling us nothing new when they dramatically "announce" that the JSP contain Egyptian funerary documents. The Church disseminated this information as widely as possible from the very beginning.

The timeline of events

A review of the time-line of the papyri demonstrates that the Church quickly publicized the nature of the JSP in the official magazine of the time, The Improvement Era.

There were 11 fragments discovered and given to the church. The Church was very quick in releasing this information to the membership and the world.

November 27, 1967
Church receives papyri.
December 10–11, 1967
Deadline to submit material for the January 1968 Improvement Era.
December 26–31, 1967
January 1968 Improvement Era issue mailed to subscribers.[1]
February 1968
Another fragment was discovered in the Church historian's files, and publicized in the February 1968 Improvement Era.[2]
Cover of the January 1968 issue of the Improvement Era, the Church's official magazine of the time. Note the color photograph of the recovered Facsimile 1.


Notes

  1. Jay M. Todd, "Egyptian Papyri Rediscovered," Improvement Era (January 1968), 12–16.
  2. Jay M. Todd, "New Light on Joseph Smith's Egyptian Papyri: Additional Fragment Disclosed," Improvement Era (February 1968), 40.; Jay M. Todd, "Background of the Church Historian's Fragment," Improvement Era (February 1968), 40A–40I.