Question: Did Joseph use his seer stone to receive the text of the Book of Abraham in the same manner as he did for the Book of Mormon?

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Question: Did Joseph use his seer stone to receive the text of the Book of Abraham in the same manner as he did for the Book of Mormon?

There is second-hand information that suggests Joseph Smith used his seer stone in the translation of the Book of Abraham

There is also second-hand information that suggests Joseph Smith used his seer stone (or what came to be called the "Urim and Thummim") in the translation of the Book of Abraham; though these accounts must be accepted carefully because of their secondary nature.

Wilford Woodruff said,

"The Lord is blessing Joseph with power to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to translate through the Urim and Thummim ancient records and hieroglyphics old as Abraham or Adam which caused our hearts to burn within us while we behold their glorious truths opened unto us." [1]

"The Prophet translated the part of these writings which, as I have said is contained in the Pearl of Great Price, and known as the Book of Abraham. Thus you see one of the first gifts bestowed by the Lord for the benefit of His people, was that of revelation-the gift to translate, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, the gift of bringing to light old and ancient records." [2]

The official position of the Church is that the Book of Abraham is "an inspired translation of the writings of Abraham. Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri." [3] Anything beyond this is speculation, and does not constitute official Church doctrine relative to the Book of Abraham's origins. Nevertheless, it's clear from the historical evidence that Joseph Smith was not attempting a scholarly translation of the Book of Abraham à la Jean-François Champollion or other Egyptologists, but rather produced a revelatory translation (see Richard Turley's comments below). The exact nature of this revelatory translation is uncertain, with various theories having been offered over the years.

Notes

  1. Wilford Woodruff journal, February 19, 1842.
  2. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 20:65.
  3. The Pearl of Great Price–––Introduction (2013 ed.). Elsewhere official Church publications say concerning the Book of Abraham: "The book of Abraham is a translation that the Prophet Joseph Smith made from some Egyptian papyri." Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996), 1.