Question: Why does the non-Mormon eyewitness say that the "Egyptian Alphabet" was "from the plates which the Book of Mormon was translated"?

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Question: Why does the non-Mormon eyewitness say that the "Egyptian Alphabet" was "from the plates which the Book of Mormon was translated?"

The non-Mormon eyewitness did not understand that the "Egyptian Alphabet" actually refers to the "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language" produced in 1835

A non-Mormon made the following statement regarding the Kinderhook Plates: "They were brought up and shown to Joseph Smith. He compared them in my presence with his Egyptian alphabet, which he took from the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated..." [1] The translation produced supports this. Joseph did not attempt to translate using his "gift of translation."

Note that the eyewitness, a non-Mormon, assumed that the "Egyptian Alphabet" was "from the plates which the Book of Mormon was translated." Don Bradley explains this in the quote below. The "Egyptian Alphabet" was not taken from the Book of Mormon plates, and the characters copied from the plates by Joseph, known as the "Anthon transcript," has never been referred to as the "Egyptian Alphabet." The "Egyptian Alphabet," also known as the "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language" (GAEL) was created after the translation of the Book of Abraham.

From Don Bradley's 2011 presentation, "‘President Joseph Has Translated a Portion’: Solving the Mystery of the Kinderhook Plates":

"[T]he [Kinderhook] plates are evidently brass, and are covered on both sides with hieroglyphics. They were brought up and shown to Joseph Smith. He compared, in my presence, with his Egyptian Alphabet,” Now, the guys a non-Mormon here, and so he doesn’t actually understand what this Egyptian Alphabet is. So he says, “which he took from the plates which the Book of Mormon was translated,” but he doesn’t know it’s from the Book of Abraham papyrus, he says, “He compared, in my presence, with his Egyptian Alphabet…and they’re evidently the same characters. He therefore will be able to decipher them.” So this is the Alphabet and Grammar volume, and you can see the title on the spine says “Egyptian Alphabet.” Now, Robin Jenson, of the Joseph Smith papers tells me that we don’t know when this label was added, it could have been added in Utah. If it was added early on, then this “gentile” would have seen this on the spine and obviously would have called it the “Egyptian Alphabet.” Even if it is a later name that is affixed to it, it shows what the Saints actually knew this volume as, they knew it as “Egyptian Alphabet.” So that is likely the name under which he would have heard of it.

Passage from the New York Herald, May 30, 1843: "They were brought up and shown to Joseph Smith. He compared them in my presence with his Egyptian alphabet, which he took from the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated..." It should be noted that the non-Mormon writer erroneously assumed that the "Egyptian alphabet" was associated with the plates of the Book of Mormon - The "Egyptian alphabet," or "Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language" (GAEL), however, was a document that was created after the translation of the Book of Abraham. The characters copied from the Book of Mormon plates, sometimes called the "Anthon transcript" or "Caractors document" were never referred to as the "Egyptian alphabet." Image taken from Don Bradley, "‘President Joseph Has Translated a Portion’: Solving the Mystery of the Kinderhook Plates"
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Notes

  1. New York Herald, May 30, 1843