57 minutes; 2002
The Book of Abraham is one of five parts of the Pearl of Great Price, which is one of the the four books in the Mormon scriptural canon (the other three being the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants).
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claims that the Book of Abraham came into his possession as a papyrus scroll which he bought from a traveling antiquities dealer in 1835. He said it was a work by Abraham, the father of the world's three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This papyrus was in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic text, which at the time no one in the US was able to translate. But with divine help, Smith claimed, he was able to do it.
While no one back then was able to read Ancient Egyptian, many people today can. So how well does Joseph Smith's translation work measure up? The Lost Book of Abraham makes a compelling and thorough case that Smith's translation work was completely wrong. As the film shows in a methodical fashion, egyptologists, both modern and contemporary to Smith, disputed the authenticity of his translation work.
This has some devastating implications for the Latter Day Saints. If this is the type of translation work Joseph Smith did on the Book of Abraham, where we can today check his work, why should we believe he did any better with the Book of Mormon, where we can't? Joseph Smith claims that the original source for the Book of Mormon - golden plates - were taken back by their angelic guardian, leaving us nothing today to examine. We simply have to take Joseph Smith's word that his translation work was correct.
This is a well produced, engaging and thought-provoking documentary. A great one to watch and share if you have any Mormon friends.
For more, check out their website at www.bookofabraham.info
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