Book of Abraham – Facsimile #3

What’s Wrong with Joseph Smith’s Restoration?Facsimile #1 / Facsimile #2

Facsimile #3

Four Problems!

  • The Restoration
  • The Identifications
  • The Subject Matter
  • The Date / Age

Joseph Smith’s attempts at “restoration”

  • He didn’t fix Anubus’s head correctly
  • He didn’t restore the ankh correctly

Joseph Smith’s restoration abilities are not challenged much in this facsimile because it was in the center of the roll and was protected the most. Since Joseph didn’t need to restore much in this facsimile, he only made two minor restoration mistakes.

Joseph Smith’s attempts at “identity”

Joseph made some real blunders when it came to identity. Joseph identifies individuals very confidently. Let’s compare the identity of each figure one at a time:

  • Figure #1 is easily recognizable as the head of all the gods, Osiris. Carvings and paintings of Osiris are commonly found on the walls of tombs, and in funeral documents all over Egypt. Anyone learning to read Egyptian hieroglyphics would learn to recognize him and his name very early on. Joseph doesn’t recognize Osiris, and names him Abraham even though Osiris’s name appears in the left column above Isis. This is totally false. None of the characters in any of the Joseph Smith papyri contain the name “Abraham.”
  • Figure #2 is again easily identified as Isis, the wife of Osiris. She is commonly drawn standing behind her husband when he is seated on his judgment seat. Anyone learning to read Egyptian hieroglyphics would learn this early on, as well. Joseph Smith’s first identification problem here is he identified this female as the male, “king ” Then he states, “whose name is given in the characters above his head.” This is totally false. None of the characters in any of the Joseph Smith papyri contain any image of the pharaoh, king of Egypt. The hieroglyphs above her hand contain the name “Osiris” not “king pharaoh.” Isis’s name and description are found in the fifth column from the left.
  • Figure #3 is a libation table and is topped with a papyrus blossom. This has nothing to do with Abraham. The name Abraham doesn’t appear anywhere in these the Joseph Smith papyri documents.
  • Figure #4 is Maat, the goddess of honor, justice and truth. In judgment, she is involved in the weighing of the heart. This is the point when the dead person is judged guilty or innocent and determines if they get to go to Aaru (Egyptian name for heaven). Joseph Smith identified this female as a young male, “Prince of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, as written above the hand.” Maat’s name is actually written in the column above the #4. This is the second time in this facsimile that Joseph Smith didn’t recognize a female.
  • Figure #5 is the dead priest named Hor. In this scene Hor has previously passed the judgment and is now being presented “righteous” before the god Osiris by Maat and Anubis. Here, in facsimile #3, Joseph identified Hor as, “Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand.” The problem is that Joseph has already identified Hor as Abraham in facsimile #1. Therefore, Joseph identified Hor in two different places as two different people, Abraham and Shulem. His identifications are not accurate and not consistent. If he could read Egyptian, he could have read Hor’s name and description in the two columns above his hand and one more time in the hieroglyphs along the bottom.
  • Figure #6 is Anubis, who is also a common key guide for the dead person through his judgment process. Anubis is easily recognizable in Egyptian hieroglyphics by his dark skin and his dog head. Here again, Joseph makes a false identification. He identifies Anubis as, “Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince.” Anubis doesn’t belong to Maat. Here again, Anubis’s name and description are written in the last three hieroglyphs above his arms and head. If Joseph could really read Egyptian, he would have been able to read the names of each person drawn in these facsimiles. He would have had no confusion identifying each person accurately, even giving them their common and proper name.
  • Joseph states the purpose of this facsimile, “Abraham is reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king’s court.” Where does he get this from? The only thing left to translate is the row of writing below the figures. In this row is translated by Robert K Ritner, Egyptologist, as, “O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west and east, grant salvation to the Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit.” As anyone can easily see, Hor’s name appears again along with his mother’s name (Taikhibit) again. Knowledge of the Egyptian words would have saved Joseph a lot of time and effort and helped him be accurate.

Identifying names in the text

According to Robert K. Ritner’s complete translation, Hor’s name appears the most in the text at 12 times. Robert Ritner restores Hor’s name in two places in paragraph II where his name appears partially, and restored Hor’s complete name in three places where the papyrus was missing in paragraph IX. As a translator, Joseph could have restored Hor’s name in the two partial places and the three missing places like Robert Ritner did, but he didn’t. With 12 clear examples and two partial examples of Hor’s name, Joseph never got Hor’s name right even once. Hor’s mother’s name appeared in the text clearly four times and Joseph never recognized any of them either. Ritner recognized them all and restored partial pieces of Taikhibit’s name in three other places and he provides four total restorations of her name where the papyrus is missing.

Identity Summary

All the names of all the characters in facsimile #3 are clearly written in the small columns above the characters. Joseph Smith confidently lied to everyone, thinking that they would never be able to read Egyptian hieroglyphics and prove him wrong. Joseph Smith didn’t guess even one of them right. His most blatant identity mistakes were concerning Osiris, Anubis, and Hor. Joseph confused the identity of these three characters between facsimile #1 and facsimile #3. Hor is identified as both Abraham and Shulem. Anubis is identified as both the priest of Elkenah and Olimlah, servant of the prince. Abraham is both Osiris and Hor. Joseph Smith couldn’t read anything Egyptian and didn’t recognize and identify one character.


Joseph Smith claimed that his translation was part of “The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” Joseph’s statement dates the papyrus at the time of Abraham about 4,000 years ago. All modern scholars have agreed that the Book of Breathings is only about 2000 years old. Joseph dated this Book of Abraham 2000 years before it ever existed. Joseph the Seer was wrong. The purpose and subject matter were purely of a religious resurrection content.

If Joseph really knew how to read and translate Egyptian, then he would have known these basic Egyptian things.

My conclusion is that The Book of “Abraham” should start with these words:

“Once upon a time in a land far, far away!”

Learn more by reading two books.

  • By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus by Charles M. Larson
  • The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition by Robert K. Ritner

(Egyptologist at the University of Chicago).


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