Two Things Joseph Smith Got Right About the Book of Abraham Facsimiles

I’ve been studying up on the Book of Abraham a bit lately, and as fascinating as all the scholarly, arcane parallels are, it’s even more exciting to see that some of Joseph Smith’s explanations of these symbols are easy to confirm in accessible pop culture. 

While critics have often had to come up with convoluted theories as to how Joseph got so many plausible details into the Book of Mormon, his equally startling “guesses” in the Book of Abraham are usually ignored…maybe because they are even more shocking.  How could Joseph have known what any of these old Egyptian hieroglyphics meant?  He didn’t know ancient Egyptian–hardly anybody in the world did!  The Rosetta Stone itself had barely been translated around the time that Joseph first started producing the Book of Abraham. 

And yet, what should have been wild shots in the dark hold up remarkably well nearly two centuries later, when the basics of Egyptian are so widely available, that a major hotel here in Las Vegas, the Luxor, makes them into a cute and easily recognizable theme. 

In Facsimile 1, there’s a weird creature shown near the bottom. 

The text defines it as “the idolatrous god of Pharaoh.”  Look closely–it’s a crocodile in the waters of the Nile.  So, did the Egyptians of Abraham’s time really identify Pharoah with a crocodile-god? 

They sure did.  His name is Sobek, Continue reading

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Egypt: Obama’s Rock and Hard Place

A lot of the media–on both sides of the aisle–are suggesting that Obama’s either doing something wrong in regard to Egypt, not doing anything, or that he should be doing something different, but never specifying what that is.  This is one case where I genuinely feel bad for him, because he’s absolutely trapped–there is no right answer here, is there? 

Mubarak has been a trusted ally for decades.  On the other hand, the voice of the people is being heard.  Obama’s response has been to diplomatically encourage the change that the protestors are agitating for; though some on the right have criticized him for it, isn’t this the essence of the Bush Doctrine in action? 

But, poor Obama; no matter what he does, everybody will be able to justify saying he’s wrong.  He can either side with the people and betray a close and old ally, or he can stand by our ally and betray democracy and the will of a people.  There’s just no way for him to win this game.

Brain Game #4

In five minutes, I listed every American city I could think of whose name was an allusion to the world of the classical Greeks and Romans.  (Not only was our Constitution largely inspired by those civilizations, but everything from the architecture of Washington, D.C. to the many statements by our Founders on the subject shows that America was meant to be a conscious reincarnation of the glory of the ancients.) 

I came up with six cities.  See how you do.  My answers are after the jump.

  Continue reading