Search This Blog


Monday, October 14, 2013

BYU scholar shares latest research on Book of Abraham

Here is a link to an article I wrote some time ago for the Deseret News.

The publication date was pushed back and my byline was published with information that is now antiquated. I am no longer a "Capital Campaign Manager for a nonprofit organization in Utah," but am most likely returning to my consulting - specifically with foci on strategic planning and sustainability for nonprofits and small businesses.

I'm surprised by the number of page hits for the article. I'm also surprised this particular review inspired some comments online that were less than warm and fuzzy - or informed.

To clarify, I love criticism - especially of my writing. It increases the pace at which I can improve in the way I present information to others. In this case, I had the opportunity to present 3 CD's worth of material in less than 300 words. For these particular pieces, the articles are not meant to serve as academic critiques like you will find in other places.

What makes me a little sad in this instance is that a very short introductory article to a religious-oriented set of CD's inspired online comments that are filled more with contention that a desire to understand others.

The portion of my byline that remains accurate as of the date of the publication is that I "have a deep and abiding love for the scriptures."

The Book of Abraham has a fascinating history. Too many people, at least from my perspective, have tried to create answers when certain answers have yet to be found. I don't believe it's wise to try and force a square peg into a round hole. As I teach my daughter, if we don't know the answer to something, it's best to say, "I don't know," than to present as fact our own opinions.

Apologetics has a place. But when it is misguided, nobody wins. Everybody loses.

Misunderstandings persist.

Contention increases.

Tolerance deteriorates.

These are all tragic outcomes that result from both misguided apologetics as well as ignorance.

The Book of Abraham is a book I view as scripture. I read it. I ponder it. I use it to help me make sense of life, to place science and mysteries and even theological questions in context. I love it.

My personal opinions about how the book came to be translated is not found anywhere in this article in the Deseret News. Suffice it to say I am not ignorant of the divided opinions nor many of the questions surrounding the texts and the translation process.

I didn't write this article to share my opinions, but to provide a succinct introduction to a set of CD's I used as one of many sources in my own personal library of Book of Abraham resources. I think the CD's are of benefit for anyone interested in learning about the Book of Abraham, whether they believe the book to be scripture or otherwise.

In the end, I would hope that any conversations in any venue about any topic could take place in a manner that is appropriate and conducive to learning.

I desire to be a better writer - to write about sensitive topics in a way that encourages more people to be tolerant and seek to see things from different perspectives. I believe I do a decent job, but I know I can do even better.

For Mormons, I hope they listen to the CD's with critical ears. For non-Mormons, or those with strong negative feelings about the Book of Abraham, I hope they listen with an open mind. Truth is truth, no matter the source. As Brigham Young taught, "If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it."

For anyone to knowingly present "truths" that aren't true is wrong.

For anyone to knowingly set aside truth to strengthen preconceived notions is to build upon a foundation lacking in integrity.

Searching for truth everywhere enables anyone to gather up kernels of truth - regardless the topic.

And my own perspective is that the more truth one can obtain, the more one can use that knowledge to influence others for good.

Yet not all articles are designed to encourage tolerance and learning. Sometimes an article is merely an article, a brief introduction to a book or a CD.


  1. "For anyone to knowingly set aside truth to strengthen preconceived notions is to build upon a foundation lacking in integrity."

    Kurt, You are knowingly setting aside the truth that the Book of Abraham is pure fiction. That is a fact. And you do it to strengthen your preconceived notions which shows your lack of integrity as a writer.

    You talk about truth as if one can obtain by searching while you refuse to believe the Lord's own words when He tells us that it is God Who blinds us to it.

    Joh 12:40 "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."

    2Th 2:10-11 "... because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"

    Kurt, do you see any "free" agency in the truth above? No, you do not because there is no such thing.

    Php 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

    You do not believe in the above Scriptures/truth. If you did you would "come out of Babylon/the Church" and be one of the elect. Just keep in mind that whether you believe or not is not your choice. It's up to God just when He will cause you to believe.

    You can write whatever you want to the blind although when you post it to the Internet, you risk the chance that one of us will see it and as Paul tells us we uphold the faithful word according to the teaching, that we may be able to entreat with sound teaching as well as to expose those who contradict. See Titus 1:9

    May God be with you,
    Paul Fisher

    1. Paul, I think you have me confused for the person you think I am. I noticed that you attributed my words, attitudes, actions in a way that I never would.

      I see we do share a pet peeve though, with those who would refer to the agency given by the Savior as "free agency," when that gift was bought with a priceless price, an infinite atonement.

      The Book of Abraham can be a contentious book - though it doesn't need to be. There are questions of missing scrolls, what the translations of the scrolls we actually have say and how they differ from Joseph Smith's translations, how the translation process took place, etc., etc., etc. There are questions we may still be learning about decades from now. That excites me!

      I find it a fascinating intellectual exercise to study all I can and certainly will not mislead. Neither do I hide the fact that I am one of those who believe the book to be scripture, God's word to man. He continues to speak to men and women today, and it would be disingenuous to not make mention of my religion, as well as my religious knowledge and beliefs.

      I invite you to my blog and also invite you to carefully read and study authors' postings as well as the materials covered to be able to participate in a discussion that may reveal truths where they may have otherwise been hidden.

      Those who come here seeking fights are disappointed as I do not engage in debate nor purposefully fan any flames of contention. Please come here to learn, to converse, to make friends.

      I like to use my articles to make peace between neighbors, communities, religions, political parties, even countries. I hope the relevant comment boards can use love, tolerance, and understanding to increase their own harvest of truth.

      Welcome, Paul.