"Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man -- yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it."
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, (A.D. 121 - 180), Meditations, II, 12

Egypt has always held mysteries in its history, concealing the records of time bound in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Historians had to wait until M. Boussard, a French Officer of Engineers, would discover the famous Rosetta Stone in August of 1799 before deciphering many of the ancient Egyptian texts. Who would have known that this discovery, besides unlocking the mysteries of Egypt, would have helped to show Joseph Smith's fraudulence.

Joseph Smith, Jun. wasn't an Egyptologist. He was however a religious leader, claiming to be a prophet, seer, and revelator - translator of Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyrian, and Arabic characters. Parts of the golden plates were claimed to be written in Egyptian characters (History of the Church, Vol. 1, pg. 20). Joseph claimed the characters were translated by the power of God to produce the Book of Mormon in 1830. This same power Joseph claimed he possessed would be called upon to translate other Egyptian texts, which we are very lucky to have to compare to his translation (unlike the case for the so called, Book of Mormon "Plates").

On July 3, 1835, Michael H. Chandler arrived in Kirtland with an exhibit of Egyptian mummies. Joseph describes in his journal:

Joseph Smith, Jun. had thought he was fortuitously delivered ancient Egyptian records that would give him credibility. Little did he know that those same records would someday, today, show his skill, or lack thereof, at translating. Some of the papyri and facsimiles that Joseph Smith translated are in the LDS Church's possession today and copies of some of them can be viewed at this web site.

Soon after this rich source of Egyptian hieroglyphics arrived in Kirtland the Saints purchased them from Michael H. Chandler. Joseph writes in his journal:

I do agree with Joseph, that through those papyri, the world will be shown an abundance of truth - Joseph's own failure at translating.

Joseph Smith's Connection to Egyptian Papyri
Last Updated February 14, 1997
Copyright © 1996, 1997, All Rights Reserved.
Created by James David,