The Lost Book of Abraham is an award-winning documentary that investigates the remarkable claim that Mormon founder Joseph Smith translated a lost book of scripture from an Egyptian papyrus scroll he obtained in 1835.
The Lost Book of Abraham is a purported translation made in 1835 by Joseph Smith, Jr. of a set of Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was “a translation of some ancient records….purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus”. Smith’s translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham’s early life, including a vision of the cosmos. In this award-winning documentary the film-makers investigate the viability of these claims.
The Book of Abraham papyri were thought lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. However, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and in the LDS Church archives. They are now referred to as the Joseph Smith Papyri. Upon examination by professional non-Mormon Egyptologists, the papyri were found to bear no resemblance to Joseph Smith’s interpretation, and were common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists offering a variety of explanations as to the reason for the differences. Hear the views of Mormon believers and World-class Egyptologists and decide for yourself.