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By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri Paperback – March, 1992

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Editorial Reviews


Charles Larson does an excellent job of presenting the facts about how drastically different Egyptomologists and Joseph Smith translate the same hieroglyphics, while maintaining an attitude of Christian love toward those who have trusted Joseph Smith. His purpose is to spread the knowledge of the truth, and draw all his readers closer to Christ. He's obviously done a tremendous amount of research. I was very impressed with every aspect of this book. The photos are wonderful. The papyrus speak for themselves. I would recommend this book to anyone who cares if "The Book of Abraham" is truly from God. In the words of Christ, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." May God bless your search for truth. -- from Marysville, WA, U.S.A. , September 15, 1998

From the Publisher

This book examines one of the most significant events in modern Mormon history - the rediscovery in 1967 of the Egyptian papyri from which Joseph Smith claimed to translate the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price.

In the first two chapters of By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, former Mormon and Brigham Young University graduate Charles M. Larson, recounts the circumstances under which Joseph Smith acquired the two Egyptian scrolls, and his claim to have identified one of them as an account by the Biblical patriarch Abraham of his sojourn in Egypt (as described in Genesis 12:10-20). Then in chapters 3-10 Larson steps the reader through a detailed array of primary physical evidences which establish four major points: (1) the papyri which came to public attention in 1967 (color photographs of which are reproduced in the book) are indisputably those which Joseph had in his possession when he produced the Book of Abraham, (2) Joseph Smith did purport that the Book of Abraham was a translation from one of these papyrus scrolls, (3) the scrolls are now known to date from around the time of Christ, some 2,000 years after the time of Abraham, and (4) the scrolls have been identified by Egyptologists - including LDS scholars - as common, pagan Egyptian burial documents, that do not mention Abraham and have no connection to the contents of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price.

By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus includes an impressive foldout panel with the first published full-color photographs of the Joseph Smith papyri. It also includes photographs of Joseph Smith's original translation manuscripts for the Book of Abraham, and translations by modern Egyptologists of the Egyptian text of the Joseph Smith papyri.

Later chapters of the book provide an up-to-the-minute examination of the various theories which Mormon scholars have put forth to defend the integrity of the Book of Abraham.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Inst for Religious Research; Revised Edition edition (March 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0960963260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962096327
  • ASIN: 0962096326
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

242 of 274 people found the following review helpful By Duwayne Anderson on February 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
A fundamental claim of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is that modern-day prophets who receive revelation from God lead the Church. Accordingly, the Church lists as scripture (in addition to the Bible) several other books, including the Book of Mormon, The Book of Moses, The Book of Abraham, and the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C).
Charles Larson's book is the story of how the Book of Abraham came to be.
Each of Smith's creations has a story to tell. The Book of Mormon describes the ancient voyages of Hebrews to the American continent, and their establishment of a vast civilization that smelted iron, cultivated old-world crops, and used domesticated horses to pull chariots (see "Quest for the Gold Plates," by Stan Larson). The Book of Moses claims to be a direct revelation from God regarding the creation of the earth and some aspects of its early history. The D & C contains revelations pertaining to the day-to-day organization and operation of the Church, along with many important revelations about specific and unique doctrines held by the Church, such as polygamy.
Mormons claim that Smith translated the Book of Mormon from plates of gold that he acquired from an angel. After translating the Book of Mormon, Smith said the angel retrieved the plates. Consequently, the gold plates have never been available for skeptical or scientific examination. The other books came directly from the mind of Joseph Smith. So they, too, have no original text with which they can be compared.
The Book of Abraham stands unique among Smith's creations because Joseph Smith claimed to have translated it directly from ancient Egyptian scrolls that were purchased from a man named Chandler, who sold them to LDS Elders (along with other artifacts) for $2,400.
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111 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Ben Larson on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read many reviews for this book and it has come to my attention that most people fine the book to be well written and informative. However they feel that the last chapter is not as desirable. I am referring to the one that says OK let's all become Christian now. This is indeed troubling to most if not all readers, lets face it if you just read a book that brought question to your ingrained beliefs would you feel a bit sick after reading the last chapter?
I would like to let people now that this is the same feeling that the author gets from the last chapter, I should know, I'm his son.
At the time we were unable to publish the book without having financial backing. We were able to find this through a non-profit organization, their only requirement was that they be able to supply a chapter at the end of the book. The author, Charles M. Larson, did not write this chapter.
We hope to soon be able to fund a second printing of the book the way the author originally intended it to be, a purely scholarly reference.
This review is not a statement from the author and may not be taken or quoted as such.
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57 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Martin W. Eldred on April 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Most of the previous reviews have done a good job covering the details of Larson's book, "By His Own Hand", so I will not elaborate further. I will saythat this is one of the best books around that examines the claims of The Latter Day Saints, aka "Mormons." The LDS leaders have long claimed that "The church rises and falls on the person of Joseph Smith" and have challenged "gentiles" (non-Mormons) to examine their claims to see if they are not true. Well, Larson has done just that with profound results.

The most devastating proof that Joseph Smith misrepresented his ability to translate ancient documents that were allegedly written in "Reformed Egyptian" (a "language" by the way of which no reputable Egyptologist has ever heard). The LDS Scriptures, therefore, based on this translation are false.

In the 1830's, precious few in the United States, or the entire world for that matter, knew enough about ancient Egypt to challenge J. Smith assertions that he could read the ancient papyrus scroll that he had found. His translation of that scroll into "The Book of Abraham", therefore, went unchallenged for many years, until the original was rediscovered in the late 1960's. No scholars have free access to the same papyrus that Smith used and now the clear truth is able to come out: Joseph Smith falsified his claims about this book in the LDS Scriptures; he could not read "Reformed Egyptian; and the credibility of the rest of his claims, especially his alleged translation of the rest of the LDS canon, is severely challenged.

This is a must book for anyone investigating the claims of the LDS church. . Joseph Smith claimed certain things that have formed the foundation of LDS thought.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Williamson on March 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
As an ex Mormon, I know the real story about how the "Book of Abraham" was "translated". The current crop of "Mormon intellectuals and apologists" are running for the border to escape the reality of Joe Smith's ongoing fraud. They cannot dodge the vast amount of evidence that clearly states that Joe Smith "TRANSLATED by revelation" the scrolls that make up his "Book of Abraham". Problem is that many of the nasty doctrines of Mormonism come from the "Book of Abraham". Negros and the priesthood, nature of God, multiple gods, ETC. Egyptologists have confirmed this fraud of Joe Smith as a hoax. Joe Smith could hardly read english let alone "translate" any ancient language. Read this book to learn the absolute truth of just how Joe Smith pulled another fast one in his quest to set himself up as God on Earth.
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