My sincere appreciation to Brother Schryver for his remarkable presentation today at the 2010 FAIR Conference. He has brought us up to new heights to take a fresh, more informed look at the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. I have embedded his public video (linked below) for convenience (two parts).
The Kirtland Egyptian Papers - Part 1 from William Schryver on Vimeo.
The Kirtland Egyptian Papers - Part 2 from William Schryver on Vimeo.
A couple comments and questions for consideration:
- Regarding "Egyptian" as the "pure language." I inferred from the presentation that the cypher (in the KEP) may have been used to safeguard the text of the Book of Abraham, the cypher being part of the "Egyptian," or the "pure language." Interestingly, as mentioned in the presentation, code names were used in the published D&C revelations around this time to protect identities. From the text of the Book of Abraham is the following statement: "Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden" (Abr 1:23).
- Perhaps there is a connection here, in that the cyphers were intended to protect the Book of Abraham from outsiders, as it may have been forbidden, similar to Moses 1:41-42.
- It was commented (in the Q&A at the FAIR Conference), that there are 5 or 6 letters that are arguably comparable with the Deseret Alphabet? I think this possibility deserves some investigation.
- William W.Phelps was strongly Anti-Masonic prior to joining the church. It is interesting that he used the Masonic Cypher in writing a letter to his wife. It appears that since joining the church, he reveresed his opinions on the Freemasons, perhaps because some influential members like Heber C. Kimball and Hyrum Smith were Masons. I think a study of W.W. Phelps' connection with Masonry and Mormonism deserves further attention.
- It seems that Joseph Smith's writings amongst the Kirtland Egyptian Papers has been given little attention. Since his scribes were heavily involved in the KEP, it may be interesting to study the little participation that Joseph Smith had in the matter. I would like to see further attention given to what was written by others, vs. what was written by Joseph.
- When is a full treatment of this study going to be available? These findings need further dissemination, especially in print.
While these questions deviate from the presentation, the greatness of Brother Schryver's research and presentation opens doors for consideration of other indirectly related subjects.