"I want to say to you, read the book, the Pearl of Great Price, and read the Book of Abraham. The Pearl of Great Price I hold to be one of the most intelligent, one of the most religious books that the world has ever had; but more than that, to me the Pearl of Great Price is true in its name. It contains an ideal of life that is higher and grander and more glorious than I think is found in the pages of any other book unless it be the Holy Bible. It behooves us to read these things, understand them: and I thank God when they are attacked, because it brings to me, after a study and thought, back to the fact that what God has given He has given, and He has nothing to retract." - Levi Edgar Young, Conference Report (April 1913), 74

Monday, February 13, 2012

Josiah Quincy and The Book of Abraham

Josiah Quincy, Jr., Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, from 1845-1849, is occasionally cited by Latter-day Saints for his profound statement regarding future American history and the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Quincy predicted that future history books might rightly assert that among 19th century Americans, Joseph Smith, Jr. exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen than any other figure.1  Quincy had visited Nauvoo in mid-April 1844 with his distant cousin Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (son of U.S. President John Quincy Adams). While in Nauvoo, they viewed the papyri and mummies and both made note of the occasion, although Quincy was more extensive in his documentation. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Henry Caswall and the Book of Abraham

The Reverend Henry Caswall was an Anglican clergyman who visited Nauvoo in mid-April, 1842.  He was associated with the small Kemper College, near St. Louis, Missouri, where he actually spent most of his time officiating for Sunday services. Caswall was one of the more influential anti-Mormon writers of the 19th century, primarily because of his Greek Psalter episode with the Prophet Joseph Smith.1  During his three days visit in Nauvoo, he personally witnessed the papyri kept in a chest of drawers in the Prophet's office, and the mummies that Lucy Mack Smith maintained in her home. While in Joseph's office Caswall viewed "glazed slides, like picture frames, containing sheets of papyrus, with Egyptian inscriptions and hieroglyphics." These sheets of papyrus included Facsimile 1. In another drawer, Caswall may have seen Facsimile 2.

Caswall's account of this incident is recorded in his book, The City of the Mormons, and was summarized in his next book, The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century. The relevant portions from both books relating to the papyri and mummies are included below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reminiscences of Nauvoo - Robert Horne

In 1893, Robert Horne related his reminiscences of life while living in Nauvoo. Having visited the Prophet's mother (Lucy Mack Smith), he was able to see the mummies and papyrus. Horne recalls that both the Book of Abraham and the Book of Joseph were included in the papyri, and he indicates that the papyri included black and red writings [rubrics].  He also recalls seeing four mummies and even grabbed the breastbone of one of them.  His reminiscences were recorded in the Millennial Star 60/36 (Sept 4, 1893):585.