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

"...it must be evident to all who seriously consider the matter, that if the Book of Abraham as given to us by Joseph Smith be true, it must have been translated by a greater than human power." - George Reynolds, The Book of Abraham: Its Authenticity Established as a Divine and Ancient Record (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1879), 4

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Book of Abraham-It's Genuineness Established (George Reynolds - Millennial Star 1879)

The Pearl of Great Price was originally published in 1851, in London, England, by Apostle Franklin D. Richards.  It wasn't until 1878 that it was printed in the United States, and subsequently canonized by the church in 1880. In connection with the republication of the book in 1878, Elder George Reynolds wrote a book offering "a few chapters written to prove its genuineness and divine origin."  This was believed to be beneficial as "very little has ever been said by the Elders of the Church in advocacy of its claim as an inspired record..." Additionally, Elder Reynolds stated that "while the people of God have said or written little in its defense, there have been those opposed to the revelations of God in these days, who have vigorously attacked it, who have styled its language "gibberish," and classed it among the "pious frauds" that have so often disgraced the history of religion, Christian and heathen."1 Elder Reynolds' response to these accusations forms the first apologetic and scholarly approach to discussing the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith's translation thereof. 

His response was published piecemeal in London, England, in the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star.  During that same year, it was published as a booklet in Salt Lake City, Utah; all this amongst his legal difficulties relating to the practice of plural marriage. In 1878, Reynolds noted in his journal that he was studying outside "authorities" in relation to Abraham and other subjects.2  On January 6, 1879, Elder Reynolds was convicted in the famous Reynolds v. the United States case;3 the same day the first issue of Reynolds treatment on the Book of Abraham appeared in the Millennial Star.  The publication of his book in the Millennial Star is provided below.

1 George Reynolds, "The Book of Abraham--It's Genuieness Established," Millennial Star 41/1 (Jan. 6, 1879): 1; Reynolds comment regarding criticisms of the Book of Abraham stem from Julius Remy's publication, A Journey to Great Salt Lake, and Thomas B.H. Stenhouse's publication,  The Rocky Mountain States
2 Bruce A. Van Orden, Prisoner for Conscience' Sake: The Life of George Reynolds (Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain Publishing [Deseret Book], 1992), 85
3 Van Orden, Prisoner for Conscience' Sake, 86

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