The Joseph Smith

Compiled By H. Michael Marquardt


This volume contains reproductions of the Egyptian papers housed in the LDS archives, with the manuscript copy on the left hand page and a typescript of the same on the right hand page. Also included are the translation manuscripts of the Book of Abraham written in Kirtland, Ohio in 1835. OUT OF PRINT


In my earlier booklet The Book of Abraham Papyrus Found, published in October 1975, it was shown that Joseph Smith did not correctly represent the Book of Abraham text as to what was written on the Hor Sensen Papyrus. It was also shown that Joseph Smith did not understand the ancient Egyptian language when working on the Book of Abraham. These Egyptian Papers are issued in this present publication to reinforce the knowledge that Joseph Smith knew nothing on how to correctly render the papyrus characters into the English language. Students of the Book of Abraham problem should be aware that this is one of the great values to having the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers published.

The manuscripts included in this compilation were written in English but were based upon the Egyptian papyri which were in the possession of Joseph Smith. The numbering of the manuscripts and the handwriting identification was derived from the list published in the LDS Church publication BYU Studies Vol. 11, No, 4, page 351. These documents were first published by Modern Microfilm Company of Salt Lake City, Utah in April 1966. While at that time these manuscripts had not been numbered and labeled, it is nevertheless a fact that the manuscripts do represent Joseph Smith's dictation to his scribes and also his own handwriting which appears on part of Egyptian Manuscript No.4.

The Translation Manuscripts now designated as Numbers 2 and 3 were first published from a microfilm in Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar printed by Modern Microfilm Company. Translation Manuscript No.1 of the Book of Abraham was not on the original microfilm but has been added to this compilation together with a transcription. The photos of this manuscript were first published in 1968 by Modern Microfilm Company.

Location of the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers: Kirtland Egyptian Manuscripts, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Microfilm copies also at Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah and at the Library and Archives of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Independence, Missouri.

A photograph of the Joseph Smith Papyri No. I and No. XI placed together side by side as these fragments appeared originally before they were cut apart. Joseph Smith used this papyrus as the source for the Book of Abraham Facsimile No. 1 and for the text of the Book of Abraham.



The Joseph Smith Papyrus No. 1 is the original source of the published Facsimile No. 1 of the Book of Abraham characters used in preparing the Book of Abraham text. See Plate 1 [above] for the Egyptian characters in the columns along the sides of this drawing (vignette). The characters from columns 1 to 3 were copied from this papyrus onto three manuscripts. These manuscripts are in the handwriting of William W. Phelps (Egyptian MS. No. 3), Joseph Smith (Egyptian MS. No. 4) and Oliver Cowdery (Egyptian MS. No. 5). At the end of each manuscript are two characters which were copied from Joseph Smith Papyrus No. XI, column 1, line 1 (before the break in line 1). Today, only a small trace remains of these characters. The characters from Joseph Smith Papyrus I, column 3, were used by Joseph Smith in representing the astronomy of Abraham's time. On page 26 of the "Grammar & Aphabet [sic] of the Egyptian Language" (Egyptian MS. No. 1) a character from Joseph Smith Papyrus I, column 3 is represented as "Kolob," and this "Kolob" interpretation is the source of part of Facsimile No.2 of the Book of Abraham, namely the source of the wording of Figure 1 of that facsimile.

Some of the names contained in the bound volume of the Grammar and Alphabet are contained in the Explanation to Facsimile No. 2, such as: "Kolob," "Jah-oh-eh," "Oliblish," "Enish-go-on-dosh," "Kae-e-vanrash," "Floeese" and "Kli-flos-is-es" were used in preparing the meaning of Facsimile No.2. These names are used for Figures 1, 2, 4 and 5. Compare the following wording for Figure 1 which is nearly the same in both the Grammar and Alphabet and as explained in Facsimile No.2.

Grammar and Alphabet: Facsimile No.2, Figure 1:
"Kolob signifies the first creation nearer to the Celestial, or the residence of God, first in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time, the measurement according to Celestial time which signifies one day to a cubit which day is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth or Jah-oh-eh" (Grammar and Alphabet, p. 26) "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh." ("Book of Abraham" in The Pearl of Great Price, 1976 printing, p.35) [1981 printing, p. 37]

Furthermore, Joseph Smith Papyrus XI was also used in preparing the Translation Manuscripts as the original papyrus source of the Book of Abraham text, Abraham Chapter 1:1 to 2:18.

Since Joseph Smith dictated his work on the Egyptian papyrus to his appointed scribes one would expect these writings to be in the handwriting of his scribes.

There are 34 pages in the bound Grammar and Alphabet and 20 pages of other related material, plus 20 pages of the three Translation Manuscripts of the Book of Abraham, a total of over 70 pages with only 4 or 5 pages in the handwriting of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith's authorship of what was represented to be a "Grammar & Aphabet [sic] of the Egyptian Language" and the three Translation Manuscripts of the Book of Abraham should be regarded within this framework.

It was Joseph Smith who was engaged in preparing the Book of Abraham text and not his scribes William W. Phelps nor Warren Parrish. They acted in the capacity of scribes for Joseph Smith during the time the text of the Book of Abraham was being dictated and copied.

There are three references in the LDS History of the Church (cited hereafter as DHC) for the year 1835 which mentions the Grammar and Alphabet. They are as follows:

1. "The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients." (DHC Vol. 2:238 for July 1835; written in the year 1843)

2. "This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with bro. O. Cowdery and W. W. Phelps: the System of astronomy was unfolded." (Diary of Joseph Smith, October 1, 1835, p.3; also in DHC Vol. 2:286)

In 1843 the diary notation was expanded adding: "and during the research, the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham and the ancients unfolded to our understanding, the particulars of which will appear hereafter." ("Manuscript History of the Church," Book B-1, p. 622; also DHC Vol. 2:286)

3. "exhibited the alphabet of the ancient records to Mr Holmes and some others" (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 17, 1835, p. 45; DHC Vol. 2:316)

It is interesting that on October 1, 1835 Joseph Smith mentioned his scribes - Oliver Cowdery and William W. Phelps. Oliver Cowdery's handwriting does not appear in the bound Grammar and Alphabet but he wrote Egyptian MS. No. 5 and his handwriting appears on a page of Joseph Smith's Egyptian MS. No. 4 and in one small notebook (Egyptian MS. No. 6). The other scribe William W. Phelps wrote most of the Grammar and Alphabet (Egyptian MS. No.1), Egyptian MS. No. 2, Egyptian MS. No. 3 and Egyptian MS. No. 7. William W. Phelps' handwriting also appears on Translation Manuscript No.1 (first half of page 1) and Translation Manuscript No. 2 of the Book of Abraham. These two scribes wrote for Joseph Smith soon after the mummies and papyri were purchased. Significantly the DHC records the following:

". . . with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics. . . ." (DHC 2:236 for July 1835; written in 1843; italics mine)

There is also one mention of translating in October 1835 as follows:

"this afternoon recommenced translating the ancient records." (Diary of Joseph Smith, October 7, 1835, p. 7; also in DHC 2:289)

Warren Parrish was appointed a scribe to Joseph Smith on October 29, 1835 as the following from the Diary of Joseph Smith makes explicit under that date:

"Br Parish commenced writing for me at $15.00 pr month" (Diary of Joseph Smith, October 29, 1835, p. 10; also DHC 2:293)

On November 14, 1835 the calling of Warren Parrish as scribe was mentioned in a revelation to Joseph Smith which stated in part:

". . . he shall see much of my ancient records . . . . he shall be privileged with writing much of my word, as a scribe unto me for the benefit of my people, therefore this shall be his calling until I shall order it otherwise in my wisdom and it shall be said of him in a time to come behold Warren the Lords Scribe, for the Lords Seer. . . ." (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 14, 1835, p. 36; also DHC 2:311)

This reference places Warren Parrish as scribe to Joseph Smith in 1835 when the translation of the Egyptian records was taking place. Warren Parrish's handwriting appears on Translation Manuscript No. 1 (last half of page 1 to page 10), Translation Manuscript No. 3 of the Book of Abraham and also in part of the bound Grammar and Alphabet.

Both William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish were working together in Kirtland, Ohio, in the month of November 1835, as scribes for Joseph Smith. It was during this month that the references to translating the Egyptian records are recorded in the Diary of Joseph Smith. The following are the dates which state that the Egyptian records were being translated:

1. "I returned home and spent the day in translating the Egyptian records" (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 19, 1835, p. 47; also DHC 2:318)

2. "we spent the day in translating, and made rapid progress" (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 20, 1835, p. 47; also DHC 2:3l8)

3. "in the afternoon we translated some of the Egyptian records" (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 24, 1835, p. 49; also DHC 2:320)

4. "Spent the day in Translating." (Diary of Joseph Smith, November 25, 1835, p. 50; also DHC 2:320)

There is no evidence that William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish worked together as scribes for Joseph Smith with the Egyptian records after the year 1835. After the appointment of Warren Parrish as a scribe, the only dates in the Diary of Joseph Smith which indicate translating Egyptian records are (1) after the date of the revelation of November 14, 1835 and (2) before the marriage of Warren Parrish to Martha H. Raymond on December 3, 1835.

GAEL: Manuscript titled: "Grammar & A[l]phabet of the Egyptian Language," in the handwriting of William W. Phelps and Warren Parrish, scribes to Joseph Smith. Bound book with "EGYPTIAN ALPHABET" on outside spine of volume. Handwriting on 34 pages with about 184 blank pages remaining throughout the book. Characters drawn on the left side of page, spelling of the sound of the proposed name of character, and to the right side of the character what is represented to be an English explanation of that word in five "degrees." Page numbers added at a later date. Date of dictation: circa July - November 1835. Location: Kirtland, Ohio. Dictation of Joseph Smith.

There are five "degrees" in this work. The order of the two parts of the five degrees occur as follows: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. The location of the degrees in the volume are in reverse order with the fifth degree being written in the front of the volume.

Contents of the bound Grammar and Alphabet:
Pages: Degree: Handwriting of scribe
first part of each degree:
1-8 fifth William W. Phelps
9-12 fourth William W. Phelps
13-14 third William W. Phelps
l5-19 second William W. Phelps
20-22 first William W. Phelps
second part of each degree:
23-24 fifth William W. Phelps
25, lines 1-28 fifth William W. Phelps
25, lines 29-33 fifth Warren Parrish (starting with "Veh Kli flos-isis")
26 fifth Warren Parrish
27 fourth William W. Phelps
28, lines 1-7 fourth William W. Phelps
28, lines 8-18 fourth Warren Parrish (starting with "Veh Kli flos isis")
29 third William W. Phelps
30, lines 1-17 third William W. Phelps (ending with "Veh Kliflos isis")
30, lines 17-25 third Warren Parrish (starting with "in its affinity")
31 second William W. Phelps
32, lines 1-23 second William W. Phelps
32, lines 24-28 second Warren Parrish (starting with "Kolob")
33 first William W. Phelps
34, lines 1-15 first William W. Phelps
34, lines 16-21 first Warren Parrish (starting with "Kolob")

Note: This is not an authentic Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian language. It does not contain any grammar or any genuine or reliable analysis of the Egyptian language.

Sample Page from "Egyptian Alphabet, first degree" (page 20).

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