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Home Book of Abraham Special Section A Small Detail in the Book of Abraham

A Small Detail in the Book of Abraham

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A Small Detail in the Book of Abraham

by Woody Brison

moi.jpg (9653 bytes)

The accusation is made that the LDS religion is really pagan.  In spite of the fact that "...we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ", we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, we sing of Christ, and we do everything in his name... it is still claimed that we are really pagans, for in our Book of Abraham, there is a diagram (Facsimile 2), and in this diagram there is a little upside down figure, and this little figure has a little detail.  This very small rectangle is supposed to prove that we are pagans.

Here is the figure from the lower right part of the Book of Abraham's Facsimile 2, rotated right-side-up so we can see it easier.

The left arm of the seated figure is extended out, with the forearm straight up; there is an upside-down V above it.  The upper right arm is hanging down on the far side of the chest, where we can't see it; but the elbow is bent like the other, and the forearm is visible extending forward.  It is a pose reminiscent of a courtroom witness being sworn in: extending one hand forward as if to put it on a Bible or something like that, with the other hand raised.  The bird (with arms) facing this figure has its arms in approximately the same position: right arm raised, left arm extended forward.  They are making the same signal to each other.

Look carefully at the twelve figures in the top left area of this scene, from the Papyrus of Ani in the British Museum:

(Two of the figures are behind others, there really are twelve.)

Each figure has their arms extended forward to hold a staff, all the arms taking exactly the same position as the right arm in the diagram from Fac. 2. above.  It looks like this was the way Egyptian artists drew arms.

Some critics of the church stubbornly maintain that the little rectangle is obscene.   I think this might be due to the way people see what they want to see, or what they have conditioned themself to see.  (I have deliberately avoided explaining exacty what is supposed to be obscene here; I expect some people will reach this point wondering what it is.  If so, congratulations on your pure mind.)

For a classic experiment on the phenomenon of mental preconditioning, glance at the time, and if the minute is even go here; if it's odd go here.  Study the pictures of these ladies a good while, give them some names.  Then follow this link.  What do you see?

Now go back and repeat the experiment with the other link (odd or even).  Did the picture change?  Sometimes our perception is slanted toward what we expect to find.   For more on this theme, see where a number of such ambiguous figures are presented, altho not with the preconditioning aspect.

It is true that in other Egyptian diagrams like Fac. 2, the same figure is made much more clearly obscene, as are other figures.  The Egyptians had a tradition that included much truth, but as the centuries went by, they gradually corrupted it.   Obscene things did enter into their diagrams, little different from the "art" in many public men's rooms.  Joseph Smith's Egyptian papyri may be from a better period in Egyptian history, for it shows none of these kinds of obscenities.   It is difficult to believe him guilty of obscenities, based on other diagrams which he never saw.

The webpage of Red Davis has a more detailed explanation: Caution, explicit material.

The text of the Papyrus of Ani is online at,,, and a dozen other places at least.

The entire scanned Papyrus of Ani is at (from which I took my pic), and this picture appears again at

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 13:09  

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