Be offended. I was.
The devil’s tail of Mormonism, the supposed Book of Abraham, is a devil’s tale.
Joseph Smith took a now well-known Egyptian burial artifact called a hypocephalus and then connected it to the content of an ancient papyrus, which he and his associates originally claimed was the handwritten record of the biblical patriarch Abraham. The so-called Book of Abraham contained three facsimiles, the only Mormon “scripture” to contain artwork (artwork that featured representations of 4 pagan deities and a pagan priest, no less; it’s important to capture what those pagan deities looked like).
The second facsimile, incorporated in my cartoon here, was enumerated and explained at the direction of Joseph Smith, probably with help from Sidney Ridgon and others. He explained figure seven this way:
“Fig. 7. Represents God sitting on his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.”
However, the figure is actually the ancient Egyptian deity Min or Amun wrapped in burial wrappings with, yes, an erection (known by its less overt and more obtuse term in the archaeological field as “ithyphallic“).
Interestingly, this part of the facsimile was even censored by the Mormons themselves in printings of the Book of Abraham and not fully restored until 1981. As pro-Mormon apologist Ian Barber of page F-5 of What Mormonism Isn’t wrote regarding the said figure:
“…that the explicit portrayal offended Mormon sensibilities is evidenced by the fact that the phallus has been removed from several printings of the Pearl of Great Price…”
Well, why on Earth would they want to censor something that their “Abraham” spent so much time drawing with such clarity and detail?
Other interesting “truths” that Joseph Smith revealed to the world from this piece:
1) The Mormon [g]od (one of the many) lives near Kolob. (figure 1)
2) One day on Kolob equals a thousand years on Earth. (figure 1)
3) “Oliblish” apparently is Egyptian for “Kolob”. (figure 2)
As much as Joseph Smith would have enjoyed sharing with us the true meaning of figures 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 — those are all secret, even to this day. In light of the life-altering and faith-impacting information that he previously revealed (detailed above), isn’t it interesting that humanity is still not deemed ready for the translation of those additional parts? Oh, well. Maybe one of these days…
Now, understand that it is obvious that Joseph Smith didn’t know that the seated person in figure 7 had an erection. It is just as it is obvious that he had no clue what the rest of the image was about.
The Book of Abraham. And that is just one of the many reasons I have never been a Mormon nor will ever be.
By the way, does your Strong’s Concordance list “grand Key-words of the Priesthood”? Sounds very “Freemason”-esque to me…
A Note About the “Devil’s Tail”
Here’s an excerpt from an Alan Keyes speech that explain the phrase very, very clearly and concisely. It fits this situation perfectly (and I do think that Alan Keyes is a brilliant and intelligent speaker).
“We don’t have to worry about the devil when he shows up looking like the devil. Gotta worry about him when he shows up looking like the nice guy who lives next door. Then you have to look carefully. I think it was in medieval times–what did they tell you to look for? What did they tell you to look for? The one thing the devil couldn’t hide. His tail. See, the devil is going to show up, smiling and telling you all kinds of things you want to hear, and handing you things that you think are wonderful, and seducing you with wonderful promises that the things you hope for and believe are going to come to pass. He’ll speak your language; he’ll quote your scriptures; he’ll fall down on his knees and pretend to worship your God. And meanwhile, he’ll be leading you off down a road that goes in just the opposite direction. But he’ll look good. And so they always used to say, he can’t, however, hide that tail. He’s got to find a place to put it. He can dress up like us, but at the end of the day, he’s got to find a place to put that tail. So you always want to look for the devil’s tail.”
Good advice indeed!