Saturday, July 26 2014 9:12 AM EDT2014-07-26 13:12:59 GMT
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.More >>
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three siblings and critically injuring their mother and the...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:31 GMT
The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.More >>
Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:13 GMT
A federal judge has dismissed a Wyoming man's lawsuit claiming a group secretly found the missing airplane of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it could continue to raise...More >>
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a Wyoming man's claims that an aircraft recovery group secretly found wreckage of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's missing airplane in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:56:40 GMT
Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.More >>
A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:33:36 GMT
U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent - and unusual - request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't...More >>
U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:35:42 GMT
A large family that lives at the shore and suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy will share a $20 million lottery jackpot that one of the 17 siblings said will be "a great pick-me-up."More >>
A lottery-playing tradition started by the matriarch of a large New Jersey shore family paid off for her 17 children this week when the group won a $20 million jackpot that will partly be used to help family members...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:32:57 GMT
An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion...More >>
Prosecutors Friday were waiting for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:15:50 GMT
A federal appeals court is upholding a Florida law that restricts what doctors can discuss about guns with their patients.More >>
A Florida law restricting what doctors can tell patients about gun ownership was deemed to be constitutional Friday by a federal appeals court, which said it legitimately regulates professional conduct and doesn't...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:05:50 GMT
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures.More >>
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:44:45 GMT
Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
Two men carjacked a woman at gunpoint but soon sped out of control, killing three children Friday as they plowed into a group selling fruit to raise money for their church, Philadelphia police said.More >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Book of Abraham is inspired scripture and probably not a literal translation from ancient Egyptian scrolls by Mormon founder Joseph Smith, the Utah-based church said in a new essay.
The article suggests God may have helped Smith, who never claimed to speak the language it was in, to understand what was in the scrolls.
"They catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a revelation about the life of Abraham, even if that revelation did not directly correlate to the characters on the papyri," the article says, "The Lord did not require Joseph Smith to have knowledge of Egyptian. By the gift and power of God, Joseph received knowledge about the life and teachings of Abraham."
The Mormon belief that God provides guidance or inspiration by way of revelations is a fundamental core of the faith, and helps church leaders make major decisions.
The essay marks a departure from past explanations by officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and embraces the widely-held view from religious scholars and historians that Smith's work isn't a direct translation, said Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University.
"It is an official recognition - even a concession - that Joseph Smith could not, and did not, 'translate' any scriptures in the literal, scholarly sense that is usually implied by the term 'translate,'" Mauss said.
The article, posted on the church's website, recognizes that it's impossible to know how exactly Smith used the papyri to write the Book of Abraham. There were no eyewitnesses to the translation process, and only fragments of the scrolls exist today, the article says. It notes that Smith never claimed to know the language it was in.
The church still encourages members to look to the scripture for the "eternal truths it teaches and the powerful spirit it conveys."
The nearly-3,000 word article is the latest in a series of recent online pieces posted on the church website that explain, expand or clarify on some of the more sensitive gospel topics.
Past articles have addressed the faith's past ban on black men in the lay clergy and the early history of polygamy.
In February, a 3,500-word article clarified that members aren't taught they'll get their own planet in the afterlife, a misconception popularized in pop culture most recently by the Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The essay affirmed the faith's belief that humans can become like God in eternity, but says the "cartoonish image of people receiving their own planets" is not how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints envision it.
Many scholars have applauded church leaders for finally acknowledging some of the most sensitive parts of its history and doctrine that it once sidestepped.
But not everybody is praising the latest essay. Carl Wimmer, a former well-known Utah legislator who left Mormonism in part because he didn't believe Book of Abraham matched modern translations of the remaining fragments, is critical of the new article, The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1tnlSXf)
"It is a positive step toward historical truth that has been overlooked for years and years," Wimmer said. "But it really diminishes the importance of the more controversial aspects and stresses the importance of the parts they want their members to read and understand. I think that's unfortunate."
Some believe the article could be the beginning of new interpretations for other translated scriptures in the religion. Mauss said that by emphasizing that the real value of the Book of Abraham lies not in its literal translation, but in its divinely inspired contents, the article makes a point that might be applicable to other translated scriptures in the religion as well, such as the Book of Mormon, whose historical authenticity has also been questioned.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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