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A collection of RadioWest conversations about LDS history, faith, and culture.

Scripture, Translation, and Belief

Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, c. 1598

The LDS Church yesterday released its latest essay on contentious issues within the faith. The article concerns Joseph Smith’s claims to have translated a book of scripture from Egyptian papyri. Some Mormons believe the Book of Abraham is a literal translation, while others say modern translations of the papyri don’t jibe with Smith’s rendition. The new essay makes room for both sides. Thursday, we’re talking about the essay and the questions it raises about belief and the difficulty of literalness.

Read the Church of Latter Day Saints' recent essay, "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham."

This image appears as a frontispiece in the LDS scripture The Book of Abraham. Mormonism holds that it depicts Abraham "fastened upon an altar" being sacrificed by an "idolatrous priest" as an "angel of the Lord" hovers nearby.


David Bokovoy is an associate instructor at the University of Utah, where he teaches courses on scripture as literature. He's author of the book Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis—Deuteronomy [Amazon|Publisher].

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.