Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Calculated Suppression of Mormon Apologetics:
The Case of William Schryver

A little over two years ago I had just completed the preparation of what would become my presentation at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR).1  The presentation was a brief preliminary report of my examination and analysis of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers (KEP), a little known set of early Mormon documents related to the Book of Abraham and the papyrus scrolls that were purchased in Kirtland, Ohio in early July 1835, at the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The analysis presented was the product of my initial comprehensive examination of many of the relevant source documents.  Previous to this time, very few people were even aware of my entry into the nascent field of Book of Abraham studies.  It is therefore in order, I believe, to provide a brief account of the salient events of my history in relation to these things.

In early April 2006, during the course of some unrelated research on a question of Mormon history, I stumbled upon the FAIR website for the first time, previous to which I was unaware of that organization, nor of the message board that they hosted.  Having previously been a casual student of Book of Abraham-related issues, I was immediately drawn to discussions on the FAIR board that dealt with that topic.  I became involved in debates with a gentleman by the name of Brent Metcalfe, an ex-Mormon of some notoriety, and, at that time, one of very few people in the world with access to the source materials, in the form of a set of photographs (and original set of negatives) he had obtained in the mid-1980s.2

Sometime in the summer of 2006, I received a private message from a board member going by the name "Al Ghazali."  He identified himself as BYU Professor Brian Hauglid, and he wrote to commend me for my argumentation during an online debate with Mr. Metcalfe—a debate concerning certain questions about one of the Book of Abraham manuscripts.  Professor Hauglid provided me with his email address, and there commenced a voluminous correspondence between us that was to continue uninterrupted until August 2010.  Previous to this time, I had never heard of Brian Hauglid, nor had I previously had contact with anyone associated with BYU, FARMS, or the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Professor Hauglid informed me that he was directing a recently inaugurated formal academic study of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, and notwithstanding my status as a non-academic (I am a software engineer), he subsequently invited me to serve as an informal research assistant to him in this project.  Pursuant to that end, he provided me with medium-resolution scan images of two of the Abraham manuscripts, which I immediately began to examine with great interest. 

Over the course of the next few years I identified several significant elements of text-critical evidence in the two manuscripts Hauglid provided me.  I was also brought into contact with BYU Professor of Egyptology John Gee, who was working in concert with Hauglid in this study of the KEP.  One thing led to another; my apparent knack for text-criticism was manifest; and as the number of important findings I made increased from month to month, Professors Hauglid and Gee ultimately invited me to prepare the manuscript of a book-length analysis of a portion of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers that was to have become a volume in the Studies in the Book of Abraham series, published by the Maxwell Institute.3

Given my lack of experience in scholarly circles, I frequently sought out my only acquaintance in the world of academia: my good friend Dallin D. Oaks, Professor of Linguistics at BYU.4  I distinctly recall a conversation with Dallin as my involvement in these matters increased.  He told me to be extremely cautious and to document thoroughly all the findings I made; to create a "paper trail" of these things such that it could never subsequently be disputed that it was I who had made the discoveries.  My initial reaction to this counsel was to express disbelief that anyone at BYU would try to "steal" my research and call it his own.  But Dallin was adamant that such things do happen—even at BYU—and that I would live to regret it if I did not take steps to prevent the misappropriation of my research.  Therefore, from that moment forward, I heeded his counsel to carefully document the various findings consequent to my research.  Little could I have anticipated how prescient that counsel would turn out to be.5

Furthermore, as my research into the KEP proceeded, I began to see that it would no longer be expedient for me to do so as an unofficial research assistant to Professor Hauglid.  Therefore I prepared a detailed research proposal of my own, in which I described my findings to date and specifically requested to receive my own complete set of the digital scan images of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.  I mailed this research proposal, dated November 18, 2009, to the Church Historian, Elder Marlin K. Jensen.

In late December 2009, I was notified by Glenn Rowe, Director of Special Projects for the Church History Library, that my research proposal and request to receive the images had been received favorably by Elder Jensen, but that it would require the authorization of his supervisors in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (at the time, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Russell M. Nelson), as well as the First Presidency.

In January 2010, Elder Jensen notified me via email that the First Presidency had approved my request.  The first week of February 2010 I traveled to the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, and after affixing my signature to a detailed research contract, I was permitted to download to my laptop hard drive the image files of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.6

            The research proposal I had submitted to Elder Jensen also contained a request for Professor John Gee and I to perform specific forensic measurements of the Joseph Smith Papyri, pursuant to calculating the original length of the scroll of Hor, one of the papyrus scrolls included in the collection obtained by the Church in 1835.  Those measurements were performed the same day (February 5, 2010) that I received the digital image files of the JSP and the KEP.

Previous to obtaining the high-resolution images of the KEP, I had been conducting a comprehensive analysis of a typographic transcription of the portions of the KEP called the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language.7  This analysis resulted in the development of my primary thesis concerning the Kirtland Egyptian Papers: that they derive from a pre-existing text of Joseph Smith's original revealed translation of the Book of Abraham.  This thesis became the basis of the presentation I prepared for the 2010 FAIR conference.

Strangely enough, no sooner had my name and the title of my presentation been posted on the FAIR website, than several members of the FAIR Board of Directors were bombarded with demands that I be removed from the conference agenda!  These demands originated from people who participate (most of them anonymously) at the Mormon Discussions message board—an online forum dominated by critics and enemies of Mormonism.  The premise of their demands was that I am (allegedly) vulgar, sexist, misogynistic, etc., and that I consistently engage in what they characterize as "vicious ad hominem attacks" towards the women with whom I have participated in online debates of issues related to Mormonism.8

Very few, at the time, appeared to note (or even recognize, it would seem) the irrelevance and irony inherent in the attempt to suppress my presentation on the premise of my being a purveyor of vicious personal attacks.  Nevertheless, these transparently ad hominem allegations failed to achieve their objective, and I was permitted to present at the conference, notwithstanding the continuing threats which were made to "take these things to the media."  My presentation was considered by many observers to have been the highlight of the 2010 conference, and it was widely reported in print and online media.9

Unfortunately, one of the consequences of my having "branched out on my own" in terms of my research into the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, and having obtained my own set of the high-resolution images of the source materials, was that my previously collegial relationship with Professor Hauglid steadily deteriorated from that point forward. 

My FAIR presentation also ignited a veritable firestorm of anti-Schryver activity on the Mormon Discussions message board.  At one point in November of 2010, I counted over one hundred threads there dedicated, in one fashion or another, to the objective of discrediting me personally.  Many more have followed since then, and although I am still unaware of any substantive counter-arguments to the primary thesis of my presentation (that the Kirtland Egyptian Papers are dependent on a pre-existing text of the Book of Abraham), a pervasive même has evolved such that it is now the received wisdom, in anti-Mormon circles, that not only is William Schryver the single most offensive LDS apologist on the planet, but that the Schryver thesis of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers was comprehensively "destroyed" within days of its original presentation.  Of course, no one can tell you precisely how the thesis was destroyed, but there is now a universal consensus among the participants at Mormon Discussions that "all qualified scholars" have rejected my thesis as a ridiculous apologetic imposture.

A little over a year ago, I had just completed the final revisions of an article entitled The Interminable Roll – Determining the Original Length of the Scroll of Hor.  This article had been submitted to and approved for publication by the Church Historian, and I had been informed by Professor Paul Hoskisson, editor of the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, that it would appear as the "cover article" of the next issue (20:2, as I recall).  In addition, Professor Hoskisson had been enthusiastically encouraging and soliciting from me a series of articles for subsequent issues of the JBMORS, treating upon my ongoing analysis of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

At some point in early 2011, I made mention of these forthcoming articles in an online message board post.  Not long after this announcement, the same group of people who had attempted to suppress my FAIR conference presentation the previous year resurrected their scheme, and posted on their message board a seemingly well-researched exposé entitled Mormon Apologetics and Misogyny: The Case of William Schryver.9

In addition, this same group of militant anti-Mormon activists11 began to secretly plot to have my forthcoming articles removed from the publication agenda of the JBMORS.  They were aided by two or more individuals with close association to the Maxwell Institute, as well as an influential member of the FAIR Board of Directors, who, on this second attempt, was apparently persuaded that the allegations against me had merit: to whit, that I am a notorious misogynistic thumper who has made vicious ad hominem attacks upon women a staple of his online literary oeuvre.  They framed their presentation as a sincere concern for the welfare of the women involved in "Mormon Studies," should they have the misfortune of being ambushed by me on the field of rhetorical combat.

Prior to May 2011, I had no idea that this group of people had been in contact with Dr. Gerald Bradford, the Executive Director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies, or anyone else at BYU.  Indeed, I was entirely convinced that no one associated with the Maxwell Institute was interested in, let alone persuaded by, these outrageous ad hominem attacks.  My research and writing had continued unabated.  I had met with Professor Hoskisson on multiple occasions to discuss the future publication agenda for the series of articles I was preparing, and therefore, when he requested another meeting for May 16, 2011, I assumed its purpose was to further discuss these matters.  I drove from Cedar City to Provo that morning for a lunch meeting with him.  I arrived at the Maxwell Institute offices about noon, and was invited to join him in his office.  There he succinctly informed me that Dr. Bradford had ordered that my scroll-length article be removed from the forthcoming issue of the JBMORS.  He also informed me that Dr. Bradford had taken steps to prevent my being published by any journal associated with BYU, and that I was no longer welcome in the offices of the Maxwell Institute. 

Needless to say, I was stunned.  I inquired as to the reasons for this sudden decision, and was told that it was prompted by the allegations made against me by the anti-Mormons at the Mormon Discussions message board.  I requested that I be permitted to defend myself against these allegations.  My request was denied.  I categorically denied the veracity of the allegations.  Dr. Hoskisson replied, and I quote: "It doesn't matter if they're true or not.  If we publish you, they will take these things to the media and bring disrepute upon the Maxwell Institute, BYU, and the Church."  I expressed shock that the Maxwell Institute would permit itself to be intimidated and manipulated by a group of mostly anonymous anti-Mormons associated with an obscure internet message board.  Hoskisson expressed sympathy for my cause, but indicated he could do nothing.  He then showed me the door, and that was that.

I drove home to Cedar City from Provo in stunned silence.  Upon my return, I contacted a close friend who works in the Maxwell Institute offices, and inquired as to his knowledge of what had happened.  He informed me that certain individuals at the Mormon Discussions message board had persuaded Professor Hauglid to deliver their allegations to Dr. Bradford, and to vouch for their truthfulness.

This had all taken place while Professor Daniel Peterson, editor of the Mormon Studies Review, was traveling in Europe.  Dr. Peterson was one of the few people at the Maxwell Institute who was aware of the nature of the message board, as well as my posting history on that forum.  He and I were among the mere handful of faithful Latter-day Saints who had ventured to that site over the years to defend the Church against the attacks made upon it by the anti-Mormons that dominate the discourse there.  I made contact with him while he was on a cruise ship outside of Naples, Italy.  He replied with outrage over what had happened, and assured me that, as soon as he returned, he would attempt to set matters straight.  However, in the meantime, someone associated with the Maxwell Institute intentionally leaked the information concerning my discommendation to the people at Mormon Discussions.  This information was promptly made public as a triumphant preface to the message board thread that contained the allegations against me.

            There immediately ensued (as those familiar with the place can well imagine) a veritable orgy of jubilant celebration at Mormon Discussions.  They had set out to silence an important new voice in Mormon apologetics, and they had succeeded far beyond their wildest expectations.

Of course, this "leak" from the Maxwell Institute was orchestrated with the simple purpose of setting the decision in stone before Dan Peterson could return and attempt to reverse it.  (Only much later would I come to understand that I was merely a pawn in a much larger political struggle occurring within the Maxwell Institute.) 

At any rate, I authored a description of the affair, from my perspective, and sent it via email to Dan Peterson, Glenn Rowe, and Elder Marlin K. Jensen, the Church Historian (who had already been making public mention of the findings associated with my scroll-length article).  In this email, dated May 18, 2011, I made the following predictions:

  • The mob will not be placated, but rather emboldened. Having brought down one of their primary targets, they will turn their full attention to others. And they will be certain to employ the same methods on subsequent targets that they have on me (successfully) and on you (unsuccessfully, to date). Their power to intimidate through threat—whether credible or not—will be greatly augmented. Their prestige among fellow critics will be greatly enhanced. Their ability to attract new converts will be greatly strengthened.

  • As you well know, the prime directive at is to destroy the effectiveness of LDS apologetics in general. They want to replace what they perceive as the current direction of LDS apologetics with one that will work to effect things such as the abandonment of the Book of Abraham; the formal acknowledgement of what they are convinced is the ahistoricity of the Book of Mormon; the formal renunciation of things they find objectionable in church history; etc. As a result of the Maxwell Institute having submitted to their intimidation in this instance, they will perceive weakness (and rightly so), and they will attack it relentlessly and with much more confidence of success.

Now, a little more than one year later, my predictions have proven accurate in virtually every respect.  Furthermore, it has become apparent that it is not only the anti-Mormon critics of the Church who seek to suppress Mormon apologetics, but also a substantial number of the LDS intelligentsia who oppose apologetics per se, and who instead advocate a purely secular approach to Mormon studies—an approach that will necessarily entail the rejection of traditional faithful defenses of the restored gospel.12

1 My presentation, entitled "The Meaning and Purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers," is available online in video format: The Kirtland Egyptian Papers - Part 1; The Kirtland Egyptian Papers - Part 2
2 These photographs of the Joseph Smith Papyri and the Kirtland Egyptian Papers were authorized by the Church;  commissioned by the late Steven Christensen, who was the first bombing victim of the notorious anti-Mormon forger, Mark Hofmann.  Metcalfe had worked closely with both Hofmann and Christensen during this period.  Definitive information is at a premium when it comes to this episode in Church history, but I have yet to see any reason to doubt Metcalfe's claim that he was the rightful recipient of one of the four sets of photographs produced at the time.
3 Professors Hauglid and Gee are the editors of the Studies in the Book of Abraham series of books, published by the Maxwell Institute.
4 Dallin and I were in the same MTC group of twelve missionaries ("La Dozzina Sporca") called to Italy in 1979.  We served together in several areas, returned together in August 1981, and have remained close ever since.
5 I was rather chagrined to discover that, in his recent book A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions, Professor Hauglid has presented, without proper attribution, some important findings that originated in my research.  Interestingly, since the publication of the book, he appears to have tacitly authorized a friend to, on multiple occasions now, claim (via posts on the message board, such as this one) that John Gee compelled him, in some fashion or another, to include those particular findings in the book, and that he does not agree with them.
6 One of the stipulations of my contract with the CHL is that anything I desire to publish, if it employs any of the copyrighted images of the KEP or JSP, must be submitted to and authorized for publication by the Church Historian, his direct supervisors in the Quorum of the Twelve (currently Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland), and the First Presidency.  It should be clearly understood that "authorized for publication," in this context, does NOT constitute endorsement.
7 This typographic transcription had been executed by Jerald Tanner and H. Michael Marquardt, and published as The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers, a portion of which is available online here: Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language.
8 I categorically deny these allegations.
9 For example, Deseret News, August 7, 2010: Secret Mormon Codes and Egyptian Papers
10 The allegations contained in this message board post authored by Bridget Jeffries are a pastiche of forgeries, gross exaggerations, deliberate misrepresentations, and otherwise out-of-context citations.
11 This characterization would be met with feigned disbelief and explicit denial by those involved in this matter.  There is what one might call a "core group" of anti-Mormon personalities at  It consists of a relatively diverse group of: ex-Mormons; many ostensibly "active Mormons" who maintain varying degrees of a patina of faithfulness in terms of their church and family relationships, but who are apostate in virtually every significant way in terms of their online expressions. (There is even a currently serving bishop who makes no pretense of his apostasy in the form of his online persona, but who continues to act the role of bishop to his ward.  He posts anonymously, as do the overwhelming majority of the posters there.)  There is even a surprisingly significant number of non-Mormons, most of whom have a Mormon spouse, or otherwise some familial relationship to Mormonism.
12 I highly recommend Professor William Hamblin's examination of these issues as contained in recent blog posts he has made here, here, and here.


  1. Well written Will. I'm still looking forward to seeing your scoll-length paper published! From what I saw of it, it is an excellent work and deserves to be published! Keep fighting my friend.

  2. Dear Mr. Schryver,

    Although I am not a fan, I want to see your work published based on its merits as scholarship. To that end I have written the following letter. I ask your assistance in directing it to the appropriate parties.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I urge you to reconsider the publication of William Schryver’s article entitled, “The Interminable Roll – Determining the Original Length of the Scroll of Hor,” which had originally been slated for publication in the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture in 2010. It is my understanding that this piece was pulled because of the perceived risk the author’s online behavior posed to the good image of the Maxwell Institute and Brigham Young University. As someone who has witnessed Mr. Schryver’s online behavior, I am sympathetic to his detractors. I believe, however, that his research on the Scroll of Hor should stand or fall on its own merits, and should not be suppressed because of writing on unrelated topics. The Book of Abraham is currently the subject of a lively debate, and Mr. Schryver’s contributions to that discussion have already played some role in it. To exclude his research on the basis of unrelated activities unnecessarily impedes the progress of the discussion.

    As an academic, I am aware of many scholars whose views on various topics are controversial. They nevertheless publish high quality research in major peer-review journals, because their views on politics, gender, and so forth have little or no bearing on the topic at hand. Even if such views were to impact their research, it is odious to the spirit of academic freedom to repress scholarship on the basis of the popularity and flavor of particular ideas. Bad ideas and distasteful opinions are best corrected and combated when they can be examined in the full light of day and in the public forum. As an ardent supporter of this kind of free and open exchange of ideas, I urge you to reconsider the publication of Mr. Schryver’s research. Once published, other scholars will be free to subject his work to their own examination and respond accordingly.

    1. The article The Interminable Roll - Determining the Original Length of the Scroll of Hor, originally slated to be published in the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, will be published soon.

    2. And by "soon" you mean...?

  3. Don't give up, Will. If you do, the anti-Mormon's will win.

    I found it interesting/scary that an anti-Mormon is operating as a Mormon bishop. Based on your experiences and what's going on with Dan Peterson, it makes me wonder how much they have infiltrated. I don't even want to speculate, but could it be possible some of the Maxwell Institute or even some of the general authorities are anti-Mormon also?

    1. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that there are general authorities of the Church who are anti-Mormons. I do, however, believe that many of the general authorities are not cognizant of how cunning the current crop of anti-Mormons can be.

    2. Scary times. It reminds me of when Darth Sidious as his alter ego Palpatine was trying to take control of the senate and Count Dooku, a Sith Lord, was holding a place on the Jedi Council. All this really makes me wonder how high this Anti-Mormon conspiracy could go.

  4. I can assure you that the critics are praying that your nonsense gets published. The people involved in suppressing it were in fact LDS scholars, truth be told. This we know for a fact, despite Schryver's attempts to martyr himself.

  5. Jeff, the anti-Mormons won this thing a long time ago. Will's job is to keep the sheep deluded about that fact, but he fails miserably as MAD apologists continue to drop like flies and migrate on over to the only Mormon forum that allows open discussion. Thank goodness no one outside his little MAD fan club knows who he is. It really proves embarrassing to the Church at large.

  6. Will, you're a hero. I'm counting on you to expose the traitors and Fifth Columnists hiding in the church, and this is a good first step. Help us root them out before they do damage to any more testimonies.

  7. Funny how you complain about being the victim of ad hominem attacks, and yet can't even mention your critics without labeling them anti-Mormon-- and without giving any evidence to refute their claims or establish your own. Does FAIR give you a training in how to respond to critics by 1) claiming you are a victim of an anti-Mormon conspiracy; 2) claiming that your own ad hominem attacks are really justified, but that their ad hominem attacks are really evil; and 3) providing no evidence to support your attacks, while simultaneously writing off your critics when they provide no clear evidence? It seems they are very effective at the training because I see this over and over and over.

    1. There is no doubt that there are anti-Mormons and that they are involved in conspiracies to silence defenders of the Church.

    2. I can confirm there is a grand conspiracy. We meet every Tuesday at the Arctic Circle in Centerville. After summoning the Dark Master and finishing our corn dogs and brown toppers we focus all our efforts on silencing you.

  8. "There is no doubt that there are anti-Mormons and that they are involved in conspiracies to silence defenders of the Church."

    I'd sure love to see some evidence for this claim! (And, no, this blog entry doesn't count -- not by a mile.)

  9. "Pahoran" is Russell C. McGregor.

  10. Does the fact that your article "will be published soon" have anything to do with Dan's new gig at Salt Press?

    1. I have no "new gig at Salt Press." I've been on their editorial board for a long time. I don't even remember when I joined it.

    2. Does the fact that your article "will be published soon" have anything to do with your recent contribution to Mormon Interpreter?
      I think it would be neat if the "MI" published your article.

    3. Mortal Man wrote:
      "Does the fact that your article 'will be published soon' have anything to do with your recent contribution to Mormon Interpreter?"

      To which I reply:

      Yes, I understand that the Mormon Interpreter will be publishing articles from anyone who contributes financially to their endeavor. Not only will they be publishing anything I write related to Mormon Studies, but they will also be serializing my ten volumes of teen-angst poetry.

  11. What I find odd is that more than a month before Bridget Jack Jeffries published her "misogyny" post, you were already complaining that someone at BYU was was working behind the scenes to kill your publication. If she and her "conspiracy" are to blame for everything, why was your project already in trouble before she "attacked" you?

    From: William Schryver []
    Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:21 AM
    To: 'Daniel Peterson'
    Subject: Distressing News

    I have been informed, in a manner that lends credence to the account, that David Bokovoy (and unnamed others—most likely Don Bradley* and Sam Brown*) have been engaged in a “behind the scenes” campaign to persuade people associated with the Maxwell Institute to distance themselves from me and my “discredited” research/findings concerning the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. Their activities have even come to the attention of several people associated with the GSTP — (IRL info eliminated) and Kevin Graham in particular. Kevin Graham, in the past couple days, has made several references to correspondence between him and Bokovoy, and he (Graham) is crowing with giddy exultation over the fact that “the responsible LDS apologists” have allegedly rejected me and my findings.

    1. I, for one, would be very interested in a response to this from Mr. Schryver.

    2. It appears you have commented here without having first read the blog post above, in which the answer to your question is made perfectly clear.

      In any case, you are conflating two different things. The article slated for publication in the JBMORS concerned my research into the length of the scroll of Hor. The personal email above (which was sent to David Bokovoy without my permission, and made public without my permission) concerns my research into the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. Two different things.

    3. Why would BYU want to distance itself from an article they had nothing to do with? The only thing they could have done would have been to kill the scroll-length article.

  12. I can't tell Will, are you censoring my comments because you don't want your supporters to see the actual comments that you made, and just how accurate the piece in question was about you, or is Blogger blocking my comment because I reposted the nasty language you originally used? In either case, I strongly recommend that people look into the original MormonDiscussion post you reference. It includes links to the exact messages you posted. Hard to argue you did not say them, or that they are not degrading, sexist or misogynist. Why don't you respond to it, rather than just label some one anti-Mormon for speaking the truth about your behavior?

    1. I have not censored any comments on this blog.

      Obviously, I also encourage readers to investigate the allegations made against me, and for that reason I have provided the relevant links in my blog post above.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Mr. Schryver, I struggle to take any scholar seriously who repeatedly uses the thought stopping phrase "anti-[me, mine, Mormon etc.]" to describe, discredit and diminish the arguments of his critics. That said, your work should be allowed to speak for itself on its own merits. I would be interested in reading your scroll length paper.

    When I first began this journey, I hoped in vain that someone would be able to answer my questions with a faith promoting answer that not only was possible, but also probable. Sadly, I find that most apologetic arguments hold merit only to argue that a given faith promoting position is possible [thereby banging out enough room for someone who really wants to continue to believe to be able to do so if they ignore probability] and fail to address in any meaningful way the extent to which that position is probable. Perhaps your scroll length paper would be one of the first to do so? An example of how such a paper would address both possibility and probability would be to argue that not only are we missing critical components (highly possible) but also that those components are likely to have contained what Joseph said they contained (highly improbable).

    Best wishes in your personal, intellectual, and faith journeys.

    1. My scroll-length article is not apologetic in nature. It is a purely scientific analysis of the relevant forensic evidence. It does not address the question of what might have been written on any putative missing portion of the scroll of Hor.

  15. Before anyone is convinced as to Bro. Schryver's account of this entire fiasco, I urge them to simply read the compilation of his vulgar and wholly inappropriate comments regarding women on the Mormon Discussions message board. Then ask yourself if someone who writes these kinds of things and then denies doing anything wrong (as Bro. Schryver has done here) is someone who should has the credibility to be publishing in defense of Mormonism.

    Were Bro. Schryver really an academic, his work would be peer reviewed. If it stood up to peer review, it would eventually be published in spite of his objectionable personal online behavior. Unfortunately, he is not and academic and so must rely on the goodwill of others, instead of his own reputation or the quality of his work, to be published.

    He has stated on this blog that his work will be published (as he had many times before in other venues). I, for one, look forward to reading his work should it ever see the light of day.

    1. My article which was suppressed by Jerry Bradford (The Interminable Roll - Determining the Original Length of the Scroll of Hor) was "peer-reviewed." As I recall, Shirley Ricks (the primary editor of the article) told me it had been reviewed by no fewer than three different people. I do not know the identities of the reviewers. I made a few minor modifications to the article as a result of these reviews.

      As for your ad hominem comments concerning my "credibility to be publishing in defense of Mormonism," I am content to let readers form their own judgments on that question.

      To that end, I also highly recommend a recent thread from the Mormon Dialogue and Discussions message board, entitled The Calculated Suppression of Mormon Apologetics: The Case of William Schryver. The thread consists of a spirited discussion of the allegations made against me, and specifically my defense contra those allegations.

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  17. To Brian and others who dislike the BoA,

    Here is the situation.

    And for 45 years, one argument--out of several--against the BoA went like this:

    Joseph smith and his scribes produced one or several manuscripts of the book of Abraham, and in these manuscripts, or some of them, there are on the left, Egyptian words taken from the sensen papyrus. Smith thought or pretended to be translating these words into English, and therefore he is a liar or deceived and not a prophet.

    And this was persuasive to some people, including a variety of LDS Egyptology scholars and students, although there were many other factors, and some of those other factors are good arguments . . .

    here we have a fact, and the question is, what is the best explanation for the fact? What are other reasonable explanations for the fact, if any?

    And William Schryver comes along--and I am changing his order and adding and subtracting--but in essense, he says. "Not so fast. I wish to prove that Smith and his scribes had an interest in secrecy, codes and/or secret societies, their codes and encrypted messages. . . and Schryver proves that and every one knows or should know that and even the ordinary LDS person knows that one or several D&C sections use code names for people . . . and Schryver can show and does show that not only Smith but others both had an interest in and did in fact write texts, letters or send messages in code. Next, he says . . . or would have said if he had used a different order of presentation, let us show that the majority of the symbols used in the books currently called Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar were not Egyptian . . . and he can show this or at least, that some or many of them were not, because some of them are Arabic or Sanscrit numerals! . . . Now, in light of the immediately contemporaneous use and study of codes by Smith and his associates . . . in light of the fact that some of the symbols in the Egyptian alphabet and grammar were Arabic or sanscrit numerals . . . in light of the fact that Smith and others were probably not so stupid as to think that a single word is best translated as one or two paragraphs . . . the more reasonable explanation for the manuscripts with Egyptian on the left and English on the right is that they were a part of a coding project of Smith and his associates. Not only is this a plausible explanation, but this explanation is actually superior to the critics explanation of these manuscripts with Egyptian on the left and English on the right. This explanation is the one that fits the facts!

    Also, what is more, is that if you are willing to give me a few minutes and the benefit of the doubt with respect to a new methodology I created to study the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, you will also see that Abraham 1-3 must have existed in written or oral or mental form prior to the creation of important parts of the EAG."

    You have a fact and since 1968 the best explanation for that fact was an explanation that seemed to be damaging to Smith. However, Schryver offers us an alternative and superior explanation for the fact . . . and it is also one that makes sense of other facts which the first explanation did not make sense of . . . However, even if we did not have Arabic & Sanscrit numerals in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, the explanation of Schryver would still render the original argument invalid. You should look at that argument . . . and even if you like it . . . and even if you think Smith was a bad con man and really dumb, and you should say, "That argument is weak and really invalid. . . For there are at least two possible explanations for this weird and strange thing about some early book of Abraham manuscripts produced by Smith and scribes. If there are 2 possible explanations, then, I and others can't say with any conclusive certainty which it is, based on that fact alone."

  18. Dude, Schryver's "facts" have been refuted for quite some time now by Kevin Graham. Get up to speed.

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