Display Announcement: LDS Church History Library, “Treasures of the Archives” (Today Only)

In conjunction with the Church History Conference currently taking place at the LDS Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake (after a successful day of sessions yesterday at BYU), the Church History Library is hosting a today-only display of some of the most exciting documents in Mormon history. All of these documents relate to the Book of Abraham, which is the topic of one of today’s panels, including:

  • The Egyptian Papyri. The relationship of these texts to the Book of Abraham have recently come into question (especially with the new edition of LDS scriptures), but their material presence in early Mormon history remains significant. Indeed, the very history of this papyri is a fascinating story.
  • The Kirtland Egyptian Papers. These fascinating documents were used as Joseph Smith, WW Phelps, and other explored the Egyptian language in Kirtland. Again, their relationship to the Book of Mormon is a point of scholarly contestation.
  • Revelation, 19 January 1841, recorded in the Book of the Law of the Lord: This entry in a historically fascinating book calls for “antiquities” to be gathered in Nauvoo.
  • Joseph Smith Journal, 1835-1836: the entry mentions Joseph’s work with the Book of Abraham and his study of Hebrew.
  • Printing Plate for Facsimile 2 in the Book of Abraham.
  • Other books and printed materials used in the School of the Prophets when the saints studied Hebrew, or books like those used.

It shouldn’t be necessary to emphasize the importance of these documents. As far as we can tell, hey have never been on display before (and research access to them have been historically limited), and who knows if they will ever go on display again. If you are in the Salt Lake City area, you might want to make a quick trip to the Church History Library.

Commendation should be given to the Church for this fantastic opportunity.


  1. David M. Morris says:

    Is it permissible for someone to take a few pictures and post them?

  2. We hope so, David.

  3. Exactly my thought – I wonder if they will let people take pictures of what is displayed. I was at the MOMA a week or so ago and was impressed that they let everyone take pictures of the artworks.

  4. g.wesley says:

    Thanks for the news.

    About the gathering of antiquities, a bit later in 1844/5, in connection with the Nauvoo Library and Literary Institute which was reformed as the Seventies Library and Institute Association (after Carthage), there were adverts in local papers calling for people to gather not only books but antiquities. One enthusiast even made a hyperbolic comparison to the ancient library of Alexandria.

    Also, if you can’t make it to the display, many of the items can be viewed on the JSPP site. For instance:


  5. The JSPP has recently posted all of the Egyptian material online in extremely high resolution images – the JS papyri, KEP, etc. Whether or not individuals can see them in person, they’re now all out there officially for detailed examination online.

  6. From my understanding, you can snap photos, but without flash.

  7. All three of the Fascimile printing plates are on display, not just the second.

    And photography is allowed, just no flash.

  8. Does anyone know how late they are displaying them? Or are they just closing at 5pm like usual?

  9. Alf O'Mega says:

    Second bullet: you meant “Book of Abraham,” right?

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m here at the library now. If anyone knows the PTB at the library, I found a mistake in the exhibit. The book labeled as a Gibbs lexicon is in fact a Seixas grammar.

  11. “The book labeled as a Gibbs lexicon is in fact a Seixas grammar.”

    Yeah, we all saw that obvious mistake, too, Kevin. [shaking head]

  12. Sharee Hughes says:

    I had planned to attend his conference today. Unfortunately, I’m stuck at home with pneumonia. I wish they would run this display for several weeks instead of just one day.

  13. Pics or it didn’t happen. :-)

    (seriously though, would someone please post pics!)

  14. Kristine says:

    When Cynthia speaks…

  15. Elouise says:

    Apologies in advance for a threadjack.

    I came on BCC today looking for some small mention of the fact that today is International Women’s Year. Realizing that BCC is not, of course, fMh, I was not unduly surprised to find no mention of IWY. Then I went on another (non LDS) site, and read the following post by a professor, writer, and active Christian. Something to think about, perhaps:

    “In the ’90s, when I was hosting students who came to my community college from former Soviet bloc nations, I learned that most of the world celebrates this holiday much more seriously than we do here. In Russia and throughout nations that were former Soviet provinces in the USSR, men and boys salute their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, female teachers, and all the women in their lives with flowers and other gifts, including flowery verbal tributes. It’s bigger than Mother’s Day is here, and I still get email good wishes from those students (now in their 30s) every March 8.”

  16. Closing at 5 pm, as per the normal schedule.

  17. Meghan: it is open until 5pm, just like usual.

    Hurry, people! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  18. Good thing they make this available long enough for people to stop by and check it out. Oh, wait, nevermind, that would give the naysayers time to naysay.. much better that we trot this out in very limited fashion to claim that it was all made accessible. Bleh..

  19. #10 – Kevin, this isn’t the humblebrag thread.

  20. #18 – Nothing like slamming good things. I’ve dealt with “antiquities” on a limited scale. The fact that these are being displayed at all is cause for celebration, not censure and disgust.

  21. whizzbang says:

    I have to ask, what is the Book of the Law of the Lord?

  22. Whizzbang, I am not sure if this is what the picture is of, but typically the Book of the Law of the Lord refers to James Strang’s translated scriptures.

  23. The Book of the Law of The Lord is a book from the Nauvoo period that contained JS’s journal entries, a few revelations, and a recording of donations to the temple. Saints felt that the book had symbolic, and possibly literal, power, and that having one’s name recorded in it was akin to having one’s name recorded in the Book of Life. Alex Smith, a fantastic JSP editor, has an article on it in a recent issue of Journal of Mormon History.

  24. Sorry, Ben. Being in Wisconsin I naturally lean towards the Voree version of things…

  25. Wait… When did Steve Evans return to the Internet? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

  26. We all met with him on his return at a place in Missouri, Tod. A pretty valley with a funny name, Adam-something. Didn’t you get an invitation?

  27. Ardis, SSHHHHHH!!!!

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    Elouise, Sam Brown began his address at the Church History Conference with a very enthusiastic shout out to Intl. Women’s Day.

  29. For those interested, I uploaded a video of the artifacts at: http://youtu.be/o95MjiM8EzE.

  30. Thanks for the video, Daniel, though the music made me think I was waiting in line for Disneyland’s Pirates of the Carribean ride.

  31. Yea, I was having a little too much fun. But hey, it was really cool to see them!

  32. Meldrum the Less says:

    Dang. I’ve been working on Hoffman a version of the Book of the Law of the Lord for about 20 years and now they go and s display the original.

  33. #29. Thank you for taking time to video these items. Great for those of us who couldn’t make it.

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