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Journal of Book of Mormon Studies

Article Title

Formulas and Faith

Authors

John Gee

Abstract

The question of where Joseph Smith received the text of the Book of Abraham has elicited three main theories, one of which, held by a minority of church members, is that Joseph translated it from papyri that we no longer have. It is conjectured that if this were the case, then the contents of the Book of Abraham must have been on what nineteenth-century witnesses described as the “long roll.” Two sets of scholars developed mathematical formulas to discover, from the remains of what they believe to be the long roll, what the length of the long roll would have been. However, when these formulas are applied on scrolls of known length, they produce erratic or inconclusive results, thus casting doubt on their ability to accurately conclude how long the long roll would have been.

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