The Catalog of Antimormon Accusations
A language he called "Reformed Egyptian"
by Woody Brison

This is one leaf of a review of "Inside Mormonism: What Mormons Really Believe" by Isaiah Bennett
Back to the main page of the review

Bennett's statement: Smith began "translating" the plates from a language he called "Reformed Egyptian"
<=== Found on p. 24
70% of the way down the page

We have here an example of accusation by nuance. Bennett does not spell it out, he relies on the ability of the audience to detect (and enjoy) mockery. The quotation marks are the main clue.

If spelled out, the accusation is that Joseph Smith, as he invented the Book of Mormon, made a clumsy, hillbilly construction here, claiming there was a language called "Reformed Egyptian" and pretending to translate from it.

This accusation itself is dealt with here.

The joke is on Bennett. When examined fairly, the Book of Mormon's chain of transmission, from the Nephites to us, is understandable and reasonable. It's actually the uneducated yokels who will find it hilarious; competent scholars will not.

Part of the hilarity comes from the misidentification of the word "reformed". In modern usage, that means 'rehabilitated' - a criminal goes to prison and comes out reformed, converted to a life of honesty and industry.

This leads to a real joke: no one today truly understands written Egyptian. We only have a partial understanding. Those who tackle it can appreciate idea of somehow reforming the ancient Egyptians, so they'd write more understandably!

Joseph Smith understood written Egyptian far better than the scholars, because he was a Seer, but the world was not ready for that and he didn't teach very much of his knowledge to anyone. He tried to teach it to a few of the brethren but apparently even the most astute failed to get it, and so his knowledge was lost when he died.


1. Woody Brison is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but this website is not affiliated with the church. It may be thought of as an additional, somewhat independent witness.

2. I want this page to be as accurate as I can make it. If you have a correction, please email me.

3. All biblical quotations are from the King James unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2013 Woody Brison. All rights reserved.