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By Doug Brunell | May 12, 2004

According to this documentary, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is little more than a liar. So why is a film that discredits a prophet so damn boring? Because it is hosted by
John Grooters and given the production values of those free religious videos you have to call an eight-hundred number to order.

“The Lost Book of Abraham” delves into the mystery behind the Egyptian papyrus scroll that Smith translated and claimed was a lost book of Abraham. This translation then became part of the Mormon faith, but once scholars
relocated the scroll and translated it themselves, they found that it had nothing to do with the man.

If that’s all the film did, there wouldn’t be much of a problem, but this comes across as a tool meant to discredit an entire religion. In fact, while watching it I got the distinct feeling that this was Christian
propaganda, as it fell in line with other Christian propaganda films I had seen. Sure enough, a little research on the Institute for Religious Research (IRR), an organization that had a hand in making this film, turned up something rather interesting.

According to the IRR’s website, the organization is a “non-denominational, non-profit Christian foundation” that
investigates religious claims. The IRR believes all people are sinners and that the Bible is based on fact. How an organization this biased can be involved in religious research is suspect enough, but when it produces films that devalue other religions while not revealing its own doctrine, that’s deception.

Take this documentary with a very large grain of salt. It is biased, though the facts seem to be correct. Unfortunately, IRR’s lack of disclosure gives the entire film a black mark that could have been easily lifted
with a little honesty, a value apparently not in the Bible the IRR adheres to.

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