271.3: Pre-Existence and Book of Abraham (OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 2, Study Notes)

January 16, 2018

Engaging Gospel Doctrine

“Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born”

This “Study Notes” portion on the Book of Abraham explores this book of scripture from a literary and historical perspective, and explains why some people have a hard time reconciling an academic approach with the way the Book of Abraham is presented in Church. A discussion of the purpose of scripture and the nature of inspiration brings the two perspectives together.

Class Reading:Abraham 3; D&C 138; Moses 4:1–4

Additional Reading: Isaiah 14:12–15; Revelation 12:7–9; Alma 13:3–5; D&C 29:36–39

Other Reading: None

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The discussion with David, Joshua and Maxine at times gets technical and runs long, but is worth the time and effort.

You can access the Annotated Reading here.

You can access my Lesson Notes here.

Lesson Outline


Lesson Part 3

Book of Abraham: Intro

Book of Abraham: BCC Blog Reading

Purpose of Scripture



Discussion Part 3

Book of Abraham: Apostasy Catalyst

Historicity of Abraham

Scripture Does Not Equal History

Joseph Smith: Inspired Translator

Pondering on Priesthood Doctrine

Recommended Resources

Also consult his very worthwhile extra resources:

  • Charles Harrel, “The Development of the Doctrine of Preexistence, 1830–1844″ BYU Studies 28:2 PDF.
  • Teryl and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps, chapter 2, is all about the premortal existence. It’s an excellent book. See Rosalynde Welch’s review here, Julie Smith’s review here, and Adam Miller’s semi philosophical discussion of chapter 2 here.

Thanks to James Estrada for going above and beyond to get this episode out in time, and to to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.